2nd Congress of the RSDLP
The 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

was held during July 30–August 23 (July 17–August 10, O.S.) 1903, starting in Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 (until August 6) and ending in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, because Belgian police forced the delegates to leave the country. The congress finalized the creation of the Marxist party in Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 proclaimed at the 1st Congress of the RSDLP
1st Congress of the RSDLP
The 1st Congress of the RSDLP was held between March 13–March 15 1898 in Minsk, Russian Empire in secrecy. It was in a house belonging to Rumyantsev, a railway worker on the outskirts of Minsk...


The Organising Committee for convening the Second Congress of the RSDLP was originally elected at the Białystok Conference held in March (April) 1902, but soon after the conference all the committee members but one were arrested. At Lenin's suggestion, a new Organising Committee was set up at a conference of Social-Democratic committees held in November 1902 in Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

. On this committee the Iskra
Iskra was a political newspaper of Russian socialist emigrants established as the official organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. Initially, it was managed by Vladimir Lenin, moving as he moved. The first edition was published in Stuttgart on December 1, 1900. Other editions were...

-ists had an overwhelming majority.

Under Lenin's guidance, the Organising Committee carried out extensive preparatory work for the Second Congress. Draft Regulations for the convening of the Congress were adopted at a plenary session held in Orel
Oryol or Orel is a city and the administrative center of Oryol Oblast, Russia, located on the Oka River, approximately south-southwest of Moscow...

 in February 1903. Following this plenary session, members of the Organising Committee twice visited the local Party organisations with a view to assisting them in their work. With their participation, the local committees discussed the draft Regulations, after which the Organising Committee finally endorsed the Regulations and approved a list of the local organisations entitled under them to representation at the Congress. The Organising Committee prepared for the Congress a detailed written report on its activities.

This Congress is notable by the RSDLP becoming split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks as a result of a dispute between Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 and Juliy Martov
Julius Martov
Julius Martov or L. Martov was born in Constantinople in 1873...

 over the major points of the Party Programme.

At the congress one of the constituent groups of the party, the General Jewish Labour Bund, ask that the Bund would be recognized as the sole representative of the Jewish working class in Russia. A Bundist delegate tabled a motion that all Russian citizens should have the right to use their own language. Lenin and the Iskra group opposed the motion. Stalin supported. It was defeated in a tie, 23 votes against 23 votes. However, a similar motion proposed by Noe Zhordania
Noe Zhordania
Noe Zhordania was a Georgian journalist and Menshevik politician. He played an eminent role in the Social Democratic revolutionary movement in Imperial Russia, and later chaired the government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia from July 24, 1918 until March 18, 1921, when the Bolshevik Soviet...

 (leader of the Transcaucasian Social Democrats) was passed.

Moreover, the Bund proposed that the RSDLP should have a federal structure, with the Bund as a constituent party. Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were united in their opposition to the Bundist proposal, calling it separatist, nationalist and opportunist. After their proposal was rejected, the Bund withdrew from the RSDLP.

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