The Socialist Revolutionaries, or the SRs were a leftist revolutionary movement that officially began in 1901. This radical group drew many of their ideals from the Populists, however they agreed with the terror tactics of the People’s Will(Freeze 246). They believed that the capitalist state was doing wrong to the people, specifically the peasants and the workers. The SRs took it upon themselves to help these people by changing the government, whether that was through legal reform or terrorism.
The disagreement on the use of terrorism, which was a large part in the beginning stages of the SRs, was one of the first party disagreements that led to their downfall. In the beginning, the SRs were unified in regards to their beliefs and objectives, but they were conflicted as an organization on what means should be used to achieve this goal. Until 1911, the SRs had a large hand in terrorism. This was led by their combat organization which would execute assassinations of high ranking officials.
In the earlier years of the Socialist Revolutionaries, political power was consolidated and very influential in the Russian political atmosphere. They were one of the largest and widely supported parties in Russia. The SRs won 37 seats in the Second Duma, but boycotted the 1st,3rd, and 4th. Even though the SRs also won a plurality of the votes in the First Congress of Soviets in 1917, they were soon powerless due to disagreements and divisions within the party. It was soon realized that the SRs could not deliver on any of their policies. After the First Congress in 1917, they split into the Left SRs and the Right SRs, with the left supporting the Bolsheviks and their beliefs and the Right supporting the Mensheviks. The party was split on topics like the support of the war and the provisional government. The Left SRs believed that Russia should leave WWI and that land needed to be redistributed. After the Bolsheviks took power, the Right SRs were banned from the government and the Left SRs merged with the Bolsheviks, making one of the most powerful parties in Russia disappear.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
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