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The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged from a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov[?], both members of of the Social Democratic Labour Party[?]. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries with a large fringe of non-party sympathizers and supporters. Martov disagreed believing it was better to have a large party of activists. The majority of party members agreed with Martov and formed the Mensheviks, while Lenin's faction became known as the Bolsheviks.

The Mensheviks played a leading role in the 1905 Revolution and were particularly active in the the soviets and the emerging trade union movement. However, Lenin's more radical positions grew in popularity during the First World War as anger mounted against the czarist regime, and a number of leading Mensheviks such as Leon Trotsky and Alexandra Kollontai[?] joined the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks, like other opposition parties, were later banned by Lenin's Communist Party.

See also: Russian Revolution

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