“Unlike Herzen, Chernyshevsky, or Lavrov, Tkachev was convinced that the “individuality principle” (represented by the westernized elite) and the communal principle were mutually antagonistic and would not be reconciled until the full “leveling of individualities” had been achieved. Tkachev combined his theory of progress with a specific “economic materialism” borrowed directly from Marx. After the preceding pages this  must seem rather a surprising statement, and yet among Russian revolutionaries it was Tkachev who made the first serious attempt to assimilate some elements of Marxism. As early as 1865 he had written in the journal “Russian Word” that he supported the idea of the well-known German exile Karl Marx”, adding that “this idea has now become common to almost all thinking and honest men”. Eve earlier -at the end of 1863 – he had expounded in print the notion of the dependence of all spheres of social life (the social superstructure) on the economic sphere. “Social life and all its manifestations, including literature, science, and religion, as well as political and juridical forms, are but the product of definite economic principles that lie at the roots of all these social phenomena”. This quotation from Tkachev was, of course, a paraphrase of the preface to Marx’s ‘Critique of Political Economy’. It must added that Tkachev did not stop at a declaration of principle: he also tried, more or less successfully, to apply these principles in his interpretation of ideological struggles past and present. He explained the Reformation, or instance, as a struggle between the feudal aristocracy and the rising bourgeoisie, and suggested that the emancipation of women was a necessary outcome of the advance of capitalism. In his polemic with Lavrov he attacked  the latter’s exaggerated emphasis on the role of “critically thinking individuals” and argued instead that the outcome of events was decided not by the human intellect or abstract knowledge but by “affective state stimulated by men’s vital interests and thus having their roots in the sphere of economic relations”. This specific “economic materialism” did not amount to Marxism, but the Marxist influence in it was evident. It would be fair to describe it as a peculiar mixture of Marxism with a rather primitive utilitarian exaggeration of the role of direct economic motivation in individual behaviour. (…) In Marx’s ‘Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’ Tkachev could read that no social formation was likely to disappear until the productive forces appropriate to it had achieved their full development. In the 1880’s and 1890’s Russian Marxists used to conclude from this that the socialist revolution in Russia would have to wait until Russia capitalism had exhausted all its potentialities for development. Tkachev naturally found this view unacceptable; he argued instead that revolution was possible ‘either after’ the termination of the whole capitalist development cycle ‘or before’ this cycle was even begun. Every economic principle, he wrote in 1868, has its own inner logic of development; just as in an argument we cannot jump from first premise to conclusion, so in economic development it is impossible to skip the intermediary phases”. [Andrzej Walicki, A History of Russian Thought. From the Enlightenment to Marxism, 1979]