All-Russian Railroad Union

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

All-Russian Railroad Union


a union which lasted from 1905 to 1907, the first trade-union organization of rail-road workers in Russia.

The All-Russian Railroad Union was formed on the initiative of the democratically inclined office workers of the Moscow Railroad Yards Administration, who proclaimed an assembly of representatives from ten railroads which was being held in Moscow on Apr. 20-21, 1905, to be the first congress of the All-Russian Railroad Union. This congress elected a central bureau of the union, in which a significant role was played by the Socialist Revolutionaries. The program of the All-Russian Railroad Union consisted of professional and economic demands and general democratic demands (such as the implementation of political liberties and the calling of a constituent assembly).

Attending the second congress of the All-Russian Railroad Union (July 22-24, 1905) were representatives from 21 (out of 34) railroads on a national Russian scale. The growth of the All-Russian Railroad Union proceeded because of the enlistment of members from among railroad office workers. The Bolsheviks, who were critical of the essence of the Socialist Revolutionary ideology and the tactics of their struggle, joined the local and central bureaus and committees of the All-Russian Railroad Union during certain periods of development of the Revolution of 1905. V. I. Lenin assessed this as a temporary militant alliance between the Social Democrats and the revolutionary bourgeois democrats (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 13, pp. 274, 359). The Bolsheviks considered it necessary to create parallel with the All-Russian Railroad Union a trade-union organization of railroad workers with a Social Democratic tendency (in Moscow, Tula, Riga, and other cities); this step facilitated the strengthening of Bolshevik influence among the railroad workers.

The All-Russian Railroad Union played an important role in carrying out the general political strike on the railroads in October 1905. The Central Bureau of the All-Russian Rail-road Union, which was directing a conference of representatives from 29 railroads being held in Moscow on Dec. 5, 1905, joined in the decision of the Moscow organizations of Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and Socialist Revolutionaries to begin a general political strike on December 7, which would then turn into an armed uprising. Many rank-and-file members of the All-Russian Railroad Union took an active part in the December Uprising. After the uprising’s defeat hundreds of railroad workers were shot, and thousands were fired from their jobs. The activity of the All-Russian Railroad Union was weakened, its membership fell off sharply, its social composition changed, and the influence of the Socialist Revolutionaries grew stronger and stronger. A conference of the Social Democratic railroad organizations, called by the Central Committee of the RSDLP in February 1907, adopted a resolution calling upon the Social Democrats to leave the All-Russian Railroad Union, after which the union finally disintegrated.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 24, pp. 357-58.
Revoliutsiia 1905-1907 gg. v RossiiDokumenty i materialy: Vtoroi period revoliutsii, 1906-1907 gg, Part 2, May-Sept. 1906, book 1. Moscow, 1961. Pages 56, 66, 582, 586.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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