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The Party Program

The Revolutionary Masses
The Party Is the Intelect, Honor, and Conscience of Our Times. (Soviet poster)

The 1903 congress also adopted the party program, consisting of two parts: minimum and maximum. The two parts of the program corresponded to the two revolutions that Russian Marxists were to prepare for. The minimum program set the task of achieving a bourgeois-democratic revolution, in which the workers would aid the bourgeoisie to overthrow tsarism and establish a democratic republic. The maximum program planned for a proletarian-socialist revolution in which the workers would seize power from capitalists and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

History of the Party's Name

1898 - 1917 Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party
1917 - 1918 Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (Bolsheviks)
1918 - 1925 Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)
1925 - 1952 All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)
1952 - 1991 Communist Party of the Soviet Union
1993 - Communist Party of the Russian Federation

For moderate Marxists, such as Plekhanov and Martov, this maximum goal  looked very distant indeed. Nevertheless, the very fact that the Russian Social-Democratic Party had set itself the ultimate objective of establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat put it into an altogether different light, making it a radical, extremist organization. The goal of a proletarian dictatorship made any compromise and co-operation with other reform-minded social and political forces extremely difficult, not to say impossible. The adoption by the congress of the maximum program signified the victory of the radical wing of the RSDLP - i.e. of the Bolsheviks with Lenin as their leader. Their opponents, the Mensheviks, insisted that the party should adhere in its work only to the minimum program. The inclusion of the clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat also marked the parting of ways between Bolshevism and European Social-Democracy: programs of West European Social-Democratic parties did not contain such a goal. 

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