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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Menshevism came to be seen as the rival to Lenin's Bolshevism.  The Mensheviks were led by Martov.  They advocated a couple of fundamentally different elements than their more radical Bolshevik counterparts.  They believed that while a change in the Czarist Status Quo was needed for Russia, it needed to be a more gradual process.  They favored working with the parliamentary system in Russian politics.  Believing that working with the Duma would be able to generate more efficient results for Russian citizens, the Mensheviks were driven by liberalising the Status Quo as opposed to outwardly rejecting it.  This is evident in their continuation in World War I once they gained political power as the Provisional Government.  

The Mensheviks advocated a more democratic approach to change, as opposed to the Bolsheviks, who were more adamant that change could only happen with a core of dedicated revolutionaries leading the masses.  Trotksy was a Menshevik who countered Lenin's ideas with the belief that what Lenin and the Bolsheviks were advocating amounted to "dictatorship."  The Mensheviks were a theoretical difference to the Bolsheviks.