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The Bolsheviks, originally also[1] Bolshevists[2] or Bolsheviki[3] (Russian: ,

(singular); IPA: [blvik]; derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority", literally meaning "one of
the majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) which
split apart from the Menshevik faction[4] at the Second Party Congress in 1903.[5]
In the Second Party Congress vote, the Bolsheviks won on the majority of important issues; hence their
name.[6] They ultimately became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[7] The Bolsheviks came to
power in Russia during the October Revolution phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and founded
the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic which would later become the chief constituent of
theSoviet Union in 1922.
The Bolsheviks, founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov, were by 1905 a major
organization consisting primarily of workers under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the
principle of democratic centralism, who considered themselves the leaders of the revolutionary working
class of Russia. Their beliefs and practices were often referred to as Bolshevism.
Contents
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1 History of the split


o

1.1 Origins of the name

1.2 Composition of the party

1.3 Beginning of the 1905 Revolution (19031905)

1.4 The Mensheviks ("The minority") (19061907)

1.5 Split between Lenin and Bogdanov (19081910)

1.6 Final attempt at party unity (1910)

1.7 Forming a separate party (1912)

2 Derogatory usage of "Bolshevik"

3 See also
o

3.1 Related terms

3.2 Non-Russian/Soviet groups having used the name "Bolshevik"

4 References

5 External links

History of the split[edit]


In the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, held in Brussels and London during
August 1903, Lenin and Julius Martov disagreed over the membership rules. Lenin wanted members "who
recognise the Party Programme and support it by material means[8] and by personal participation in one of
the party's organisations." Julius Martov suggested "by regular personal assistance under the direction of
one of the party's organisations." Lenin advocated limiting party membership to a smaller core of active
members, as opposed to "card carriers" who might only be active in party branches from time to time or not
at all. This active base would develop the cadre, a core of "professional revolutionaries", consisting of loyal
communists who would spend most of their time organising the party toward a mass revolutionary party
capable of leading a workers' revolution against the Tsarist autocracy.
A main source of the factions could be directly attributed to Lenins steadfast opinion and unwillingness
to "bear opinions which were contrary to his own".[9] It was obvious at early stages in Lenins
revolutionary practices that he would not be willing to concede on any party policy that conflicted with his
own predetermined ideas. It was the loyalty that he had to his own self-envisioned utopia that caused
the party split. He was seen even by fellow party members as being so narrow minded that he
believed that there were types of people Friend and enemy-those who followed him, and all the
rest. [10] Leon Trotsky, one of Lenins fellow revolutionaries, (though they had differing views as to how
the revolution and party should be handled) compared Lenin in 1904 to the French
revolutionary Robespierre.[10] Lenins view of politics as verbal and ideological warfare and his inability
to accept criticism even if it came from his own dedicated followers was the reason behind this
accusation.
The root of the split was centered on a book that Lenin wrote while serving a sentence of exile titled What
is to be Done? The book was published in 1902 in Germany; strict censorship in Russia prevented its legal
publication and distribution.[11] One of the main points of Lenins writing was the view that a revolution
can only truly be achieved by the strong leadership of one person or a very select few over the
masses. After the proposed revolution resulted in a successful overthrow of the government, this
individual leader must release power to allow socialism to fully encompass the nation. Lenin also
believed that revolutionary leaders must fully dedicate their entire lives to the cause in order to be
successful. Lenin felt that if professional revolutionaries did not maintain control over the workers
they would lose sight of the partys objective and sell out to oppositionists beliefs or abandon the
revolution entirely.[11] Lenin's view of a socialist intelligentsia showed that he was not a complete
supporter of the Marxist theory which also created some party unrest. For example Lenin agreed
with the Marxist belief of eliminating social classes, but in his utopian society there would still be
visible distinctions between those in politics and the common worker. Through moral disagreement
to unfair worker treatment and loyalty to a completely classless society Lenins variations were met
with internal party discontent. Although the party split of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks would not become
official until 1903, the differences originally began to surface as early as 1902 with the publication of
Lenins What is to be Done? Through the influence of the book, Lenin also crushed another group of
revolutionists known as Economists. The fundamental difference between Lenin and the economists was
that they were pushing for economic reform while leaving the government somewhat intact and failed to
recognize the importance of uniting the working population with their cause.[12]
Other than the debate between Lenin and Julius Martov; Lenin felt membership should require support
of the Party program, financial contributions, and finally involvement in a Party organization whereas
Martov didnt see the need for joining Party organizations, internal unrest also rose over the structure that
was best suited for Soviet power.[13] As discussed in What is to be Done? Lenin firmly believed that a
rigid political structure was needed to effectively initiate a formal revolution. This idea was met with
opposition from his once close followers including; Julius Martov, Geogry Plekhanov, Leon Trotsky, and
Pavel Axelrod.[14] Geogry Plekhanov and Lenins major dispute arose addressing the topic of nationalizing

land or leaving it for private use. Lenin wanted to nationalize to aid in collectivization. Plekhanov thought
worker motivation would remain higher if individuals were able to maintain their own property. Those who
opposed Lenin and wanted to continue on the Marxist path towards complete socialism and disagreed with
his strict party membership guidelines became known as softs while Lenin supporters became known as
hards. [15]
The base of active and experienced members would be the recruiting ground for this professional core.
Sympathizers would be left outside and the party would be organised based on the concept of democratic
centralism. Martov, until then a close friend of Lenin, agreed with him that the core of the party should
consist of professional revolutionaries, but argued that party membership should be open to sympathizers,
revolutionary workers and other fellow travelers.
The two had disagreed on the issue as early as MarchMay 1903, but it was not until the Congress that
their differences became irreconcilable and split the party.[16] At first the disagreement appeared to be minor
and inspired by personal conflicts. For example, Lenin's insistence on dropping less active editorial board
members from Iskra or Martov's support for the Organizing Committee of the Congress which Lenin
opposed, The differences quickly grew and the split became irreparable.
Origins of the name[edit]
The two factions were originally known as "hard" (Lenin's supporters) and "soft" (Martov's supporters).
Soon, however, the terminology changed to "Bolsheviks" and "Mensheviks", from the Russian
"bolshinstvo" (majority) and "menshinstvo" (minority).[17] On the other hand, Martov's supporters won the
vote concerning the question of party membership. Neither Lenin nor Martov had a firm majority
throughout the Congress as delegates left or switched sides. At the end, the Congress was evenly split
between the two factions.
From 1907 on, English language articles sometimes used the term "Maximalist" for "Bolshevik" and
"Minimalist" for "Menshevik", which proved confusing since there was also a "Maximalist" faction within
the Russian Socialist-Revolutionary Party in 19041906 (which after 1906 formed a separate Union of
Socialists-Revolutionaries Maximalists) and then again after 1917.[18]
Composition of the party[edit]
The average party member was very young. In 1907, 22% of Bolsheviks were under 20, 37% were 20-24
and 16% were 25-29. By 1905, 62% of the members were industrial workers (3% of the population in
1897[19]).[20] 22% of Bolsheviks were gentry (1.7% of the total population), 38% were uprooted peasants,
compared with 19% and 26% for theMensheviks. In 1907 78.3% of the Bolsheviks were Russian and 10%
were Jewish (34% and 20% for the Mensheviks). Total membership was 8,400 in 1905, 13,000 in 1906 and
46,100 by 1907 (8,400, 18,000, 38,200 respectively for the Mensheviks). By 1910 both factions together
had fewer than 10,000 members.[21]
Beginning of the 1905 Revolution (19031905)[edit]
The two factions were in a state of flux in 190304 with many members changing sides. The founder of
Russian Marxism, Georgy Plekhanov, who was at first allied with Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks,
parted ways with them by 1904. Leon Trotsky at first supported the Mensheviks, but left them in
September 1904 over their insistence on an alliance with Russian liberals and their opposition to a
reconciliation with Lenin and the Bolsheviks. He remained a self-described "non-factional social democrat"
until August 1917 when he joined Lenin and the Bolsheviks as their positions assembled and he came to
believe that Lenin was right on the issue of the party.
All but one member of the Central Committee were arrested in Moscow in early 1905. The remaining
member, with the power of appointing a new one, was won over by the Bolsheviks.[22]

The lines between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks hardened in April 1905 when the Bolsheviks held a
Bolsheviks-only meeting in London, which they called the Third Party Congress. The Mensheviks
organised a rival conference and the split was thus formalised.
The Bolsheviks played a relatively minor role in the 1905 Revolution, and were a minority in the St.
Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies led by Trotsky. The less significant Moscow Soviet, however, was
dominated by the Bolsheviks. These soviets became the model for those formed in 1917.
The Mensheviks ("The minority") (19061907)[edit]
As the Russian Revolution of 1905 progressed, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and smaller non-Russian social
democratic parties operating within the Russian Empire attempted to reunify at the Fourth (Unification)
Congress of the RSDLP held at Folkets hus, Norra Bantorget in Stockholm, April 1906. When the
Mensheviks struck an alliance with the Jewish Bund, the Bolsheviks found themselves in a minority.
However, all factions retained their respective factional structure and the Bolsheviks formed the Bolshevik
Centre, the de facto governing body of the Bolshevik faction within the RSDLP. At the Fifth Congress held
in London in May 1907, the Bolsheviks were in the majority, but the two factions continued functioning
mostly independently of each other.
Split between Lenin and Bogdanov (19081910)[edit]
Tensions had existed between Lenin and Bogdanov as early as 1904: Lenin had fallen out with Nikolai
Valentinov, after the latter had introduced him to Ernst Mach's Empiriocriticism, a viewpoint that
Bogdanov had been exploring and developing as Empiriomonism. Having worked as co-editor with
Plekhanov on Zayra he had come to agree with the latter's rejection of Bogdanov's Empiriomonism.
[23]
With the defeat of the revolution in mid-1907 and the adoption of a new, highly restrictive election law,
the Bolsheviks began debating whether to boycott the new parliament known as the Third Duma.
Lenin, Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and others argued for participating in the Duma whileAlexander
Bogdanov, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Mikhail Pokrovsky and others argued that the social democratic faction
in the Duma should be recalled.[24] The latter became known as recallists ("otzovists" in Russian). A smaller
group within the Bolshevik faction demanded that the RSDLP central committee should give its sometimes
unruly Duma faction an ultimatum, demanding complete subordination to all party decisions. This group
became known as "ultimatists" and was generally allied with the recallists.
With most Bolshevik leaders either supporting Bogdanov or undecided by mid-1908 when the differences
became irreconcilable, Lenin concentrated on undermining Bogdanov's reputation as a philosopher. In 1909
he published a scathing book of criticism entitled Materialism and Empiriocriticism (1909),[25] assaulting
Bogdanov's position and accusing him of philosophical idealism.[26] In June 1909, Bogdanov proposed the
formation of Party Schools as "Proletarian Universities" at a Bolshevik mini-conference in Paris organised
by the editorial board of the Bolshevik magazine Proletary in June 1909. However this was not accepted
and Lenin tried to expel him from the Bolshevik faction.[27] Bogdanov was then involved with setting
up Vpered, which ran the Capri Party School from August to December 1909.[28]
Final attempt at party unity (1910)[edit]
With both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks weakened by splits within their ranks and by Tsarist repression, they
were tempted to try to re-unite the party. In January 1910, Leninists, recallists and various Menshevik
factions held a meeting of the party's Central Committee in Paris. Kamenev and Zinoviev were dubious
about the idea, but were willing to give it a try under pressure from "conciliator" Bolsheviks like Victor
Nogin.
One of the more underlying reasons that aided in preventing any reunification of the party was the Russian
police. The police were able to infiltrate both parties inner circles by sending in spies who then reported on

the opposing partys intentions and hostilities.[29] This allowed the tensions to remain high between the
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. In turn it prevented them from uniting under common ground which could
have possibly sped up the entire revolution.
Lenin was firmly opposed to any re-unification, but was outvoted within the Bolshevik leadership. The
meeting reached a tentative agreement and one of its provisions made Trotsky's Vienna-based Pravda a
party-financed 'central organ'. Kamenev, Trotsky's brother-in-law, was added to the editorial board from the
Bolsheviks, but the unification attempts failed in August 1910 when Kamenev resigned from the board
amid mutual recriminations.
Forming a separate party (1912)[edit]

Left to right: Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin, and Lev Kamenev


The factions permanently broke off relations in January 1912 after the Bolsheviks organised a Bolsheviksonly Prague Party Conferenceand formally expelled Mensheviks and recallists from the party. As a result,
they ceased to be a faction in the RSDLP and instead declared themselves an independent party,
called Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (bolsheviks) - or RSDLP(b). Unofficially the Party has
been referred to as the "Bolshevik Party". Throughout the century, the Party adopted a number of different
names. In 1918, RSDLP(b) became (All-)Russian Communist Party (bolsheviks) and remained so until
1925. From 1925-52 the name was All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks), and from 19521991 Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
As the party split became permanent and politically recognized in 1912 due to an all Bolshevik meeting of
Congress further divisions became evident. One of the most notable differences was how each faction
decided to fund its revolution. The Mensheviks decided to fund their revolution through membership dues
while Lenin often resorted to much more drastic measures since he required a higher budget.[30] One of the
common methods the Bolsheviks used was committing bank robberies, one of which in 1907 resulted in
the party gaining over 250,000 rubbles which is the equivalent of about $125,000.[30] Bolsheviks were in
constant need of money because Lenin practiced his beliefs exercised in his writings that revolutions must
be led by individuals who devote their entire life to the cause. To compensate he awarded them with
salaries for their sacrifice and dedication. This measure was taken to help ensure that the revolutionists
stayed focused on their duties and motivated them to perform their jobs. Lenin also used the party money
to print and copy pamphlets which were distributed in cities and at political rallies in attempts to expand
their operations. This was an obvious difference between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks party beliefs.
Both factions also managed to gain funds simply by receiving donations from wealthy supporters.
Further differences in party agendas became evident as the beginning of World War I loomed near. Stalin
was especially eager for the start of the war, hoping that it would turn into a war between classes or
essentially a Russian Civil War.[31] This desire for war was fueled by Lenins vision that the workers and
peasants would resist joining the war effort, and therefore be more compelled to join the socialist
movement. Through the increase in support Russia would then be forced to withdraw from the Allied
Powers in order to resolve her internal conflict. Unfortunately for the Bolsheviks, Lenins assumptions
were incorrect and despite his and the partys attempts to push for a civil war through involvement in two

conferences in 1915 and 1916 in Switzerland the party remained in the minority in calling for the ceasefire
by the Russian Army in World War I.[31]
Although the Bolshevik leadership decided to form a separate party, convincing pro-Bolshevik workers
within Russia to follow suit proved difficult. When the first meeting of the Fourth Duma was convened in
late 1912, only one out of six Bolshevik deputies, Matvei Muranov, (another one, Roman Malinovsky, was
later exposed as an Okhrana [Tsarist secret police] agent) voted to break away from the Menshevik faction
within the Duma on 15 December 1912.[32] The Bolshevik leadership eventually prevailed and the
Bolsheviks formed their own Duma faction in September 1913.
One final difference between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks was simply how ferocious and tenacious the
party was willing to be in order to achieve its goals. Lenin was open minded to retreating on political ideas
if he saw the guarantee of long term gains benefiting the party. This practice was commonly seen trying to
recruit peasants and uneducated workers by promising them how glorious life would be after the
revolution. His approach was land seizure for the peasants and national self-determination for the
minorities- as nothing more than temporary concessions. [30]
In 1952, at the 19th Party Congress, according to Stalin's suggestion, the Bolshevik party was renamed the
Communist Party of Soviet Union.
Derogatory usage of "Bolshevik"[edit]
"Down with Bolshevism. Bolshevism brings war and destruction, hunger and death", anti-Bolshevik
propaganda, Germany, 1919.
"Bolo" was used as derogatory expression for Bolsheviks used by British service personnel in the North
Russian Expeditionary Forcewhich intervened against the Red Army during the Russian Civil War.
[33]
Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and other Nazi leaders used it in reference to the worldwide political
movement coordinated by the Comintern.[34] During the days of the Cold War in the United Kingdom,
labour union leaders and other leftists were sometimes derisively described as "Bolshies". The usage is
roughly equivalent to the term "Commie", "Red" or "pinko" in the United States during the same period.
The term "Bolshie" later became a slang term for anyone who was rebellious, aggressive or truculent.[35]

Mensheviks

The Mensheviks (sometimes called Menshevists Russian: [1][2]) were a faction of the
Russian socialist movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute in the Russian Social-Democratic Labour
Party between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, leading to the party splitting into two factions, one being
the Mensheviks and the other being the Bolsheviks. The dispute originated at theSecond Congress of that
party, ostensibly over minor issues of party organization. Martov's supporters, who were in the minority in
a crucial vote on the question of party membership, came to be called "Mensheviks", derived from the
Russian word (men'shinstvo, "minority"), whereas Lenin's adherents were known as
"Bolsheviks", from (bol'shinstvo, "majority").[3][4][5][6][7]
The Mensheviks subscribed to an Orthodox Marxist view of social and economic development,
believing that socialism could not be achieved in Russia due to its backward economic conditions,
and that Russia would first have to experience a bourgeois revolution and go through a capitalist
stage of development before socialism was technically possible and before the working class could
develop the necessary consciousness for a socialist revolution.[8] Thus, the Mensheviks were opposed
to the Bolshevik idea of aVanguard party and pursuit of socialist revolution in Russia.

Neither side held a consistent majority over the course of the congress. The split proved to be long-standing
and had to do both with pragmatic issues based in history, such as the failed revolution of 1905, and
theoretical issues of class leadership, class alliances, and interpretations of historical materialism. While
both factions believed that a "bourgeois democratic" revolution was necessary, the Mensheviks
generally tended to be more moderate and were more positive towards the liberal opposition and the
dominant peasant-based Socialist Revolutionary party.
Contents
[hide]

1 Split

2 19031917
2.1 1917 Revolution

3 After the 1917 Revolution

4 Further reading

5 References and notes

6 See also

7 External articles
Split[edit]
At the 2nd Congress of the RSDLP in August 1903, Lenin and Martov disagreed, first about which
persons should be in the editorial committee of the party newspaper Iskra, and then about the definition
of a "party member" in the future party statute. While the difference in the definitions was very small,
with Lenin's being slightly more exclusive (Lenin's formulation required the party member to be a
member of one of the party's organizations, whereas Martov's only stated that he should work under
the guidance of a party organization), it was indicative of what became an essential difference between
the philosophies of the two emerging factions: Lenin argued for a small party of professional
revolutionaries with a large fringe of non-party sympathizers and supporters, whereas Martov
believed it was better to have a large party of activists with broad representation.
Martov's proposal was accepted by the majority of the delegates (28 votes to 23). However after seven
delegates stormed out of the Congress five of them representatives of the Jewish Bund who left in
protest about their own federalist proposal being defeated Lenin's supporters won a slight majority,
which was reflected in the composition of the Central Committee and the other central Party organs
elected at the Congress. That was also the reason behind the naming of the factions. (It was later
hypothesized that Lenin had purposely offended some of the delegates in order to have them leave the
meeting in protest, giving him a majority. However, Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were united in voting
against the Bundist proposal, which lost (41 to 5).[9]) Despite the outcome of the congress, the following
years saw the Mensheviks gathering considerable support among regular Social Democrats and
effectively building up a parallel party organization.

19031917[edit]
In 1906, at the 4th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, a reunification was
formally achieved. In contrast to the Second Congress, the Mensheviks were in the majority from
start to finish; yet, Martov's definition of a party member, which had prevailed at the First Congress,
was replaced by Lenin's. On the other hand, numerous disagreements regarding alliances and strategy
emerged. The two factions kept their separate structures and continued to operate separately.
Just as before, both factions believed that Russia was not developed to a point at which socialism was
possible and believed that the revolution for which they fought to overthrow the Tsarist
regime would be a bourgeois democratic revolution. Both believed that the working class had to
contribute to this revolution. However, after 1905, the Mensheviks were more inclined to work with the
liberal "bourgeois" democratic parties such as the Constitutional Democrats, because these would be
the "natural" leaders of a bourgeois revolution.
In contrast, the Bolsheviks didn't believe that the Constitutional Democrats were capable of
sufficiently radical struggle and tended to advocate alliances with peasant representatives and other
radical socialist parties such as the Socialist Revolutionaries. In the event of a revolution, this was
meant to lead to a dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, which would carry the bourgeois
revolution to the end. The Mensheviks came to argue for predominantly legal methods and trade
union work, while the Bolsheviks favoured armed violence.
Some Mensheviks left the party after the defeat of 1905 and joined legal opposition organisations. After a
while, Lenin's patience wore out with their compromising and in 1908 he called these Mensheviks
"liquidationists".
In 1912, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party went through its final split, with the Bolsheviks
constituting the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) and the Mensheviks the Russian
Social Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks).
The Menshevik faction split further in 1914 at the beginning of World War I. Most Mensheviks
opposed the war, but a vocal minority supported it in terms of "national defense".
1917 Revolution[edit]
Leaders of the Menshevik Party at Norra Bantorget in Stockholm, Sweden, May 1917. Pavel
Axelrod, Julius Martovand Alexander Martinov
After the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty by the February Revolution in 1917, the Menshevik
leadership led by Irakli Tsereteli demanded that the government pursue a "fair peace
without annexations", but in the meantime supported the war effort under the slogan of "defense of
the revolution". Along with the other major Russian socialist party, the Socialist Revolutionaries (),
the Mensheviks led the emerging network of Soviets, notably the Petrograd Soviet in the capital,
throughout most of 1917.
With the collapse of the monarchy, many social democrats viewed previous tactical differences between
the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks as a thing of the past and a number of local party organizations
were merged. When Bolshevik leaders Lev Kamenev, Joseph Stalin and Matvei Muranov returned to
Petrograd from Siberian exile in early March 1917 and assumed the leadership of the Bolshevik
party, they began exploring the idea of a complete re-unification of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks at the
national level, which Menshevik leaders were willing to consider. However, Lenin and his
deputy Grigory Zinoviev returned to Russia from their Swiss exile on April 3, 1917 and re-asserted
control of the Bolshevik party by late April 1917, taking it in a more radical, anti-war direction. They
called for an immediate revolution and the transfer of all power to the Soviets, which made any reunification impossible.

In MarchApril 1917 the Menshevik leadership conditionally supported the newly formed liberal Russian
Provisional Government. After the collapse of the first Provisional Government on May 2, 1917 over the
issue of annexations, Tsereteli convinced the Mensheviks to strengthen the government for the sake of
"saving the revolution" and enter a socialist-liberal coalition with Socialist Revolutionaries and liberal
Constitutional Democrats, which they did on May 4, 1917 (Old Style). With Martov's return from European
exile in early May, the left wing of the party challenged the party's majority led by Tsereteli at the first
post-revolutionary party conference on May 9, but the Right wing prevailed 4411. From that point on, the
Mensheviks had at least one representative in the Provisional Government until it was overthrown by the
Bolsheviks during the October Revolution of 1917.
With the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks clearly diverging, Russian Mensheviks and non-factional social
democrats returning from European and American exile in spring-summer of 1917 were forced to take
sides. Some re-joined the Mensheviks. Some, like Alexandra Kollontai, joined the Bolsheviks directly. A
significant number, including Leon Trotskyand Adolf Joffe, joined the non-factional Petrograd-based antiwar group called Mezhraiontsy, which merged with the Bolsheviks in August 1917. A small but influential
group of social democrats associated with Maxim Gorky's newspaper Novaya Zhizn (New Life) refused to
join either party.
After the 1917 Revolution[edit]

Noe Zhordania, Menshevik leader and Prime Minister of Georgia


This split in the party crippled the Mensheviks' popularity, and they received 3.2% of the vote during
the Russian Constituent Assemblyelection in November 1917 compared to the Bolsheviks' 25% and the
Socialist Revolutionaries' 57%. The Mensheviks got just 3.3% of the national vote, but in the
Transcaucasus they got 30.2%. 41.7% of their support came from the Transcaucasus. In Georgia c. 75%
voted for them.[10] The right wing of the Menshevik party supported actions against the Bolsheviks, while
the left wing, the majority of the Mensheviks at that point, supported the Left in the ensuing Russian Civil
War. However, Martov's leftist Menshevik faction refused to break with the right wing of the party with the
result that their press was sometimes banned and only intermittently available.
The Mensheviks opposed war communism, and in 1919 suggested an alternative programme.[11] The
Programme is interesting in that after the civil war was over, a large number of the proposals were
incorporated into the Bolsheviks' New Economic Policy.

During World War I, some anti-war Mensheviks had formed a group called MenshevikInternationalists (-). They opposed war and 'social chauvinism',
were active around the newspaper Novaya Zhizn and took part in the Mezhraiontsy formation. After July
1917 events in Russia, they broke with Menshevik majority that supported war. The MensheviksInternationalists became the hub of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party (of Internationalists)
( ()). In 1920, right-wing Mensheviks-Internationalists emigrated, some of
them pursued anti-Bolshevik activities.[12]
The Democratic Republic of Georgia was a stronghold of the Mensheviks. In parliamentary elections held
on February 14, 1919 they won 81.5% of the votes, and the Menshevik leader Noe Zhordania became
Prime Minister.
Prominent members of Georgian Menshevik Party were Noe Ramishvili, Evgeni Gegechkori, Akaki
Chkhenkeli, Nikolay Chkheidze and Alexandre Lomtatidze. After the occupation of GDR by the
Bolsheviks in 1921, many Georgian Mensheviks led by Zhordania fled toLeuville-sur-Orge, France where
they set up, in a small castle, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in Exile. In 1930,
Ramishvili was assassinated by a Soviet spy in Paris.
Menshevism was finally made illegal after the Kronstadt Uprising of 1921. A number of prominent
Mensheviks emigrated thereafter. Martov, who was suffering from ill health at this time, went to Germany,
where he died in 1923. However, before his death, he established the paper Socialist Messenger.
The Socialist Messenger would move along with the Menshevik centre from Berlin to Paris in 1933 and
then in 1939 to New York City, where it was to be published until the early 1970s.