Saturday, 17 March 2018

Mikhail Bakunin: Russian anarchist and antagonist of Karl Marx

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (1814 – 1876) was a Russian revolutionary anarchist and the founder of Collectivist Anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism, and one of the principal founders of Social Anarchist tradition. Bakunin's enormous prestige as activist made of him one of the most famous ideologues at the beginning of the 20th century when he gained a substantial influence among radicals throughout Russia and Europe. Bakunin was an antagonist of Karl Marx, yet he happened to be the first translator of Mark's book "Das Kapital" from German into Russian.

In 1874, Bakunin moved with his young wife Antonia Kwiatkowska and their three children in Minusio, situated near Locarno in Switzerland. The family lived in a villa called "La Baronata". It is interesting to know that the villa in Minusio was offered to Bakunin by the leader of the Italian anarchists, Carlo Cafiero, who had bought it for Bakunin by selling his own estates in his native town Barletta (Apulia). The villa was built in the 17th  century as summer residence for Baron Marcacci who gave to it a surname "Baronata" in Italian. During 1873–1875, Bakunin decided to introduce some modifications into the building that would make "La Baronata superiore", creating a real family mansion for the Bakunins. The diverse changes were realised by Francesco Galli (1822-1889) who was a local architect from Gerra Gambarogno. His name is well-known in Ticino because Galli inspired and led the construction of the Grand Hotel in Locarno that is, unfortunately, in a bad condition at present. Plans related to the reconstructions for the Bakunins' mansion were proposed by a polish architect Walerian Mroczowski.

Google Maps
Nowadays "la Villa Baronata" is a private property located at Via San Gottardo 251 - Minusio, and it is impossible to visit this place for tourists. Surely, it is a pity for those enthusiasts who would like to see where Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin translated from German into Russian "Das Kapital" of Karl Marx, and where he happily lived for some time. As the matter of fact, the large house is protected by a large stone eagle at the entrance gate and a great wall. The area is overlooking the corner of Lago Maggiore, in a protected microclimate that makes the flora particularly varied and lush.

Bakunin died in Bern on July 1, 1876, and was buried in Bern-Bremgarten Cemetery.