1st congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party opened in Minsk

13 March 1898

1 (13) March 1898 in Minsk was illegally held the first Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), at which the establishment of the party was officially announced. The Congress was convened on the initiative of St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, led by V. I. Lenin.

In December 1895, Lenin drew up a draft program of the Social Democratic Party and insisted on convening the Congress. This idea was picked up by Kiev Social Democrats. In March 1897 took place the pre-Congress conference of representatives of the Social-Democratic organizations of Kiev and St. Petersburg, where it was decided to start preparations for the Congress and to establish an all-Russian edition of the Social-Democratic “Workers' newspaper”. The newspaper dealt with workers' movement in Russia, called on local social-democratic circles and groups to unite into a single party.

The first congress of the Social Democratic Party was held at the apartment of a railroad employee, a Social Democrat P. V. Rumyantsev in a house on Zakharyevskaya Street (now Museum of the 1st RSDLP Congress). It was attended by nine delegates, representing the largest social-democratic organizations in Russia - St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and Ekaterinoslav League of Struggle and a group of the "Workers’ newspaper" and petty-bourgeois nationalist organization called the General Jewish Labor Union in Lithuania, Poland and Russia (Bund).

Due to secrecy there were no protocols at the Congress, only resolutions were recorded. In all were held 6 meetings, during which the key issue was one of the establishment of a party. The Congress proclaimed the establishment of the Marxist Workers' party and resolved to call it the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), that is, the party of the proletariat of all nationalities of Russia. The resolution on its creation stated that all of the Leagues of Struggle, the group of "Workers’ newspaper" and the Bund"... should merge into a single organization called the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party...”. The Congress elected the Central Committee (CC) of RSDLP consisting of 3 persons.

The "Workers’ newspaper" was declared the official body of the established Party. "The Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad” was also recognized a part of the Party and its representative abroad. Delegates charged the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class with preparation of a policy document - "The Manifesto of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party setting out its immediate political objectives. Soon after the Congress the text of the RSDLP Manifesto was written by P. B. Struve, one of the first Russian Marxists. It was also agreed on the principles of RSDLP operation. Delegates agreed to hold the next Congress in six months.

The second Congress of RSDLP, convened in July 1903 by editorial board of the first all-Russian political illegal Marxist newspaper “Iskra”, completed the unification of the revolutionary Marxist organizations.


Lit.: Аксельрод П. Б. К вопросу о современных задачах и тактике русских социал-демократов. Женева, 1898; Давидзон И. Л. Чему учит программа Российской социал-демократической рабочей партии. Киев, 1917; Манифест Российской Социал-Демократической Рабочей Партии // КПСС в резолюциях, решениях съездов, конференций и пленумов ЦК. Ч. 1. М., 1954. С. 11-14; Ленин В. И. Проект и объяснение программы социал-демократической партии // Полное собрание сочинений. Т. 2. М., 1967. С. 81-110; Первый съезд РСДРП Документы и материалы. М., 1958; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://militera.lib.ru/docs/da/s01/index.html; Шумяцкий Б. З. Пролетариат и его задачи: Программа Российской социал-демократической рабочей партии. Петроград, 1917.


Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Владимирская окружная организация Р.С.-Д.Р.П.: (материалы к истории социал-демократической большевистской работы во Владимирской губернии): 1892-1914. Владимир, 1927 ;

Материалы по пересмотру партийной программы / Российская социал-демократическая рабочая партия. Петроград, 1917;

Программа Российской социал-демократической рабочей партии. Белгород, 1917;

Рязанов Д. Б. Проект программы «Искры» и задачи русских социал-демократов. Женева, 1903.