Valery N. Kuznetsov, Doctor of historical sciences, associate professor, professor of the sub-department of Russian history, regional studies and international relations, Ulyanovsk State University (42 Lva Tolstogo street, Ulyanovsk, Russia); senior researcher, Regional State Autonomous Institution of Culture “Lenin Memorial” (1 Lenina square, Ulyanovsk, Russia), E-mail: email@example.com
Background. The problem of the socialist perspective turned out to be relevant for post-February Russia in 1917. The country faced a fundamental choice. Various parties sought to influence the population in their own way. The most important question remained – what is socialism: an economic system or a special type of consciousness that determines people’s behavior. The purpose of the work is to show how different political parties related to socialism and, in this regard, what content they put into this concept, what methods they considered acceptable for the transition to socialism. The problems of the socialist perspective have not lost their significance in our time.
Materials and methods. The implementation of research tasks was achieved on the basis of data from periodicals of the Bolshevik, Menshevik, Socialist-Revolutionary and Cadet parties of the Saratov, Samara and Simbirsk provinces. The methodological potential includes a comparative-historical method, the application of which allows one to compare how the said parties viewed the socialist perspective, and also to find out what they understood by such a significant concept as “socialism”.
Results. The attitude of political parties in the Saratov, Samara and Simbirsk provinces to the possibility of transition to socialism, as a real and close historical perspective, is investigated. The attitude to this problem, in turn, shows their assessment of socialism as a social system, and also through this on the opposition of the assessment of the existing social system – capitalism. It is shown how, proceeding from their positions, the parties built propaganda or counter-propaganda of Russia’s transition to the socialist revolution and to the socialist system.
Conclusions. Studying the issue of reflecting a possible socialist perspective in the activities of political parties in the Volga region made it possible to draw the following conclusions. All parties viewed the socialist alternative as real, but assessing it differently. All parties except the Bolsheviks believed that Russia was not ready for the transition to socialism. The divergence was based on a different vision of socialism. Everyone, from the Bolsheviks to the Cadets, agreed that this was a system without private property. The Cadets, being a bourgeois liberal party, considered this to be unequivocally negative. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries recognized the elimination of private property as a positive phenomenon in principle, but attributed it to the distant future, the reason for which they saw in the lack of preparation not so much economic as ideological, moral and ethical. In turn, the Bolsheviks ignored this factor.
1917, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, Constitutional Democrats, Socialism
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4. Zemlya i Volya = Earth and Will. Samara, 1917, April 18. (In Russ.)
5. Zemlya i Volya = Earth and Will. Syzran, 1917, May 5. (In Russ.)
6. Simbirskaya narodnaya gazeta = Simbirsk national newspaper. 1917, May 11. (In Russ.)
7. Izvestiya Samarskogo Soveta rabochikh deputatov = Proceedings of Samara Council of Workers’ Deputies. 1917, April 16. (In Russ.)
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10. Izvestiya Samarskogo Soveta rabochikh deputatov = Proceedings of Samara Council of Workers’ Deputies. 1917, March 11. (In Russ.)
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12. Volzhskiy den' = Volga day. Samara, 1917, October 20. (In Russ.)
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15. Saratovskiy vestnik = Saratov bulletin. 1917, June 7. (In Russ.)
16. Volzhskiy den' = Volga day. Samara, 1917, June 3. (In Russ.)
17. Saratovskiy listok = Saratov paper. 1917, July 17. (In Russ.)
18. Saratovskiy listok = Saratov paper. 1917, July 6. (In Russ.)