Fourth Conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fourth Conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party


(Third All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP), a conference held from Nov. 5 (18) to Nov. 12 (25), 1907, in Helsinki, Finland. The conference was attended by 27 delegates comprising ten Bolsheviks, four Mensheviks, five Polish Social Democrats, three Latvian Social Democrats, and five Bundists. The delegates represented party organizations in Moscow and St. Petersburg and in the central industrial provinces, the Urals, the Volga Region, Siberia, the Northern Caucasus, Transcaucasia, and southern Russia. V. I. Lenin was among the Bolshevik delegates at the conference.

The agenda of the conference included discussion of three topics: the tactics to be employed by the Social Democratic faction in the State Duma, the faction’s local organizations and the improvement of communication between the Central Committee and local organizations, and participation in the bourgeois press.

In his report on the tactics to be used by the Social Democratic deputies in the Duma in response to the onset of reaction, Lenin called on the deputies to point out that the bills sponsored by the government and the liberal-bourgeois elements run counter to the people’s interests. He stressed that the Social Democrats should use the Duma not for the legislative “reforms” advocated by the Mensheviks but for the revolutionary education and organization of the proletariat and for large-scale agitation for a democratic republic, confiscation of the lands of the pomeshchiki (landowners), and an eight-hour workday. They would be able to accomplish these tasks, Lenin said, if they adhered to an independent political line and did not ally themselves with the Cadets. The Mensheviks and the Bundists continued to insist on the need for “purely practical” work in the Duma and appealed for support of legislative activity in a bloc with the Cadets.

The conference adopted the resolution drafted and proposed by Lenin on behalf of the St. Petersburg all-city conference. The resolution contained the Bolshevik assessment of the Third State Duma and of the policies of the autocracy and set forth the revolutionary tactics to be used in the Duma by the Social Democratic deputies. Agreements with deputies of the Populist parties and with the Trudoviki, who were left of the Cadets, were sanctioned for the purpose of freeing the peasantry from the influence of the liberal bourgeoisie. The conference named the RSDLP delegation in the State Duma the Social Democratic faction, barred Social Democrats from participating in the bourgeois press, and drafted measures for improving communication between the Central Committee of the RSDLP and local party committees.


Lenin, V. I. “Doklad o taktike s.-d. fraktsii v III Gosudarstvennoi dume: Rezoliutsiia o taktike s.-d. fraktsii v III Gosudarstvennoi dume.” (“Chetvertaia konferentsiia RSDRP [Tret’ia obshcherossiiskaia’].”) Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 16.
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumovTsK, 8thed., vol. 1. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.