As I understand from this brief explanation, the main doctrinal difference was that the Bolsheviks were more radical (class struggle) while the Mensheviks were more in favor of class cooperation and peaceful transition. Is this interpretation correct and were there other doctrinal/ideological differences between the two factions?

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    Parts of two of the answers to this related question (asking specifically about their later years) would probably do for answers here as well.
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 27, 2018 at 18:56
  • In the philosophy reason Lenin, as leader of Bolsheviks, decided that Communism can be created in one country. Mensheviks, as Karl Marks, decided that it possible only in whole world at one time. Mensheviks didn't decide that the world revolution time started yet. That is why the Bolsheviks was more radical than the Mensheviks. Apr 18, 2018 at 4:42

2 Answers 2


In his pamphlet "'Left-Wing' Communism: An Infantile Disorder", Lenin describes the Mensheviks as:

narrow-minded, selfish, case-hardened, covetous, and petty-bourgeoise "labour aristocracy", imperialist-minded and imperialist-corrupted

and goes on to call them "social chauvinists", meaning that they put aside the class struggle at war time in favour of nationalism. He saw the (in this case, the first world) war as an imperialist affair and not something the working class should support.

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    so would you say that, if he were alive today, he would label most american upper middle class bourgeoisie who exclaim to be in favor of socialism and Bernie S. as narrow-minded, selfish, case-hardened, covetous, and petty-bourgeoise "labour aristocracy", imperialist-minded and imperialist-corrupted for not being radical enough?
    – amphibient
    Mar 27, 2018 at 19:15
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    @amphibient, I would think "obviously"! :) And he might have found "bleeding-heart..." far too mild. :) Mar 27, 2018 at 19:17
  • @amphibient whether or not I would, it seems Lenin might :)
    – Graham Lee
    Mar 27, 2018 at 19:36
  • I asked if he would, not you
    – amphibient
    Mar 27, 2018 at 19:49
  • you asked whether I would say that Lenin would say that; I'm saying that I would not say that Lenin would say that, but that Lenin might say that Lenin would say that. I actually believe that if Lenin were alive today he would say "please let me out of this pickle jar".
    – Graham Lee
    Mar 27, 2018 at 20:30

This is what Wikipedia says:-

Mensheviks generally tended to be more moderate, and more positive towards the liberal opposition and the peasant-based Socialist Revolutionary Party. Factions emerged in 1903 following a dispute in the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) between Julius Martov and Vladimir Lenin. The dispute originated at the 2nd Congress of the RSDLP, ostensibly over minor issues of party organization. Martov's supporters, who were in the minority in a crucial vote on the question of party membership, came to be called Mensheviks, derived from the Russian word меньшинство (minority), while Lenin's adherents were known as Bolsheviks, from большинство (majority) The RSDLP was a revolutionary socialist political party formed in 1898 in Minsk in Belarus to unite the various revolutionary organisations of the Russian Empire into one party. Those who opposed Lenin and wanted to continue on the Marxist path towards complete socialism and disagreed with his strict party membership guidelines became known as "softs" while Lenin supporters became known as "hards".

So no, according to my research there were no more differences but who wants to go more in-depth can check these Wikipedia pages.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolsheviks https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensheviks

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