Bolsheviks vs Mensheviks
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks are two Russian factions that show differences between them in terms of their principles and constitution. Bolsheviks are a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labor Party or RSDLP. On the other hand, Mensheviks are the faction of the Russian Revolutionary Movement that emerged in 1904. This is the main difference between the two Russian factions. It is interesting to note that Bolsheviks split apart from Menshevik faction in 1903 at the Second Party Congress. On the other hand, the Mensheviks faction arose due to the dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov. The dispute arose only during the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.
In fact, the dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov took place over minor issues of the party organization.
Who are Bolsheviks?
Bolsheviks were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. In fact, the followers or supporters of Lenin came to be called as Bolsheviks. October Revolution phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917 saw the Bolsheviks coming to power. In fact, it can be said that the Bolsheviks founded the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
In the course of time, in the year 1922, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the chief constituent of the Soviet Union.
On the other hand, the Bolsheviks comprised mainly of workers coming under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the principle of democratic centralism. In fact, the Bolsheviks headed by Lenin considered themselves as the champions of the revolutionary working class of Russia.
The impact of Bolsheviks on the history of Russia is so great that their practices were often termed as Bolshevism. The practitioner of Bolshevism was often called by the name Bolshevist. It was Leon Trotsky who first used the term Bolshevist to indicate a person that practiced and believed Bolshevism. It is believed that Leon Trotsky saw what the real Leninism in Russia was. The Bolsheviks too like the Mensheviks held the opposition quite strongly.
Who are Mensheviks?
On the other hand, because of the dispute between Martov and Lenin, the supporters of Martov came to be called as Mensheviks, and they were actually looked upon as the minority.
It is equally important to note that the Mensheviks were more positive when it came to the management of the mainstream liberal opposition.
As history would have it, neither faction could hold absolute majority during the Congress. As part of the Russian history, the split proved to be a long one. Both the factions took part in several discussions regarding the revolution of 1905, class alliances, bourgeois democracy, and the like.
One of the common areas of agreement between both the factions is that they both firmly believed in bourgeois democracy. They both felt that bourgeois democratic revolution was necessary. It is generally believed that Mensheviks behaved and appeared more moderate than the Bolsheviks. This is of course based on general observation.
What is the difference between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks?
• Definitions of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks:
• Bolsheviks are a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labor Party or RSDLP.
• Mensheviks are the faction of the Russian Revolutionary Movement that emerged in 1904.
• Meaning of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks:
• Bolsheviks meant the majority.
• Mensheviks meant the minority.
• Notions about the Formation of the Party:
• Bolsheviks wanted the party to be a small collection of disciplined professional revolutionaries.
• Mensheviks wanted the party to be a mass party that was not tightly knit. They wanted a party that was loosely organized.
• Ideas about Communism:
• Bolsheviks believed that by 1917, Russia was ready for a revolution that would establish communism in the country.
• Mensheviks believed that the country was still not ready and first they had to boost capitalism and then only communism could be achieved.
• Bolsheviks were not hesitant to use violence to achieve their goals.
• Mensheviks did not want to use violence.
• Controlling Nature:
• Bolsheviks believed other organizations such as trade unions must be well controlled by the party.
• Mensheviks believed that only the presence of the party in these organizations was enough.
These are the fundamental differences between the two vital Russian factions, namely Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
Images Courtesy: Bolshevik party meeting and Leaders of the Menshevik Party at Norra Bantorget in Stockholm, Sweden via Wikicommons (Public Domain)