May 28, 2022

The Bolsheviks (Russian: большевики) - in the years 1903–1912 the faction of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Russia (RSDLP), which at the Second Congress of this party in 1903 considered itself the majority, called its opponents Mensheviks. Then a standalone batch - SDPRR (b).

Road to Power

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faction The faction was born as a result of a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julia Martov. Martov argued that party members should act independently of the party leadership, Lenin disagreed and stressed the need for strong leadership. The matter was put to the vote. Martov won them with 28 to 22 votes. The debate continued after the vote, and many Martov activists left Congress during the vote in protest. Lenin used this fact for propaganda purposes and called his faction the Bolsheviks, that is, the majority. He described the opponents supporting Martov as Mensheviks, i.e. a minority. Nevertheless, in the years that followed, the Bolsheviks did indeed become the majority in the party and enjoyed greater public support. In the following years, some members of the SdPRR tried to unite the warring factions, which, however, never succeeded. The faction took an active part in the revolution of 1905. The party's attacks on banks and other public institutions were particularly spectacular and criticized by other socialist parties. These actions were to be used to obtain the finances needed for running the party's activities. Alexander Bogdanov, who sided with the Bolshevik side, soon came into conflict with the faction's founder, Vladimir Lenin. Bogdanov believed that socialist culture must be worked out by the proletariat, while Lenin stood in the position of the vanguard of the socialist intelligentsia leading the working class. Bogdanov also accepted Ernst Mach's theses, which Lenin considered to be contrary to Marxism. In April 1908, the conflicting activists briefly went on a joint vacation to Gorky's villa in Capri, Italy. Upon his return to Paris, the conflict revived, and Lenin encouraged the Bolsheviks to exclude Bogdanov and his supporters from the movement, accusing him of departing from Marxist doctrine. In May 1908, Lenin wrote Materialism and Empiriocriticism, which was an attack on Bogdanov. Lenin's attack on Bogdanov angered a large number of Bolsheviks, including his close supporters: Alexei Rykov and Lev Kamenev. As a result of the conflict, Bogdanov remained in the Bolshevik movement, but - as a competition to Włodzimierz Lenin - he was marginalized.

World War I

During the World War, the Bolsheviks adopted a pacifist position. In September 1915, the activists of the faction participated in the anti-war conference in Zimmerwald, and then in the second anti-war conference in Kienta. The war was supported only by the Moscow faction of the so-called intellectuals. Włodzimierz Lenin had a great influence on the conviction of all Bolsheviks to adopt pacifist attitudes. In November, he published an article "War and Social Democracy in Russia" in the Swiss magazine "Social Democrat", in which he presented the goals of the Bolsheviks during the war. These were to be - conducting propaganda, organizing a socialist revolution, building the Russian, Polish and German republics, fighting tsarism, Great-Russian chauvinism, fighting for an eight-hour working day and confiscating land belonging to the landowners. The anti-war activities seriously weakened the Bolshevik faction. The government started a wave of repression that forced activists to emigrate or sent them to prison. The Bolsheviks continued their activities in the underground, publishing illegal magazines and conducting propaganda activities. In November 1914, near Petrograd