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The Bolsheviks (Russian: большевики, bolsheviki; from большинство, bolshinstvo, 'majority'), led by Vladimir Lenin, were a far-left faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) which split with the Mensheviks at the Second Party Congress in 1903. The Bolshevik party seized power in Russia in the October Revolution of 1917, and was later renamed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Their ideology and practices, based on Leninist and later Marxist–Leninist principles, are known as Bolshevism.
|Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)
|1903; 121 years ago (1903)
|1952; 72 years ago (1952)
|Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The origin of the split was Lenin's support for a smaller party of professional revolutionaries, as opposed to the Menshevik desire for a broad party membership. The influence of the two factions fluctuated in the years up to 1912, when the RSDLP formally split into Bolshevik and Menshevik parties. The Bolsheviks' political philosophy was based on the Leninist principles of vanguardism and democratic centralism. After the February Revolution of 1917 which overthrew the tsar, Lenin returned to Russia and issued his April Theses, which called for "no support for the Provisional Government" and "all power to the soviets". In the summer of 1917, especially after the July Days and Kornilov affair, large numbers of radicalized workers joined the Bolsheviks, which planned the October Revolution which overthrew the government. The party initially governed in coalition with the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, but increasingly centralized power and suppressed opposition during the Russian Civil War, and after 1921 became the sole legal party in Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union. Under Joseph Stalin's leadership, the party became linked to his policies of "socialism in one country", rapid industrialization, collectivized agriculture, and centralized state control.
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