Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (May 18 (30 N.S.), 1814 ? June 19 (July 1 N.S.), 1876) was a well-known Russian revolutionary whose political philosophy was the revolutionary doctrine known as collectivist anarchism.
Born in the Russian Empire to a family of Russian nobles, Bakunin spent his youth as a Junior Officer in the Russian army but resigned his commission in 1835. He went to school in Moscow to study philosophy and began to frequent radical circles where he was greatly influenced by Alexander Herzen. Bakunin left Russia in 1842 for Dresden, and eventually Paris where he met George Sand, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx.
Bakunin is remembered as a major figure in the history of anarchism and an opponent of Marxism. He argued ? against certain ideas of a number of Marxists ? that not all revolutions need be violent. He also rejected Marx's concept of the "dictatorship of the proletariat", which Marx's adherents translate in modern terms to mean a "workers democracy" but which also maintains the state in existence during the transition to communism. Bakunin, "who had now abandoned his ideas of revolutionary dictatorship", insisted that revolutions must be led by the people directly while any "enlightened elite" must only exert influence by remaining "invisible...not imposed on anyone...[and] deprived of all official rights and significance". He held that the state should be immediately abolished because all forms of government eventually lead to oppression. Marx however remained recalcitrant and rejected Bakunin's critique. Bakunin continues to be an important influence on modern-day anarchists, such as Noam Chomsky.