Differentiate between the ideological beliefs/views of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. (3 marks)

Dear Student,
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were the two main factions within the Russian Socialist movement at the beginning of the 20th century. In Russian, the term “Bolshevik” literally means “majority” whereas “Menshevik” means “minority” – even though, in reality, Mensheviks were often the majority.Bolsheviks believed in a radical —and elitist— revolution, whereas Mensheviks supported a more progressive change in collaboration with the middle class and the bourgeoisie. The central figures were Julius Martov, at the head of the Mensheviks, who opposed Vladimir Lenin, leader of the bolcheviks.The main differences between the two can be summarized as follows:
1.Bolsheviks (and Lenin) believed in the necessity of a revolution led and controlled by the proletariat only, whereas Mensheviks (and Martov) believed that a collaboration with the bourgeoisie was necessary;
2.Bolsheviks strived for the creation of a strictly organized party controlled by few revolutionaries (the editing board of the Lenin’s newspaper Iskra, whereas Mensheviks wanted to establish an inclusive party, open to proletariat and bourgeois;
Bolsheviks wanted a direct change from Tsarism to Communism while Mensheviks felt that a transitionary period was necessary.
3.Bolsheviks were radical revolutionaries while Mensheviks were more moderate.


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