Social Democracy and Workers in Odessa: Ethnic and Political Considerations

Robert Weinberg


Recent scholarship on the history of Russian labor has focused on the aspirations, organizations and actions of urban workers during the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and has investigated the relationship between labor unrest and political events and developments throughout the Russian Empire, especially in the two capital cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Historians have been particularly interested in studying the interaction between socialists and workers and the extent to which labor protest and strikes were spontaneous in origin or the result of an orchestrated campaign conducted by the intelligentsia and socialist-workers. In general, these studies explain political radicalism among Russian workers by referring to the workers' specific work culture which combined elements of skill and craft solidarity, and links to the urban community; highly skilled and urbanized workers in both factories and workshops were more likely than lesser skilled and urbanized workers to be receptive to Social Democracy and to form labor organizations.

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