Ivanovo-Voznesensk Strikes

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ivanovo-Voznesensk Strikes


1897–98, 1905, and 1915; mass strikes of the workers of Ivanovo-Voznesensk (now the city of Ivanovo).

The strike of 1897–98, in which more than 14,000 workers participated, began on Dec. 22, 1897. The causes were hard work conditions and the curtailment of holidays by the entrepreneurs. The workers’ demands included maintenance of the number of holidays and the establishment of workers’ control over the expenditure of the fines fund. Members of the Union of Workers set up in Ivanovo-Voznesensk participated in the strike leadership (including K.N. Otrokov and D.S. Iashin). The workers E.N. Zaitsev, K.M. Makarov, and A.V. Volkov were prominent in agitating for the strike demands. The strike was noteworthy for its level of organization and its persistence. The Union of Workers maintained ties with the Moscow League of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class. On December 27 and 28,700 soldiers and 200 cossacks were sent out to suppress the strike. Despite the repression, the strikers achieved some concessions from the entrepreneurs, and on Jan. 13, 1898, they resumed work.

The strike of 1905 took place from May 12 through July 23 under the leadership of the Bolshevik organization, which was led by M.V. Frunze, F.A. Afanas’ev, and S.I. Balashov. It began as an economic strike but soon acquired a political character. About 70,000 people participated in the strike, which spread over the entire Ivanovo-Voznesensk textile region. The strikers demanded an eight-hour working day, increased pay, the abolition of fines, the elimination of the factory police, freedom of speech, the freedom to organize unions, freedom of the press, the freedom to strike, and the convocation of a constituent assembly. On May 15, the workers elected 151 deputies, who established the assembly of representatives—in effect, the first city-wide soviet of workers’ deputies in Russia. There were 57 Bolsheviks in the soviet (including S.I. Balashov, E.A. Dunaev, N.A. Zhidelev, M.I. Golubeva, F.N. Samoilov, and M.P. Sarmen-tova). The soviet operated as an organ of revolutionary power: it implemented, without previous permission, freedom of assembly, speech, and the press; it also established revolutionary order in the city and took steps to aid the strikers and their families. A fighting druzhina (unit) of armed workers was headed by the Bolshevik I.N. Utkin. The tsarist authorities employed troops. On June 3, at the site of workers’ assemblies near the Talka River, the participants in a meeting were fired upon. These reprisals did not break the will of the strikers. The general strike continued for 72 days. Only hunger forced the workers to accept the partial concessions of the entrepreneurs and resume work.

The strikes of 1915, during World War I, took place on May 25–30 and August 10–13. The strike that erupted at the Kuvaev and Pokrov textile mills on May 27 became general: virtually all of the factory and mill workers of the city struck. Under the leadership of the Bolsheviks, they succeeded in getting their wages increased somewhat and the price of bread lowered. On August 10, in response to the arrest of 20 vanguard workers and the leaders of the Bolshevik organization, including G.D. Ry-bin, N.E. Krasnov, and I.I. Chernikov, another general strike erupted, with more than 25,000 people participating. On that day, a crowd of thousands set out for the prison and was met by troops, who opened fire. About 100 workers were killed or wounded. But the strike continued: the workers put forth the slogans “Down with the tsar!” and “Down with the war!” and did not begin work until August 14. The reprisals against the workers of Ivanovo-Voznesensk prompted protest strikes in Petrograd, Moscow, Tula, Kharkov, and elsewhere and initiated the mass political demonstrations of the proletariat of Russia during the fall of 1915.


Ekzempliarskii, P.M. Istoriia goroda Ivanova, part 1. Ivanovo, 1958.


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