He became involved in the populist (narodnik) movement and joined 'The People's Will' in the 1880s. In 1896 he founded the 'Union of Socialist-Revolutionaries' in Saratov, later transferring its headquarters to Moscow. He wrote the Union's programme, Our Tasks, in 1898. The 'Northern Union', as it was also called, was one of the principal roots of the unified Socialist-Revolutionary Party (PSR) that emerged in 1901. A close associate of Argunov's in the Union was E.F. Azev, who turned out years later to be a police agent.
It united the 'Northern Union' with the 'Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries', also known as the 'Southern Party', that had been founded in Kiev in 1897 by V.M. Chernov and others, along with several othr groups. The 'Northern Party' had been mainly oriented toward urban organisation among intellectuals and (to a lesser extent) factory workers. It alo endorsed political terrorism. In these respects the Northern Union followed Narodnaya Volya. The Southern Party was more reluctant to endorse terrorism and wanted to organise the rural peasantry. The unified PSR adopted a compromise position, endorsing terrorism and organisational work among workers, peasants and intellectuals alike.
Argunov became a member of the Central Committee of the PSR and co-edited its journal, Revolutionary Rusia (Революционная Россия), together with M.R. Gots. Argunov was active in the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. During the First World War, Argunov was a 'Defencist' and was associated with the right wing of the PSR. Argunov opposed the Bolshevik Revolution and went into exile in 1922.
- Hildermeier, M., The Russian Socialist Revolutionary Party before the First World War. New York, 2000.
- Argunov's year of birth is variously given as 1862.