Popular Socialists

Popular Socialists


(Narodnye Sotsialisty), a petit bourgeois party in Russia (also known as the Trudovik Popular Socialist Party).

In 1906 the Popular Socialist Party was formed from the right wing of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. The leaders of the Popular Socialists included N. F. Annenskii, V. A. Miakotin, A. V. Peshekhonov, V. G. Bogoraz, S. Ia. Elpat’evskii, and V. I. Semevskii. The official party organ was the journal Narodno-sotsialisticheskoe obozrenie (Popular Socialist Review; 1906–07).

The program of the Popular Socialists changed the “Socialist Revolutionary program from a revolutionary into an opportunist, petit bourgeois, and legal” program (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 14, p. 44). It declared that “the entirety of state power must belong to the people”; it understood “the people” to mean all working people, from proletarians to bourgeois intelligentsia. Although the program demanded the transfer of land from landlords to peasants, it provided for redemption payments. It demanded that all land be nationalized but did not touch upon the system of allotment land ownership (see) and privately owned land that was being worked.

In the aftermath of the Revolution of 1905–07, the Popular Socialists shared the political views of the Constitutional Democrats (Cadets). The first conference of the Popular Socialists was held from Apr 16 to Apr. 20, 1907. After the coup d’etat of June 3, 1907 (which involved the arrest of the Social Democratic faction of the Duma, the dissolution of the Duma itself, and the alteration of the electoral law), the party did not have a broad popular base and for all intents and purposes ceased to exist.

The events of the February Revolution of 1917 revived the party’s various organizations. At the first congress of the party, which lasted from June 17 to June 23 (June 30 to July 6), 1917, the Popular Socialists united with the Trudoviki (members of the Toilers group of deputies in the Duma) and elected a central committee. The committee included Peshekhonov, Miakotin, A. D. Dem’ianov, S. P. Mel’gunov, and M. E. Berezin. The official party organ was the newspaper Narodnoe slovo (The People’s Word). The party program adopted by the congress attested to the transformation of the Popular Socialists into ardent defenders of the kulaks, demonstrated the party leaders’ complete support of the bourgeois Provisional Government, and revealed that many party members had become open enemies of socialist revolution. After the October Revolution of 1917, the Popular Socialists participated in counterrevolutionary organizations and plots. In 1918 the party ceased to exist.