Bund

Bund (Yiddish for ‘union’ or ‘league’). Jewish social democratic party, the full name of which was the General Jewish Workers' Union in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. Founded in Vilnius in 1897, it adopted a revolutionary Marxist program and represented Jewish workers and leftist intellectuals in the Russian Pale of Settlement, which included Ukraine. The Bund's representatives were present at the founding congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' party (RSDWP) in Minsk in 1898, and the Bund became an autonomous member of the RSDWP. Vladimir Lenin opposed the ‘separatist’ and ‘nationalist’ tendencies of the Bund. Consequently the Bund left the RSDWP in 1903; it returned in 1906 and aligned itself with the Mensheviks.

The Bund defended the principles of federalism and cultural-national autonomy in the Russian Empire. In 1912 it was expelled together with the Mensheviks from the Russian Social Democratic Workers' party by the Bolsheviks. After the Russian February Revolution of 1917 the Bund co-operated with the Russian Provisional Government, the Mensheviks, and the Socialist Revolutionaries. In Ukraine there were Bund representatives in the Ukrainian National Republic governments of the Central Rada and the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic. Yet, the Bund, which had 15,000 members in Ukraine at the time, did not support an independent Ukraine, and its representative, Moisei Rafes, voted against the Fourth of the Universals of the Central Rada. By 1919 the majority of the Bund's members had gone over to the side of ‘Soviet power.’ The Bund continued to function despite internal splits until 1921, when it was forced to dissolve. Its members then either joined the Bolshevik party or emigrated abroad. The Bund was active in interwar Poland, including Galicia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Gitelman, Z. Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics: The Jewish Sections of the CPSU, 1917–1930 (Princeton 1972)
Tobias, H. The Jewish Bund in Russia from Its Origins to 1905 (Stanford 1972)
Gitelman, Z. (ed). The Emergence of Modern Jewish Politics: Bundism and Zionism in Eastern Europe (Pittsburgh 2003)

Vasyl Markus, Roman Senkus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]




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