The Socialist Revolutionary Party I
Inventory of the archives of the Partija Socialistov-Revoljucionerov, (1834-) 1870-1934
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Partija Socialistov-Revoljucionerov (PSR) was formed as the result of the unification of various groups of neo-populist tendency which had been formed in the 1890s in Russia and in emigration. In its early years it was a small, heterogeneous party, with an émigré leadership and underground membership in Russia. After “Bloody Sunday” it expanded into a mass movement. It was only then that its first congress took place, technically the founding congress. This congress discussed the draft organizational rules and approved of them as provisional rules.
The highest organ was the All Party Congress, to be convened by the Central Committee or the Party Council. Between congresses the Party Council was the highest organ. The Central Committee (CC) was elected by the Party Congress and augmented by co-option. Its composition fluctuated as a result of arrests. The Combat Organization functioned within the Party as a semi-autonomous body. Its terrorist activities were directed against representatives of state power. In November/December 1906 an Organizational Bureau was set up to coordinate the CC activities and to improve communication between party leaders and local organizations. Some special commissions of the CC were: the Military Bureau (for agitation and propaganda work among soldiers and sailors), the Commission for Peasants, and the Transport Committee (for the distribution of literature). Russia was split up into thirteen regional associations. The Organization Abroad constituted the fourteenth region. It was founded in 1903 and until 1905, with the party operating underground, it acted de facto as the most important party body. After 1922 it was the only body left.
The archive consists of three groups of documents: The populist legacy (including the
Fonds Lavrov), the party archive up to 1917, and the party archive after 1917. The second group is by far the biggest, and the years 1905-1907 by far the richest. The archive is incomplete. Papers from other provenance were added to the collection (inv.nrs. 1045-1102), as for example in the case of an owner, who went back to Russia illegally and left them with the party. Some documents were damaged and the archive was disorganized due to the constant moving. In the late sixties Boris Sapir listed the notices he found on the envelopes and other packing materials. In 1983 Marc Jansen removed the documents from after 1917 and described them. For practical reasons they were preserved as a separate group. His list constitutes a part of this inventory in modified form.
Among the documents discovered was a classification scheme, drafted by S.N. Sletov in 1909 (in inv.nr. 598). There were also lists and draft lists, of which the numbers were found to match the numbers on documents, scattered all over the collection. It was decided to reunite lists and documents, wherever useful, as for instance in inv.nrs. 303-513. By using their own (draft) lists may explain why e.g. in inv.nrs. 706-711 the Second State Duma figures before the First one.
An important part of the collection is the group of documents from the regional and local committees in Russia (inv.nrs. 303-513.). They are (handwritten and processed) leaflets, resolutions, financial reports, reports on literature, notes, letters, rules, draft rules, reports of activities, circular letters, declarations, a single issue of a paper or a pamphlet, and in a much lesser degree: minutes of meetings, questionnaires, programmes. The last three types of documents are mentioned explicitly. The bulk of this part, however, is made up of leaflets.
Classifying the letters was a difficult, if not impossible, job. Many are without sender, without date, many without addresses. Some are in code. More often they were obviously meant for “Paris”, where Znamja Truda (1907-1914) and the Transport Committee used post office boxes. But then, were they meant for the Central Committee, for Znamja Truda, for the Transport Committee, or for the three of them? Some letters did not give us any clue how to classify them. They are to be found in inv.nrs. 752-770. The same was true of quite a few manuscripts. They are to be found in inv.nrs. 771-839.
Two concordances are appended to the inventory. The first one establishes the relationship between the numbers Boris Sapir used and the present numbers. The second one does the same between the numbers Marc Jansen used and the present numbers. In previous years the archives of the PSR were referred to as
narodni' eskoe dvi' enie. In the inventory the international transcription has been used. Originally the collection contained a larger amount of printed documents, but they have been incorporated into the IISH library. A small amount of photographs are now in the IISH Audiovisual Department. The term "cover" is used in the inventory to refer to groupings of 2-13 items, and the term "folder" for groups of more than 13 items. The present metrage (23.25 meters) differs from the one given in the "Guide to the International Archives and Collections"(1989). This is due to packing the documents in boxes rather than in the portfolios used previously.
There are no restrictions to consultation of the archive.
Hermien van Veen, Amsterdam