The Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party took place during the summer of 1903, from July 30 to August 23, starting in Brussels and concluding in London.
During this congress, the more moderate members of the party found themselves in the minority on a minor procedural vote, after which they were derogatorily dubbed the Mensheviks (a word based on the root of the Russian word for minority). This gave rhetorical expression to a rift that was growing between the party’s two leading lights – Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov – and it led to the formation and consolidation of a political bloc known as the Bolsheviks (based on the root of the Russian word for majority) that was far more radical in its tactics and policies than the “minority.”
The split was one of the first developments in the improbable series of events that would eventually lead, 14 years later, to the Bolsheviks seizing power in Petrograd.
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