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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



one of the manifestations of the tsarist government’s struggle with the working-class movement in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century; a variant of Zubatovshchina.

In autumn 1904, the St. Petersburg Society of Mutual Aid for Workers in Mechanical Production was founded with the support of the Ministry of Finance. M. A. Ushakov, a former agent of the St. Petersburg division of the Okhranka (tsarist secret police), became the society’s chairman. In October 1905 at his initiative the Central and Women’s labor unions were founded, but these unions worked at cross-purposes to the goals of the working-class movement. Their leaders wanted to reconcile labor and capital, distract the workers from politics, and foster hostile attitudes among the workers toward the intelligentsia and revolutionaries.

Ushakov proposed the establishment of mediation boards, the holding of an all-Russian convention of workers’ mutual aid societies, and the presentation to the government of the question of the right to strike; he held that the labor question as a whole could be resolved by the State Duma. In late 1905, Ushakov founded the Independent Social Labor Party. From 1906 to 1908 he published Rabochaia Gazeta. The call of the Ushakovtsy for the founding of a broadly based legal labor party coincided with the position of the Menshevik Liquidators. V. I. Lenin recommended to the St. Petersburg organization of the RSDLP that “extreme caution be exercised in contacts with this society owing to the huge risk of agents provocateurs. The society has now gone a bit left, but is completely at the service of the bourgeoisie and the police” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 46, pp. 401–02).

Ushakovshchina was influential only among individual workers in small factories in St. Petersburg and among the highly paid opportunistically inclined workers of the Special Office for the Preparation of State Documents (now the Leningrad Goznak Paper Factory, where Ushakov worked. In early 1908, Ushakovshchina ceased to be a political force.


Lenin, V. I. “Eserovskie men’sheviki.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 13.
Lenin, V. I. “Peterburgskoi organizatsii RSDRP.” Ibid., vol. 46.
Vasil’ev, P. “Ushakovshchina.” Trud v Rossii, 1925, book 1.
Severianin, P. “K istorii ’Ushakovshchiny.’” Vestnik truda, 1925, no. 12.
Laverychev, V. la. Tsarizm i rabochii vopros v Rossii, 1861–1917 gg. Moscow, 1972. Pages 168–70.


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