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Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Russian term for “those of the minority.” They formed the moderate wing of the Social Democrat Party, which was engulfed by schism at its annual conference of 1903. Whereas lenin and his bolshevik (“majority”) supporters called for an elitist professional revolutionary party closed to outsiders, the Mensheviks headed by Julius Martov argued for a mass party, and later advocated standing for the duma . In 1917 the Mensheviks gave measured support to kerensky's Provisional Government, and after Lenin's takeover in October hoped to form a democratic opposition within the Constituent Assembly (see russian revolutions of 1917). Highly factionalized, they were outmaneuvered and hounded by the Bolsheviks, though they retained a power base in Georgia. In 1921 Menshevism was outlawed and its leaders exiled. Anyone suspected of Menshevik tendencies was vigorously persecuted by stalin in the great purges of the 1930s. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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