Union of Russian Social Democrats Abroad

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Union of Russian Social Democrats Abroad


a union established in late 1894 in Geneva on the initiative of the Liberation of Labor, on the condition that all union members recognize the group’s program.

The Union of Russian Social Democrats Abroad published literature for distribution in Russia. It worked under the direction of the Liberation of Labor, which edited all of its publications. From 1896 to 1899, the union, which owned a press, published the nonperiodical collections Rabotnik (The Worker) and Listok “Rabotnika,“ as well as V. I. Lenin’s Explanation of the Law on Fines (1897) and G. V. Plekhanov’s The New Campaign Against Russian Social Democracy (1897).

In 1898 the First Congress of the RSDLP declared the union to be a foreign representative of the party. By the end of 1898 the advocates of an opportunist trend known as economism became predominant in the union; these individuals were called the Young Economists.

In November 1898 the union held its first congress in Zü;rich. At the congress, the Liberation of Labor refused to edit the union’s publications except for nos. 5 and 6 of Rabotnik and Lenin’s pamphlets The Tasks of the Russian Social Democrats and The New Factory Law. In April 1899 the union started publishing the journal Rabochee delo (The Workers’ Cause).

The final split occurred in April 1900 in Geneva at the union’s second congress. Members of the Liberation of Labor and their sympathizers walked out of the congress and established an independent organization called Social Democrat. The union and its journal Rabochee delo became the exponents of economism in Russian Social Democratic thought. In 1903 the Second Congress of the RSDLP dispersed the union among other organizations.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See Index volume, part 1, p. 653.)
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 1. Moscow, 1964.
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