Qualifying previous assessments of early-twentieth-century political terrorism in the Southern Caucasus, the author demonstrates the rationalistic approach to violence that was adopted by the Menshevik leadership of the Transcaucasian Social-Democratic party. He reconstructs the kind of division of work that was elaborated by the party’s strategists between 1901 and 1909, in a context of severe government repression ― with a) mobilisation of the mass of the workers for militant but mostly peaceful struggle, b) prevention of workers’ economic terrorism from below, and c) preservation of terrorism as a prerogative of the party. E. van Ree demonstrates that the conviction of the party’s leadership that autocracy could be only toppled through an organised mass struggle drove them to develop this dual standard ― confirming that social South Caucasian democrats were rational strategists, instead as mere apologists of heroism and violence as asserted in studies based on a psycho-historical model of interpretation.

The Redaction
CER: II-3.3.C-220