Siberian Union of the Rsdlp

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Siberian Union of the Rsdlp


(prior to 1903, Siberian Social Democratic Union), an organization formed in the spring of 1901 on the initiative of the Tomsk Social Democrats to coordinate the activity of the Social Democratic groups in Siberia. A proclamation announcing the founding of the Union was issued in the summer of 1901.

Based in Tomsk, the Union included the Social Democratic groups of Tomsk. Krasnoiarsk, Irkutsk, and the Ilanskaia and Taiga railroad stations. The union’s program, published in late 1901 in the form of an appeal, defined its task—struggle for the political freedom of the proletariat and for socialism. However, because most of the union’s leaders were advocates of econom-ism who believed that the time had not yet come to create a single Russian proletarian party, the program erroneously proclaimed the union’s independence of the all-Russian Workers’ Movement. In November 1901, Iskra, which the union received and distributed, welcomed the unification of the Siberian Social Democrats but noted that the positive effect would be weakened by the union’s isolation from the all-Russian movement. In 1901, union committees were formed in Tomsk, Krasnoiarsk, and Irkutsk. The next year a union committee was established in Chita, and union groups were organized in Petro-pavlovsk, Barnaul, Novonikolaevsk (present-day Novosibirsk), Achinsk, Kansk, and elsewhere. In 1903 a committee was established in Omsk.

In July 1902 the Siberian Union of the RSDLP shifted its headquarters to Irkutsk, and later that year the supporters of Iskra, having ousted the opportunists from positions of leadership, resolved to centralize local work and to coordinate it with the all-Russian movement. In January 1903 the union declared that it recognized the Iskra group as the directing body and that it was joining the RSDLP. It also adopted a new, double name: Siberian Social Democratic Union—Committee of the RSDLP; local union committees were called committees of the RSDLP. The union’s first conference, held in the summer of 1903 in Irkutsk, reaffirmed the correctness of the Iskra line and defined the tasks of the Siberian Social Democrats in implementing Lenin’s plan for building up the party. However, at the Second Congress of the RSDLP in 1903, the union’s delegates L. D. Trotsky and V. E. Mandel’berg took the Menshevik position. The union censured their conduct. In November 1903 the directing center was transferred to Tomsk.

Prior to the Third Congress of the RSDLP (1905), the union was a united party organization in which Bolsheviks predominated. However, its delegate to the Third Congress of the RSDLP, V. A. Gutovskii, at his own volition, bypassed the congress and attended the Menshevik conference in Geneva. At the union’s conference in Tomsk in June 1905, Mensheviks were elected to the directing center because of the lack of data on the proceedings of the congress and Gutovskii’s misinformation about the state of affairs within the party. The local committees, which in most cases continued to support the Bolshevik position, did not submit to the Menshevik leadership of the union, which led to the dissolution of the union. A new, Bolshevik union committee was elected in May 1906 at a congress of Siberian Social Democratic organizations in Krasnoiarsk. The committee ceased to function in 1908 because of arrests.


Lenin, V. I. “Sibirskomu komitetu RSDRP.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 46.
Vtorois”ezd RSDRP: Protokoly. Moscow, 1959.
Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie ν Sibiri i na Dal’nem Vostoke, issue 1. Tomsk, 1960.
Predposylki Oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii ν Sibiri. Novosibirsk, 1964.
Baranskii, N. N. V riadakh Sibirskogo sotsial-demokralicheskogo soiuza, 2nd ed. Tomsk, 1961.


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