The Socialist-Revolutionaries in Petersburg — A Case Study

  • Christopher Rice
Part of the Studies in Soviet History and Society book series (SSHS)


In the period under discussion Petersburg was at once Russia’s administrative capital, largest city and most important commercial and industrial centre. Its population rose from 1439600 in 1900 to over 2 million on the eve of the First World War — an increase due almost wholly to peasant in-migration.1 As late as 1910, less than 25 per cent of those belonging to the peasant soslovie (estate) had been born in Petersburg; another quarter had lived there more than ten years.2 It was primarily industry which drew people to the city in such large numbers. Following Witte’s policy of ‘forced industrialisation’ the urban workforce increased from about 70000 in 1890 to more than double that figure ten years later. By 1913 approximately 242000 workers would be employed in over 950 factories.3


Trade Union Party Work Party Member Russian Worker Trade Union Activity 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Rashin, Formirovanie, p. 353, Table 100 and p. 354. Bater, St. Petersburg — Industrialization and Change, pp. 309–10. The average annual growth was 50 000. During the slump years (c. 1901–4) the figure dropped to nearer 40000 but then picked up rapidly: there was an increase of 107 000 in 1913 alone.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rashin, Formirovanie, p. 514. See also S. A. Smith, ‘The Russian Revolution and the Factories of Petrograd, February 1917 to June 1918’, PhD thesis, University of Birmingham, p. 24.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For industrial population figures see: Rashin, Formirovanie, pp. 196, 354; Smith, ‘The Russian Revolution and the Factories of Petrograd’, p. 14; D. Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, p. 63; Bater, St. Petersburg — Industrialization and Change, p. 213.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rashin, Formirovanie, p. 361; M. F. Desjeans, ‘The Common Experience of the Russian Working Class — The Case of St. Petersburg, 1892–1904’, pp. 52, 55; S. H. Semanov, Peterburgskie rabochie nakanune pervoi russkoi revolyutsii, p. 40. According to the 1910 census, about 10 per cent of members of the peasant estate intended to ‘work in the fields during the summer, but this of course would include non-factory workers’ (Bater, St. Petersburg — Industrialization and Change, p. 255).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bater, St. Petersburg — Industrialization and Change, p. 257.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    E. E. Kruze, Polozhenie rabochego klassa Rossii v 1900–1914 godakh (Leningrad, 1976), p. 67.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See above, p. 13.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    For a detailed study of the Petersburg metalworking industry before 1914, see: Heather Hogan, ‘Labour and Management in Conflict: The St. Petersburg Metal-Working Industry 1900–1914’, PhD thesis, University of Michigan, 1981.Google Scholar
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    In 1897, 44 per cent of textile workers in Petersburg were literate, compared with 73 per cent of metalworkers (Rashin, Formirovanie, p. 591).Google Scholar
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    Semanov, Peterburgskie rabochie, p. 44 (5.3 per cent of metal workers were juveniles, as were 23 per cent of workers in the clothing and shoe industry.)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    For the history of populism in Petersburg see the following: R. Pipes, Social Democracy and the St. Petersburg Labour Movement, 1885–1897 (Cambridge, MA, 1963), pp. 13–15, 88–9, 113–14;Google Scholar
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    RR, no. 33 (October 1903), p. 20; RR, no. 36 (November 1903), p. 15. See also Hildermeier, Die Sozialrevolutionäre Partei, pp. 257–8.Google Scholar
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    RR, no. 36 (November 1903), p. 15. Two attacks on the Petersburg SRs were published in subsequent issues of Iskra (nos 41 and 42). In the former it was alleged that ties with the workers were ‘insignificant’ (p. 5).Google Scholar
  15. 14.
    M. Mitel’man, V. Glebov and A. Ul’yanskii, Istoriya Putilovskogo Zavoda, 1801–1917 (Moscow, 1961), here p. 164. A similar reaction was recorded at the Nevskii Shipbuilding Plant the following year, after an SR had assassinated the Grand Duke Sergei. See Za Nevskoi Zastavoi- zapiska rabochego Aleksaya Buzinova, p. 59.Google Scholar
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    M. Bortnik, ‘V 1901–04gg na Peterburgskom trubochnom zavode’, in Krasnaya Letopis’, 1 (1929), pp. 182 ff.Google Scholar
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    See below p. 83.Google Scholar
  18. 17.
    See ‘Appeal of the Council of the St. Petersburg Workers’ Union PSR to the Petersburg Workers’, Trud, no. 1–2 (September 1906), pp. 15–16.Google Scholar
  19. 18.
    The biographies of Bitsenko-Kameristaya and Loiko-Kvashnina are taken from Politicheskaya katorga i ssylka: bibliograficheskii spravoch-nik chlenov obshchestva politkatorzhan i ssyl’no-poselentsev (Moscow, 1934, afterwards PKS). See Appendix for further details on this source. The biography of Bulgakov is in Znamya Truda, no. 28–9, p. 23.Google Scholar
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    Uneasy relations are clearly hinted at in a retrospective article in Trud, no. 1–2 (September 1906), pp. 15–16.Google Scholar
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    See ‘Manifest Peterburgskogo rabochego soyuza PSR’, in RR, no. 62 (March 1905), p. 1; Trud, no. 1–2 (September 1906), pp. 15–16.Google Scholar
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    The best treatment of the subject in English to date is by W. Sablinsky, The Road to Bloody Sunday — Father Gapon and the Petersburg Massacre of 1905, (Princeton, 1977).Google Scholar
  23. See also the two-part article by Gerald D. Surh, ‘Petersburg’s First Mass Labor Organisation — The Assembly of Russian Workers and Father Gapon’, in Russian Review, vol. 40, no. 3 (July 1981), pp. 241–63; no. 4 (October 1981), pp. 412–41. Surh’s article confirms the impression that there was very little direct contact between the Gapon movement and the PSR.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Sablinsky, The Road to Bloody Sunday, pp. 185–93.Google Scholar
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    RR, no. 58 (January 1905), pp. 9, 22.Google Scholar
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    For the significance of this meeting see Surh, ‘Petersburg’s First Mass Labor Organisation’, p. 425.Google Scholar
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    RR, no. 60 (March 1905), p. 17.Google Scholar
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    A good account of the period is given by the Menshevik, D. Kol’tsov, ‘Rabochiie v 1905g’, in Obshchestvennoe dvizhenie v Rossii v nachale XX go veka (Petersburg, 1914).Google Scholar
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    Buzinov, Za Nevskoi Zastavoi.Google Scholar
  30. 28.
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  31. 29.
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  32. 30.
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    Mitelman et al. Istoriya Putilovskogo Zavoda, p. 219.Google Scholar
  34. 32.
    See the obituary of Ivan Stepanovich in Trud, no. 10 (March 1907), p. 7, where it is said that an SR organisation was formed there in October 1905.Google Scholar
  35. 33.
    Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to compare arms spending by the SRs in Petersburg with that of the Social Democrats. However, SD evidence is available for Moscow (see D. Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, pp. 106–7. Of a total income of 25523r. received between December 1904 and July 1905 (7 months), the SRs in Petersburg spent 9729r. (51 per cent of expenditure on arms). The Social Democrats in Moscow spent 13220r. (17 per cent) on arms out of a total income of 57416r. between March and October 1905 (7 months). The comparison may, however, be a misleading one. See Lane, p. 78. (The SR information is in RR. See pp. 34–7 above.)Google Scholar
  36. 34.
    Iskra, no. 100 (May 1905), p. 4; no. 107 (June 1905), p. 5; ‘Za Narvskoi Zastavoi letom 1905 goda’, Krasnaya Letopis’, no. 2 (1926), p. 166; U. A. Shuster, ‘Peterburgskie rabochie v gody pervoi russkoi revolyutsii (1905–7gg)’, in Istoriya rabochikh Leningrada (hereafter IRL; Leningrad, 1972), p. 282.Google Scholar
  37. 35.
    Buzinov, Za Nevskoi Zastavoi, pp. 63–4, 79.Google Scholar
  38. 36.
    See, for example, ‘Preddverie revolyutsii’, RR no. 8 (January 1905), pp. 1–3; ‘Boevoi moment’, no. 59 (February 1905), pp. 1–4; summary of proclamation: ‘Otvet tsarya rabochemu narodu’, ibid, p. 21.Google Scholar
  39. 37.
    The full story can be found in M. Futrell, Northern Underground — Episodes of Russian Revolutionary Transport and Communications through Scandinavia and Finland, 1863–1917 (London, 1963), pp. 66–85. The SRs paid for the weapons with money collected by Breshkovskaya during a successful fund-raising tour of the USA during 1904. See Hildermeier, Die Sozialrevolutionäre Partei, p. 144. n. 10.Google Scholar
  40. 38.
    See above, pp. 35–7.Google Scholar
  41. 39.
    Buzinov, Za Nevskoi Zastavoi, pp. 66–70.Google Scholar
  42. 40.
    RR, no. 76 (September 1905), p. 28.Google Scholar
  43. 41.
    The titles of fifty-seven proclamations issued by the Petersburg SRs between January and September 1905 are listed in RR.Google Scholar
  44. 42.
    These remarks are based on the evidence of PKS.Google Scholar
  45. 43.
    Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, p. 74.Google Scholar
  46. 44.
    Sample assembled from information in PKS.Google Scholar
  47. 45.
    Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, pp. 85–6; Anne D. Morgan, ‘The St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies — A Study of Labour Organisation in the 1905 Revolution’, Ph.D thesis, University of Indiana, 1979, pp. 109–11.Google Scholar
  48. 46.
    For Bryukkel, Khachko, Piskarev and Sokolev, see Morgan, ‘The St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies’. For Feit and Avksent’ev see Hildermeier, Die Sozialrevolutionäre Partei, pp. 404, 406. For the remainder, see PKS. It is also known that a deputy at the Artur’ Koppel factory (Moskovskii raion) was an SR and that there was a second SR deputy at the Putilov Plant.Google Scholar
  49. 47.
    Cited by Spiridovitch, Historie du terrorisme Russe, pp. 268–9. For further comment on SR policy (though not on the PetersburgGoogle Scholar
  50. organisation’s implementation of it), see O. Anweiler, The Soviets — The Russian Workers, Peasants and Soldiers’ Councils, 1905–1921 (New York, 1974), pp. 91–6;Google Scholar
  51. for alleged intervention by Chernov, see L. D. Trotsky, 1905 (New York, 1972), p. 220.Google Scholar
  52. 48.
    Istoriya soveta rabochikh deputatov goroda Sankt Peterburga (Petersburg, 1906), p. 150.Google Scholar
  53. 49.
    Morgan, ‘The St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies’; V. M. Chernov, Pered burei — vospominaniia (New York, 1953).Google Scholar
  54. 50.
    RR, no. 73 (August 1905), p. 27.Google Scholar
  55. 51.
    Chernov, Pered burei.Google Scholar
  56. 52.
    This policy would presumably have begun to gain acceptance as the month progressed and the workers in a number of enterprises drifted back to work, reluctant to renew industrial action.Google Scholar
  57. 53.
    Izvestiya soveta rabochikh deputatov goroda Sankt Peterburga, no. 5 (3 November); no. 6 (5 November); no. 7 (7 November).Google Scholar
  58. 54.
    Buzinov, Za Nevskoi Zastavoi, pp. 94–101.Google Scholar
  59. 55.
    Morgan, ‘The St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies’, p. 307; Mitel’man et al., Istoriya Putilovskogo Zavoda, pp. 252–6.Google Scholar
  60. 56.
    Spiridovitch, Historie du terrorisme Russe, pp. 270–1. (The author recalls that A. F. Kerenskii was among those arrested in one of the December raids.)Google Scholar
  61. 57.
    U. A. Shuster, IRL, p. 292.Google Scholar
  62. 58.
    D. Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, p. 92.Google Scholar
  63. 59.
    State factories led the way in locking out their workers, Shuster, IRL, p. 292.Google Scholar
  64. 60.
    See ‘Deyatel’nost’ S. Peterburgskogo obshchestva dlya sodeistviya uluchsheniyu i razvitiyu fabrichno-zavodskoi promyshlennosti’, in Trud, no. 11 (March 1907), pp. 5–8.Google Scholar
  65. 61.
    D. Antoshkin, Professional’noe dvizhenie v Rossii — posobie dlya samoobrazovaniya i kursov po professional nomu dvizheniyu (3rd edn; Moscow, 1925), pp. 149–50.Google Scholar
  66. 62.
    Shuster, Petersburgskie rabochie v 1905–07gg, p. 206. Eleven of the largest enterprises closed, including the Obukhov, Nevskii and Baltic factories and the workshops of the Warsaw Railway.Google Scholar
  67. 63.
    Ibid., pp. 208–9. By May, 15776 were unemployed in Petersburg itself, 30 000 including the suburbs. SR estimates vary from 8000–10 000 but may include only the permanently unemployed within the city boundary. See Trud, passim and A. Levin, The Second Duma: A Study of the Social Democratic Party and the Constitutional Experiment (Yale, 1940).Google Scholar
  68. 64.
    Shuster, IRL, p. 303. Of 330 individuals surveyed, 29 per cent lost work through production cut-backs, 34 per cent for involvement in political strikes, 15 per cent for their political convictions and/or revolutionary activity, and 7.5 per cent for differences with the administration. A survey of the Town district revealed similar findings (Shuster, Peterburgskie rabochie v 1905–07gg, p. 207).Google Scholar
  69. 65.
    See, for example, a report from the Rechkin Wagon Works in Rech’, no. 23 (17 March 1906), p. 4. Also Mitel’man et al., Istoriya Putilovskogo, p. 272.Google Scholar
  70. 66.
    Rech’ no. 9 (12 January 1907), p. 4; Bater, St. Petersburg: Industrialization and Change, pp. 510–11.Google Scholar
  71. 67.
    There were half a dozen such projects, the most significant being the construction of earthworks at Galernyi Harbour. See Levin, The Second Duma; Trud, no. 14, p. 6; Shuster, Peterburgskie rabochie v 1905–07gg, p. 224. The elections to the ‘Council for the Unemployed’ took place during March and April 1906 and included factory representatives. In addition to the town council there were eight raion councils. Most of the councils were dominated by the Social Democrats (Shuster, p. 221; Trud, no. 14, p. 6).Google Scholar
  72. 68.
    In any case, 1500 workers had been removed from the public works schemes by the end of 1907 (Levin, The Second Duma, p. 366). According to Soviet sources, assistance from the city Duma more or less ceased from October 1906 (Shuster, IRL, p. 323).Google Scholar
  73. 69.
    Of the SRs in PKS who joined the party before 1907, 13 (17 per cent) were finally taken out of circulation during 1906. The situation got considerably worse in 1907, when 23 (nearly 30 per cent) were arrested.Google Scholar
  74. 70.
    Trud, no. 1–2 (September 1906), p. 17.Google Scholar
  75. 71.
    Trud, no. 10 (March 1907), p. 7.Google Scholar
  76. 72.
    There are references to disruption in a number of district reports. In Trud, for example, no. 4, p. 7 (Kolpino), no. 1–2 (Kolomenskii), no. 8, p. 14 (Moskovskii and Narvskii).Google Scholar
  77. 73.
    Trud, no. 5, p. 7. Five new workers’ circles and 7 students circles were formed at that time.Google Scholar
  78. 74.
    Groups at the Nevskii and Aleksandrovskii factories, for example, remained more or less intact during this period (Trud, no. 1–2, p. 21; Trud, no. 4, p. 15), and the Moskovskii raion organisation seems to have survived the summer. Even after the arrest of the intelligenty, worker-members generally managed to keep things ticking over until replacement organisors were found.Google Scholar
  79. 75.
    Reactionary groups and societies began to form in the spring of 1905 or even earlier. By far the most significant of them was The Union of the Russian People’, which was not founded until November. By the close of the year, there may have been well over 2000 workers formed into URP ‘black-hundred’ detachments in Petersburg (there were said to be 300 armed men at the Putilov factory alone). Of course there were many more sympathisers. See ‘Chernaya sotnya na fabrikakh i zavodakh Peterburga v gody reaktsii’, Krasnaya Letopis’, no. 1 (1929), pp. 154–81, here p. 167; J. J. Brock, Jnr, ‘The Theory and Practice of Black Hundred Politics’, PhD thesis, Michigan, 1977;Google Scholar
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  87. 80.
    PKS — biographies of I. P. Kashin and Y. F. Romei’.Google Scholar
  88. 81.
    See the report of the Nevskii district representative to the Council of the Workers’ Union, Trud, no. 4 (October 1906), p. 10; also Buzinov, Za Nevskoi Zastavoi, pp. 115–18. For more on expropriations in Petersburg see Garvi, Zapiski Sotsial Demokrata, pp. 57 ff.Google Scholar
  89. 82.
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  90. 83.
    Trud, no. 4 (October 1906), p. 10; Trud, no. 1–2 (September 1906), p. 20.Google Scholar
  91. 84.
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  92. 85.
    See reference in n. 117; see also Trud, no. 5 (November 1906), pp. 10–12. For the location of some of the factories mentioned in this chapter, see map 1. For more information on them, see Factory List, pp. 110–13.Google Scholar
  93. 86.
    Trud, no. 3 (October 1906), p. 12; no. 4, p. 10.Google Scholar
  94. 87.
    Trud, no. 4, p. 10; no. 5, pp. 8, 12.Google Scholar
  95. 88.
    Trud no. 4, p. 15. The Baltic shipbuilding factory long remained an SR stronghold. A delegate to the first party conference singled out the electrical shop as having been a nest for conscious SR workers. See Protokoly 1908, p. 119.Google Scholar
  96. 89.
    Trud, no. 4, p. 10. Of these 1000 members, approximately 300 belonged to the Obukhov podraion (Trud, no. 3, p. 13) and judging from the sums in the account books) about 400–500 to the Aleksandrovskii (Trud, no. 4, p. 15).Google Scholar
  97. 90.
    Trud, no. 4, p. 14.Google Scholar
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  102. 95.
    Trud, no. 8 (January 1907), p. 14.Google Scholar
  103. 96.
    The SDs’ okrug organisation encompassed Kolpino, Kronshtadt, Sestroretsk, Shlissel’burg and ‘Porokhovskoi’ (gun-powder works). The last named was included in the SRs’ Okhta podraion. There was an SR organisation in Kronshtadt, but it appears to have been independent of Petersburg and to have consisted only of soldiers and sailors. There were SRs in Sestroretsk (arms factory) during 1917, but there were only Maximalists there before the war. Shlissel’burg was the address of the Obukhov factory, which was part of the SRs’ Nevskii raion.Google Scholar
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    Trud, no. 4, p. 10.Google Scholar
  105. 98.
    Almost all reports from the railways during this period were exclusively concerned with the repression. See Trud, no. 1–2, p. 20; no. 5, pp. 13–14.Google Scholar
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    There were others, naturally, who felt that acts of terrorism were a futile and unnecessary provocation which would only make their lives more difficult.Google Scholar
  110. 103.
    More detailed reference will be made to this later.Google Scholar
  111. 104.
    Of course this is not to argue that the SRs were the leaders in all these forms of activity. But all parties must have benefited to some extent from the results.Google Scholar
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    A. Levin, The Second Duma, pp. 19–21.Google Scholar
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    D. Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, pp. 52–4.Google Scholar
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    Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, p. 53.Google Scholar
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    M. Perrie, The Agrarian Policy of the Russian Socialist-Revolutionary Party, p. 168. Some Soviet authors go to considerable lengths to show that in Petersburg many workers (the majority in fact) supported the Bolshevik line, which was to boycott the elections. See Shuster, IRL, pp. 218–19.Google Scholar
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    Rapport 1907, pp. 42–8.Google Scholar
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    ‘Organizatsiya partiinoi izbiratel’noi kampanii v Peterburge’, in Partiinye Izvestiya, no. 4 (5 January 1907). The Narva, Kazan, Spasskii and Kolomenskii precincts were still without committees in December.Google Scholar
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    Leaflets had been issued by the Petersburg and Railway raiony by Christmas. There were electoral circles and factory commissions in the Town district, and literature was distributed in Kolpino. The Nevskii district did not have special electoral machinery of its own, but campaigning went on nevertheless.Google Scholar
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    Sotsialdemokrat, no. 5, p. 7.Google Scholar
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    Trud, no. 8, p. 14; Rus’, no. 15 (15 January 1907), p. 3.Google Scholar
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    A. Mikhailov, ‘Vybory vo vtoruyu Dumu v Peterburgskoi rabochei kurii,’ Otzvuki (August 1907), p. 41. It is unclear just how frequently the fight was a ‘three-cornered’ one. Martov claims that on occasion the Bolsheviks did ‘a deal with the SRs in order jointly to defeat the Mensheviks’ (Martov to Axelrod — 10 January 1907 — Pis’ma P. B. Aksel’roda i Yu. O. Martova, 1924, pp. 153–5).Google Scholar
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    Buzinov, Za Nevskoi Zastavoi, pp. 125–6.Google Scholar
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    Trud, no. 8, p. 13. They are: ‘Why you Must Elect the SRs’, ‘Where the Peoples’ Money Goes’, ‘Black Hundreds’, ‘On the Party of “Peaceful Renewal”’, ‘How the Government Helps the Starving Peasants’, ‘Tsarist Power and Popular Government’, ‘Appeal of the Central Committee to the Citizens’. The text of some can be found in Archive 431.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, ‘Tekushchii Moment’, no. 1–2, p. 1; ‘K kharakteristike nashei pozitsii v dumskom voprose’, no. 5, p. 2; ‘Duma i revolyutsiya’, no. 6, p. 1; ‘Pochemu neobkhodimo golosovat’ za sotsialistov-revolyutsionerov’, no. 7, p. 1.Google Scholar
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    Levin, The Second Duma.Google Scholar
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    Trud, no. 6, p. 14; no. 9, p. 12. In addition, the party’s ‘Military Revolutionary Okrug Organisation’ seriously wounded an officer of the fleet on 2 February and killed an army sergeant-major on 12Google Scholar
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    Andrei Mikhailov. See below, p. 102.Google Scholar
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    For a full statement of the programme, see Protokoly 1906.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Ko vsemu rabochemu narodu (1905), Archive 431 and Golos rabochikh, no. 2 (February 1907), Archive 447.Google Scholar
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    Trud, no. 8, pp. 13, 14.Google Scholar
  137. 129.
    Trud, no. 9, pp. 14, 15. The SRs had made little impact on the educational establishments of Petersburg during 1905. By the end of 1906, however, they were able to boast 800 members distributed over twenty-one university faculties and institutions. This made their organisation not much smaller than that of the Social Democrats.Google Scholar
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    Rus, no. 9, p. 4; Shuster, Peterburgskie rabochie, p. 263. (There were also cases of policemen deciding on the age of workers purely by their appearance: ‘How old are you? Then why haven’t you got a beard?’)Google Scholar
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    For example, 250 workers were dismissed from the Putilov plant on 13 January, that is 24 hours before polling — Rus’, no. 16, p. 5; Shuster, IRL, p. 327, gives the Aivaz factory as another example.Google Scholar
  140. 132.
    This happened in the case of one Pinaevskii, SR representative for the engine shops of the Aleksandrovskii factory. Rus’, no. 24, p. 4. At the Glebov factory the successful SR candidate was disqualified for being under age. Rus’, no. 15, p. 3.Google Scholar
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    Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, p. 54 and n. 4.Google Scholar
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    Mikhailov, ‘Vybory vo vtoruyu Dumu v Petersburgskoi rabochei kurii’. Two of the tables presented by Mikhailov are reproduced by Hildermeier, Die Sozialrevolutionäre Partei, pp. 299–303.Google Scholar
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    For example, either the Bolsheviks collapsed on the eve of the elections, or their share of the vote is suspiciously low. Without necessarily ascribing devious motives, this might simply be because Mikhailov relied principally on Menshevik raion officials for information. However, the theory of a collapse of the Bolshevik vote should not be ruled out. A second problem with this compilation is that one does not know how well dispersed the factories surveyed were. For example, were factories in the 50–100 worker category mainly located in the (Menshevik-dominated) Town district? Thirdly, one wonders about Mikhailov’s ‘non-fraction’ Social Democrats, which he includes in the SD party vote. Who were these people, and might one not suspect that ‘non-fraction’ SRs appear in the non-party column, thus excluded from the SR vote?Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Lenin’s assessment of the result: ‘Vybory po rabochei kurii v Peterburge’, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (PSS),vol. XIV, pp. 341–8.Google Scholar
  145. 137.
    Martov mentions this possibility in correspondence with Axelrod. The SR organisation was too slight ‘to engage in battle on all fronts, just as our success in the major factories is only because the SRs still have not reached the less front-line (avanpostnykh) strata of the proletariat’. Martov, Pis’ma, pp. 155–8. Mikhailov’s evidence may itself be misleading in this respect. If we look at factories where the SRs are known to have had organisational ties (see Table 5.4) we find that in 8 of the 69 cases for which information is available, the enterprises employed fewer than 100 workers. The explanation for the discrepancyGoogle Scholar
  146. may be that most of the small factories were located in the Town district, where the SRs were comparatively weak. Of the 8 factories cited above, for example, 4 were situated in the Moscow district and only one (the ‘Svet’ printing works) in the Town.Google Scholar
  147. 138.
    Diane Koenker, Moscow Workers, p. 205.Google Scholar
  148. 139.
    Lane, The Roots of Russian Communism, pp. 113–17.Google Scholar
  149. 140.
    Smith, ‘The Russian Revolution and the Factories of Petrograd’.Google Scholar
  150. 141.
    Novyi Luch, 21 February 1907, p. 6.Google Scholar
  151. 142.
    Lenin, PSS (5th edn) vol. XIV, p. 345. See also Nash Mir, no. 1 (28 January 1907), p. 6.Google Scholar
  152. 143.
    Proletarii, no. 12 (25 January 1907), p. 6.Google Scholar
  153. 144.
    See, for example, the article in Nash Mir, no. 2 (6 February 1907), ‘Zemlya i rabochie’; and Martov, Pis’ma, pp. 155–8. Similar comments from Maslov and Maevsky were quoted by the SRs in Trud, no. 9 (February 1907), p. 1. The Nash Mir article implied that the unemployed were particularly susceptible to SR promises of land redistribution. In fact, the unemployment problem was suddenly exacerbated during the elections themselves. On 10 January about 1500 migrants arrived at the Nikolaevskii station looking for work (there had been quite unfounded rumours of work being available after the New Year). A few days later the Narva branch of the Council of Unemployed tried to stem the incoming tide of peasants by trying to persuade them that there was no work in Petersburg. This situation must have helped the SRs’ case. Rech’, no. 9 (January 1907), p. 4; Rus’, no. 17 (January 1907), p. 4.Google Scholar
  154. 145.
    Martov, Pis’ma, pp. 155–8.Google Scholar
  155. 146.
    Lenin, Vybory po rabochei kurii v Peterburge and Bor’ba SD i SR na vyborakh v rabochei kurii v S Peterburge, PSS, vol. XIV, pp. 341–53. The agreement is discussed briefly in L. Shapiro, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (2nd edn; London, 1970), pp. 93–4.Google Scholar
  156. 147.
    The evidence relates to 23 factories in the Nevskii raion.Google Scholar
  157. 148.
    The Menshevik evidence against Lenin’s argument appears in Mikhailov.Google Scholar
  158. 149.
    Nash Mir, no. 4 (18 February 1907), where it is alleged that a Bolshevik candidate at the pipe factory and another in one of the Nevskii podraiony defected to the SRs shortly before the elections. Bolshevik policies on land, partisan terror, the ‘democratic’ revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry were all seen as being close to the positions of the SRs, or at least came across as being so.Google Scholar
  159. 150.
    Pis’ma, pp. 155–8.Google Scholar
  160. 151.
    The SR press devoted relatively little space to the post-election debate. For their main arguments see Trud, no. 9 (February 1907), p. 1; and Golos rabochikh, January 1907, Archive 447.Google Scholar
  161. 152.
    It should be stressed that the index is only an approximate indicator of the industrial mix of ‘SR’ factories. By enterprises with known SR ties we mean those which at the very least received and paid for, party literature. The index is biased towards certain districts (especially Moscow and Vyborg), while Town and Vasileostrov are under-represented. To a certain extent these latter two balance each other out.Google Scholar
  162. Enterprises omitted from the Town list were probably small factories or artisanal establishments. On the other hand, unknowns in Vasileostrov most likely include more large metalworking plants, for example, Siemens and Halske, Siemens-Shukkert and Wire and Nail.Google Scholar
  163. 153.
    Fabrichno-zavodskie predpiyatiya Rossiskoi Imperii (2nd edn; Petersburg, 1914). All information in the index is for 1914, unless specifically stated otherwise.Google Scholar
  164. 154.
    Protokoly 1906; see also O torn chto trebovat’ rabochim i trudovomu krest’yanstvu, Archive 431.Google Scholar
  165. 155.
    These examples are taken from a proclamation of the Moscow SR workers’ union, dated January 1905, RR, no. 58, p. 22.Google Scholar
  166. 156.
    Together with the students — ‘A few words to the students’, November 1903, Archive 325.Google Scholar
  167. 157.
    See ‘O sovete rabochikh deputatov’, in Listok Peterburgskogo Komiteta PSR, August 1906, Archive 431.Google Scholar
  168. 158.
    ‘Chego my trebuem dlya vsekh trudyashchikhsya? (raz’yasnenie programmy sotsialistov (revolyutsionerov))’, Letuchii listok, Archive 447.Google Scholar
  169. 159.
    A survey conducted at the Baltic factory in December 1901 revealed that 46.1 per cent of the total workforce of 3917 held a nadel: Arkhiv Istorii Truda v Rossii-vypuskaemyi ustnoi komissiei po issledovaniyu istorii truda v Rossii, bk 1 (Petrograd, 1921), p. 80. See also n. 115 of this chapter. The Social Democrats’ reaction to the SRs’ success in the 1907 elections would seem to indicate that they overestimated the size and influence of the cadre proletariat in Petersburg.Google Scholar
  170. 160.
    For further comment see M. Perrie, The Social Composition.Google Scholar
  171. 161.
    Archive 447.Google Scholar
  172. 162.
    Arkhiv Istorii Truda, pp. 66–85.Google Scholar
  173. 163.
    Ibid., p. 82. Skilled jobs were defined as those requiring greater mental agility (lovkost’).Google Scholar
  174. 164.
    Financial accounts with shop contributions are available for a number of enterprises outside Petersburg, namely the Admiralty shipyard in Sevastopol’ (six accounts), the Bezhetsa armaments plant outside Bryansk and the Izhevsk and Votkinsk factories in the Urals. Between sixteen and eighteen shops are represented at Sevastopol’ and ten, thirteen and seven respectively at the others. So far as the ‘skilled’ departments are concerned, comparatively small donations from pattern workers were recorded in the Izhevsk, Bezhetsa and Sevastopol’ factories. In addition the instrument shop was well-represented. Turning to the departments which were regarded as the least specialised, it is notable that over a six-month (not consecutive) spread of accounts, some of the largest total contributions at Sevastopol’ came from unskilled sections such as the boiler houses, foundry, carpentry, rigging and shipbuilding shops. Of course the social composition of the PSR in Sevastopol’ may have been different from that of Petersburg.Google Scholar
  175. 165.
    Rashin, Formirovanie.Google Scholar
  176. 166.
    A rkhiv Istorii Truda, p. 82.Google Scholar
  177. 167.
    Ibid., pp. 65–6 whence these figures were extrapolated.Google Scholar
  178. 168.
    In addition to the afore-mentioned sources, recourse was made in compiling this composite to Kabo, Ocherki rabochego byta. (Among the workers researched by Kabo in the mid-1920s were seven Moscow metalworkers.)Google Scholar
  179. 169.
    For an account see Trud, no. 9, p. 1. The SRs alleged that the Mensheviks resorted to ‘shameless and improper tricks’ in order to counter the SR speakers.Google Scholar
  180. 170.
    See chapter 7, below.Google Scholar
  181. 171.
    Professional’nye soyuzy (proclamation dated June 1905), Archive 436. The Petersburg committee advised that ‘now is not the time to organise workers’ unions’ because conditions necessary to their success (such as free press and free assembly) were lacking.Google Scholar
  182. 172.
    There is, so far as I know, no extant record of the party’s change of mind on the subject, but their decision probably coincided with the promulgation of the October manifesto. (This would account for SR participation in the Soviet.) The first full official statement of the SR party’s position on the function and objective of the trade unions did not appear until July 1907, though a theoretical statement had already appeared in Trud, ‘K voprosu o professional’nykh soyuzakh’, Trud, no. 11, p. 1. In the Kolomenskii raion, Trud was criticised for not including enough material on the professional and cooperative movement (ibid., p. 17). The above quotation is taken from Hilder-meier, Die Sozialrevolutionäre Partie, p. 187.Google Scholar
  183. 173.
    G. Swain, ‘Political Developments Within the Organized Working Class: Petersburg 1906–14’, PhD thesis, London, 1979; Here p. 20.Google Scholar
  184. The discussions were held at the Semyannikov, Obukhov and Koppel factories in November 1905 — see F. A. Semenov (‘Bulkin’), Istoriya Peterburgskogo soyuza metallistov (1906–14) (Leningrad, 1924), p. 128. The SRs were very strong in the union cells of particular factories (for example, the Pipe works). However, generally speaking SR members tended to be passive or even indifferent to union proceedings, which helps account for the fact that the SDs were always able to retain overall control. (I. V. Golubev, ‘Vospominaniya o Peterburgskom professional’nom soyuze metallistov (1907–08gg)’, in Krasnaya letopis” no. 8 (1923), p. 234, contains the reference to the Pipe factory.)Google Scholar
  185. 174.
    B. Ivanov, Professional’noe dvizhenie rabochikh khlebo-pekarnokonditerskogo proizvodstva Petrograda i gubernii s 1903–17gg (Moscow, 1920). See especially pp. 53–75.Google Scholar
  186. 175.
    For instance, windows were broken, bread stores attacked and flour supplies set on fire (Ivanov, 1920, pp. 64–5).Google Scholar
  187. 176.
    G. Shidlovskii, ‘Peterburgskii komitet bol’shevikov v kontse 1913 goda i v nachale 1914 goda’, KL, no. 2 (1926), pp. 119–39; here p. 122.Google Scholar
  188. 177.
    Hildermeier, Die Sozialrevolutionäre Partei, p. 186.Google Scholar
  189. 178.
    ‘O konferentsiakh Peterburgskogo uzla vserossiiskogo zhelenzno-dorozhnogo soyuza’ Trud, no. 9, p. 8.Google Scholar
  190. 179.
    See, for example, the report in Trud, no. 5, p. 13.Google Scholar
  191. 180.
    Income in March 1907 amounted to over 2400r.: Chugunka-organ oblastnogo i mestnykh komitetov S. Peterburgskogo uzla vserossiiskogo zheleznodorozhnogo soyuza, no. 1 (April 1907), Archive 658.Google Scholar
  192. 181.
    The ‘United SDs’ boycotted the Warsaw line cell of the ARRU, as did some personnel from the Moscow-Vindav line (Trud, no. 9, p. 8).Google Scholar
  193. 182.
    A leaflet issued in the name of the Nikolaevskii railway, probably in the autumn of 1907, urged railway workers to ‘put their quarrels aside’ (ostav’te raspri) because the ‘enemy’ made no distinction between SDs and SRs—Archive 329.Google Scholar
  194. 183.
    ‘Zapiska Solomona’ (member of the Petersburg Committee): Polazhenie del v Peterburgskom organizatsii k sent. ‘08g — Archive 430 (on which much of this section is based).Google Scholar
  195. 184.
    In March 1907 the SRs considered themselves to be ‘rather strong’ in 21 trade unions (Trud, no. 11, p. 15). A Soviet source cites information from the Central Bureau to the effect that in 1907 the SRs predominated in 9 out of 36 trade unions representing 16 per cent of the total unionised workforce. By 1909, it is claimed, the SDs had won over the textile, gold and silver and tobacco unions from the SRs. I have discovered no information to support the assertion that the SRs had ever controlled the textile workers’ union, however. V. A. Nardova, ‘Proletariat stolitsy v gody reaktsii’, IRL (1972), p. 371.Google Scholar
  196. 185.
    The SRs’ short-lived trade union paper includes reports from a wide variety of unions, including those of the printers, bakers, stevedores, electro-technical workers, wallpaper factory workers, blacksmiths, bootmakers, shoemakers, draymen, laundry workers, floor-polishers, night-watchmen, yard-keepers, apprentice seamstresses and tailors — Professional’noe dvizhenie: obzor deyatel’nosti rabochikh soyuzov v Rossii i za grantisei, no. 1 (Petersburg, 1 May 1907), p. 18.Google Scholar
  197. 186.
    Swain, ‘Political Developments Within the Organized Working Class’, p. 254.Google Scholar
  198. 187.
    V. Krasil’nikov, ‘Za Moskovskoi Zastavoi v 1908–11gg. (iz vospominanii)’, KL, no. 9 (1924), p. 115. The name of the delegate was Andrei Pashkov. The Bolsheviks also sent a representative to this congress. 188. PKS — biography of N. G. Korolev. An official history records that in 1913 ‘a minority were for the narodnik party’.Google Scholar
  199. One of the founding members of the union, N. M. Nekrasov (a Kostroma-born peasant) was also an SR, though he later switched to the Bolsheviks — Sbornik materialov po istorii soyuza stroitelei (Leningrad, 1926).Google Scholar
  200. 189.
    Protokoly V-go soveta partii (Stenograficheskii otchet), p. 8, Archive 792.Google Scholar
  201. 190.
    Protokoly pervoi obshchepartiinoi konferentsii PSR (August 1908), p. 30. A ‘boycotting attitude’ was noted among the best-organised SR workers in the major industries, especially among workers in the metallurgical industry. Many thought union work was useless, some had left in disgust because of the ‘corruption’ (razvrashchenie).Google Scholar
  202. 191.
    An interesting case is cited by ‘A. Voronov’ (Lebedev) in an article in the party journal Znamya Truda (ZT). In December 1907 elections were held for the executive of the metalworkers’ union in Petersburg. The Central Committee undertook a campaign but SR workers failed to turn up to the meetings. Nevertheless, and in the face of an effective campaign by the Social Democrats, eight SRs were elected as against nine SDs. However only a month later, three members of the SR fraction were already absenting themselves from meetings and they were generally unable to carry out union tasks. Voronov believed that such instances were common in the PSR (and he had personal experience of the Petersburg organisation) ZT, no. 16, pp. 5–8.Google Scholar
  203. 192.
    See PKS, biographies of F. D. Avdeev, M. F. Boitsov, A. S. Krylov, M. Yu. Lipik, N. E. Travkin, I. F. Zakharov, N. F. Zoroastrova-Skripnik, N. I. Protopopov for SRs converting to Maximalism and that of N. P. Petrov for evidence of a Maximalist circle in 1904.Google Scholar
  204. 193.
    ‘Chto takoe “Maksimalizm?”’, Trud, no. 8, pp. 2–6.Google Scholar
  205. 194.
    Trud, no. 11, p. 17.Google Scholar
  206. 195.
    There is no evidence of a special interest in factory socialisation, for example.Google Scholar
  207. 196.
    Trud, no. 11, p. 15.Google Scholar
  208. 197.
    Buzinov, Za Nevskoi Zastavoi, pp. 115–25.Google Scholar
  209. 198.
    Trud,no. 11, p. 15.Google Scholar
  210. 199.
    Materialy tret’ego, Archive 679 (See note 205 below).Google Scholar
  211. 200.
  212. 201.
    Rezolyutsii vynesenniya na sobranii gorodskogo raiona PSR ob otnoshenii k tretei gosudarstvennoi Dume — Archive 447.Google Scholar
  213. 202.
    ‘Bezrabotitsa i fabrichno-zavodskii terror’, Trud, no. 19, pp. 5–6 and ‘K voprosu o fabrichnom terrore’, Trud, no. 17, pp. 7–9, Archive 472.Google Scholar
  214. 203.
    Trud, no. 20, p. 14.Google Scholar
  215. 204.
    Protokoly 1908, p. 130.Google Scholar
  216. 205.
    See Materialy tret’ego soveta partii (8–11 July 1907), Petersburg report, Archive 679. The delegate failed to give a precise date for this figure, but claimed that membership had dropped to about 4000 by July. Hildermeier, Die Sozialrevolutionäre Partei, p. 259 n. 205, cites a letter from the Petersburg organisation to A. A. Argunov (dated 13 September 1907) as evidence of a membership of 6000 in the autumn. In our opinion, the bulk of the evidence points to maximum growth being reached sometime between January and March 1907, with a continual decline thereafter. In May 1907 there were 5991 Bolsheviks and 2800 Mensheviks in Petersburg according to the official Soviet party history (Ocherki istorii Leningradskoi organizatsii KPSS, p. 156).Google Scholar
  217. 206.
    Materialy tret’ego soveta partii, Archive 679.Google Scholar
  218. 207.
    Trud, no. 16, p. 12 estimated unemployment at 10000 in July 1907. The same article provides details of the situation in a number of individual factories. For more information, see Trud, passim.Google Scholar
  219. 208.
    The committee’s own income fell considerably after the summer of 1907. In August it amounted to only 321r. but recovered somewhat thereafter. In September 1908 however, of an income of 362r., 300r. had been contributed by the Central Committee! See the accounts in Archive 430, 431.Google Scholar
  220. 209.
    See the report in Protokoly 1908, pp. 27–32.Google Scholar
  221. 210.
    For the history of the party between 1908 and 1914 see C. J. Rice, ‘The Socialist-Revolutionary Party and the Urban Working Class in Russia, 1902–1914’, pp. 275–85.Google Scholar

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© Christopher Rice 1988

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