Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party

Article

August 19, 2022

The Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party, in the initials POSDR (in Russian: Российская социал-демократическая рабочая партия, РСДРП ?, transliterated: Rossijskaja social-demokratija social-demokratija political organization in the social-demokratič DR 1898 with a clandestine congress held in Minsk to unify the various revolutionary groups then active. On the occasion of the II Congress, held in Brussels and London between July and August 1903, the POSDR split into two fractions, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, who over time acquired differentiated organizational structures to the point of operating as two distinct parties. The so-called Bolshevik fraction in March 1918 proclaimed itself the Russian Communist Party.

History

Foundation

The party was founded in Minsk in March 1898 by nine representatives of six different revolutionary organizations, who took part in the First Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party, a clandestine meeting held in a private house. The structures represented were the "Rabočee Delo" of Kiev, the "Workers' Union" of Kiev, that of Moscow and that of Ekaterinoslav, the "Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class" of St. Petersburg and the " General Union of Jewish Workers "(Bund). The defendants formalized the birth of the POSDR and elected a central committee, made up of Boris Ėjdel'man, Aaron Kremer and Stepan Radčenko; they commissioned Pëtr Struve, an intellectual then considered among the best Russian Marxists, to draft the manifesto announcing the formation of the new political organization. The manifesto, approved by the congressmen, was printed in April in a clandestine printing house in Babruysk together with the Decisions of the Congress. The Rabočaja Gazeta, until then an organ of the "Rabočee delo" group, became the party newspaper. The Central Committee, as the executive body, had the task of directing the party on the basis of the decisions of the congresses. The individual Committees of the various nationalities that made up the Russian Empire were granted a wide autonomy and the Bund itself joined the Party on condition of maintaining its own autonomy. In the Bund newspaper, the Arbeiterstimme, it was written that the local committees had the right to reject the resolutions of the Central Committee "on the basis of the particular conditions" of the local offices. A few days later, in the night between 23 and 24 March, the tsarist police succeeded in dismantling the organization by making numerous arrests, including those of Kremer and Ėjdel'man. In July, the printing house was also discovered and more than seventy members of the Bund were arrested. The newly formed party seemed to have already been destroyed. For this reason, Zinoviev could write in 1923 that the founding date of March 1898 was "insignificant", because that congress "produced almost no results". In his opinion, even the "Workers 'Union of Northern Russia" founded between 1877 and 1878 by Chalturin and Obnorsky could rightly be considered "the embryo of a workers' party", as well as the "Emancipation of Labor" of Plechanov and Aksel'rod, established in 1883, which in 1885, breaking with the populists, had elaborated a draft program of the Social Democratic party, presenting itself "in the history of the Russian revolutionary movement as the first Marxist organization". it was not shared by Lenin, who in 1899 had written about the "brilliantly begun work" and the "enormous step forward" made by the Russian workers' movement with the founding of the Social Democratic Party, the first attempt to unify all the scattered socialist currents. With the repression, the party had not ceased to exist: it had "turned in on itself, in order to gather the strengths