Who Were the Bolsheviks?

Who Were the Bolsheviks?

“Bolshevik” means “majority” and were a faction of The Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which was formed after the Second Congress in 1903 when it split from the Mensheviks. The Congress agreed that Russia needed a revolution in order to establish Socialism. The Bolsheviks became the leading party during the Russian Revolution's October Revolution phase in 1917. They founded the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which later became the Soviet Union.


Alexander Bogdanov and Vladimir Lenin founded the Bolsheviks and it became a major organization by 1905. Supporters of the party were mostly workers who believed in democratic centralism and saw themselves as the leaders of the Russian revolutionary working class. Practises and beliefs of this party were often referred to as “Bolshevism.”

This article is part of our larger collection of resources on the Cold War. For a comprehensive outline of the origins, key events, and conclusion of the Cold War, click here.