«Joining» the Party: The Tranformation of the RSDWP (b) from a Clandestine Organization into a Mass Political Party

Lysenko L.M.


The article attempts to revisit the course and importance of the Great October Revolution in Russia of 1917. The author stresses the continued relevance and rationale for the research of the Bolshevik's party activity, which within a period of eight revolutionary months evolved into the main political power in Russia. Drawing attention to the rapid growth in the Bolshevik party membership as well as its popularity at all levels of society, th at all levels of society, the paper argues that this process was not spontaneous, stemming from radicalization of the masses, but resulted from the purposeful efforts of the Bolshevik party, in particular its organizational activities. Analyzed is a unique feature in the organizational practices of the Bolsheviks, i.e. the simplified procedure of acceptance into party membership. Drawing on the views of contemporary researchers, the author seeks to revive interest in the works of Soviet historians, addressing, inter alia, the documents and papers published in the Soviet times in commemoration of the anniversaries of the Great October Revolution of 1917 (admitting the well-known «errors», of course). The article presents collated data on over a hundred party organizations of various types (with an indication whether it was, at those times, a Bolshevik or a united one), which one could join during 1917. The analysis undertaken in the paper, concludes the author, clearly points to a conclusion that the degree of either «strictness» or «simplification» of the ways by which political activists joined the Bolshevik party in 1917 was not the result of the changes in the organizational doctrine of the party itself, but rater stemmed from its proletarian character.


Revolution of 1917; RSDWP (b); Bolshevik; structure; enrolment.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2019.04.11

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