Someone who is a follower of Bolshevism. Along with Menshevism, these constituted the two branches of Russian socialism from 1903 until Lenin emerged as undisputed leader in the Russian Civil War of 1918-20.

The name arose from the Russian Social Democratic Labor party, which convened secretly in Minsk in 1898, and later in Brussels and then London in 1903. Lenin's party had a majority, and were therefore known as Bolsheviki (members of the majority), while Menshevik meant those who were in the minority.

Lenin's party favored a small class of professional revolutionaries to take over power, while the Mensheviks favored a more open and loosely organized party. The Bolsheviks also favored rule by the proletariat, while the Mensheviks favored an intermediate rule by the bourgeois. While both participated on the same side in the Russian Revolution of 1905, they later split into separate parties until the Mensheviks were suppressed in 1921. Leon Trotsky was originally a Menshevik, but later switched to the Bolshevik camp.
As hatless so aptly points out, Bolshevik means "the majority," however, the "Bolsheviks" were not only outnumbered, they were greatly outnumbered. The Bolsheviks were followers of Lenin and adhered to a Marxist-Leninist approach to socialism. They believed that the only way to bring about the communist future, the proletariat revolution, was through violent revolution.

The Mensheviks, on the other hand, were cleary the actual "majority" of the Socialists in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. They believed that, in a world where governments were increasingly democratic, therefore far more vulnerable to the will of the people than ever before, that the Socialists could take power and bring about the Revolution through peaceful means - the ballot box.

Ironically, the names given to the respective parties were given by Lenin himself, when, at a significant socialist meeting in 1903 when the Russian Jews, a significant portion of the Mensheviks, walked out (offended by the anti-Semitism that was present in the party, as everywhere else in the world). Because a large portion of the Menshevik faction had abruptly left, Lenin seized his temporary majority, a huge opportunity, and took control of the party.

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