Youth Party of the People's will

Youth Party of the People’s will

 

a revolutionary populist organization of the early 1880’s. Emerging in 1882–83 as a faction in opposition to the older leadership of the People’s Will movement, the group was formally organized in St. Petersburg in January 1884.

The central committee of the new party included P. F. lakubovich, N. M. Flerov, V. A. Bodaev, I. I. Popov, M. P. Ovchinnikov, F. B. Olesinov, and P. N. Manuilov. These “youths” called for decreased party centralism, greater independence for outlying local groups within the party, and more concentrated effort by revolutionaries on socialist propaganda among the workers; factory terror and agrarian terror were at-tempted as a means of drawing the masses into the struggle. Members of the party worked out a program and a set of rules and prepared the publication of Narodnaia bor’ba (People’s Struggle); they won the support of the established People’s Will organizations in Moscow and Kiev and sent agents to Rostov, Kazan, and other cities.

The Youth Party of the People’s Will conducted propaganda among workers; set up printing presses in St. Petersburg, Kiev, and Dorpat (now Tartu); issued proclamations; and established ties with D. Blagoev’s organization and the Proletariat group. Some of its members also had ties with the Emancipation of Labor group. In March 1884, the administrative commission, which was organized by the People’s Will congress in Paris to reestablish the People’s Will within the framework of its former program, began negotiations with the Youth Party. By early June, an agreement on unification had been reached. But certain groups, as well as individuals such as Olesinov, did not recognize the agreement and continued to work independently; some of these merged with the followers of Blagoev in the beginning of 1885. Many members of the Youth Party were arrested in March and November 1884; some were tried in the Trial of the 21.

The activity of the Youth Party of the People’s Will reflected the crisis of the entire movement and demonstrated that the members of the People’s Will were seeking new paths of struggle. However, remaining within the bounds of populist theory, the “youth” found no way out of their crisis and reverted to prior approaches to organizational problems and to previous tactics. While showing increased interest in the workers, they did not attain a scientific conception of the historical role of the proletariat.

REFERENCES

Valk, S. N. “Molodaia partiia Narodnoi voli.”Problemy marksizma, 1930, no. 1.
Sedov, M. G. Geroicheskii period revoliutsionnogo narodnichestva. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 6.
Saikin, O. A. “Iz istorii ’Molodoi’ partii Narodnoi voli.”Istoriia SSSR, 1971, no. 6.
Troitskii, N. A. ”Narodnaia volia” pered tsarskim sudom. [Saratov] 1971.

V. V. SHIROKOVA

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