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North Caucasus and RSDRP agrarian program of the period of the first Russian revolution

 © 2004 M. Zabelin


When studying the social and political movement interest that as well as through what ideologists of political parties could influence masses is of to the researcher. In the agrarian region which the North Caucasus at the beginning of the 20th century was the development of programs for the purpose of influence on the local peasantry was relevant. In this article we will analyze the main contents of the RSDRP agrarian program adopted at the second congress in 1903 and its interpretation by the local social democratic organizations. First of all in it need of cancellation of redemption quitrent payments, duties of the peasants and laws forbidding to dispose of lands was considered. It was offered to establish country committees which had to return by expropriation to peasants of the earth, cut off at an abolition of serfdom [1].

The local party organizations distributed leaflets in which promoted the agrarian program of social democrats. November 9, 1905. The Stavropol committee of RSDRP issued the leaflet "Letter of Working Social Democrats to Companions Peasants". Among requirements were also agrarian: cancel«... redemption yes quitrent payments; to repeal all laws which do not allow us to dispose of all earth; to take away those plots of land which help landowners to oppress peasants from landowners. Approximately, where men have no watering place, and from the small river the earth is separated by a plot of landowners' estates, so to give this earth to men; demand that the court could lower the rent if landowners give too expensively to the earth..." [2].

The paragraph of requirements about ordering of the rent relations could attract peasants, the others were an empty phrase for them as in the Stavropol province the peasants generally were state, but not serfs. And requirements of social democrats about return to peasants of the lands which are cut off at them in favor of landowners as a result of reform of 1861 had no relation to them.

In the first year of revolution among local social democrats there were various ideas of the solution of an agrarian question. For example, the initiator, the organizer and the head in the station Batalpashinskoy Kubanskoy of area teacher Makeev developed in May, 1905 the plan in which it was told about need to convince land owners to sell the lands to peasants by installments for 50 - 100 years [3].

In general across Russia the requirement of return of "pieces" did not answer the level of the country movement which opposed all landowner land tenure. In this regard in RSDRP, discussions according to the agrarian program and need of its revision escalated. Bolsheviks defended the requirement of confiscation of all church, monastery, specific, state and landowners' estates, establishment of country committees for immediate destruction of all traces of the landowner power and landowner privileges and justification further under certain political conditions of transition to nationalization of all lands [4]. Mensheviks offered the program of municipalization of the earth according to which landowners' estates took over local governments, and next-to-skin lands remained in the property of peasants. The fourth congress of RSDRP approved as the agrarian program municipalization of the earth with inclusion of the requirement of Bolsheviks in it about confiscation of all landowners' estates.

The Menshevist North Caucasian union of RSDRP at another conference in March, 1906 supported need of entering into the program of the requirement of confiscation of large land property, proceeding from the fact that it is the slogan of the revolutionary peasantry and does not contradict problems of social democracy. Most of delegates supported the project of municipalization [5]. From now on in the territory of Kuban and Stavropol Territory the promotion of nationalization of the earth which had a certain number of supporters among cadets and the left-wing party was almost stopped.

The municipalization of the earth promoted in the social democratic press of Stavropol Territory was that as a result of a national victory of the earth, being on space of each province, had to depart in possession of a municipality or zemstvo. In each county it was offered to form zemstvoes on the basis of democratic elections. Where they were, the structure them was re-elected. District or provincial zemstvoes also had to become owners of land, dispose of it at discretion "in the best way". Care of the interests of the voters and distribution of land to those who will want to process it belonged to duties of zemstvoes. They had to develop conditions of distribution of lands to the population, develop the amount of the rent.

The zemstvo was allocated with big independence and as envisioned by social democrats "itself will see and will judge on places how to it to arrive" [6].

The difference of maintaining farms across all huge territory of Russia, existence of communal possession, absence and use of wage labor were the main arguments for carrying out municipalization. "It is impossible to break economic life on an arbitrariness, it is necessary to reckon with it and depending on it to look for such way of permission of the land question that life of farms moved forward, but did not stiffen in a motionless framework" [7], - social democrats of the province noted. Only zemstvoes, on their plan, could meet these requirements. Having collected in the hands lands, zemstvo, reckoning with local as economic

features, had to build the economy. Upholding of large capitalist rent in one area, support of equalization in another, etc. was offered as necessary. "In terms of the best providing and protection of local economic features of the country" social democrats defined priority of the policy over agrarian programs of other parties.

When carrying out municipalization of the earth to Stavropol Territory two retreats were provided: formation of the state stock of the earth and partial nationalization of forest and water resources.

Formation of the state stock was dictated by various number of state lands on provinces and areas. In some areas in case of transition of all earth to use of the people its lack and emergence of a problem of increase in land area was expected. In other areas there was a surplus of the earth. Surplus was supposed to be transferred "to hands of the democratic state" for the purpose of their use for carrying out resettlement policy. "The question of resettlement is very important and essential, they need to be engaged the state, it is its direct duty" [8], - wrote in the publication - the newspaper "Union" - the Stavropol committee of RSDRP.

To the democratic state had to pass both the woods, and the waters having nation-wide value. Social democrats emphasized that separate zemstvoes not in forces will be to cope with a problem of preservation and use of forest and water management. Only the state allocated with completeness of the power and large material supplies can dispose of water and the wood for the benefit of "the whole country, its culture and prosperity".

As means for the fastest and best permission of the land question the social democrats promoted land committees. On the device such committees had to be democratic, include representatives of various political parties in the structure. Participating in an election campaign, land committees, political parties would explain to peasants the agrarian programs. Having studied a variety of projects, peasants could make sure that "social democrats are not party which allegedly does not wish to give the earth to peasants, and on the contrary, will see that only social democrats resolve the land question in the most resolute way" [9].

It was supposed to create land committees immediately. Knowing local land needs, economic features, the population had to decide what lands first of all need to be transferred to the people.

Promoting the idea of land committees [10], social democrats explained that the agrarian question will be resolved by committees as that will be wanted by peasants. Opening an essence of the program, RSDRP at the same time carried out the main thought that for elimination of country hunger and poverty, for its political freedom and economic progress of the country

it is necessary to destroy landowner land tenure. Therefore destruction of a large private property on the earth [11] had to be one of the main tasks of activity of land committees.

The greatest number of articles on explanation of the agrarian program of social democrats falls on June - August, 1906 when to Stavropol Territory the revolutionary activity of peasants passed into the plane of practical actions.

The Stavropol committee of RSDRP sharply criticized government "attempts" to resolve an agrarian question. Social democrats estimated the publication of decrees and creation of various commissions for their implementation as an opportunity "to feed" spongers, "which in them will work" [12]. In articles placed in a party press of Stavropol Territory it was indicated that peasants expected the land help in a type of gratuitous distribution by the person in need. However the government transferred lands (in particular, it is about specific) to Country bank for their sale. On the other hand, the created land management commissions were from "semi-official-semi-noblemen-skogo" of structure which did not promote to buyers peasants observance their interests. It was specified that the commissions of Country bank do not use sympathies of a people at large. In the listed facts the social democrats saw insolvency of official agrarian reform and therefore drew a conclusion that "the estimated government step on the way of increase in country land tenure is not that curing means which could soften with both the form, and the sizes sharpness country malozemelya" [13].

The agrarian program of cadets social democrats criticized for illusions of the embodiment it in the constitutional way, through reforms. In the Russian historical reality such criticism had under itself the real soil and was fair.

Social democrats criticized the Eserovsky program of socialization of the earth for its equalization [14]. Pointing out a variety of economic way of peasants across all Russia, social democrats emphasized inevitability of violation of progressive development of economy at such approach. Besides, according to them, the equalization could not satisfy peasants that in the peasantry there was a differentiation. "If now semblance of community of interests at peasants is also observed, then it is created absolutely artificially, those police officers and artificially supported, economic conditions in which Russia" is put [15], - the Stavropol propagandists social democrats said in the speeches.

The discussion between Social Revolutionaries and social democrats was conducted on pages of periodicals, in public statements in the cities. Materials of the discussions held in rural areas among peasants, Cossacks and non-residents are not found. Nevertheless the peasants visiting the cities were involuntary participants of meetings and learned about various ways of permission of an agrarian question, read about it in newspapers.

Speaking about the agrarian program of social democrats, it should be noted that it found support among a certain number of peasants. One of participants of events to Stavropol Territory describes the attitude of peasants towards social democrats as follows: "The opinion of peasants on our party is interesting. It was stated by two peasants, one of them from Petrovsky, another - from the neighboring village. They came to me to the address which is available for them. But they had an address and to Social Revolutionaries where they visited earlier. They were interested in a question when the revolt begins, and they convinced me that we did not miss an opportunity. Asked questions and of how we think to divide the earth.

>- We will not divide; let's select in society: if the need in the earth is, then peasants will take themselves how many it is possible, and we will keep good farms: we do not have sense them to ruin; they are necessary for a sample. When I left for a partition, they among themselves shared impressions.

>- You see, those speak - to divide, and these differently, these work more purely: it will be so best of all" [16].

The above-stated memoirs of one of participants of events of the social democrat demonstrate that there were certain representatives of the peasantry who supported the RSDRP agrarian program. However Social Revolutionaries pointed that the peasantry in the majority supported their program. Correspondence placed in the neonarodnichesky newspaper "Earth and Work" in which it was reported that residents of the village of the Kalinovsky Aleksandrovsky County, the former Cossacks and therefore rather provided with the earth (on average on soul on 15 tithes of fertile lands) in July, 1906 at a meeting with the member of the first State Duma can be an example

The Stavropol state agricultural university

Ya.V. Borisov declared determination "to renounce a part of the earth if there is "a general equation"" [17]. Let's note that the agrarian dispute between social democrats and Social Revolutionaries was resolved during historical practice. Bolsheviks recognized vitality of the eserovsky program and mass support by its Russian peasantry.


1. GAKK, t. 583, op. 1, 493, l. 26 about.
2. GASK, the folder of the newspapers "Narodny Golos", etc. for 1905 - 1907, l. 8.
3. M.M. Babichev. An agrarian question and the country movement in Kuban during the first Russian bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1905 - 1907 g: Yew.... edging. used up. sciences. M, 1958. Page 226.
4. V.I. Lenin. Half-N of SOBR. soch. T. 12. Page 269.
5. Voter's voice. 1906. No. 5. On Apr. 1 Page 3.
6. Union. 1906. No. 4. On Aug. 3 Page 2.
7. Brotherhood. 1906. No. 2. On Aug. 23 Page 2.
8. Union. 1906. No. 8. On Aug. 9 Page 2.
9. Worker. 1906. No. 1. July 20. S. 1.
10. Ear. 1906. No. 2. June 24. Page 1.; No. 19. July 15.

Page 1.

11. Worker. 1906. No. 4. July 25. Page 1.
12. Union. 1906. No. 5. On Aug. 5 Page 1.
13. Brotherhood. 1906. No. 1. On Aug. 22 Page 1.
14. In the same place. No. 2. On Aug. 23 Page 2; Ear. 1906. No. 8. July 2. Page 1. No. 11. July 6. Page 1.
15. North Caucasus. 1905. No. 140. On Dec. 1 Page 3.
16. The first Russian revolution//Stavropol Territory. 1924. No. 10. Page 103.
17. Earth and work. 1906. No. 1. On Aug. 2 Page 4.

On October 23, 2003

Kenneth Jimenez
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