Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg

Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg

 

a legal, progovernment workers’ organization from 1903 to 1905. The Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg, founded by the priest G. A. Gapon, an agent of the Okhranka (tsarist secret police), was modeled after the Zuba-tovist organizations (seeZUBATOVSHCHINA). In order to win the workers’ confidence, Gapon formed a group of “initiators,” drawn from among the workers themselves and including N. M. Varnashev and A. E. Karelin, a group that shared in the direction of the assembly’s affairs. The assembly’s charter was approved by the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Feb. 15, 1904. According to the charter, only workers of “undisputed Russian origin and of the Christian faith” could join the assembly. The assembly’s true aims were essentially to stir up monarchist, chauvinist, and religious prejudices among the workers. On Apr. 11, 1904, the assembly was inaugurated. By the end of 1904, it had 11 branches in St. Petersburg, with more than 10,000 members.

As the revolutionary movement gathered momentum and as the Bolsheviks stepped up their propaganda activity, crisis overtook the assembly (seeGAPONOVSHCHINA). On Gapon’s initiative, a petition was drafted, and a workers’ procession to the tsar was organized. On Jan. 9, 1905—Bloody Sunday—thousands of workers gathered at the offices of the assembly’s various branches and set off for the center of the city. The peaceful procession of workers was dispersed by gunfire; in the aftermath, the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg was dissolved.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Revoliutsionnyedni.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 9.
Korelin, A. P. “Krakh ideologii ’politseiskogo sotsializma’ v tsarskoi Rossii.” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 92. Moscow, 1973.
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