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The Revolutionary Camp


Social-Democrats, represented by the Bolshevik and Menshevik wings of the RSDLP, were not the only political party in the early twentieth century in Russia which advocated a revolutionary transformation of the countrys political and economic system. By no means all of the revolutionary-minded members of the intelligentsia had converted to the Marxist version of Socialism. Many continued to adhere to the populist tradition of peasant socialism which had first appeared in the 1860s.  

Victor Chernov

At the end of 1901 and the beginning of 1902 these neo-Narodniks established a new illegal organization, the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Its most important thinker and leader was Victor Chernov (1873-1952). The new party imitated the organizational and tactical methods of the Peoples Will. It set up a terrorist wing, which assassinated many prominent officials, including one of the tsars uncles, Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich, in February 1905. The SRs, as they were known, also conducted revolutionary agitation among the peasantry.

Socialist-Revolutionaries and Social-Democrats represented the revolutionary camp in the political forces for change. They shared a similar outlook and strove for the common goal of socialism. However, leaders of the two parties had different visions of the ways socialism was to be achieved. Their disagreements created insuperable ideological and organizational divisions within the revolutionary camp. Any attempts to unite Socialist-Revolutionaries and social-democrats were mutually rejected. Only unofficial contacts were allowed between the two parties.

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The Revolution of 1905-7


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