The name Bolsheviks derives from the Russian word bol’shinstvo meaning the majority, and refers to the faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party led by Vladimir Ilich Lenin that achieved a majority on the Central Committee of the party at its 1903 congress. The opponents of Lenin at this congress came to be known as the Mensheviks. Bolshevik was officially used in the party title in 1917, and continued in subsequent party name changes until 1952. The term is often used loosely to refer to supporters of Lenin or to Russian communists more generally. Under Lenin Bolshevism was associated with the notions of the vanguard party and democratic centralism; under Josef Stalin it came to be linked to policies of socialism in one country, rapid industrialization, a collectivized agricultural sector, and centralized state control.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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