The impact of Stolypin’s coup on the trade union movement was both immediate and devastating. In 1907 alone, 159 trade unions were closed down and the closures were to continue. In 1908, 101 were closed, 96 in 1909 and in 1910 a further 88. Over the five-year period 1907–12, some 604 unions were refused legal registration, 206 union activists were imprisoned and 357 were given terms of administrative exile.1 In those unions that did survive closure, and the most important of these were in Petersburg, there was a catastrophic decline in membership during 1908. Consequent on this decline, the unions had to abandon any pretence they had had during the days of freedom to lead the workers’ economic struggle. They were forced to seek a new role. The drop in union membership was therefore only partly a result of fear of arrest or the sack, but resulted also from apathy caused by the initial lack of direction shown by the unions in the immediate post-coup years.


Trade Union Textile Worker Central Committee Central Bureau Social Democratic 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Elnitskii, op. cit., p. 285.Google Scholar
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    See the regular feature ‘Iz zhizni i deyatelnosti soyuza’ in the Metal Workers’ journal for the year in question. Also ‘Tsifrovye dannye o razvitii soyuza v 1908’, Edinstvo no. 1, 10 Feb 1909.Google Scholar
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    See N. V. Kuznetsov, ‘Partiya i profsoyuzy v gody reaktsii’, Voprosy istorii KPSS no. 4, 1958, p. 92. For contemporary comment see ‘Iz zhizni i deyatelnosti obshchestva’, Fabrichnyi Stanok no. 1/2, 29 May 1908;Google Scholar
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© Geoffrey Swain 1983

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  • Geoffrey Swain

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