The Prague Conference, officially the 6th Conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, was held in Prague, Czechoslovakia on January 5-17 1912. 18 Bolsheviks attended, with both Joseph Stalin and Yakov Sverdlov being in exile at the time and not able to attend. Georgi Plekhanov claimed he was too ill to attend. At the conference, Lenin and his supporters broke away from the rest of the party and formed their own, purely Bolshevik, party.
The conference was meant to be secret (Lenin instructed: "No-one, no organisation must know about this.") but every detail was known by the Okhrana.
Seven people were elected to the Central Committee: Lenin, Zinoviev, Malinovsky (later revealed to be a spy for the Okhrana), Ordzhonikidze, Spandaryan (Stalin's best friend), Sverdlov (Soviet president 1917-19) and Goloshchekin. The latter four set up a Russian Bureau to direct the party along with Kalinin and Stalin, who led the Bureau. This ensured the domination of Bolsheviks in Russia as opposed to the emigres who were considered "null and void" by Ordzhonikidze. Spandaryan called for the emigre group to be dissolved.
After the conference, on Lenin and Zinoviev's recommendation, Joseph Stalin was co-opted to the Bolshevik Central Committee. Elena Stasova was made Secretary to the Russian Bureau. Stepan Shahumyan and Mikhail Kalinin (Soviet president 1919-46) became candidate Central Committee members. Ironically, Kalinin was suspected of being an Okhrana agent so was not a full member. Both were Stalin's comrades in the Caucasus.
Lenin wrote to Maxim Gorky: "At last we have succeeded, in spite of the Liquidator scum, in restoring the Party and its Central Committee. I hope you will rejoice with us over the fact." Stalin said: "This conference was of the utmost importance in the history of our Party, for it drew a boundary line between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks and amalgamated the Bolshevik organizations all over the country into a united Bolshevik Party."
- Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin, page 224
- Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin, page 205
- Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XXIX, p. 19.
- Verbatim Report of the Fifteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.[B.], Russ. ed., pp. 361-362.
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