Manifesto of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Manifesto of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party


a declaration proclaiming the foundation of the Social Democratic Party and its goals; compiled according to the resolution of the First Congress of the RSDLP, in March 1898.

Since Marxist theoreticians were at the time absent from St. Petersburg, P. B. Struve, a “legal Marxist,” was called upon to write the manifesto. Editing of the final version was done by S. I. Radchenko, V. I. Lenin’s comrade in arms from the days of the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. The manifesto was issued as a separate leaflet in April 1898. It stated that the RSDLP would continue to serve the cause and maintain the traditions of the entire Russian revolutionary movement to date but would choose other paths and use other means of struggle. It set as the immediate task the overthrow of autocracy and the winning of political freedom for the people, holding the accomplishment of this task to be the necessary condition for the further struggle of the working class for socialism. The manifesto stressed the decisive role of the Russian proletariat in the future revolution. It looked upon the RSDLP as part of the international Social Democratic movement.

The manifesto had great importance as the first document of Russian Social Democracy, defining, although in brief and general form, the democratic and socialist tasks of the Russian proletariat and its party. As V. I. Lenin wrote, “We regard ourselves as members of this party; we agree entirely with the fundamental ideas contained in the manifesto and attach extreme importance to it as a public declaration of its aims” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 4, p. 356).


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See index volume, part 1, page 349.) Pervyi s”ezd RSDRP, Mart 1898 g.: Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow, 1958.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 1. Moscow, 1964. Pages 265-68.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.