Batumi Strike and Demonstration of 1902

Batumi Strike and Demonstration of 1902


a revolutionary outbreak among the workers of Batumi in February and March 1902.

The outbreak was precipitated by the firing of about 400 workers from the Rothschild Petroleum Refining Plant on the grounds that they were suspected of participating in the revolutionary movement. The strike was led by the Batumi social democratic committee, which had a Leninist-Istra orientation. The strike committee demanded the rehiring of the fired workers, a wage increase, a shorter working day, compensation for slack time, courteous behavior by employers in dealing with workers, and so forth. Early in the morning of March 8, 32 persons were arrested. The Batumi social democratic committee organized a demonstration by strikers the same day. The police arrested 348 demonstrators. A new demonstration was held in protest the next day, for which 6,000 workers turned out. In skirmishes with the police and soldiers 15 persons were killed, 54 wounded, and 500 arrested. On March 12, over 5,000 workers marched in a funeral procession in honor of those who had been killed. After these events the police resorted to mass arrests, and several hundred participants were expelled from Batumi. The strike and demonstrations were forerunners of the upsurge of the revolutionary movement in Transcaucasia.


Ocherki istorii kommunisticheskikh organizatsii Zakavkaz’ia, part 1 (1883–1921). Tbilisi, Moscow, 1967. Pages 66–67.