Bukharin's Philosophical Arabesques was written while he was imprisoned in the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, facing a trial on charges of treason and the likelihood of execution. After the death of Lenin, Bukharin co-operated with Stalin for a time. Once Stalin's supremacy was assured he began eliminating all potential rivals. For Bukharin, the process was to end with his confession before the Soviet court, facing the threat that his young family would be killed along with him if he did not.
While awaiting his death, Bukharin wrote prolifically. He considered Philosophical Arabesques as the most important of his prison writings. In its pages, he covers the full range of issues in Marxist philosophy—the sources of knowledge, the nature of truth, freedom and necessity, the relationship of Hegelian and Marxist dialectic. The project constitutes a defence of the genuine legacy of Lenin's Marxism against the use of his memory to legitimate totalitarian power.
Consigned to the Kremlin archives for a half-century after Bukharin's execution, this work is now being published for the first time in English. It will be an essential reference work for scholars of Marxism and the Russian revolution and a landmark in the history of prison writing.