MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Organisations



Russian Social Democratic Labour Party

Rossiiskaia Sotsial-Demokraticheskaia Rabochaia Partiia: A Marxist political party, formed in 1898 in Minsk. At the first congress, the Tsarist Oknara arrested all its members.

Banded together in opposition to the Narodniki revolutionaries, the Social-Democrats (SDs) presented a Marxist program of uniting and organising both the peasantry and workers towards Socialist revolution. While the SDs regarded workers as the only wholly revolutionary class in Russia, some of the peasantry were considered revolutionary, though the wealthy peasants (the kulaks) were seen as reactionary.

The RSDLP had Marxist theory which described to them what capitalism would become before it actually happened in Russia. This would help lead to the inevitable split in the party over stagism: with some arguing that reformism is necessary before revolution, and by the same logic, that captialism is necessary before socialism. In 1903 the Second Congress of the party met in Belgium and England with this dispute comming to the forefront. After the congress the party split into the Bolshinstvo (Bolshevik -- majority party) and Menshinstvo (Menshevik -- minority party), with the Mensheviks believing in Stagism/Reformism, while the Bolsheviks demanded outright revolution. After the 1905 revolution, the Bolsheviks became the minority, and would remain so until September, 1917.

The name R.S.D.L.P. was sometimes used by both groups until 1917. Where this is the case it is noted R.S.D.L.P. (M) or R.S.D.L.P. (B) for the Mensheviki and Bolsheviki parties respectively.

See Also: Congresses of the RSDLP


Russian Socialist Revolutionary Party

See: Socialist Revolutionary Party


Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic

R.S.F.S.R.: The Socialist state of Russia, created after the October Revolution of 1917. The R.S.F.S.R. remained an independent Socialist state until 1923, when it became a nation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The R.S.F.S.R. was governed by the Soviet government.