Mikhail Bakunin

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Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (18 May 1814 – 1 July 1876) was a Russian nihilist and revolutionary against the church and monarchy. He has often been called the father of anarchist theory in general.[1]

Bakunin entered Moscow University in 1835 where he studied philosophy and began developing an views on Pan-Slavism.

In Prague during the Revolutions of 1848 Bakunin participated in the First Pan Slav Congress.[2]

Bakunin critiqued prominent leftist theoretician Karl Marx in 1873 with these words,

"..if the proletariat is to be the ruling class, over whom is it to rule? ...the peasant "rabble" who, as it is known, does not enjoy the sympathy of the Marxists who consider it to represent a lower level of culture, will probably be ruled by the factory proletariat of the cities. Or, if this problem is to be approached nationalistically, the Slavs will be placed in the same subordinate relationship to the victorious German proletariat in which the latter now stands to the German bourgeoisie." [3]

It should be noted that Bakunin was also a leftist, and in fact, the only difference he had from Marx was the exact extent that they should get rid of government. In addition, he also declared regarding anarchism: "Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life--the passion for destruction is also a creative passion!"[4] Richard Wagner also noted of Bakunin that “The annihilation of all civilization was the objective on which he had set his heart…. It was necessary, he said, to picture the whole European world - transformed into a pile of rubble.”[5][6]


  1. Masters, Anthony (1974), Bakunin, the Father of Anarchism, Saturday Review Press, ISBN 0-8415-0295-1 
  2. Stergar, Rok: Panslavism , in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2017-07-12. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.11123. [1]
  3. Michael Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy, (1873), in Sam Dolgoff, Bakunin On Anarchy, (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972), p. 330.
  4. Reaction in Germany, 1842
  5. https://www.heritage.org/political-process/report/understanding-tyranny-and-terror-the-french-revolution-modern-islamism
  6. Richard Wagner, quoted in Bryan Magee, The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), p. 39.