I am reading "Ten days that shook the world" and I got confused by the word "division" in the context below. I know it can either mean the military division or division in other meaning like splitting of organization after conflicts. And what makes it hard to interpret is what follows after that word: 'according to political parties, and not groups.'

Does it mean Bolshevik members didn't participate in the vote since they stood for the military unit division(or splitting from the main members- then the 'stood for' might mean "be in favor of"? like they agreed to split up the members and represent each?) But what does it mean to "according to political parties, and not groups"?

What does it mean to say groups in this context? Is this phrase connected to political parties or the word division? I am quite confused.. thank you for any of your thoughts for help!

More soldiers … Gzhelshakh; for the Front delegates, announcing that they had only decided to leave the Congress by a small majority, and that the Bolshevik members had not even taken part in the vote, as they stood for division according to political parties, and not groups. “Hundreds of delegates from the Front,” he said, “are being elected without the participation of the soldiers because the Army Committees are no longer the real representatives of the rank and file….” Lukianov, crying that officers like Kharash and Khintchuk could not represent the Army in this congress,—but only the high command. “The real inhabitants of the trenches want with all their hearts the transfer of Power into the hands of the Soviets, and they expect very much from it!”… The tide was turning.

  • This looks as though “stood for division” means that “voting in favor” was done by “standing up.” Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 20:33
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    Could it mean that the Bolsheviks 'stood for' (were in favour of) division of the Congress according to political parties and not according to groups? Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 8:00
  • @JeffMorrow so now I came to know the word division means the means of voting in the UK parliament. But still in the whole context I am still confused. So it's like choosing btwn division vs groups? Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 19:40
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    I am not sure that I understand it myself. I strongly suspect that Reed had a Russian translate for him from Russian documents and that translator did not write English well. I am not aware that Reed knew Russian. I think that it means that a close vote by the soldiers' group did not represent the majority opinion of soldiers, in part because soldiers who were Bolsheviks did not participate and because there were many officers in the soldier's group. But I am not sure. Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 20:06
  • @JeffMorrow yeah j suspected that since the word groups isnt capitalized and it wasnt clear to readers; thanks for ur version of translation as well! Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


Division means a way of voting (but I've never seen it used except when talking about the British Parliament).

See sense 9 here.

But I don't understand what it means by "groups".


In the British Parliament members voted on major issues by those on one side standing and walking to a small room where they were counted by "tellers" as they went through the doorway. At a later period all members stood and walked through one of two doors, one for "yes" and one for "no". This process was called a "division", and the rooms are called "division lobbies". The house is said to "divide".

John Reed, the author of Ten Days, was an American (US) journalist, and so might not have picked up on this usage. But British political culture and vocabulary was much imitated in early twentieth century Russia. I strongly suspect this meaning of "division" is the source of the usage in Ten Days.

I own a copy of Ten Days, but I haven't read it in perhaps 30 years, adn i don't recall the passage, so I am not sure.

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