Mikhail Borodin

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Mikhail Borodin[1]

Mikhail Markovich Borodin (Михаи́л Mápкoвич Бороди́н) (July 9, 1884 – May 29, 1951) was the alias of Mikhail Gruzenberg, a communist Jew, Comintern agent and Soviet arms dealer.

Borodin was born in Yanovich, located in modern Vitsebsk Voblast, Belarus. He joined the Bolshevik party in Imperial Russia in 1903. In 1907, he was arrested and chose to depart for the United States in 1908. While there, he attended classes at Valparaiso University. After the October Revolution, he returned to his motherland in 1918, working in the foreign relations department. From 1919 to 1922, he worked in Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom as a Comintern agent.

As Comintern agent in China between 1923 and 1927, Borodin arranged shipments of Soviet arms to the Kuomintang government in Canton, China. He was a prominent adviser to Dr. Sun Yat Sen at that time. Following his suggestion, the Kuomintang allowed communists to join, and the Whampoa Military Academy was established.

After Dr. Sun Yat Sen's death in 1925, he remained an advisor to the Kuomintang government until 1927, when Chiang Kai-Shek purged communists and allowed Borodin to "escape".[2] Borodin returned to the Soviet Union in 1928 and worked briefly as editor of the English language Moscow News.

In 1949, he was accused of being an enemy of the Soviet Union and was sent to a gulag in Siberia, where he died two years later.

Kenneth Rexroth mentions Borodin in his poem Another Early Morning Exercise, and he is one of main characters in Les Conquérants, André Malraux's his first novel (published in 1928).


Further reading

  • Jacobs D.N. Borodin. Stalin's Man in China. Stanford Univ. Press, 1985;
  • Хейфец Л.С. Латинская Америка в орбите Коминтерна. Опыт биографического словаря. М.: ИЛА РАН, 2001;
  • Taibo P.I. II. Los Bolcheviques. Mexico: J.Mortiz, 1986; Martínez Verdugo A. (ed.) Historia del comunismo mexicano. Mexico: Grijalbo, 1985;
  • Jeifets L., Jeifets V., Huber P. La Internacional Comunista y América Latina, 1919-1943. Diccionario biográfico. Ginebra: Instituto de Latinoamérica-Institut pour l'histoire du communisme, 2004;
  • Kheyfetz L. and V. Michael Borodin. The First Comintern-emissary to Latin America // The International Newsletter of Historical Studies on Comintern, Communism and Stalinism. Vol.II, 1994/95. №5/6. P.145-149. Vol.III (1996). №7/8. P.184-188.