Mikhail Frunze in 1914

Mikhail Frunze, the son of a peasant, was born in Turkestan in 1885. After studying at his local school he continued his education at the Gymnasium at Verny and the Polytechnical Institute in St. Petersburg.

As a student Frunze joined the Social Democratic Party where he supported the Bolshevik faction. In November, 1904, he was arrested during a political demonstration and expelled from St. Petersburg.

At the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party in London in 1903, there was a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, two of the party's main leaders. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries with alarge fringe of non-party sympathisers and supporters. Martov disagreed believing it was better to have a large party of activists. Martov won the vote 28-23 but Lenin was unwilling to accept the result and formed a faction known as the Bolsheviks. Those who remained loyal to Martov became known as Mensheviks.

Frunze joined the Bolsheviks. So also did Gregory Zinoviev, Anatoli Lunacharsky, Joseph Stalin, Mikhail Lashevich, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Alexei Rykov, Yakov Sverdlov, Lev Kamenev, Maxim Litvinov, Vladimir Antonov, Felix Dzerzhinsky, Gregory Ordzhonikidze, and Alexander Bogdanov. Whereas George Plekhanov, Pavel Axelrod, Leon Trotsky, Lev Deich, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, Irakli Tsereteli, Moisei Uritsky, Noi Zhordania and Fedor Dan supported Julius Martov.

After the meeting in London Frunze went to Inanovo-Voznesensk where he was one of the leaders of the 1905 Textile Workers Strike. Later that year he was arrested during the Moscow Uprising. Sentenced death, he was reprieved and it was changed to ten years hard labour. He served his sentence in Vladimir, Nikolaev and Alexandrov in Siberia.

Mikhail Frunze

1. Was highly critical of Nicholas II and the autocracy.

2. Wanted Russia to have universal suffrage.

3. Wanted the Russian government to allow freedom of expression and an end to political censorship of newspapers and books.

4. Believed that democracy could only be achieved in Russia by the violent overthrow of Nicholas II and the autocracy.

5. Was strongly opposed to Russia going to war with Austria-Hungary and Germany.

6. Believed that if Russia did go to war with Austria-Hungary and Germany the Mensheviks, Bolsheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries should try to persuade the Russian soldiers to use their weapons to overthrow Nicholas II.

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