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   Chapter 12 No.12

Ten Days That Shook the World By John Reed Characters: 221967

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:05

The Peasants' Congress

It was on November 18th that the snow came. In the morning we woke to window-ledges heaped white, and snowflakes falling so whirling thick that it was impossible to see ten feet ahead. The mud was gone; in a twinkling the gloomy city became white, dazzling. The droshki with their padded coachmen turned into sleights, bounding along the uneven street at headlong speed, their drivers' beards stiff and frozen…. In spite of Revolution, all Russia plunging dizzily into the unknown and terrible future, joy swept the city with the coming of the snow. Everybody was smiling; people ran into the streets, holding out their arms to the soft, falling flakes, laughing. Hidden was all the greyness; only the gold and coloured spires and cupolas, with heightened barbaric splendour, gleamed through the white snow.

Even the sun came out, pale and watery, at noon. The colds and rheumatism of the rainy months vanished. The life of the city grew gay, and the very Revolution ran swifter….

I sat one evening in a traktir-a kind of lower-class inn-across the street from the gates of Smolny; a low-ceilinged, loud place called "Uncle Tom's Cabin," much frequented by Red Guards. They crowded it now, packed close around the little tables with their dirty table-cloths and enormous china tea-pots, filling the place with foul cigarette-smoke, while the harassed waiters ran about crying "Seichass! Seichass! In a minute! Right away!"

In one corner sat a man in the uniform of a captain, addressing the assembly, which interrupted him at every few words.

"You are no better than murderers!" he cried. "Shooting down your

Russian brothers on the streets!"

"When did we do that?" asked a worker.

"Last Sunday you did it, when the yunkers-"

"Well, didn't they shoot us?" One man exhibited his arm in a sling.

"Haven't I got something to remember them by, the devils?"

The captain shouted at the top of his voice. "You should remain neutral! You should remain neutral! Who are you to destroy the legal Government? Who is Lenin? A German-"

"Who are you? A counter-revolutionist! A provocator!" they bellowed at him.

When he could make himself heard the captain stood up. "All right!" said he. "You call yourselves the people of Russia. But you're not the people of Russia. The peasants are the people of Russia. Wait until the peasants-"

"Yes," they cried, "wait until the peasants speak. We know what the peasants will say…. Aren't they workingmen like ourselves?"

In the long run, everything depended upon the peasants. While the peasants had been politically backward, still they had their own peculiar ideas, and they constituted more than eighty per cent of the people of Russia. The Bolsheviki had a comparatively small following among the peasants; and a permanent dictatorship of Russia by the industrial workers was impossible…. The traditional peasant party was the Socialist Revolutionary party; of all the parties now supporting the Soviet Government, the Left Socialist Revolutionaries were the logical inheritors of peasant leadership-and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, who were at the mercy of the organised city proletariat, desperately needed the backing of the peasants….

Meanwhile Smolny had not neglected the peasants. After the Land decree, one of the first actions of the new Tsay-ee-kah had been to call a Congress of Peasants, over the head of the Executive Committee of the Peasants' Soviets. A few days later was issued detailed Regulations for the Volost (Township) Land Committees, followed by Lenin's "Instruction to Peasants," (See App. XII, Sect. 1) which explained the Bolshevik revolution and the new Government in simple terms; and on November 16th, Lenin and Miliutin published the "Instructions to Provincial Emissaries," of whom thousands were sent by the Soviet Government into the villages.

1. Upon his arrival in the province to which he is accredited, the emissary should call a joint meeting of the Central Executive Committees of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, to whom he should make a report on the agrarian laws, and then demand that a joint plenary session of the Soviets be summoned….

2. He must study the aspects of the agrarian problem in the province.

a. Has the land-owners' property been taken over, and if so, in what districts?

b. Who administers the confiscated land-the former proprietor, or the Land Committees?

c. What has been done with the agricultural machinery and with the farm-animals?

3. Has the ground cultivated by the peasants been augmented?

4. How much and in what respect does the amount of land now under cultivation differ from the amount fixed by the Government as an average minimum?

5. The emissary must insist that, after the peasants have received the land, it is imperative that they increase the amount of cultivated land as quickly as possible, and that they hasten the sending of grain to the cities, as the only means of avoiding famine.

6. What are the measures projected or put into effect for the transfer of land from the land-owners to the Land Committees and similar bodies appointed by the Soviets?

7. It is desirable that agricultural properties well appointed and well organised should be administered by Soviets composed of the regular employees of those properties, under the direction of competent agricultural scientists.

All through the villages a ferment of change was going on, caused not only by the electrifying action of the Land decree, but also by thousands of revolutionary-minded peasant-soldiers returning from the front…. These men, especially, welcomed the call to a Congress of Peasants.

Like the old Tsay-ee-kah in the matter of the second Congress of Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets, the Executive Committee tried to prevent the Peasant Congress summoned by Smolny. And like the old Tsay-ee-kah, finding its resistance futile, the Executive Committee sent frantic telegrams ordering the election of Conservative delegates. Word was even spread among the peasants that the Congress would meet at Moghilev, and some delegates went there; but by November 23d about four hundred had gathered in Petrograd, and the party caucuses had begun….

The first session took place in the Alexander Hall of the Duma building, and the first vote showed that more than half of all the delegates were Left Socialist Revolutionaries, while the Bolsheviki controlled a bare fifth, the conservative Socialist Revolutionaries a quarter, and all the rest were united only in their opposition to the old Executive Committee, dominated by Avksentiev, Tchaikovsky and Peshekhonov….

The great hall was jammed with people and shaken with continual clamour; deep, stubborn bitterness divided the delegates into angry groups. To the right was a sprinkling of officers' epaulettes, and the patriarchal, bearded faces of the older, more substantial peasants; in the centre were a few peasants, non-commissioned officers, and some soldiers; and on the left almost all the delegates wore the uniforms of common soldiers. These last were the young generation, who had been serving in the army…. The galleries were thronged with workers-who, in Russia, still remember their peasant origin….

Unlike the old Tsay-ee-kah, the Executive Committee, in opening the session, did not recognise the Congress as official; the official Congress was called for December 13th; amid a hurricane of applause and angry cries, the speaker declared that this gathering was merely "Extraordinary Conference"… But the "Extraordinary Conference" soon showed its attitude toward the Executive Committee by electing as presiding officer Maria Spiridonova, leader of the Left Socialist Revolution aries.

Most of the first day was taken up by a violent debate as to whether the representatives of Volost Soviets should be seated, or only delegates from the Provincial bodies; and just as in the Workers' and Soldiers' Congress, an overwhelming majority declared in favour of the widest possible representation. Whereupon the old Executive Committee left the hall….

Almost immediately it was evident that most of the delegates were hostile to the Government of the People's Commissars. Zinoviev, attempting to speak for the Bolsheviki, was hooted down, and as he left the platform, amid laughter, there were cries, "There's how a People's Commissar sits in a mudpuddle!"

"We Left Socialist Revolutionaries refuse," cried Nazariev, a delegate from the Provinces, "to recognise this so-called Workers' and Peasants' Government until the peasants are represented in it. At present it is nothing but a dictatorship of the workers…. We insist upon the formation of a new Government which will represent the entire democracy!"

The reactionary delegates shrewdly fostered this feeling, declaring, in the face of protests from the Bolshevik benches, that the Council of People's Commissars intended either to control the Congress or dissolve it by force of arms-an announcement which was received by the peasants with bursts of fury….

On the third day Lenin suddenly mounted the tribune; for ten minutes the room went mad. "Down with him!" they shrieked. "We will not listen to any of your People's Commissars! We don't recognise your Government!"

Lenin stood there quite calmly, gripping the desk with both hands, his little eyes thoughtfully surveying the tumult beneath. Finally, except for the right side of the hall, the demonstration wore itself out somewhat.

"I do not come here as a member of the Council of People's

Commissars," said Lenin, and waited again for the noise to subside,

"but as a member of the Bolshevik faction, duly elected to this

Congress." And he held his credentials up to that all might see them.

"However," he went on, in an unmoved voice, "nobody will deny that the present Government of Russia has been formed by the Bolshevik party-" he had to wait a moment, "so that for all purposes it is the same thing…." Here the right benches broke into deafening clamour, but the centre and left were curious, and compelled silence.

Lenin's argument was simple. "Tell me frankly, you peasants, to whom we have given the lands of the pomieshtchiki; do you want now to prevent the workers from getting control of industry? This is class war. The pomieshtchiki of course oppose the peasants, and the manufactures oppose the workers. Are you going to allow the ranks of the proletariat to be divided? Which side will you be on?

"We, the Bolsheviki, are the party of the proletariat-of the peasant

proletariat as well as the industrial proletariat. We, the

Bolsheviki, are the protectors of the Soviets-of the Peasants'

Soviets as well as those of the Workers and Soldiers. The present

Government is a Government of Soviets; we have not only invited the

Peasants' Soviets to join that Government, but we have also invited

representatives of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to enter the

Council of People's Commissars….

"The Soviets are the most perfect representatives of the people-of the workers in the factories and mines, of the workers in the fields. Anybody who attempts to destroy the Soviets is guilty of an anti-democratic and counter-revolutionary act. And I serve notice here on you, comrades Right Socialist Revolutionaries-and on you, Messrs. Cadets-that if the Constituent Assembly attempts to destroy the Soviets, we shall not permit the Constituent Assembly to do this thing!"

On the afternoon of November 25th Tchernov arrived in hot haste from Moghilev, summoned by the Executive Committee. Only two months before considered an extreme revolutionist, and very popular with the peasants, he was now called to check the dangerous drift of the Congress toward the Left. Upon his arrival Tchernov was arrested and taken to Smolny, where, after a short conversation, he was released.

His first act was to bitterly rebuke the Executive Committee for leaving the Congress. They agreed to return, and Tchernov entered the hall, welcomed with great applause by the majority, and the hoots and jeers of the Bolsheviki.

"Comrades! I have been away. I participated in the Conference of the

Twelfth Army on the question of calling a Congress of all the

Peasant delegates of the armies of the Western Front, and I know

very little about the insurrection which occurred here-"

Zinoviev rose in his seat, and shouted, "Yes, you were away-for a few minutes!" Fearful tumult. Cries, "Down with the Bolsheviki!"

Tchernov continued. "The accusation that I helped lead an army on Petrograd has no foundation, and is entirely false. Where does such an accusation come from? Show me the source!"

Zinoviev: "Izviestia and Dielo Naroda-your own paper-that's where it comes from!"

Tchernov's wide face, with the small eyes, waving hair and greyish beard, became red with wrath, but he controlled himself and went on. "I repeat, I know practically nothing about what has happened here, and I did not lead any army except this army, (he pointed to the peasant delegates), which I am largely responsible for bringing here!" Laughter, and shouts of "Bravo!"

"Upon my return I visited Smolny. No such accusation was made against me there…. After a brief conversation I left-and that's all! Let any one present make such an accusation!"

An uproar followed, in which the Bolsheviki and some of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries were on their feet all at once, shaking their fists and yelling, and the rest of the assembly tried to yell them down.

"This is an outrage, not a session!" cried Tchernov, and he left the hall; the meeting was adjourned because of the noise and disorder….

Meanwhile, the question of the status of the Executive Committee was agitating all minds. By declaring the assembly "Extraordinary Conference," it had been planned to block the reelection of the Executive Committee. But this worked both ways; the Left Socialist Revolutionists decided that if the Congress had no power over the Executive Committee, then the Executive Committee had no power over the Congress. On November 25th the assembly resolved that the powers of the Executive Committee be assumed by the Extraordinary Conference, in which only members of the Executive who had been elected as delegates might vote….

The next day, in spite of the bitter opposition of the Bolsheviki, the resolution was amended to give all the members of the Executive Committee, whether elected as delegates or not, voice and vote in the assembly.

On the 27th occurred the debate on the Land question, which revealed the differences between the agrarian programme of the Bolsheviki and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries.

Kolchinsky, for the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, outlined the history of the Land question during the Revolution. The first Congress of Peasants' Soviets, he said, had voted a precise and formal resolution in favour of putting the landed estates immediately into the hands of the Land Committees. But the directors of the Revolution, and the bourgeois in the Government, had insisted that the question could not be solved until the Constituent Assembly met…. The second period of the Revolution, the period of "compromise," was signalled by the entrance of Tchernov into the Cabinet. The peasants were convinced that now the practical solution of the Land question would begin; but in spite of the imperative decision of the first Peasant Congress, the reactionaries and conciliators in the Executive Committee had prevented any action. This policy provoked a series of agrarian disorders, which appeared as the natural expression of impatience and thwarted energy on the part of the peasants. The peasants understood the exact meaning of the Revolution-they tried to turn words into action….

"The recent events," said the orator, "do not indicate a simple riot, or a 'Bolshevik adventure,' but on the contrary, a real popular rising, which has been greeted with sympathy by the whole country….

"The Bolsheviki in general took the correct attitude toward the Land question; but in recommending that the peasants seize the land by force, they committed a profound error…. From the first days, the Bolsheviki declared that the peasants should take over the land 'by revolutionary mass action.' This is nothing but anarchy; the land can be taken over in an organised manner…. For the Bolsheviki it was important that the problems of the Revolution should be solved in the quickest possible manner-but the Bolsheviki were not interested in how these problems were to be solved….

"The Land decree of the Congress of Soviets is identical in its fundamentals with the decisions of the first Peasants' Congress. Why then did not the new Government follow the tactics outlined by that Congress? Because the Council of People's Commissars wanted to hasten the settlement of the Land question, so that the Constituent Assembly would have nothing to do….

"But also the Government saw that it was necessary to adopt practical measures, so without further reflection, it adopted the Regulations for Land Committees, thus creating a strange situation; for the Council of People's Commissars abolished private property in land, but the Regulations drawn up by the Land Committees are based on private property…. However, no harm has been done by that; for the Land Committees are paying no attention to the Soviet decrees, but are putting into operation their own practical decisions-decisions based on the will of the vast majority of the peasants….

"These Land Committees are not attempting the legislative solution of the Land question, which belongs to the Constituent Assembly alone…. But will the Constituent Assembly desire to do the will of the Russian peasants? Of that we cannot be sure…. All we can be sure of is that the revolutionary determination of the peasants is now aroused, and that the Constituent will be forced to settle the Land question the way the peasants want it settled…. The Constituent Assembly will not dare to break with the will of the people…."

Followed him Lenin, listened to now with absorbing intensity. "At this moment we are not only trying to solve the Land question, but the question of Social Revolution-not only here in Russia, but all over the world. The Land question cannot be solved independently of the other problems of the Social Revolution…. For example, the confiscation of the landed estates will provoke the resistance not only of Russian land-owners, but also of foreign capital-with whom the great landed properties are connected through the intermediary of the banks….

"The ownership of the land in Russia is the basis for immense oppression, and the confiscation of the land by the peasants is the most important step of our Revolution. But it cannot be separated from the other steps, as is clearly manifested by the stages through which the Revolution has had to pass. The first stage was the crushing of autocracy and the crushing of the power of the industrial capitalists and land-owners, whose interests are closely related. The second stage was the strengthening of the Soviets and the political compromise with the bourgeoisie. The mistake of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries lies in the fact that at that time they did not oppose the policy of compromise, because they held the theory that the consciousness of the masses was not yet fully developed….

"If Socialism can only be realised when the intellectual development of all the people permits it, then we shall not see Socialism for at least five hundred years…. The Socialist political party-this is the vanguard of the working-class; it must not allow itself to be halted by the lack of education of the mass average, but it must lead the masses, using the Soviets as organs of revolutionary initiative…. But in order to lead the wavering, the comrades Left Socialist Revolutionaries themselves must stop hesitating….

"In July last a series of open breaks began between the popular masses and the 'compromisers'; but now, in November, the Left Socialist Revolutionaries are still holding out their hand to Avksentiev, who is pulling the people with his little finger…. If Compromise continues, the Revolution disappears. No compromise with the bourgeoisie is possible; its power must be absolutely crushed….

"We Bolsheviki have not changed our Land programme; we have not given up the abolition of private property in the land, and we do not intend to do so. We adopted the Regulations for Land Committees,-which are not based on private property at all-because we want to accomplish the popular will in the way the people have themselves decided to do it, so as to draw closer the coalition of all the elements who are fighting for the Social Revolution.

"We invite the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to enter that coalition, insisting, however, that they cease looking backward, and that they break with the 'conciliators' of their party….

"As far as the Constituent Assembly is concerned, it is true, as the preceding speaker has said, that the work of the Constituent will depend on the revolutionary determination of the masses. I say, 'Count on that revolutionary determination, but don't forget your gun!'"

Lenin then read the Bolshevik resolution:

The Peasants' Congress, fully supporting the Land decree of November 8th… approves of the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Russian Republic, established by the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

The Peasants' Congress… invites all peasants unanimously to sustain that law, and to apply it immediately themselves; and at the same time invites the peasants to appoint to posts and positions of responsibility only persons who have proved, not by words but by acts, their entire devotion to the interests of the exploited peasant-workers, their desire and their ability to defend these interests against all resistance on the part of the great land-owners, the capitalists, their partisans and accomplices….

The Peasants' Congress, at the same time, expresses its conviction that the complete realisation of all the measures which make up the Land decree can only be successful through the triumph of the Workers' Social Revolution, which began November 7th, 1917; for only the Social Revolution can accomplish the definite transfer, without possibility of return, of the land to the peasant-workers, the confiscation of model farms and their surrender to the peasant communes, the confiscation of agricultural machinery belonging to the great land-owners, the safe-guarding of the interests of the agricultural workers by the complete abolition of wage-slavery, the regular and methodical distribution among all regions of Russia of the products of agriculture and industry, and the seizure of the banks (without which the possession of land by the whole people would be impossible, after the abolition of private property), and all sorts of assistance by the State to the workers….

For these reasons the Peasants' Congress sustains entirely the Revolution of November 7th… as a social revolution, and expresses its unalterable will to put into operation, with whatever modifications are necessary, but without any hesitation, the social transformation of the Russian Republic.

The indispensable conditions of the victory of the Social Revolution, which alone will secure the lasting success and the complete realisation of the Land decree, is the close union of the peasant-workers with the industrial working-class, with the proletariat of all advanced countries. From now on, in the Russian Republic, all the organisation and administration of the State, from top to bottom, must rest on that union. That union, crushing all attempts, direct or indirect, open or dissimulated, to return to the policy of conciliation with the bourgeoisie-conciliation, damned by experience, with the chiefs of bourgeois politics-can alone insure the victory of Socialism throughout the world….

The reactionaries of the Executive Committee no longer dared openly to appear. Tchernov, however, spoke several times, with a modest and winning impartiality. He was invited to sit on the platform…. On the second night of the Congress an anonymous note was handed up to the chairman, requesting that Tchernov be made honorary President. Ustinov read the note aloud, and immediately Zinoviev was on his feet, screaming that this was a trick of the old Executive Committee to capture the convention; in a moment the hall was one bellowing mass of waving arms and angry faces, on both sides…. Nevertheless, Tchernov remained very popular.

In the stormy debates on the Land question and the Lenin resolution, the Bolsheviki were twice on the point of quitting the assembly, both times restrained by their leaders…. It seemed to me as if the Congress were hopelessly deadlocked.

But none of us knew that a series of secret conferences were already going on between the Left Socialist Revolutionaries and the Bolsheviki at Smolny. At first the Left Socialist Revolutionaries had demanded that there be a Government composed of all the Socialist parties in and out of the Soviets, to be responsible to a People's Council, composed of an equal number of delegates from the Workers' and Soldiers' organisation, and that of the Peasants, and completed by representatives of the City Dumas and the Zemstvos; Lenin and Trotzky were to be eliminated, and the Military Revolutionary Committee and other repressive organs dissolved.

Wednesday morning, November 28th, after a terrible all-night struggle, an agreement was reached. The _Tsay-ee-kah,_composed of 108 members, was to be augumented by 108 members elected proportionally from the Peasants' Congress; by 100 delegates elected directly from the Army and the Fleet; and by 50 representatives of the Trade Unions (35 from the general Unions, 10 Railway Workers, and 5 from the Post and Telegraph Workers). The Dumas and Zemstvos were dropped. Lenin and Trotzky remained in the Government, and the Military Revolutionary Committee continued to function.

The sessions of the Congress had now been removed to the Imperial Law School building, Fontanka 6, headquarters of the Peasants' Soviets. There in the great meeting-hall the delegates gathered on Wednesday afternoon. The old Executive Committee had withdrawn, and was holding a rump convention of its own in another room of the same building, made up of bolting delegates and representatives of the Army Committees.

Tchernov went from one meeting to the other, keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings. He knew that an agreement with the Bolsheviki was being discussed, but he did not know that it had been concluded.

He spoke to the rump convention. "At present, when everybody is in favour of forming an all-Socialist Government, many people forget the first Ministry, which was not a coalition Government, and in which there was only one Socialist-Kerensky; a Government which, in its time, was very popular. Now people accuse Kerensky; they forget that he was raised to power, not only by the Soviets, but also by the popular masses….

"Why did public opinion change toward Kerensky? The savages set up gods to which they pray, and which they punish if one of their prayers is not answered…. That is what is happening at this moment…. Yesterday Kerensky; to-day Lenin and Trotzky; another to-morrow….

"We have proposed to both Kerensky and the Bolsheviki to retire from the power. Kerensky has accepted-to-day he announced from his hiding-place that he has resigned as Premier; but the Bolsheviki wish to retain the power, and they do not know how to use it….

"If the Bolsheviki succeed, or if they fail, the fate of Russia will not be changed. The Russian villages understand perfectly what they want, and they are now carrying out their own measures…. The villages will save us in the end…."

In the meanwhile, in the great hall Ustinov had announced the agreement between the Peasants' Congress and Smolny, received by the delegates with the wildest joy. Suddenly Tchernov appeared, and demanded the floor.

"I understand," he began, "that an agreement is being concluded between the Peasants' Congress and Smolny. Such an agreement would be illegal, seeing that the true Congress of Peasants' Soviets does not meet until next week….

"Moreover, I want to warn you now that the Bolsheviki will never accept your demands…."

He was interrupted by a great burst of laughter; and realising the situation, he left the platform and the room, taking his popularity with him….

Late in the afternoon of Thursday, November 16th, the Congress met in extraordinary session. There was a holiday feeling in the air; on every face was a smile…. The remainder of the business before the assembly was hurried through, and then old Nathanson, the white-bearded dean of the left wing of the Socialist Revolutionaries, his voice trembling and tears in his eyes, read the report of the "wedding" of the Peasants' Soviets with the Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets. At every mention of the word "union" there was ecstatic applause…. At the end Ustinov announced the arrival rival of a delegation from Smolny, accompanied by representatives of the Red Army, greeted with a rising ovation. One after another a workman, a soldier and a sailor took the floor, hailing them.

Then Boris Reinstein, delegate of the American Socialist Labor Party: "The day of the union of the Congress of Peasants and the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies is one of the great days of the Revolution. The sound of it will ring with resounding echoes throughout the whole world-in Paris, in London, and across the ocean-in New York. This union will fill with happiness the hearts of all toilers.

"A great idea has triumphed. The West, and America, expected from Russia, from the Russian proletariat, something tremendous…. The proletariat of the world is waiting for the Russian Revolution, waiting for the great things that it is accomplishing…."

Sverdlov, president of the Tsay-ee-kah, greeted them. And with the shout, "Long live the end of civil war! Long live the United Democracy!" the peasants poured out of the building.

It was already dark, and on the ice-covered snow glittered the pale light of moon and star. Along the bank of the canal were drawn up in full marching order the soldiers of the Pavlovsky Regiment, with their band, which broke into the Marseillaise. Amid the crashing full-throated shouts of the soldiers, the peasants formed in line, unfurling the great red banner of the Executive Committee of the All-Russian Peasants' Soviets, embroidered newly in gold, "Long live the union of the revolutionary and toiling masses!" Following were other banners; of the District Soviets-of Putilov Factory, which read, "We bow to this flag in order to create the brotherhood of all people!"

From somewhere torches appeared, blazing orange in the night, a thousand times reflected in the facets of the ice, streaming out smokily over the throng as it moved down the bank of the Fontanka singing, between crowds that stood in astonished silence.

"Long live the Revolutionary Army! Long live the Red Guard! Long live the Peasants!"

So the great procession wound through the city, growing and unfurling ever new red banners lettered in gold. Two old peasants, bowed with toil, were walking hand in hand, their faces illumined with child-like bliss.

"Well," said one, "I'd like to see them take away our land again, now!"

Near Smolny the Red Guard was lined up on both sides of the street, wild with delight. The other old peasant spoke to his comrade, "I am not tired," he said. "I walked on air all the way!"

On the steps of Smolny about a hundred Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies were massed, with their banner, dark against the blaze of light streaming out between the arches. Like a wave they rushed down, clasping the peasants in their arms and kissing them; and the procession poured in through the great door and up the stairs, with a noise like thunder….

In the immense white meeting-room the Tsay-ee-kah was waiting, with the whole Petrograd Soviet and a thousand spectators beside, with that solemnity which attends great conscious moments in history.

Zinoviev announced the agreement with the Peasants' Congress, to a shaking roar which rose and burst into storm as the sound of music blared down the corridor, and the head of the procession came in. On the platform the presidium rose and made place for the Peasants' presidium, the two embracing; behind them the two banners were intertwined against the white wall, over the empty frame from which the Tsar's picture had been torn….

Then opened the "triumphal session." After a few words of welcome from Sverdlov, Maria Spiridonova, slight, pale, with spectacles and hair drawn flatly down, and the air of a New England school-teacher, took the tribune-the most loved and the most powerful woman in all Russia.

"… Before the workers of Russia open now horizons which history has never known…. All workers' movements in the past have been defeated. But the present movement is international, and that is why it is invincible. There is no force in the world which can put out the fire of the Revolution! The old world crumbles down, the new world begins…."

Then Trotzky, full of fire: "I wish you welcome, comrades peasants! You come here not as guests, but as masters of this house, which holds the heart of the Russian Revolution. The will of millions of workers is now concentrated in this hall…. There is now only one master of the Russian land: the union of the workers, soldiers and peasants…."

With biting sarcasm he went on to speak of the Allied diplomats, till then contemptuous of Russia's invitation to an armistice, which had been accepted by the Central Powers.

"A new humanity will be born of this war…. In this hall we swear to workers of all lands to remain at our revolutionary post. If we are broken, then it will be in defending our flag…."

Krylenko followed him, explaining the situation at the front, where

Dukhonin was preparing to resist the Council of People's Commissars.

"Let Dukhonin and those with him understand well that we shall not

deal gently with those who bar the road to peace!"

Dybenko saluted the assembly in the name of the Fleet, and Krushinsky, member of the Vikzhel, said, "From this moment, when the union of all true Socialists is realised, the whole army of railway workers places itself absolutely at the disposition of the revolutionary democracy!" And Lunatcharsky, almost weeping, and Proshian, for the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, and finally Saharashvili, for the United Social Democrats Internationalists, composed of members of the Martov's and of Gorky's groups, who declared:

"We left the Tsay-ee-kah because of the uncompromising policy of the Bolsheviki, and to force them to make concessions in order to realise the union of all the revolutionary democracy. Now that that union is brought about, we consider it a sacred duty to take our places once more in the Tsay-ee-kah…. We declare that all those who have withdrawn from the Tsay-ee-kah should now return."

Stachkov, a dignified old peasant of the presidium of the Peasants' Congress, bowed to the four corners of the room. "I greet you with the christening of a new Russian life and freedom!"

Gronsky, in the name of the Polish Social Democracy; Skripnik, for the Factory-Shop Committees; Tifonov, for the Russian soldiers at Salonika; and others, interminably, speaking out of full hearts, with the happy eloquence of hopes fulfilled….

It was late in the night when the following resolution was put and passed unanimously:

"The Tsay-ee-kah, united in extraordinary session with the Petrograd Soviet and the Peasants' Congress, confirms the Land and Peace decrees adopted by the second Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, and also the decree on Workers' Control adopted by the Tsay-ee-kah.

"The joint session of the Tsay-ee-kah and the Peasants' Congress expresses its firm conviction that the union of workers, soldiers and peasants, this fraternal union of all the workers and all exploited, will consolidate the power conquered by them, that it will take all revolutionary measures to hasten the passing of the power into the hands of the working-class in other countries, and that it will assure in this manner the lasting accomplishment of a just peace and the victory of Socialism." (See App. XI, Sect. 2)



Oborontsi-"Defenders." All the "moderate" Socialist groups adopted or were given this name, because they consented to the continuation of the war under Allied leadership, on the ground that it was a war of National Defence. The Bolsheviki, the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, the Mensheviki Internationalists (Martov's faction), and the Social Democrats Internationalists (Gorky's group) were in favour of forcing the Allies to declare democratic war-aims, and to offer peace to Germany on those terms….



The following tables of wages and costs were compiled, in October, 1917, by a joint Committee from the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and the Moscow section of the Ministry of Labour, and published in Novaya Zhizn, October 26th, 1917:

Wages Per Day-(Rubles and kopeks)

+------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Trade | July 1914 | July 1916 | August 1917 | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Carpenter, | 1.60-2. | 4. -6. | 8.50 | | Cabinet-maker | | | | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Terrassier | 1.30-1.50 | 3. -3.50 | | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Mason, plasterer | 1.70-2.35 | 4. -6. | 8. | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Painter, upholsterer | 1.80-2.20 | 3. -5.50 | 8. | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Blacksmith | 1. -2.25 | 4. -5. | 8.50 | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Chimney-sweep | 1.50-2. | 4. -5.50 | 7.50 | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Locksmith | .90-2. | 3.50-6. | 9. | +------------+-------+-------+--------+ | Helper | 1. -1.50 | 2.50-4.50 | 8. | +------------+-------+-------+--------+

In spite of numerous stories of gigantic advances in wages immediately following the Revolution of March, 1917, these figures, which were published by the Ministry of Labour as characteristic of conditions all over Russia, show that wages did not rise immediately after the Revolution, but little by little. On an average, wages increased slightly more than 500 per cent….

But at the same time the value of the ruble fell to less than one-third its former purchasing power, and the cost of the necessities of life increased enormously.

The following table was compiled by the Municipal Duma of Moscow, where food was cheaper and more plentiful than in Petrograd:

Cost of Food-(Rubles and Kopeks)

+-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | | August 1914 | August 1917 | % Increase | | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Black bread | (Fund) | .02 1/2 | .12 | 330 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | White bread | (Fund) | .05 | .20 | 300 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Beef | (Fund) | .22 | 1.10 | 400 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Veal | (Fund) | .26 | 2.15 | 727 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Pork | (Fund) | .23 | 2. | 770 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Herring | (Fund) | .06 | .52 | 767 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Cheese | (Fund) | .40 | 3.50 | 754 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Butter | (Fund) | .48 | 3.20 | 557 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Eggs | (Doz.) | .30 | 1.60 | 443 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+ | Milk | (Krushka) | .07 | .40 | 471 | +-------+--------+--------+-------+---+

On an average, food increased in price 556 per cent, or 51 per cent more than wages.

As for the other necessities, the price of these increased tremendously.

The following table was compiled by the Economic section of the

Moscow Soviet of Workers' Deputies, and accepted as correct by the

Ministry of Supplies of the Provisional Government.

Cost of Other Necessities-(Rubles and Kopeks)

+-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | | August 1914 | August | % | | | | | 1917 | Increase | | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Calico | (Arshin) | .11 | 1.40 | 1173 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Cotton | (Arshin) | .15 | 2. | 1233 | | cloth | | | | | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Dress Goods | (Arshin) | 2. | 40. | 1900 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Castor | (Arshin) | 6. | 80. | 1233 | | Cloth | | | | | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Men's Shoes | (Pair) | 12. | 144. | 1097 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Sole | | 20. | 400. | 1900 | | Leather | | | | | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Rubbers | (Pair) | 2.50 | 15. | 500 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Men's | (Suit) | 40. | 400.–455. | 900–1109 | | Clothing | | | | | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Tea | (Fund) | 4.50 | 18. | 300 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Matches | (Carton) | .10 | .50 | 400 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Soap | (Pood) | 4.50 | 40. | 780 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Gasoline | (Vedro) | 1.70 | 11. | 547 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Candles | (Pood) | 8.50 | 100. | 1076 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Caramel | (Fund) | .30 | 4.50 | 1400 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Fire Wood | (Load) | 10. | 120. | 1100 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Charcoal | | .80 | 13. | 1525 | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+ | Sundry | | 1. | 20. | 1900 | | Metal Ware | | | | | +-------+--------+-------+-------+-----+

On an average, the above categories of necessities increased about 1,109 per cent in price, more than twice the increase of salaries. The difference, of course, went into the pockets of speculators and merchants.

In September, 1917, when I arrived in Petrograd, the average daily wage of a skilled industrial worker-for example, a steel-worker in the Putilov Factory-was about 8 rubles. At the same time, profits were enormous…. I was told by one of the owners of the Thornton Woollen Mills, an English concern on the outskirts of Petrograd, that while wages had increased about 300 per cent in his factory, his profits had gone up 900 per cent.



The history of the efforts of the Socialists in the Provisional Government of July to realise their programme in coalition with the bourgeois Ministers, is an illuminating example of class struggle in politics. Says Lenin, in explanation of this phenomenon:

"The capitalists, … seeing that the position of the Government was untenable, resorted to a method which since 1848 has been for decades practised by the capitalists in order to befog, divide, and finally overpower the working-class. This method is the so-called 'Coalition Ministry,' composed of bourgeois and of renegades from the Socialist camp.

"In those countries where political freedom and democracy have existed side by side with the revolutionary movement of the workers-for example in England and France-the capitalists make use of this subterfuge, and very successfully too. The 'Socialist' leaders, upon entering the Ministries, invariably prove mere figure-heads, puppets, simply a shield for the capitalists, a tool with which to defraud the workers. The 'democratic' and 'republican' capitalists in Russia set in motion this very same scheme. The Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviki fell victim to it, and on June 1st a 'Coalition' Ministry, with the participation of Tchernov, Tseretelli, Skobeliev, Avksentiev, Savinkov, Zarudny and Nikitin became an accomplished fact…."-Problems of the Revolution.



In the first week of October, 1917, Novaya Zhizn published the following comparative table of election results, pointing out that this meant the bankruptcy of the policy of Coalition with the propertied classes. "If civil war can yet be avoided, it can only be done by a united front of all the revolutionary democracy…."

Elections for the Moscow Central and Ward Dumas.

+---------------+------+------+ | June 1917_September_ 1917 | | | +---------------+------+------+ | Socialist Revolutionaries | 58 Members | 14 Members | +---------------+------+------+ | Cadets | 17 Members | 30 Members | +---------------+------+------+ | Mensheviki | 12 Members | 4 Members | +---------------+------+------+ | Bolsheviki | 11 Members | 47 Members | +---------------+------+------+



September 18th. The Cadet Shulgin, writing in a Kiev newspaper, said that the Provisional Government's declaration that Russia was a Republic constituted a gross abuse of its powers. "We cannot admit either a Republic, or the present Republican Government…. And we are not sure that we want a Republic in Russia…."

October 23d. At a meeting of the Cadet party held at Riazan, M.

Dukhonin declared, "On March 1st we must establish a Constitutional

Monarchy. We must not reject the legitimate heir to the throne,

Mikhail Alexandrovitch…."

October 27th. Resolution passed by the Conference of Business Men at


"The Conference… insists that the Provisional Government take the following immediate measures in the Army:

"1. Forbidding of all political propaganda; the Army must be out of politics.

"2. Propaganda of antinational and international ideas and theories deny the necessity for armies, and hurt discipline; it should be forbidden, and all propagandists punished….

"3. The function of the Army Committees must be limited to economic questions exclusively. All their decisions should be confirmed by their superior officers, who have the right to dissolve the Committees at any time….

"4. The salute to be reestablished, and made obligatory. Full reestablishment of disciplinary power in the hands of officers, with right of review of sentence….

"5. Expulsion from the Corps of Officers of those who dishonour it by participating in the movement of the soldier-masses, which teaches them disobedience…. Reestablishment for this purpose of the Courts of Honor….

"6. The Provisional Government should take the necessary measures to make possible the return to the army of Generals and other officers unjustly discharged under the influence of Committees, and other irresponsible organisations…."



The Kornilov revolt is treated in detail in my forthcoming volume, "Kornilov to Brest-Litovsk." The responsibility of Kerensky for the situation which gave rise to Kornilov's attempt is now pretty clearly established. Many apologists for Kerensky say that he knew of Kornilov's plans, and by a trick drew him out prematurely, and then crushed him. Even Mr. A. J. Sack, in his book, "The Birth of the Russian Democracy," says:

"Several things… are almost certain. The first is that Kerensky knew

about the movement of several detachments from the Front toward

Petrograd, and it is possible that as Prime Minister and Minister of

War, realising the growing Bolshevist danger, he called for them…."

The only flaw in that argument is that there was no "Bolshevist danger" at that time, the Bolsheviki still being a powerless minority in the Soviets, and their leaders in jail or hiding.



When the Democratic Conference was first proposed to Kerensky, he suggested an assembly of all the elements in the nation-"the live forces," as he called them-including bankers, manufacturers, land-owners, and representatives of the Cadet party. The Soviet refused, and drew up the following table of representation, which Kerensky agreed to:

+--------+--------------------------+ | 100 delegates | All-Russian Soviets Workers' and Soldiers' | | | Deputies | +--------+--------------------------+ | 100 delegates | All-Russian Soviets Peasants' Deputies | +--------+--------------------------+ | 50 delegates | Provincial Soviets Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies | +--------+--------------------------+ | 50 delegates | Peasants' District Land Committees | +--------+--------------------------+ | 100 delegates | Trade Unions | +--------+--------------------------+ | 84 delegates | Army Committees at the Front | +--------+--------------------------+ | 150 delegates | Workers' and Peasants' Cooperative Societies | +--------+--------------------------+ | 20 delegates | Railway Workers' Union | +--------+--------------------------+ | 10 delegates | Post and Telegraph Workers' Union | +--------+--------------------------+ | 20 delegates | Commercial Clerks | +--------+--------------------------+ | 15 delegates | Liberal Professions-Doctors, Lawyers, | | | Journalists, etc. | +--------+--------------------------+ | 50 delegates | Provincial Zemstvos | +--------+--------------------------+ | 59 delegates | Nationalist Organisations-Poles, Ukraineans, etc. | +--------+--------------------------+

This proportion was altered twice or three times. The final disposition of delegates was:

+--------+--------------------------+ | 300 delegates | All-Russian Soviets Workers', Soldiers' & | | | Peasants' Deputies | +--------+--------------------------+ | 300 delegates | Cooperative Societies | +--------+--------------------------+ | 300 delegates | Municipalities | +--------+--------------------------+ | 150 delegates | Army Committees at the Front | +--------+--------------------------+ | 150 delegates | Provincial Zemstvos | +--------+--------------------------+ | 200 delegates | Trade Unions | +--------+--------------------------+ | 100 delegates | Nationalist Organisations | +--------+--------------------------+ | 200 delegates | Several small groups | +--------+--------------------------+



On September 28th, 1917, Izviestia, organ of the Tsay-ee-kah, published an article which said, speaking of the last Provisional Ministry:

"At last a truly democratic government, born of the will of all classes of the Russian people, the first rough form of the future liberal parliamentary régime, has been formed. Ahead of us is the Constituent Assembly, which will solve all questions of fundamental law, and whose composition will be essentially democratic. The function of the Soviets is at an end, and the time is approaching when they must retire, with the rest of the revolutionary machinery, from the stage of a free and victorious people, whose weapons shall hereafter be the peaceful ones of political action."

The leading article of Izviestia for October 23d was called, "The Crisis in the Soviet Organisations." It began by saying that travellers reported a lessening activity of local Soviets everywhere. "This is natural," said the writer. "For the people are becoming interested in the more permanent legislative organs-the Municipal Dumas and the Zemstvs….

"In the important centres of Petrograd and Moscow, where the Soviets were best organised, they did not take in all the democratic elements…. The majority of the intellectuals did not participate, and many workers also; some of the workers because they were politically backward, others because the centre of gravity for them was in their Unns…. We cannot deny that these organisations are firmly united with the masses, whose everyday needs are better served by them….

"That the local democratic administrations are being energetically organised is highly important. The City Dumas are elected by universal suffrage, and in purely local matters have more authority than the Soviets. Not a single democrat will see anything wrong in this….

"… Elections to the Municipalities are being conduct in a better and more democratic way than the elections to the Soviets… All classes are represented in the Municipalities…. And as soon as the local Self-Governments begin to organise life in the Municipalities, the r?le of the local Soviets naturally ends….

"… There are two factors in the falling off of interest in the Soviets. The first we may attribute to the lowering of political interest in the masses; the second, to the growing effort of provincial and local governing bodies to organise the building of new Russia…. The more the tendency lies in this latter direction, the sooner disappears the significance of the Soviets….

"We ourselves are being called the 'undertakers' of our own organisation. In reality, we ourselves are the hardest workers in constructing the new Russia….

"When autocracy and the whole bureaucratic régime fell, we set up the Soviets as a barracks in which all the democracy cod find temporary shelter. Now, instead of barracks, we are building the permanent edifice of a new system, and naturally the people will gradually leave the barracks for more comfortable quarters."



"The purpose of the Democratic Conference, which was called by the Tsay-ee-kah, was to do away with the irresponsible personal government which produced Kornilov, and to establish a responsible government which would be capable of finishing the war, and ensure the calling of the Constituent Assembly at the given time. In the meanwhile behind the back of the Democratic Conference, by trickery, by deals between Citizen Kerensky, the Cadets, and the leaders of the Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary parties, we received the opposite result from the officially announced purpose. A power was created around which and in which we have open and secret Kornilovs playing leading parts. The irresponsibility of the Government is offically proclaimed, when it is announced that the Council of the Russian Republic is to be a consultative and not legislative body. In the eighth month of the Revolution, the irresponsible Government creates a cover for itself in this new edition of Bieligen's Duma.

"The propertied classes have entered this Provision Council in a proportion which clearly shows, from elections all over the country, that many of them have no right here whatever. In spite of that the Cadet party, which until yesterday wanted the Provisional Government to be responsible to the State Duma-this same Cadet party secured the independence Assembly the propertied classes will no doubt have as favourable position than they have in this Council, and they will not be able to be irresponsible to the Constituent Assembly.

"If the propertied classes were really getting ready for the Constituent Assembly six weeks from now, there could be no reason for establishing the irresponsibility of the Government at this time. The whole truth is that the bourgeoisie, which directs the policies of the Provisional Government, has for its aim to break the Constituent Assembly. At present this is the main purpose of the propertied classes, which control our entire national policy-external and internal. In the industrial, agrarian and supply departments the politics of the propertied classes, acting with the Government, increases the natural disorganisation caused by the war. The propertied classes, which are provoking a peasants' revolt! The propertied classes, which are provoking civil war, and openly hold their course on the bony hand of hunger, with which they intend to overthrow the Revolution and finish with the Constituent Assembly!

"No less criminal also is the international policy of the bourgeoisie and its Government. After forty months of war, the capital is threatened with mortal danger. In reply to this arises a plan to move the Government to Moscow. The idea of abandoning the capital does not stir the indignation of the bourgeoisie. Just the opposite. It is accepted as a natural part of the general policy designed to promote counter-revolutionary conspiracy. … Instead of recognising that the salvation of the country lies in concluding peace, instead of throwing openly the idea of immediate peace to all the worn-out peoples, over the heads of diplomats and imperialists, and making the continuation of the war impossible,-the Provisional Government, by order of the Cadets, the Counter-Revolutionists and the Allied Imperialists, without sense, without purpose and without a plan, continues to drag on the murderous war, sentencing to useless death new hundreds of thousands of soldiers and sailors, and preparing to give up Petrograd, and to wreck the Revolution. At a time when Bolshevik soldiers and sailors are dying with other soldiers and sailors as a result of the mistakes and crimes of others, the so-called Supreme Commander (Kerensky) continues to suppress the Bolshevik press. The leading parties of the Council are acting as a voluntary cover for these policies.

"We, the faction of Social Democrats Bolsheviki, announce that with this Government of Treason to the People we have nothing in common. We have nothing in common with the work of these Murderers of the People which goes on behind official curtains. We refuse either directly or indirectly to cover up one day of this work. While Wilhelm's troops are threatening Petrograd, the Government of Kerensky and Kornilov is preparing to run away from Petrograd and turn Moscow into a base of counter-revolution!

"We warn the Moscow workers and soldiers to be on their guard. Leaving this Council, we appeal to the manhood and wisdom of the workers, peasants and soldiers of all Russia. Petrograd is in danger! The Revolution is in danger! The Government has increased the danger-the ruling classes intensify it. Only the people themselves can save themselves and the country.

"We appeal to the people. Long live immediate, honest, democratic peace! All power to the Soviets! All land to the people! Long live the Constituent Assembly!"




(Passed by the Tsay-ee-kah and given to Skobeliev as an instruction for the representative of the Russian Revolutionary democracy at the Paris Conference.)

The peace treaty must be based on the principle, "No annexations, no indemnities, the right of self-determination of peoples."

Territorial Problems

(1) Evacuation of German troops from invaded Russia. Full right of self-determination to Poland, Lithuania and Livonia.

(2) For Turkish Armenia autonomy, and later complete self-determination, as soon as local Governments are established.

(3) The question of Alsace-Lorraine to be solved by a plebiscite, after the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

(4) Belgium to be restored. Compensation for damages from an international fund.

(5) Serbia and Montenegro to be restored, and aided by an international relief fund. Serbia to have an outlet on the Adriatic. Bosnia and Herzegovina to be autonomous.

(6) The disputed provinces in the Balkans to have provisional autonomy, followed by a plebiscite.

(7) Rumania to be restored, but forced to give complete self-determination to the Dobrudja…. Rumania must be forced to execute the clauses of the Berlin Treaty concerning the Jews, and recognise them as Rumanian citizens.

(8) In Italia Irridenta a provisional autonomy, followed by a plebiscite to determine state dependence.

(9) The German colonies to be returned.

(10) Greece and Persia to be restored.

Freedom of the Seas

All straits opening into inland seas, as well as the Suez and Panama Canals, are to be neutralised. Commercial shipping to be free. The right of privateering to be abolished. The torpedoing of commercial ships to be forbidden.


All combatants to renounce demands for any indemnities, either direct or indirect-as, for instance, charges for the maintenance of prisoners. Indemnities and contributions collected during the war must be refunded.

Economic Terms

Commercial treaties are not to be a part of the peace terms. Every country must be independent in its commercial relations, and must not be obliged to, or prevented from, concluding an economic treaty, by the Treaty of Peace. Nevertheless, all nations should bind themselves, by the Peace Treaty, not to practise an economic blockade after the war, nor to form separate tariff agreements. The right of most favoured nation must be given to all countries without distinction.

Guarantees of Peace

Peace is to be concluded at the Peace Conference by delegates elected by the national representative institutions of each country. The peace terms are to be confirmed by these parliaments.

Secret diplomacy is to be abolished; all parties are to bind themselves not to conclude any secret treaties. Such treaties are declared in contradiction to international law, and void. All treaties, until confirmed by the parliaments of the different nations, are to be considered void.

Gradual disarmament both on land and sea, and the establishment of a militia system. The "League of Nations" advanced by President Wilson may become a valuable aid to international law, provided that (a), all nations are to be obliged to participate in it with equal rights, and (b), international politics are to be democratised.

Ways to Peace

The Allies are to announce immediately that they are willing to open peace negotiations as soon as the enemy powers declare their consent to the renunciation of all forcible annexations.

The Allies must bind themselves not to begin any peace negotiations, nor to conclude peace, except in a general Peace Conference with the participation of delegates from all the neutral countries.

All obstacles to the Stockholm Socialist Conference are to be removed, and passports are to be given immediately to all delegates of parties and organisations who wish to participate.

(The Executive Committee of the Peasants' Soviets also issued a nakaz, which differs little from the above.)



The Ribot revelations of Austria's peace-offer to France; the so-called "Peace Conference" at Berne, Switzerland, during the summer of 1917, in which delegates participated from all belligerent countries, representing large financial interests in all these countries; and the attempted negotiations of an English agent with a Bulgarian church dignitary; all pointed to the fact that there were strong currents, on both sides, favourable to patching up a peace at the expense of Russia. In my next book, "Kornilov to Brest-Litovsk," I intend to treat this matter at some length, publishing several secret documents discovered in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Petrograd.



Official Report of the Provisional Government.

"From the time the news of the Russian Revolution reached Paris, Russian newspapers of extreme tendencies immediately began to appear; and these newspapers, as well as individuals, freely circulated among the soldier masses and began a Bolshevik propaganda, often spreading false news which appeared in the French journals. In the absence of all official news, and of precise details, this campaign provoked discontent among the soldiers. The result was a desire to return to Russia, and a hatred toward the officers.

"Finally it all turned into rebellion. In one of their meetings, the soldiers issued an appeal to refuse to drill, since they had decided to fight no more. It was decided to isolate the rebels, and General Zankievitch ordered all soldiers loyal to the Provisional Government to leave the camp of Courtine, and to carry with them all ammunition. On June 25th the order was executed; there remained at the camp only the soldiers who said they would submit 'conditionally' to the Provisional Government. The soldiers at the camp of Courtine received several times the visit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armies abroad, of Rapp, the Commissar of the Ministry of War, and of several distinguished former exiles who wished to influence them, but these attempts were unsuccessful, and finally Commissar Rapp insisted that the rebels lay down their arms, and, in sign of submission, march in good order to a place called Clairvaux. The order was only partially obeyed; first 500 men went out, of whom 22 were arrested; 24 hours later about 6,000 followed…. About 2,000 remained….

"It was decided to increase the pressure; their rations were diminished, their pay was cut off, and the roads toward the village of Courtine were guarded by French soldiers. General Zankievitch, having discovered that a Russian artillery brigade was passing through France, decided to form a mixed detachment of infantry and artillery to reduce the rebels. A deputation was sent to the rebels; the deputation returned several hours later, convinced of the futility of the negotiations. On September 1st General Zankievitch sent an ultimatum to the rebels demanding that they lay down their arms, and menacing in case of refusal to open fire with artillery if the order was not obeyed by September 3d at 10 o'clock.

"The order not being executed, a light fire of artillery was opened on the place at the hour agreed upon. Eighteen shells were fired, and the rebels were warned that the bombardment would become more intense. In the night of September 3d 160 men surrendered. September 4th the artillery bombardment recommenced, and at 11 o'clock, after 36 shells had been fired, the rebels raised two white flags and began to leave the camp without arms. By evening 8,300 men had surrendered. 150 soldiers who remained in the camp opened fire with machine-guns that night. The 5th of September, to make an end of the affair, a heavy barrage was laid on the camp, and our soldiers occupied it little by little. The rebels kept up a heavy fire with their machine-guns. September 6th, at 9 o'clock, the camp was entirely occupied…. After the disarmament of the rebels, 81 arrests were made…."

Thus the report. From secret documents discovered in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, we know that the account is not strictly accurate. The first trouble arose when the soldiers tried to form Committees, as their comrades in Russia were doing. They demanded to be sent back to Russia, which was refused; and then, being considered a dangerous influence in France, they were ordered to Salonika. They refused to go, and the battle followed…. It was discovered that they had been left in camp without officers for about two months, and badly treated, before they became rebellious. All attempts to find out the name of the "Russian artillery brigade" which had fired on them were futile; the telegrams discovered in the Ministry left it to be inferred that French artillery was used….

After their surrender, more than two hundred of the mutineers were shot in cold blood.



"… The questions of foreign policy are closely related to those of national defence…. And so, if in questions of national defence you think it is necessary to hold session in secret, also in our foreign policy we are sometimes forced to observe the same secrecy….

"German diplomacy attempts to influence public opinion…. Therefore the declarations of directors of great democratic organisations who talk loudly of a revolutionary Congress, and the impossibility of another winter campaign, are dangerous…. All these declarations cost human lives….

"I wish to speak merely of governmental logic, without touching the questions of the honour and dignity of the State. From the point of view of logic, the foreign policy of Russia ought to be based on a real comprehension of the interests of Russia…. These interests mean that it is impossible that our country remain alone, and that the present alignment of forces with us, (the Allies), is satisfactory…. All humanity longs for peace, but in Russia no one will permit a humiliating peace which would violate the State interests of our fatherland!"

The orator pointed out that such a peace would for long years, if not for centuries, retard the triumph of democratic principles in the world, and would inevitably cause new wars.

"All remember the days of May, when the fraternisation on our Front threatened to end the war by a simple cessation of military operations, and lead the country to a shameful separate peace… and what efforts it was necessary to use to make the soldier masses at the front understand that it was not by this method that the Russian State must end the war and guarantee its interest…."

He spoke of the miraculous effect of the July offensive, what strength it gave to the words of Russian ambassadors abroad, and the despair in Germany caused by the Russian victories. And also, the disillusionment in Allied countries which followed the Russian defeat….

"As to the Russian Government, it adhered strictly to the formula of May, 'No annexations and no punitive indemnities.' We consider it essential not only to proclaim the self-determination of peoples, but also to renounce imperialist aims…."

Germany is continually trying to make peace. The only talk in Germany is of peace; she knows she cannot win.

"I reject the reproaches aimed at the Government which allege that Russian foreign policy does not speak clearly enough about the aims of the war….

"If the question arises as to what ends the Allies are pursuing, it is indispensable first to demand what aims the Central Powers have agreed upon….

"The desire is often heard that we publish the details of the treaties which bind the Allies; but people forget that, up to now, we do not know the treaties which bind the Central Powers…."

Germany, he said, evidently wants to separate Russia from the West by a series of weak buffer-states.

"This tendency to strike at the vital interests of Russia must be checked….

"And will the Russian democracy, which has inscribed on its banner the rights of nations to dispose of themselves, allow calmly the continuation of oppression upon the most civilised peoples (in Austria-Hungary)?

"Those who fear that the Allies will try to profit by our difficult situation, to make us support more than our share of the burden of war, and to solve the questions of peace at our expense, are entirely mistaken…. Our enemy looks upon Russia as a market for its products. The end of the war will leave us in a feeble condition, and with our frontier open the flood of German products can easily hold back for years our industrial development. Measures must be taken to guard against this….

"I say openly and frankly: the combination of forces which unites us to the Allies is favourable to the interests of Russia…. It is therefore important that our views on the questions of war and peace shall be in accord with the views of the Allies as clearly and precisely as possible…. To avoid all misunderstanding, I must say frankly that Russia must present at the Paris Conference one point of view…."

He did not want to comment on the nakaz to Skobeliev, but he referred to the Manifesto of the Dutch-Scandinavian Committee, just published in Stockholm. This Manifesto declared for the autonomy of Lithuania and Livonia; "but that is clearly impossible," said Terestchenko, "for Russia must have free ports on the Baltic all the year round….

"In this question the problems of foreign policy are also closely related to interior politics, for if there existed a strong sentiment of unity of all great Russia, one would not witness the repeated manifestations, everywhere, of a desire of peoples to separate from the Central Government…. Such separations are contrary to the interests of Russia, and the Russian delegates cannot raise the issue…."



At the time of the naval battle of the Gulf of Riga, not only the Bolsheviki, but also the Ministers of the Provisional Government, considered that the British Fleet had deliberately abandoned the Baltic, as one indication of the attitude so often expressed publicly by the British press, and semi-publicly by British representatives in Russia, "Russia's finished! No use bothering about Russia!"

See interview with Kerensky (Appendix 13).

GENERAL GURKO was a former Chief of Staff of the Russian armies under the Tsar. He was a prominent figure in the corrupt Imperial Court. After the Revolution, he was one of the very few persons exiled for his political and personal record. The Russian naval defeat in the Gulf of Riga coincided with the public reception, by King George in London, of General Gurko, a man whom the Russian Provisional Government considered dangerously pro-German as well as reactionary!



To Workers and Soldiers

"Comrades! The Dark Forces are increasingly trying to call forth in Petrograd and other towns DISORDERS AND Pogroms. Disorder is necessary to the Dark Forces, for disorder will give them an opportunity for crushing the revolutionary movement in blood. Under the pretext of establishing order, and of protecting the inhabitants, they hope to establish the domination of Kornilov, which the revolutionary people succeeded in suppressing not long ago. Woe to the people if these hopes are realised! The triumphant counter-revolution will destroy the Soviets and the Army Committees, will disperse the Constituent Assembly, will stop the transfer of the land to the Land Committees, will put an end to all the hopes of the people for a speedy peace, and will fill all the prisons with revolutionary soldiers and workers.

"In their calculations, the counter-revolutionists and Black Hundred leaders are counting on the serious discontent of the unenlightened part of the people with the disorganisation of the food-supply, the continuation of the war, and the general difficulties of life. They hope to transform every demonstration of soldiers and workers into a pogrom, which will frighten the peaceful population and throw it into the arms of the Restorers of Law and Order.

"Under such conditions every attempt to organise a demonstration in these days, although for the most laudable object, would be a crime. All conscious workers and soldiers who are displeased with the policy of the Government will only bring injury to themselves and to the Revolution if they indulge in demonstrations.




The Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies (Tsay-ee-kah)

Russian Social Democratic Labour Party THE DANGER IS NEAR! To All Workers and Soldiers (Read and Hand to Others)

Comrades Workers and Soldiers!

"Our country is in danger. On account of this danger our freedom and our Revolution are passing through difficult days. The enemy is at the gates of Petrograd. The disorganisation is growing with every hours. It becomes more and more difficult to obtain bread for Petrograd. All, of from the smallest to the greatest, must redouble their efforts, must endeavour to arrange things properly…. We must save our country, save freedom…. More arms and provisions for the Army! Bread-for the great cities. Order and organisation in the country….

"And in these terrible critical days rumours creep about that SOMEWHERE a demonstration is being prepared, that SOME ONE is calling on the soldiers and workers to destroy revolutionary peace and order…. Rabotchi Put, the newspaper of the Bolsheviki, is pouring oil on the flames: it flattering, trying to please the unenlightened people, tempting the worker and soldiers, urging them on against the Government, promising them mountains of good things…. The confiding, ignorant men believe, they do not reason…. And from the other side come also rumours-rumours that the Dark Forces, the friends of the Tsar, the German spies, are rubbing their hands with glee. They are ready to join the Bolsheviki, and with them fan the disorders into civil war.

"The Bolsheviki and the ignorant soldiers and workers seduced by them cry senselessly: 'Down with the Government! All power to the Soviets!' And the Dark servants of the Tsar and the spies of Wilhelm will egg the on; 'Beat the Jews, beat the shopkeepers, rob the markets, devastate the shops, pillage the wine stores! Slay, burn, rob!'

"And then will begin a terrible confusion, a war between one part of the people and the other. All will become still more disorganised, and perhaps once more blood will be shed on the streets of the capital. And then what then?

"Then, the road to Petrograd will be open to Wilhelm. Then, no bread will come to Petrograd, the children will die of hunger. Then, the Army as the front will remain without support, our brothers in the trenches will be delivered to the fire of the enemy. Then, Russia will lose all prestige in other countries, our money will lose its value; everything will be so dear as to make life impossible. Then, the long awaited Constituent Assembly will be postponed-it will be impossible to convene it in time. And then-Death to the Revolution, Death to our Liberty….

"Is it this that you want, workers and soldiers? No! If you do not then go, go to the ignorant people seduced by the betrayers, and tell them the whole truth, which we have told you!





"Every conscious worker revolutionist, every conscious peasant, every revolutionary soldier, all who understand what harm a demonstration or a revolt against the Government might cause to the people, must join together and not allow the enemies of the people to destroy our freedom."

The Petrograd Electoral Committee of the Mensheviki-oborontzi.



This series of articles appeared in Rabotchi Put several days running, at the end of October and beginning of November, 1917. I give here only extracts from two instalments:

1. Kameniev and Riazanov say that we have not a majority among the people, and that without a majority insurrection is hopeless.

"Answer: People capable of speaking such things are falsifiers, pedants, or simply don't want to look the real situation in the face. In the last elections we received in all the country more than fifty per cent of all thevotes….

"The most important thing in Russia to-day is the peasants' revolution. In Tambov Government there has been a real agrarian uprising with wonderful political results…. Even Dielo Naroda has been scared into yelling that the land must be turned over to the peasants, and not only the Socialist Revolutionaries in the Council of the Republic, but also the Government itself, has been similarly affected. Another valuable result was the bringing of bread which had been hoarded by the pomieshtchiki to the railroad stations in that province. The Russkaya Volia had to admit that the stations were filled with bread after the peasants' rising….

"2. We are not sufficiently strong to take over the Government, and the bourgeoisie is not sufficiently strong to prevent the Constituent Assembly.

"Answer: This is nothing but timidity, expressed by pessimism as regards workers and soldiers, and optimism as regards the failure of the bourgeoisie. If yunkers and Cossacks say they will fight, you believe them; if workmen and soldiers say so, you doubt it. What is the distinction between such doubts and siding politically with the bourgeoisie?

"Kornilov proved that the Soviets were really a power. To believe Kerensky and the Council of the Republic, if the bourgeoisie is not strong enough to break the Soviets, it is not strong enough to break the Constituent. But that is wrong. The bourgeoisie will break the Constituent by sabotage, by lock-outs, by giving up Petrograd, by opening the front to the Germans. This has already been done in the case of Riga….

"3. The Soviets must remain a revolver at the head of the Government to force the calling of the Constituent Assembly, and to suppress any further Kornilov attempts.

"Answer: Refusal of insurrection is refusal of 'All Power to the Soviets.' Since September the Bolshevik party has been discussing the question of insurrection. Refusing to rise means to trust our hopes in the faith of the good bourgeoisie, who have 'promised' to call the Constituent Assembly. When the Soviets have all the power, the calling of the Constituent is guaranteed, and its success assured.

"Refusal of insurrection means surrender to the 'Lieber-Dans.' Either we must drop 'All Power to the Soviets' or make an insurrection; there is no middle course."

"4. The bourgeoisie cannot give up Petrograd, although the Rodziankos want it, because it is not the bourgeoisie who are fighting, but our heroic soldiers and sailors.

"Answer: This did not prevent two admirals from running away at the Moonsund battle. The Staff has not changed; it is composed of Kornilovtsi. If the Staff, with Kerensky at its head, wants to give up Petrograd, it can do it doubly or trebly. It can make arrangements with the Germans or the British; open the fronts. It can sabotage the Army's food supply. At all these doors has it knocked.

"We have no right to wait until the bourgeoisie chokes the Revolution. Rodzianko is a man of action, who has faithfully and truthfully served the bourgeoisie for years…. Half the Lieber-Dans are cowardly compromisers; half of them simple fatalists…."

"5. We're getting stronger every day. We shall be able to enter the Constituent Assembly as a strong opposition. Then why should we play everything on one card?"

"Answer: This is the argument of a sophomore with no practical experience, who reads that the Constituent Assembly is being called and trustfully accepts the legal and constitutional way. Even the voting of the Constituent Assembly will not do away with hunger, or beat Wilhelm…. The issue of hunger and of surrendering Petrograd cannot be decided by waiting for the Constituent Assembly. Hunger is not waiting. The peasants' Revolution is not waiting. The Admirals who ran away did not wait.

"Blind people are surprised that hungry people, betrayed by admirals and generals, do not take an interest in voting.

"6. If the Kornilovtsi make an attempt, we would show them our strength. But why should we risk everything by making an attempt ourselves?

"Answer: History doesn't repeat. 'Perhaps Kornilov will some day make an attempt!' What a serious base for proletarian action! But suppose Kornilov waits for starvation, for the opening of the fronts, what then? This attitude means to build the tactics of a revolutionary party on one of the bourgeoisie's former mistakes.

"Let us forget everything except that there is no way out but by the dictatorship of the proletariat-either that or the dictatorship of Kornilov.

"Let us wait, comrades, for-a miracle!"



"Every one admits, it seems, that the defence of the country is our principal task, and that, to assure it, we must have discipline in the Army and order in the rear. To achieve this, there must be a power capable of daring, not only by persuasion, but also by force…. The germ of all our evils comes from the point of view, original, truly Russian, concerning foreign policy, which passes for the Internationalist point of view.

"The noble Lenin only imitates the noble Keroyevsky when he holds that from Russia will come the New World which shall resuscitate the aged West, and which will replace the old banner of doctrinary Socialism by the new direct action of starving masses-and that will push humanity forward and force it to break in the doors of the social paradise…."

These men sincerely believed that the decomposition of Russia would bring about the decomposition of the whole capitalist régime. Starting from that point of view, they were able to commit the unconscious treason, in wartime, of calmly telling the soldiers to abandon the trenches, and instead of fighting the external enemy, creating internal civil war and attacking the proprietors and capitalists….

Here Miliukov was interrupted by furious cries from the Left, demanding what Socialist had ever advised such action….

"Martov says that only the revolutionary pressure of the proletariat can condemn and conquer the evil will of imperialist cliques and break down the dictatorship of these cliques…. Not by an accord between Governments for a limitation of armaments, but by the disarming of these Governments and the radical democratisation of the military system…."

He attacked Martov viciously, and then turned on the Mensheviki and Socialist Revolutionaries, whom he accused of entering the Government as Ministers with the avowed purpose of carrying on the class struggle!

"The Socialists of Germany and of the Allied countries contemplated these gentlemen with ill-concealed contempt, but they decided that it was for Russia, and sent us some apostles of the Universal Conflagration….

"The formula of our democracy is very simple; no foreign policy, no art of diplomacy, an immediate democratic peace, a declaration to the Allies, 'We want nothing, we haven't anything to fight with!' And then our adversaries will make the same declaration, and the brotherhood of peoples will be accomplished!"

Miliukov took a fling at the Zimmerwald Manifesto, and declared that even Kerensky has not been able to escape the influence of "that unhappy document which will forever be your indictment." He then attacked Skobeliev, whose position in foreign assemblies, where he would appear as a Russian delegate, yet opposed to the foreign policy of his Government, would be so strange that people would say, "What's that gentleman carrying, and what shall we talk to him about?" As for the nakaz, Miliukov said that he himself was a pacifist; that he believed in the creation of an International Arbitration Board, and the necessity for a limitation of armaments, and parliamentary control over secret diplomacy, which did not mean the abolition of secret diplomacy.

As for the Socialist ideas in the nakaz, which he called "Stockholm ideas"-peace without victory, the right of self-determination of peoples, and renunciation of the economic war-

"The German successes are directly proportionate to the successes of those who call themselves the revolutionary democracy. I do not wish to say, 'to the successes of the Revolution,' because I believe that the defeats of the revolutionary democracy are victories for the Revolution….

"The influence of the Soviet leaders abroad is not unimportant. One had only to listen to the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to be convinced that, in this hall, the influence of the revolutionary democracy on foreign policy is so strong, that the Minister does not dare to speak face to face with it about the honour and dignity of Russia!

"We can see, in the nakaz of the Soviets, that the ideas of the

Stockholm Manifesto have been elaborated in two direction-that of

Utopianism, and that of German interests…."

Interrupted by the angry cries of the Left, and rebuked by the President, Miliukov insisted that the proposition of peace concluded by popular assemblies, not by diplomats, and the proposal to undertake peace negotiations as soon as the enemy had renounced annexations, were pro-German. Recently Kuhlman said that a personal declaration bound only him who made it…. "Anyway, we will imitate the Germans before we will imitate the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies…."

The sections treating of the independence of Lithuania and Livonia were symptoms of nationalist agitation in different parts of Russia, supported, said Miliukov, by German money…. Amid bedlam from the Left, he contrasted the clauses of the nakaz concerning Alsace-Lorraine, Rumania, and Serbia, with those treating of the nationalities in Germany and Austria. The nakaz embraced the German and Austrian point of view, said Miliukov.

Passing to Terestchenko's speech, he contemptuously accused him of being afraid to speak the thought in his mind, and even afraid to think in terms of the greatness of Russia. The Dardanelles must belong to Russia….

"You are continually saying that the soldier does not know why he is fighting, and that when he does know, he'll fight…. It is true that the soldier doesn't know why he is fighting, but now you have told him that there is no reason for him to fight, that we have no national interests, and that we are fighting for alien ends…."

Paying tribute to the Allies, who, he said, with the assistance of

America, "will yet save the cause of humanity," he ended:

"Long live the light of humanity, the advanced democracies of the West, who for a long time have been travelling the way we now only begin to enter, with ill-assured and hesitating steps! Long live our brave Allies!"



The Associated Press man tried his hand. "Mr. Kerensky," he began, "in England and France people are disappointed with the Revolution--"

"Yes, I know," interrupted Kerensky, quizzically. "Abroad the

Revolution is no longer fashionable!"

"What is your explanation of why the Russians have stopped fighting?"

"That is a foolish question to ask." Kerensky was annoyed. "Russia entered the war first of all the Allies, and for a long time she bore the whole brunt of it. Her losses have been inconceivably greater than those of all the other nations put together. Russia has now the right to demand of the Allies that they bring greater force of arms to bear." He stopped for a moment and stared at his interlocutor. "You are asking why the Russians have stopped fighting, and the Russians are asking where is the British fleet-with German battle-ships in the Gulf of Riga?" Again he ceased suddenly, and as suddenly burst out. "The Russian Revolution hasn't failed and the revolutionary Army hasn't failed. It is not the Revolution which caused disorganisation in the army-that disorganisation was accomplished years ago, by the old regime. Why aren't the Russians fighting? I will tell you. Because the masses of the people are economically exhausted,-and because they are disillusioned with the Allies!"

The interview of which this is an excerpt was cabled to the United States, and in a few days sent back by the American State Department, with a demand that it be "altered." This Kerensky refused to do; but it was done by his secretary, Dr. David Soskice-and, thus purged of all offensive references to the Allies, was given to the press of the world….




Workers' Control

1. (See page 43)

2. The organisation of Workers' Control is a manifestation of the same healthy activity in the sphere of industrial production, as are party organisations in the sphere of politics, trade unions in employment, Cooperatives in the domain of consumption, and literary clubs in the sphere of culture.

3. The working-class has much more interest in the proper and uninterrupted operation of factories… than the capitalist class. Workers' Control is a better security in this respect for the interests of modern society, of the whole people, than the arbitrary will of the owners, who are guided only by their selfish desire for material profits or political privileges. Therefore Workers' Control is demanded by the proletariat not only in their own interest, but in the interest of the whole country, and should be supported by the revolutionary peasantry as well as the revolutionary Army.

4. Considering the hostile attitude of the majority of the capitalist class toward the Revolution, experience shows that proper distribution of raw materials and fuel, as well as the most efficient management of factories, is impossible without Workers' Control.

5. Only Workers' Control over capitalist enterprises, cultivating the workers' conscious attitude toward work, and making clear its social meaning, can create conditions favourable to the development of a firm self-discipline in labour, and the development of all labour's possible productivity.

6. The impending transformation of industry from a war to a peace basis, and the redistribution of labour all over the country, as well as among the different factories, can be accomplished without great disturbances only by means of the democratic self-government of the workers themselves…. Therefore the realisation of Workers' Control is an indispensable preliminary to the demobilisation of industry.

7. In accordance with the slogan proclaimed by the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviki), Workers' Control on a national scale, in order to bring results, must extend to all capitalist concerns, and not be organised accidentally, without system; it must be well-planned, and not separated from the industrial life of the country as a whole.

8. The economic life of the country-agriculture, industry, commerce and transport-must be subjected to one unified plan, constructed so as to satisfy the individual and social requirements of the wide masses of the people; it must be approved by their elected representatives, and carried out under the direction of these representatives by means of national and local organisations.

9. That part of the plan which deals with land-labour must be carried out under supervision of the peasants' and land-workers' organisations; that relating to industry, trade and transport operated by wage-earners, by means of Workers' Control; the natural organs of Workers' Control inside the industrial plant will be the Factory-Shop and similar Committees; and in the labour market, the Trade Unions.

10. The collective wage agreements arranged by the Trade Unions for the majority of workers in any branch of labour, must be binding on all the owners of plants employing this kind of labour in the given district.

11. Employment bureaus must be placed under the control and management of the Trade Unions, as class organisations acting within the limits of the whole industrial plan, and in accordance with it.

12. Trade Unions must have the right, upon their own initiative, to begin legal action against all employers who violate labour contracts or labour legislation, and also in behalf of any individual worker in any branch of labour.

13. On all questions relating to Workers' Control over production, distribution and employment, the Trade Unions must confer with the workers of individual establishments through their Factory-Shop Committees.

14. Matters of employment and discharge, vacations, wage scales, refusal of work, degree of productivity and skill, reasons for abrogating agreements, disputes with the administration, and similar problems of the internal life of the factory, must be settled exclusively according to the findings of the Factory-Shop Committee, which has the right to exclude from participation in the discussion any members of the factory administration.

15. The Factory-Shop Committee forms a commission to control the supplying of the factory with raw materials, fuel, orders, labour power and technical staff (including equipment), and all other supplies and arrangements, and also to assure the factory's adherence to the general industrial plan. The factory administration is obliged to surrender to the organs of Workers' Control, for their aid and information, all data concerning the business; to make it possible to verify this data, and to produce the books of the company upon demand of the Factory-Shop Committee.

16. Any illegal acts on the part of the administration discovered by the Factory-Shop Committees, or any suspicion of such illegal acts, which cannot be investigated or remedied by the workers alone, shall be referred to the district central organisation of Factory-Shop Committees charged with the particular branch of labour involved, which shall discuss the matter with the institutions charged with the execution of the general industrial plan, and find means to deal with the matter, even to the extent of confiscating the factory.

17. The union of the Factory-Shop Committees of different concerns must be accomplished on the basis of the different trades, in order to facilitate control over the whole branch of industry, so as to come within the general industrial plan; and so as to create an effective plan of distribution among the different factories of orders, raw materials, fuel, technical and labour power; and also to facilitate cooperation with the Trade Unions, which are organised by trades.

18. The central city councils of Trade Unions and Factory-Shop Committees represent the proletariat in the corresponding provincial and local institutions formed to elaborate and carry out the general industrial plan, and to organise economic relations between the towns and the villages (workers and peasants). They also possess final authority for the management of Factory-Shop Committees and Trade Unions, so far as Workers' Control in their district is concerned, and they shall issue obligatory regulations concerning workers' discipline in the routine of production-which regulations, however, must be approved by vote of the workers themselves.



Russkaya Volia, October 28. "The decisive moment approaches…. It is decisive for the Bolsheviki. Either they will give us… a second edition of the events of July 16-18, or they will have to admit that with their plans and intentions, with their impertinent policy of wishing to separate themselves from everything consciously national, they have been definitely defeated….

"What are the chances of Bolshevik success?

"It is difficult to answer that question, for their principal support is the… ignorance of the popular masses. They speculate on it, they work upon it by a demagogy which nothing can stop….

"The Government must play its part in this affair. Supporting itself morally by the Council of the Republic, the Government must take a clearly-defined attitude toward the Bolsheviki….

"And if the Bolsheviki provoke an insurrection against the legal power, and thus facilitate the German invasion, they must be treated as mutineers and traitors…."

Birzhevya Viedomosti, October 28. "Now that the Bolsheviki have separated themselves from the rest of the democracy, the struggle against them is very much simpler-and it is not reasonable, in order to fight against Bolshevism, to wait until they make a manifestation. The Government should not even allow the manifestation….

"The appeals of the Bolsheviki to insurrection and anarchy are acts punishable by the criminal courts, and in the freest countries, their authors would receive severe sentences. For what the Bolsheviki are carrying on is not a political struggle against the Government, or even for the power; it is propaganda for anarchy, massacres, and civil war. This propaganda must be extirpated at its roots; it would be strange to wait, in order to begin action against an agitation for pogroms, until the pogroms actually occurred…."

Novoye Vremya, November 1. "… Why is the Government excited only about November 2d (date of calling of the Congress of Soviets), and not about September 12th, or October 3d?

"This is not the first time that Russia burns and falls in ruins, and that the smoke of the terrible conflagration makes the eyes of our Allies smart….

"Since it came to power, has there been a single order issued by the Government for the purpose of halting anarchy, or has any one attempted to put out the Russian conflagration?

"There were other things to do….

"The Government turned its attention to a more immediate problem. It crushed an insurrection (the Kornilov attempt) concerning which every one is now asking, 'Did it ever exist?"



Dielo Naroda, October 28 (Socialist Revolutionary). "The most frightful crime of the Bolsheviki against the Revolution is that they impute exclusively to the bad intentions of the revolutionary Government all the calamities which the masses are so cruelly suffering; when as a matter of fact these calamities spring from objective causes.

"They make golden promises to the masses, knowing in advance that they can fulfil none of them; they lead the masses on a false trail, deceiving them as to the source of all their troubles….

"The Bolsheviki are the most dangerous enemies of the Revolution…."

Dien, October 30 (Menshevik). "Is this really 'the freedom of the press'? Every day Novaya Rus and Rabotchi Put openly incite to insurrection. Every day these two papers commit in their columns actual crimes. Every day they urge pogroms…. Is that 'the freedom of the press'?…

"The Government ought to defend itself and defend us. We have the right to insist that the Government machinery does not remain passive while the threat of bloody riots endangers the lives of its citizens…."



Plekhanov's paper, Yedinstvo, suspended publication a few weeks after the Bolsheviki seized the power. Contrary to popular report, Yedinstvo was not suppressed by the Soviet Government; an announcement in the last number admitted that it was unable to continue because there were too few subscribers….



The French newspaper Entente of Petrograd, on November 15th, published an article of which the following is a part:

"The Government of Kerensky discusses and hesitates. The Government of Lenin and Trotzky attacks and acts.

"This last is called a Government of Conspirators, but that is wrong. Government of usurpers, yes, like all revolutionary Governments which triumph over their adversaries. Conspirators-no!

"No! They did not conspire. On the contrary, openly, audaciously, without mincing words, without dissimulating their intentions, they multiplied their agitation, intensified their propaganda in the factories, the barracks, at the Front, in the country, everywhere, even fixing in advance the date of their taking up arms, the date of their seizure of the power….

"They-conspirators? Never…."



From the Central Army Committee

"… Above everything we insist upon the inflexible execution of the organised will of the majority of the people, expressed by the Provisional Government in accord with the Council of the Republic and the Tsay-ee-kah, as organ of the popular power….

"Any demonstration to depose this power by violence, at a moment when a Government crisis will infallibly create disorganisation, the ruin of the country, and civil war, will be considered by the Army as a counter-revolutionary act, and repressed by force of arms….

"The interests of private groups and classes should be submitted to a single interest-that of augmenting industrial production, and distributing the necessities of life with fairness….

"All who are capable of sabotage, disorganisation, or disorder, all deserters, all slackers, all looters, should be forced to do auxiliary service in the rear of the Army….

"We invite the Provisional Government to form, out of these violators of the people's will, these enemies of the Revolution, labour detachments to work in the rear, on the Front, in the trenches under enemy fire…."



Toward evening bands of Red Guards began to occupy the printing shops of the bourgeois press, where they printed Rabotchi Put, Soldat, and various proclamations by the hundred thousand. The City Militia was ordered to clear these places, but found the offices barricaded, and armed men defending them. Soldiers who were ordered to attack the print-shops refused.

About midnight a Colonel with a company of yunkers arrived at the club "Free Mind," with a warrant to arrest the editor of Rabotchi Put. Immediately an enormous mob gathered in the street outside and threatened to lynch the yunkers. The Colonel thereupon begged that he and the yunkers be arrested and taken to Peter-Paul prison for safety. This request was granted.

At 1 A. M. a detachment of soldiers and sailors from Smolny occupied the Telegraph Agency. At 1.35 the Post Office was occupied. Toward morning the Military Hotel was taken, and at 5 o'clock the Telephone Exchange. At dawn the State Bank was surrounded. And at 10 A. M. a cordon of troops was drawn about the Winter Palace.




From 4 A. M. until dawn Kerensky remained at the Petrograd Staff Headquarters, sending orders to the Cossacks and to the yunkers in the Officers' Schools in and around Petrograd-all of whom answered that they were unable to move.

Colonel Polkovnikov, Commandant of the City, hurried between the Staff and the Winter Palace, evidently without any plan. Kerensky gave an order to open the bridges; three hours passed without any action, and then an officer and five men went out on their own initiative, and putting to flight a picket of Red Guards, opened the Nicolai Bridge. Immediately after they left, however, some sailors closed it again.

Kerensky ordered the print-shop of Rabotchi Put to be occupied. The officer detailed to the work was promised a squad of soldiers; two hours later he was promised some yunkers; then the order was forgotten.

An attempt was made to recapture the Post Office and the Telegraph Agency; a few shots were fired, and the Government troops announced that they would no longer oppose the Soviets.

To a delegation of yunkers Kerensky said, "As chief of the Provisional Government and as Supreme Commander I know nothing, I cannot advise you; but as a veteran revolutionist, I appeal to you, young revolutionists, to remain at your posts and defend the conquests of the Revolution."

Orders of Kishkin, November 7th:

"By decree of the Provisional Government…. I am invested with extraordinary powers for the reestablishment of order in Petrograd, in complete command of all civil and military authorities…."

"In accordance with the powers conferred upon me by the Provisional Government, I herewith relieve from his functions as Commandant of the Petrograd Military District Colonel George Polkovnikov…."

* * * * *

Appeal to the Population signed by Vice-Premier Konovalov, November 7th:

"Citizens! Save the fatherland, the republic and your freedom. Maniacs have raised a revolt against the only governmental power chosen by the people, the Provisional Government….

"The members of the Provisional Government fulfil their duty, remain at their post, and continue to work for the good of the fatherland, the reestablishment of order, and the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, future sovereign of Russia and of all the Russian peoples….

"Citizens, you must support the Provisional Government. You must strengthen its authority. You must oppose these maniacs, with whom are joined all enemies of liberty and order, and the followers of the Tsarist régime, in order to wreck the Constituent Assembly, destroy the conquests of the Revolution, and the future of our dear fatherland….

"Citizens! Organise around the Provisional Government for the defence of its temporary authority, in the name of order and the happiness of all peoples…."

* * * * *

Proclamation of the Provisional Government.

"The Petrograd Soviet…. has declared the Provisional Government overthrown, and has demanded that the Governmental power be turned over to it, under threat of bombarding the Winter Palace with the cannon of Peter-Paul Fortress, and of the cruiser Avrora, anchored in the Neva.

"The Government can surrender its authority only to the Consituent Assembly; for that reason it has decided not to submit, and to demand aid from the population and the Army. A telegram has been sent to the Stavka; and an answer received says that a strong detachment of troops is being sent….

"Let the Army and the People reject the irresponsible attempts of the

Bolsheviki to create a revolt in the rear…."

About 9 A. M. Kerensky left for the Front….

Toward evening two soldiers on bicycles presented themselves at the

Staff Headquarters, as delegates of the garrison of Peter-Paul

Fortress. Entering the meeting-room of the Staff, where Kishkin,

Rutenburg, Paltchinski, General Bagratouni, Colonel Paradielov and

Count Tolstoy were gathered, they demanded the immediate surrender of

the Staff; threatening, in case of refusal, to bombard headquarters….

After two panicky conferences the Staff retreated to the Winter

Palace, and the headquarters were occupied by Red Guards….

Late in the afternoon several Bolshevik armoured cars cruised around the Palace Square, and Soviet soldiers tried unsuccessfully to parley with the yunkers….

Firing on the Palace began about 7 o'clock in the evening….

At 10 P. M. began an artillery bombardment from three sides, in which most of the shells were blanks, only three small shrapnels striking the facade of the Palace….



Leaving Petrograd in the morning of November 7th, Kerensky arrived by automobile at Gatchina, where he demanded a special train. Toward evening he was in Ostrov, Province of Pskov. The next morning, extraordinary session of the local Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Depulies, with participation of Cossack delegates-there being 6,000 Cossacks at Ostrov.

Kerensky spoke to the assembly, appealing for aid against the

Bolsheviki, and addressed himself almost exclusively to the Cossacks.

The soldier delegates protested.

"Why did you come here?" shouted voices. Kerensky answered, "To ask the Cossacks' assistance in crushing the Bolshevik insurrection!" At this there were violent protestations, which increased when he continued, "I broke the Kornilov attempt, and I will break the Bolsheviki!" The noise became so great that he had to leave the platform….

The soldier deputies and the Ussuri Cossacks decided to arrest Kerensky, but the Don Cossacks prevented them, and got him away by train…. A Military Revolutionary Committee, set up

during the day, tried to inform the garrison of Pskov; but the telephone and telegraph lines were cut….

Kerensky did not arrive at Pskov. Revolutionary soldiers had cut the railway line, to prevent troops being sent against the capital. On the night of November 8th he arrived by automobile at Luga, where he was well received by the Death Battalions stationed there.

Next day he took train for the South-West Front, and visited the Army

Committee at headquarters. The Fifth Army, however, was wild with

enthusiasm over the news of the Bolshevik success, and the Army

Committee was unable to promise Kerensky any support.

From there he went to the Stavka, at Moghilev, where he ordered ten regiments from different parts of the Front to move against Petrograd. The soldiers almost unanimously refused; and those regiments which did start halted on the way. About five thousand Cossacks finally followed him….



I do not mean to maintain that there was no looting, in the Winter Palace. Both after and before the Winter Palace fell, there was considerable pilfering. The statement of the Socialist Revolutionary paper Narod, and of members of the City Duma, to the effect that precious objects to the value of 500,000,000 rubles had been stolen, was, however, a gross exaggeration.

The most important art treasures of the Palace-paintings, statues, tapestries, rare porcelains and armorie,-had been transferred to Moscow during the month of September; and they were still in good order in the basement of the Imperial Palace there ten days after the capture of the Kremlin by Bolshevik troops. I can personally testify to this….

Individuals, however, especially the general public, which was allowed to circulate freely through the Winter Palace for several days after its capture, made away with table silver, clocks, bedding, mirrors and some odd vases of valuable porcelain and semi-precious stone, to the value of about $50,000.

The Soviet Government immediately created a special commission, composed of artists and arch?ologists, to recover the stolen objects. On November 1st two proclamations were issued:


"We urgently ask all citizens to exert every effort to find whatever

possible of the objects stolen from the Winter Palace in the night of

November 7-8, and to forward them to the Commandant of the Winter


"Receivers of stolen goods, antiquarians, and all who are proved to be hiding such objects will be held legally responsible and punished with all severity.

"Commissars for the Protection of Museums and Artistic Collections, "G. YATMANOV, B. MANDELBAUM."

* * * * *


"In the night of November 7-8, in the Winter Palace, which is the inalienable property of the Russian people, valuable objects of art were stolen.

"We urgently appeal to all to exert every effort, so that the stolen objects are returned to the Winter Palace.



About half the loot was recovered, some of it in the baggage of foreigners leaving Russia.

A conference of artists and arch?ologists, held at the suggestion of Smolny, appointed a commission of make an inventory of the Winter Palace treasures, which was given complete charge of the Palace and of all artistic collections and State museums in Petrograd. On November 16th the Winter Palace was closed to the public while the inventory was being made….

During the last week in November a decree was issued by the Council of People's Commissars, changing the name of the Winter Palace to "People's Museum," entrusting it to the complete charge of the artistic-arch?ological commission, and declaring that henceforth all Governmental activities within its wall were prohibited….



Immediately following the taking of the Winter Palace all sorts of sensational stories were published in the anti-Bolshevik press, and told in the City Duma, about the fate of the Women's Battalion defending the Palace. It was said that some of the girl-soldiers had been thrown from the windows into the street, most of the rest had been violated, and many had committed suicide as a result of the horrors they had gone through.

The City Duma appointed a commission to investigate the matter. On November 16th the commission returned from Levashovo, headquarters of the Women's Battalion. Madame Tyrkova reported that the girls had been at first taken to the barracks of the Pavlovsky Regiment, and that there some of them had been badly treated; but that at present most of them were at Levashovo, and the rest scattered about the city in private houses. Dr. Mandelbaum, another of the commission, testified drily that none of the women had been thrown out of the windows of the Winter Palace, that none were wounded, that three had been violated, and that one had committed suicide, leaving a note which said that she had been "disappointed in her ideals."

On November 21st the Military Revolutionary Committee officially dissolved the Women's Battalion, at the request of the girls themselves, who returned to civilian clothes.

In Louise Bryant's book, "Six Red Months in Russia," there is an interesting description of the girl-soldiers during this time.




From the Military Revolutionary Committee, November 8:

"To All Army Committees and All Soviets of Soldiers' Deputies.

"The Petrograd garrison has overturned the Government of Kerensky, which had risen against the Revolution and the People…. In sending this news to the Front and the country, the Military Revolutionary Committee requests all soldiers to keep vigilant watch on the conduct of officers. Officers who do not frankly and openly declare for the Revolution should be immediately arrested as enemies.

"The Petrograd Soviet interprets the programme of the new Government as: immediate proposals of a general democratic peace, the immediate transfer of great landed estates to the peasants, and the honest convocation of the Constituent Assembly. The people's revolutionary Army must not permit troops of doubtful morale to be sent to Petrograd. Act by means of arguments, by means of moral suasion-but if that fails, halt the movement of troops by implacable force.

"The present order must be immediately read to all military units of every branch of the service. Whoever keeps the knowledge of this order from the soldier-masses…. commits a serious crime against the Revolution, and will be punished with all the rigour of revolutionary law.

"Soldiers! For peace, bread, land, and popular government!"

* * * * *

"To All Front and Rear Army, Corps, Divisional, Regimental and

Company Committees, and All Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and

Peasants' Deputies.

"Soldiers and Revolutionary Officers!

"The Military Revolutionary Committee, by agreement with the majority of the workers, soldiers, and peasants, has decreed that General Kornilov and all the accomplices of his conspiracy shall be brought immediately to Petrograd, for incarceration in Peter-Paul Fortress and arraignment before a military revolutionary court-martial….

"All who resist the execution of this decree are declared by the Committee to be traitors to the Revolution, and their orders are herewith declared null and void."

The Military Revolutionary Committee Attached to the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

* * * * *

"To all Provincial and District Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and

Peasants' Deputies.

"By resolution of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, all arrested members of Land Committees are immediately set free. The Commissars who arrested them are to be arrested.

"From this moment all power belongs to the Soviets. The Commissars of the Provisional Government are removed. The presidents of the various local Soviets are invited to enter into direct relations with the revolutionary Government."

Military Revolutionary Committee.



"The Central City Duma, elected on the most democratic principles, has undertaken the burden of managing Municipal affairs and food supplies at the time of the greatest disorganisation. At the present moment the Bolshevik party, three weeks before the elections to the Constituent Assembly, and in spite of the menace of the external enemy, having removed by armed force the only legal revolutionary authority, is making an attempt against the rights and independence of the Municipal Self-Government, demanding submission to its Commissars and its illegal authority.

"In this terrible and tragic moment the Petrograd City Duma, in the face of its constituents, and of all Russia, declares loudly that it will not submit to any encroachments on its rights and its independence, and will remain at the post of responsibility to which it has been called by the will of the population of the capital.

"The Central City Duma of Petrograd appeals to all Dumas and Zemstvos of the Russian Republic to rally to the defence of one of the greatest conquests of the Russian Revolution-the independence and inviolability of popular self-government."



The Land question can only be permanently settled by the general

Constituent Assembly.

The most equitable solution of the Land question should be as follows:

1. The right of private ownership of land is abolished forever; land cannot be sold, nor leased, nor mortgaged, nor alienated in any way. All dominical lands, lands attached to titles, lands belonging to the Emperor's cabinet, to monasteries, churches, possession lands, entailed lands, private estates, communal lands, peasant free-holds, and others, are confiscated without compensation, and become national property, and are placed at the disposition of the workers who cultivate them.

Those who are damaged because of this social transformation of the rights of property are entitled to public aid during the time necessary for them to adapt themselves to the new conditions of existence.

2. All the riches beneath the earth-ores, oil, coal, salt, etc.-as well as forests and waters having a national importance, become the exclusive property of the State. All minor streams, lakes and forests are placed in the hands of the communities, on condition of being managed by the local organs of government.

3. All plots of land scientifically cultivated-gardens, plantations, nurseries, seed-plots, green-houses, and others-shall not be divided, but transformed into model farms, and pass into the hands of the State or of the community, according to their size and importance.

Buildings, communal lands and villages with their private gardens and their orchards remain in the hands of their present owners; the dimensions of these plots and the rate of taxes for their use shall be fixed by law.

4. All studs, governmental and private cattle-breeding and bird-breeding establishments, and others, are confiscated and become national property, and are transferred either to the State or to the community, according to their size and importance.

All questions of compensation for the above are within the competence of the Constituent Assembly.

5. All inventoried agricultural property of the confiscated lands, machinery and live-stock, are transferred without compensation to the State or the community, according to their quantity and importance.

The confiscation of such machinery or live-stock shall not apply to the small properties of peasants.

6. The right to use the land is granted to all citizens, without distinction of sex, who wish to work the land themselves, with the help of their families, or in partnership, and only so long as they are able to work. No hired labour is permitted.

In the event of the incapacity for work of a member of the commune for a period of two years, the commune shall be bound to render him assistance during this time by working his land in common.

Farmers who through old age or sickness have permanently lost the capacity to work the land themselves, shall surrender their land and receive instead a Government pension.

7. The use of the land should be equalised-that is to say, the land shall be divided among the workers according to local conditions, the unit of labour and the needs of the individual.

The way in which land is to be used may be individually determined upon: as homesteads, as farms, by communes, by partnerships, as will be decided by the villages and settlements.

8. All land upon its confiscation is pooled in the general People's Land Fund. Its distribution among the workers is carried out by the local and central organs of administration, beginning with the village democratic organisations and ending with the central provincial institutions-with the exception of urban and rural cooperative societies.

The Land Fund is subject to periodical redistribution according to the increase of population and the development of productivity and rural economy.

In case of modification of the boundaries of allotments, the original centre of the allotment remains intact.

The lands of persons retiring from the community return to the Land Fund; providing that near relatives of the persons retiring, or friends designated by them, shall have preference in the redistribution of these lands.

When lands are returned to the Land Fund, the money expended for manuring or improving the land, which has not been exhausted, shall be reimbursed.

If in some localities the Land Fund is insufficient to satisfy the local population, the surplus population should emigrate.

The organisation of the emigration, also the costs thereof, and the providing of emigrants with the necessary machinery and live-stock, shall be the business of the State.

The emigration shall be carried out in the following order: first, the peasants without land who express their wish to emigrate; then the undesirable members of the community, deserters, etc., and finally, by drawing lots on agreement.

All which is contained in this nakaz, being the expression of the indisputable will of the great majority of conscious peasants of Russia, is declared to be a temporary law, and until the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, becomes effective immediately so far as is possible, and in some parts of it gradually, as will be determined by the District Soviets of Peasants' Deputies.



The Government was not forced to make any decision concerning the rights of deserters to the land. The end of the war and the demobilisation of the army automatically removed the deserter problem….



The Council of People's Commissars was at first composed entirely of Bolsheviki. This was not entirely the fault of the Bolsheviki, however. On November 8th they offered portfolios to members of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, who declined. See page 273. {of original volume}




Appeal to all Citizens and to the Military Organisations of the

Socialist Revolutionary Party.

"The senseless attempt of the Bolsheviki is on the eve of complete failure. The garrison is disaffected…. The Ministries are idle, bread is lacking. All factions except a handful of Bolsheviki have left the Congress of Soviets. The Bolsheviki are alone! Abuses of all sorts, acts of vandalism and pillage, the bombardment of the Winter Palace, arbitrary arrests-all these crimes committed by the Bolsheviki have aroused against them the resentment of the majority of the sailors and soldiers. The Tsentroflot refuses to submit to the orders of the Bolsheviki….

"We call upon all sane elements to gather around the Committee for Salvation of Country and Revolution; to take serious measures to be ready, at the first call of the Central Committee of the Party, to act against the counter-revolutionists, who will doubtless attempt to profit by these troubles provoked by the Bolshevik adventure, and to watch closely the external enemy, who also would like to take advantage of this opportune moment when the Front is weakened…."

The Military Section of the Central Committee of the Socialist Revolutionary Party.

* * * * *

From Pravda:

"What is Kerensky?

"A usurper, whose place is in Peter-Paul prison, with Kornilov and


"A criminal and a traitor to the workers, soldiers and peasants, who believed in him.

"Kerensky? A murderer of soldiers!

"Kerensky? A public executioner of peasants!

"Kerensky? A strangler of workers!

"Such is the second Kornilov who now wants to butcher Liberty!"




On the Press

In the serious decisive hour of the Revolution and the days immediately following it, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee is compelled to adopt a series of measures against the counter-revolutionary press of all shades.

Immediately on all sides there are cries that the new Socialist authority is in this violating the essential principles of its own programme by an attempt against the freedom of the press.

The Workers' and Peasants' Government calls the attention of the population to the fact that in our country, behind this liberal shield, is hidden the opportunity for the wealthier classes to seize the lion's share of the whole press, and by this means to poison the popular mind and bring confusion into the consciousness of the masses.

Every one knows that the bourgeois press is one of the most powerful weapons of the bourgeoisie. Especially in this critical moment, when the new authority of the workers and peasants is in process of consolidation, it is impossible to leave it in the hands of the enemy, at a time when it is not less dangerous than bombs and machine-guns. This is why temporary and extraordinary measures have been adopted for the purpose of stopping the flow of filth and calumny in which the yellow and green press would be glad to drown the young victory of the people.

As soon as the new order is consolidated, all administrative measures against the press will be suspended; full liberty will be given it within the limits of responsibility before the law, in accordance with the broadest and most progressive regulations….

Bearing in mind, however, the fact that any restrictions of the freedom of the press, even in critical moments, are admissible only within the bounds of necessity, the Council of People's Commissars decrees as follows:

1. The following classes of newspapers shall be subject to closure: (a) Those inciting to open resistance or disobedience to the Workers' and Peasants' Government; (b) Those creating confusion by obviously and deliberately perverting the news; (c) Those inciting to acts of a criminal character punishable by the laws.

2. The temporary or permanent closing of any organ of the press shall be carried out only by virtue of a resolution of the Council of People's Commissars.

3. The present decree is of a temporary nature, and will be revoked by a special ukaz when normal conditions of public life are re-established.

President of the Council of People's Commissars,


* * * * *

On Workers' Militia

1. All Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies shall form a Workers' Militia.

2. This Workers' Militia shall be entirely at the orders of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

3. Military and civil authorities must render every assistance in arming the workers and in supplying them with technical equipment, even to the extent of requisitioning arms belonging to the War Department of the Government.

4. This decree shall be promulgated by telegraph. Petrograd, November 10, 1917.

People's Commissar of the Interior


This decree encouraged the formation of companies of Red Guards all over Russia, which became the most valuable arm of the Soviet Government in the ensuing civil war.



The fund for the striking Government employees and bank clerks was subscribed by banks and business houses of Petrograd and other cities, and also by foreign corporations doing business in Russia. All who consented to strike against the Bolsheviki were paid full wages, and in some cases their pay was increased. It was the realisation of the strike fund contributors that the Bolsheviki were firmly in power, followed by their refusal to pay strike benefits, which finally broke the strike.




On November 9th Kerensky and his Cossacks arrived at Gatchina, where the garrison, hopelessly split into two factions, immediately surrendered. The members of the Gatchina Soviet were arrested, and at first threatened with death; later they were released on good behaviour.

The Cossack advance-guards, practically unopposed, occupied Pavlovsk, Alexandrovsk and other stations, and reached the outskirts of Tsarskoye Selo next morning-November 10th. At once the garrison divided into three groups-the officers, loyal to Kerenskly; part of the soldiers and non-commissioned officers, who declared themselves "neutral"; and most of the rank and file, who were for the Bolsheviki. The Bolshevik soldiers, who were without leaders or organisation, fell back toward the capital. The local Soviet also withdrew to the village of Pulkovo.

From Pulkovo six members of the Tsarskoye Selo Soviet went with an automobile-load of proclamations to Gatchina, to propagandise the Cossacks. They spent most of the day going around Gatchina from one Cossack barracks to another, pleading, arguing and explaining. Toward evening some officers discovered their presence and they were arrested and brought before General Krasnov, who said, "You fought against Kornilov; now you are opposing Kerensky. I'll have you all shot!"

After reading aloud to them the order appointing him commander-in-chief of the Petrograd District, Krasnov asked if they were Bolsheviki. They replied in the affirmative-upon which Krasnov went away; a short time later an officer came and set them free, saying that it was by order of General Krasnov….

In the meanwhile delegations continued to arrive from Petrograd; from the Duma, the Committee for Salvation, and, last of all, from the Vikzhel. The Union of Railway Workers insisted that some agreement be reached to halt the civil war, and demanded that Kerensky treat with the Bolsheviki, and that he stop the advance on Petrograd. In case of refusal, the Vikzhel threatened a general strike at midnight of November 11th.

Kerensky asked to be allowed to discuss the matter with the Socialist Ministers and with the Committee for Salvation. He was plainly undecided.

On the 11th Cossack outposts reached Krasnoye Selo, from which the local Soviet and the heterogeneous forces of the Military Revolutionary Committee precipitately retired, some of them surrendering…. That night they also touched Pulkovo, where the first real resistance was encountered….

Cossacks deserters began to dribble into Petrograd, declaring that Kerensky had lied to them, that he had spread broadcast over the front proclamations which said that Petrograd was burning, that the Bolsheviki had invited the Germans to come in, and that they were murdering women and children and looting indiscriminately….

The Military Revolutionary Committee immediately sent out some dozens of "agitators," with thousands of printed appeals, to inform the Cossacks of the real situation….



"To All Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies.

"The All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies charges the local Soviets immediately to take the most energetic measures to oppose all counter-revolutionary anti-Semitic disturbances, and all pogroms of whatever nature. The honour of the workers', peasants' and soldiers' Revolution cannot tolerate any disorders….

"The Red Guard of Petrograd, the revolutionary garrison and the sailors have maintained complete order in the capital.

"Workers, soldiers, and peasants, everywhere you should follow the example of the workers and soldiers of Petrograd.

"Comrades soldiers and Cossacks, on us falls the duty of keeping real revolutionary order.

"All revolutionary Russia and the whole world have their eyes on you…."

"The All-Russian Congress of Soviets decrees:

"To abolish capital punishment at the Front, which was reintroduced by Kerensky.

"Complete freedom of propaganda is to be re-established in the country. All soldiers and revolutionary officers now under arrest for so-called political 'crimes' are at once to be set free."

"The ex-Premier Kerensky, overthrown by the people, refuses to submit to the Congress of Soviets and attempts to struggle against the legal Government elected by the All-Russian Congress-the Council of People's Commissars. The Front has refused to aid Kerensky. Moscow has rallied to the new Government. In many cities (Minsk, Moghilev, Kharkov) the power is in the hands of the Soviets. No infantry detachment consents to march against the Workers' and Peasants' Government, which, in accord with the firm will of the Army and the people, has begun peace negotiations and has given the land to the peasants….

"We give public warning that if the Cossacks do not halt Kerensky, who has deceived them and is leading them against Petrograd, the revolutionary forces will rise with all their might for the defence of the precious conquests of the Revolution-Peace and Land.

"Citizens of Petrograd! Kerensky fled from the city, abandoning the authority to Kishkin, who wanted to surrender the capital to the Germans; Rutenburg, of the Black Band, who sabotaged the Municipal Food Supply; and Paltchinsky, hated by the whole democracy. Kerensky has fled, abandoning you to the Germans, to famine, to bloody massacres. The revolting people have arrested Kerensky's Ministers, and you have seen how the order and supplying of Petrograd at once improved. Kerensky, at the demand of the aristocrat proprietors, the capitalists, speculators, marches against you for the purpose of giving back the land to the land-owners, and continuing the hated and ruinous war.

"Citizens of Petrograd! We know that the great majority of you are in favour of the people's revolutionary authority, against the Kornilovtsi led by Kerensky. Do not be deceived by the lying declarations of the impotent bourgeois conspirators, who will be pitilessly crushed.

"Workers, soldiers, peasants! We call upon you for revolutionary devotion and discipline.

"Millions of peasants and soldiers are with us.

"The victory of the people's Revolution is assured!"



In this book I am giving only such decrees as are in my opinion pertinent to the Bolshevik conquest of power. The rest belong to a detailed account of the Structure of the Soviet State, for which I have no place in this work. This will be dealt with very fully in the second volume, now in preparation, "Kornilov to Brest-Litovsk."

Concerning Dwelling-Places

1. The independent Municipal Self-Governments have the right to sequestrate all unoccupied or uninhabited dwelling-places.

2. The Municipalities may, according to laws and arrangements established by them, install in all available lodgings citizens who have no place to live, or who live in congested or unhealthy lodgings.

3. The Municipalities may establish a service of inspection of dwelling-places, organise it and define its powers.

4. The Municipalities may issue orders on the institution of House Committees, define their organisation, their powers and give them juridical authority.

5. The Municipalities may create Housing Tribunals, define their powers and their authority.

6. This decree is promulgated by telegraph.

People's Commissar of the Interior,


* * * * *

On Social Insurance

The Russian proletariat has inscribed on its banners the promise of complete Social Insurance of wage-workers, as well as of the town and village poor. The Government of the Tsar, the proprietors and the capitalists, as well as the Government of coalition and conciliation, failed to realise the desires of the workers with regard to Social Insurance.

The Workers' and Peasants' Government, relying upon the support of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, announces to the working-class of Russia and to the town and village poor, that it will immediately prepare laws on Social Insurance based on the formulas proposed by the Labour organisations:

1. Insurance for all wage-workers without exception, as well as for all urban and rural poor.

2. Insurance to cover all categories of loss of working capacity, such as illness, infirmities, old age, childbirth, widowhood, orphanage, and unemployment.

3. All the costs of insurance to be charged to employers.

4. Compensation of at least full wages in all loss of working capacity and unemployment.

5. Complete workers' self-government of all Insurance institutions.

In the name of the Government of the Russian Republic,

The People's Commissar of Labour,


* * * * *

On Popular Education

Citizens of Russia!

With the insurrection of November 7th the working masses have won for the first time the real power.

The All-Russian Congress of Soviets has temporarily transferred this power both to its Executive Committee and to the Council of People's Commissars.

By the will of the revolutionary people, I have been appointed

People's Commissar of Education.

The work of guiding in general the people's education, inasmuch as it remains with the central government, is, until the Constituent Assembly meets, entrusted to a Commission on the People's Education, whose chairman and executive is the People's Commissar.

Upon what fundamental propositions will rest this State Commission?

How is its sphere of competence determined?

The General Line of Educational Activity: Every genuinely democratic power must, in the domain of education, in a country where illiteracy and ignorance reign supreme, make its first aim the struggle against this darkness. It must acquire in the shortest time universal literacy, by organising a network of schools answering to the demands of modern pedagogics; it must introduce universal, obligatory and free tuition for all, and establish at the same time a series of such teachers' institutes and seminaries as will in the shortest time furnish a powerful army of people's teachers so necessary for the universal instruction of the population of our boundless Russia.

Decentralisation: The State Commission on People's Education is by no means a central power governing the institutions of instruction and education. On the contrary, the entire school work ought to be transferred to the organs of local self-government. The independent work of the workers, soldiers and peasants, establishing on their own initiative cultural educational organisations, must be given full autonomy, both by the State centre and the Municipal centres.

The work of the State Commission serves as a link and helpmate to organise resources of material and moral support to the Municipal and private institutions, particularly to those with a class-character established by the workers.

The State Committee on People's Education: A whole series of invaluable law projects was elaborated from the beginning of the Revolution by the State Committee for People's Education, a tolerably democratic body as to its composition, and rich in experts. The State Commission sincerely desires the collaboration of this Committee.

It has addressed itself to the bureau of the Committee, with the request at once to convoke an extraordinary session of the Committee for the fulfilment of the following programme:

1. The revision of rules of representation in the Committee, in the sense of greater democratisation.

2. The revision of the Committee's rights in the sense of widening them, and of converting the Committee into a fundamental State institute for the elaboration of law projects calculated to reorganise public instruction and education in Russia upon democratic principles.

3. The revision, jointly with the new State Commission, of the laws already created by the Committee, a revision required by the fact that in editing them the Committee had to take into account the bourgeois spirit of previous Ministries, which obstructed it even in this its narrowed form.

After this revision these laws will be put into effect without any bureaucratic red tape, in the revolutionary order.

The Pedagogues and the Societists: The State Commission welcomes the pedagogues to the bright and honourable work of educating the people-the masters of the country.

No one measure in the domain of the people's education ought to be adopted by any power without the attentive deliberation of those who represent the pedagogues.

On the other hand, a decision cannot by any means be reached exclusively through the cooperation of specialists. This refers as well to reforms of the institutes of general education.

The cooperation of the pedagogues with the social forces-this is how the Commission will work both in its own constitution, in the State Committee, and in all its activities.

As its first task the Commission considers the improvement of the teachers' status, and first of all of those very poor though almost most important contributors to the work of culture-the elementary school teachers. Their just demands ought to be satisfied at once and at any cost. The proletariat of the schools has in vain demanded an increase of salary to one hundred rubles per month. It would be a disgrace any longer to keep in poverty the teachers of the overwhelming majority of the Russian people.

But a real democracy cannot stop at mere literacy, at universal elementary instruction. It must endeavour to organise a uniform secular school of several grades. The ideal is, equal and if possible higher education for all the citizens. So long as this idea has not been realised for all, the natural transition through all the schooling grades up to the university-a transition to a higher stage-must depend entirely upon the pupil's aptitude, and not upon the resources of his family.

The problem of a genuinely democratic organisation of instruction is particularly difficult in a country impoverished by a long, criminal, imperialistic war; but the workers who have taken the power must remember that education will serve them as the greatest instrument in their struggle for a better lot and for a spiritual growth. However needful it may be to curtail other articles of the people's budget, the expenses on education must stand high. A large educational budget is the pride and glory of a nation. The free and enfranchised peoples of Russia will not forget this.

The fight against illiteracy and ignorance cannot be confined to a thorough establishment of school education for children and youths. Adults, too, will be anxious to save themselves from the debasing position of a man who cannot read and write. The school for adults must occupy a conspicuous place in the general plan of popular instruction.

Instruction and Education: One must emphasise the difference between instruction and education.

Instruction is the transmission of ready knowledge by the teacher to his pupil. Education is a creative process. The personality of the individual is being "educated" throughout life, is being formed, grows richer in content, stronger and more perfect.

The toiling masses of the people-the workmen, the peasants, the soldiers-are thirsting for elementary and advanced instruction. But they are also thirsting for education. Neither the government nor the intellectuals nor any other power outside of themselves can give it to them. The school, the book, the theatre, the museum, etc., may here by only aids. They have their own ideas, formed by their social position, so different from the position of those ruling classes and intellectuals who have hitherto created culture. They have their own ideas, their own emotions, their own ways of approaching the problems of personality and society. The city labourer, according to his own fashion, the rural toiler according to his, will each build his clear world-conception permeated with the class-idea of the workers. There is no more superb or beautiful phenomenon than the one of which our nearest descendants will be both witnesses and participants: The building by collective Labour of its own general, rich and free soul.

Instruction will surely be an important but not a decisive element. What is more important here is the criticism, the creativeness of the masses themselves; for science and art have only in some of their parts a general human importance. They suffer radical changes with every far-reaching class upheaval.

Throughout Russia, particularly among the city labourers, but also among the peasants, a powerful wave of cultural educational movement has arisen; workers' and soldiers' organisations of this kind are multiplying rapidly. To meet them, to lend them support, to clear the road before them is the first task of a revolutionary and popular government in the domain of democratic education.

The Constituent Assembly will doubtless soon begin its work. It alone can permanently establish the order of national and social life in our country, and at the same time the general character of the organisation of popular education.

Now, however, with the passage of power to the Soviets, the really democratic character of the Constituent Assembly is assured. The line which the State Commission, relying upon the State Committee, will follow, will hardly suffer any modification under the influence of the Constituent Assembly. Without pre-determining it, the new People's Government considers itself within its rights in enacting in this domain a series of measures which aim at enriching and enlightening as soon as possible the spiritual life of the country.

The Ministry: The present work must in the interim proceed through the Ministry of the People's Education. Of all the necessary alterations in its composition and construction the State Commission will have charge, elected by the Executive Committee of the Soviets and the State Committee. Of course the order of State authority in the domain of the people's education will be established by the Constituent Assembly. Until then, the Ministry must play the part of the executive apparatus for both the State Committee and the State Commission for People's Education.

The pledge of the country's safety lies in the cooperation of all its vital and genuinely democratic forces.

We believe that the energetic effort of the working people and of the honest enlightened intellectuals will lead the country out of its painful crisis, and through complete democracy to the reign of Socialism and the brotherhood of nations.

People's Commissar on Education,


* * * * *

On the Order in Which the Laws Are to be Ratified and Published.

1. Until the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the enacting and publishing of laws shall be carried out in the order decreed by the present Provisional Workmen's and Peasants' Government, elected by the All-Russian Congress of Workers', Peasants' and Soldiers' Deputies.

2. Every bill is presented for consideration of the Government by the respective Ministry, signed by the duly authorised People's Commissar; or it is presented by the legislative section attached to the Government, signed by the chief of the section.

3. After its ratification by the Government, the decree in its final edition, in the name of the Russian Republic, is signed by the president of the Council of People's Commissars, or for him by the People's Commissar who presented it for the consideration of the Government, and is then published.

4. The date of publishing it in the official "Gazette of the Provisional Workmen's and Peasants' Government," is the date of its becoming law.

5. In the decree there may be appointed a date, other than the date of publication, on which it shall become law, or it may be promulgated by telegraph; in which case it is to be regarded in every locality as becoming law upon the publication of the telegram.

6. The promulgation of legislative acts of the government by the State Senate is abolished. The Legislative Section attached to the Council of People's Commissars issues periodically a collection of regulations and orders of the government which possess the force of law.

7. The Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers', Peasants', and Soldiers' Deputies (Tsay-ee-kah) has at all times the right to cancel, alter or annul any of the Government decrees.

In the name of the Russian Republic, the President of the Council of People's Commissars,




Order Issued by the Military Revolutonary Committee

1. Until further order the production of alcohol and alcoholic drinks is prohibited.

2. It is ordered to all producers of alcohol and alcoholic drinks to inform not later than on the 27th inst. of the exact site of their stores.

3. All culprits against this order will be tried by a Military Revolutionary Court.




From the Committee of the Finland Guard Reserve Regiment to all House Committees and to the citizens of Vasili Ostrov.

The bourgeoisie has chosen a very sinister method of fighting against the proletariat; it has established in various parts of the city huge wine depots, and distributes liquor among the soldiers, in this manner attempting to sow dissatisfaction in the ranks of the Revolutionary army.

It is herewith ordered to all house committees, that at 3 o'clock, the time set for posting this order, they shall in person and secretly notify the President of the Committee of the Finland Guard Regiment, concerning the amount of wine in their premises.

Those who violate this order will be arrested and given trial before a merciless court, and their property will be confiscated, and the stock of wine discovered will be


2 hours after this warning,

because more lenient measures, as experience has shown, do not bring the desired results.


Regimental Committee of the Finland Guard Regiment.




November 12th, in the evening, Kerensky sent a proposition to the revolutionary troops-"to lay down their arms." Kerensky's men opened artillery fire. Our artillery answered and compelled the enemy to be silent. The Cossacks assumed the offensive. The deadly fire of the sailors, the Red Guards and the soldiers forced the Cossacks to retreat. Our armoured cars rushed in among the ranks of the enemy. The enemy is fleeing. Our troops are in pursuit. The order has been given to arrest Kerensky. Tsarskoye Selo has been taken by the revolutionary troops.

The Lettish Riflemen: The Military Revolutionary Committee has received precise information that the valiant Lettish Riflemen have arrived from the Front and taken up a position in the rear of Kerensky's bands.

From the Staff of the Military Revolutionary Committee

The seizure of Gatchina and Tsarskoye Selo by Kerensky's detachments is to be explained by the complete absence of artillery and machine-guns in these places, whereas Kerensky's cavalry was provided with artillery from the beginning. The last two days were days of enforced work for our Staff, to provide the necessary quantity of guns, machine-guns, field telephones, etc., for the revolutionary troops. When this work-with the energetic assistance of the District Soviets and the factories (the Putilov Works, Obukhov and others)-was accomplished, the issue of the expected encounter left no place for doubt: on the side of the revolutionary troops there was not only a surplus in quantity and such a powerful material base as Petrograd, but also an enormous moral advantage. All the Petrograd regiments moved out to the positions with tremendous enthusiasm. The Garrison Conference elected a Control Commission of five soldiers, thus securing a complete unity between the commander in chief and the garrison. At the Garrison Conference it was unanimously decided to begin decisive action.

The artillery fire on the 12th of November developed with extraordinary force by 3 P.M. The Cossacks were completely demoralised. A parliamentarian came from them to the staff of the detachment at Krasnoye Selo, and proposed to stop the firing, threatening otherwise to take "decisive" measures. He was answered that the firing would cease when Kerensky laid down his arms.

In the developing encounter all sections of the troops-the sailors, soldiers and the Red Guards-showed unlimited courage. The sailors continued to advance until they had fired all their cartridges. The number of casualties has not been established yet, but it is larger on the part of the counter-revolutionary troops, who experienced great losses through one of our armoured cars.

Kerensky's staff, fearing that they would be surrounded, gave the order to retreat, which retreat speedily assumed a disorderly character. By 11-12 P.M., Tsarkoye Selo, including the wireless station, was entirely occupied by the troops of the Soviets. The Cossacks retreated towards Gatchina and Colpinno.

The morale of the troops is beyond all praise. The order has been given to pursue the retreating Cossacks. From the Tsarskoye Selo station a radio-telegram was sent immediately to the Front and to all local Soviets throughout Russia. Further details will be communicated….



Three regiments of the Petrograd garrison to take any part in the battle against Kerensky. On the morning of the 13th they summoned to a joint conference sixty delegates from the Front, in order to find some way to stop the civil war. This conference appointed a committee to go and persuade Kerensky's troops to lay down their arms. They proposed to ask the Government soldiers the following questions: (1) Will the soldiers and Cossacks of Kerensky recognise the Tsay-ee-kah as the repository of Governmental power, responsible to the Congress of Soviets? (2) Will the soldiers and Cossacks accept the decrees of the second Congress of Soviets? (3) Will they accept the Land and Peace decrees? (4) Will they agree to cease hostilities and return to their units? (5) Will they consent to the arrest of Kerensky, Krasnov and Savinkov?

At the meeting of the Petrograd Soviet, Zinoviev said, "It would be foolish to think that this committee could finish affair. The enemy can only be broken by force. However, it would be a crime for us not to try every peaceful means to bring the Cossacks over to us…. What we need is a military victory…. The news of an armistice is premature. Our Staff will be ready to conclude an armistice when the enemy can no longer do any harm….

"At present, the influence of our victory is creating new political conditions…. To-day the Socialist Revolutionaries are inclined to admit the Bolsheviki into the new Government…. A decisive victory is indispensable, so that those who hesitate will have no further hesitation…."

At the City Duma all attention was concentrated on the formation of the new Government. In many factories and barracks already Revolutionary Tribunals were operating, and the Bolsheviki were threatening to set up more of these, and try Gotz and Avksentiev before them. Dan proposed that an ultimatum be sent demanding the abolition of these Revolutionary Tribunals, or the other members of the Conference would immediately break off all negotiations with the Bolsheviki.

Shingariov, Cadet, declared that the Municipality ought not to take part in any agreement with the Bolsheviki…. "Any agreement with the maniacs is impossible until they lay down their arms and recognise the authority of independent courts of law…."

Yartsev, for the Yedinstvo group, declared that any agreement with the Bolsheviki would be equivalent to a Bolshevik victory….

Mayor Schreider, for the Socialist Revolutionaries, stated that he was opposed to all agreement with the Bolsheviki…. "As for a Government, that ought to spring from the popular will; and since the popular will has been expressed in the municipal elections, the popular will which can create a Government is actually concentrated in the Duma…."

After other speakers, of which only the representative of the Mensheviki Internationalists was in favour of considering the admission of the Bolsheviki into the new Government, the Duma voted to continue its representatives in the Vikzhel's conference, but to insist upon the restoration of the Provisional Government before everything, and to exclude the Bolsheviki from the new power….



"In answer to your telegram proposing an immediate armistice, the Supreme Commander, not wishing further futile bloodshed, consents to enter into negotiations and to establish relations between the armies of the Government and the insurrectionists. He proposes to the General Staff of the insurrectionists to recall its regiments to Petrograd, to declare the line Ligovo-Pulkovo-Colpinno neutral, and to allow the advance-guards of the Government cavalry to enter Tsarskoye Selo, for the purpose of establishing order. The answer to this proposal must be placed in the hands of our envoys before eight o'clock to-morrow morning.




On the evening that Kerensky's troops retreated from Tsarskoye Selo, some priests organised a religious procession through the streets of the town, making speeches to the citizens in which they asked the people to support the rightful authority, the Provisional Government. When the Cossacks had retreated, and the first Red Guards entered the town, witnesses reported that the priests had incited the people against the Soviets, and had said prayers at the grave of Rasputin, which lies behind the Imperial Palace. One of the priests, Father Ivan Kutchurov, was arrested and shot by the infuriated Red Guards….

Just as the Red Guards entered the town the electric lights were shut off, plunging the streets in complete darkness. The director of the electric light plant, Lubovitch, was arrested by the Soviet troops and asked why he had shut off the lights. He was found some time later in the room where he had been imprisoned with a revolver in his hand and a bullet hole in his temple.

The Petrograd anti-Bolshevik papers came out next day with headlines,

"Plekhanov's temperature 39 degrees!" Plekhanov lived at Tsarskoye

Selo, where he was lying ill in bed. Red Guards arrived at the house

and searched it for arms, questioning the old man.

"What class of society do you belong to?" they asked him.

"I am a revolutionist," answered Plekhanov, "who for forty years has devoted his life to the struggle for liberty!"

"Anyway," said a workman, "you have now sold yourself to the bourgeoisie!"

The workers no longer knew Plekhanov, pioneer of the Russian Social




"The detachments at Gatchina, deceived by Kerensky, have laid down their arms and decided to arrest Kerensky. That chief of the counter-revolutionary campaign has fled. The Army, by an enormous majority, has pronounced in favour of the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and of the Government which it has created. Scores of delegates from the Front have hastened to Petrograd to assure the Soviet Government of the Army's fidelity. No twisting of the facts, no calumny against the revolutionary workers, soldiers, and peasants, has been able to defeat the People. The Workers' and Soldiers' Revolution is victorious….

"The Tsay-ee-kah appeals to the troops which march under the flag of the counter-revolution, and invites them immediately to lay down their arms-to shed no longer the blood of their brothers in the interests of a handful of land-owners and capitalists. The Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Revolution curses those who remain even for a moment under the flag of the People's enemies….

"Cossacks! Come over to the rank of the victorious People! Railwaymen, postmen, telegraphers-all, all support the new Government of the People!"




I myself verified the damage to the Kremlin, which I visited immediately after the bombardment. The Little Nicolai Palace, a building of no particular importance, which was occupied occasionally by receptions of one of the Grand Duchesses, had served as barracks for the yunkers. It was not only bombarded, but pretty well sacked; fortunately there was nothing in it of particular historical value.

Usspensky Cathedral had a shell-hole in one of the cupolas, but except for a few feet of mosaic in the ceiling, was undamaged. The frescoes on the porch of Blagovestchensky Cathedral were badly damaged by a shell. Another shell hit the corner of Ivan Veliki. Tchudovsky Monastery was hit about thirty times, but only one shell went through a window into the interior, the others breaking the brick window-moulding and the roof cornices.

The clock over the Spasskaya Gate was smashed. Troitsky Gate was battered, but easily reparable. One of the lower towers had lost its brick spire.

The church of St. Basil was untouched, as was the great Imperial Palace, with all the treasures of Moscow and Petrograd in its cellar, and the crown jewels in the Treasury. These places were not even entered.



"Comrades! You are the young masters of the country, and although now you have much to do and think about, you must know how to defend your artistic and scientific treasures.

"Comrades! That which is happening at Moscow is a horrible, irreparable misfortune…. The People in its struggle for the power has mutilated our glorious capital.

"It is particularly terrible in these days of violent struggle, of destructive warfare, to be Commissar of Public Education. Only the hope of the victory of Socialism, the source of a new and superior culture, brings me comfort. On me weighs the responsibility of protecting the artistic wealth of the people…. Not being able to remain at my post, where I had no influence, I resigned. My comrades, the other Commissars, considered this resignation inadmissible. I shall therefore remain at my post…. And moreover, I understand that the damage done to the Kremlin is not as serious as has been reported….

"But I beg you, comrades, to give me your support…. Preserve for yourselves and your descendants the beauty of our land; be the guardians of the property of the People.

"Soon, very soon, even the most ignorant, who have been held in ignorance so long, will awake and understand what a source of joy, strength and wisdom is art…."



[Graphic, page 354]




In virtue of the powers vested in me by the Military Revolutionary

Committee attached to the Moscow Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers'

Deputies, I decree:

1. All banks with branches, the Central State Savings Bank with branches, and the savings banks at the Post and Telegraph offices are to be opened beginning November 22nd, from 11 A. M. to 1 P. M. until further order.

2. On current accounts and on the books of the savings banks, payments will be made by the above mentioned institutions, of not more than 150 rubles for each depositor during the course of the next week.

3. Payments of amounts exceeding 150 rubles a week on current accounts and savings banks books, also payments on other accounts of all kinds will be allowed during the next three days-November 22nd, 23d, and 24th, only in the following cases:

(a) On the accounts of military organisations for the satisfaction of their needs;

(b) For the payment of salaries of employees and the earnings of workers according to the tables and lists certified by the Factory Committees or Soviets of Employees, and attested by the signatures of the Commissars, or the representatives of the Military Revolutionary Committee, and the district Military Revolutionary Committees.

4. Not more than 150 rubles are to be paid against drafts; the remaining sums are to be entered on current account, payments on which are to be made in the order established by the present decree.

5. All other banking operations are prohibited during these three days.

6. The receipt of money on all accounts is allowed for any amount.

7. The representatives of the Finance Council for the certification of the authorisations indicated in clause 3 will hold their office in the building of the Stock Exchange, Ilyinka Street, from 10 A. M. to 2 P. M.

8. The Banks and Savings Banks shall send the totals of daily cash operations by 5 P. M. to the headquarters of the Soviet, Skobeliev Square, to the Military Revolutionary Committee, for the Finance Council.

9. All employees and managers of credit institutions of all kinds who refuse to comply with this decree shall be responsible as enemies of the Revolution and of the mass of the population, before the Revolutionary Tribunals. Their names shall be published for general information.

10. For the control of the operations of Branches of the Savings Banks and Banks within the limits of this decree, the district Military Revolutionary Committees shall elect three representatives and appoint their place of business.

Fully-authorised Commissar of the Military Revolutionary Committee,





This chapter extends over a period of two months, more or less. It covers the time of negotiations with the Allies, the negotiations and armistice with the Germans, and the beginning of the Peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk, as well as the period in which were laid the foundations of the Soviet State.

However, it is no part of my purpose in this book to describe and interpret these very important historical events, which require more space. They are therefore reserved for another volume, "Kornilov to Brest-Litovsk."

In this chapter, then, I have confined myself to the Soviet Government's attempts to consolidate its political power at home, and sketched its successive conquests of hostile domestic elements-which process was temporarily interrupted by the disastrous Peace of Brest-Litovsk.



The October Revolution of the workers and peasants began under the common banner of Emancipation.

The peasants are being emancipated from the power of the landowners, for there is no longer the landowner's property right in the land-it has been abolished. The soldiers and sailors are being emancipated from the power of autocratic generals, for generals will henceforth be elective and subject to recall. The workingmen are being emancipated from the whims and arbitrary will of the capitalists, for henceforth there will be established the control of the workers over mills and factories. Everything living and capable of life is being emancipated from the hateful shackles.

There remain only the peoples of Russia, who have suffered and are suffering oppression and arbitrariness, and whose emancipation must immediately be begun, whose liberation must be effected resolutely and definitely.

During the period of Tsarism the peoples of Russia were systematically incited against one another. The result of such a policy are known: massacres and pogroms on the one hand, slavery of peoples on the other.

There can be and there must be no return to this disgraceful policy. Henceforth the policy of a voluntary and honest union of the peoples of Russia must be substituted.

In the period of imperialism, after the March revolution, when the power was transferred into the hands of the Cadet bourgeoisie, the naked policy of provocation gave way to one of cowardly distrust of the peoples of Russia, to a policy of fault-finding, of meaningless "freedom" and "equality" of peoples. The results of such a policy are known: the growth of national enmity, the impairment of mutual confidence.

An end must be put to this unworthy policy of falsehood and distrust, of fault-finding and provocation. Henceforth it must be replaced by an open and honest policy leading to the complete mutual confidence of the peoples of Russia. Only as the result of such a trust can there be formed an honest and lasting union of the peoples of Russia. Only as the result of such a union can the workers and peasants of the peoples of Russia be cemented into one revolutionary force able to resist all attempts on the part of the imperialist-annexationist bourgeoisie.



On the Nationalisation of the Banks

In the interest of the regular organisation of the national economy, of the thorough eradication of bank speculation and the complete emancipation of the workers, peasants, and the whole labouring population from the exploitation of banking capital, and with a view to the establishment of a single national bank of the Russian Republic which shall serve the real interests of the people and the poorer classes, the Central Executive Committee (Tsay-ee-kah) resolves:

1. The banking business is declared a state monopoly.

2. All existing private joint-stock banks and banking offices are merged in the State Bank.

3. The assets and liabilities of the liquidated establishments are taken over by the State Bank.

4. The order of the merger of private banks in the State Bank is to be determined by a special decree.

5. The temporary administration of the affairs of the private banks is entrusted to the board of the State Bank.

6. The interests of the small depositors will be safeguarded.

* * * * *

On the Equality of Rank of All Military Men

In realisation of the will of the revolutionary people regarding the prompt and decisive abolition of all remnants of former inequality in the Army, the Council of People's Commissars decrees:

1. All ranks and grades in the Army, beginning with the rank of Corporal and ending with the rank of General, are abolished. The Army of the Russian Republic consists now of free and equal citizens, bearing the honourable title of Soldiers of the Revolutionary Army.

2. All privileges connected with the former ranks and grades, also all outward marks of distinction, are abolished.

3. All addressing by titles is abolished.

4. All decorations, orders, and other marks of distinction are abolished.

5. With the abolition of the rank of officer, all separate officers' organisations are abolished.

Note.-Orderlies are left only for headquarters, chanceries,

Committees and other Army organisations.

President of the Council of People's Commissars,


People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs,


People's Commissar for Military Affairs,


Secretary of the Council,


* * * * *

On the Elective Principle and the Organisation of Authority in the Army

1. The army serving the will of the toiling people is subject to its supreme representative-the Council of People's Commissars.

2. Full authority within the limits of military units and combinations is vested in the respective Soldiers' Committees and Soviets.

3. Those phases of the life and activity of the troops which are already under the jurisdiction of the Committees are now formally placed in their direct control. Over such branches of activity which the Committees cannot assume, the control of the Soldiers' Soviets is established.

4. The election of commanding Staff and officers is introduced. All commanders up to the commanders of regiments, inclusive, are elected by general suffrage of squads, platoons, companies, squadrons, batteries, divisions (artillery, 2-3 batteries), and regiments. All commanders higher than the commander of a regiment, and up to the Supreme Commander, inclusive, are elected by congresses or conferences of Committees.

Note.-By the term "conference" must be understood a meeting of the respective Committees together with delegates of committees one degree lower in rank. (Such as a "conference" of Regimental Committees with delegates from Company Committees.-Author.)

5. The elected commanders above the rank of commander of regiment must be confirmed by the nearest Supreme Committee.

Note. In the event of a refusal by a Supreme Committee to confirm an elected commander, with a statement of reasons for such refusal, a commander elected by the lower Committee a second time must be confirmed.

6. The commanders of Armies are elected by Army congresses. Commanders of Fronts are elected by congresses of the respective Fronts.

7. To posts of a technical character, demanding special knowledge or other practical preparation, namely: doctors, engineers, technicians, telegraph and wireless operators, aviators, automobilists, etc., only such persons as possess the required special knowledge may be elected, by the Committees of the units of the respective services.

8. Chiefs of Staff must be chosen from among persons with special military training for that post.

9. All other members of the Staff are appointed by the Chief of Staff, and confirmed by the respective congresses.

Note.-All persons with special training must be listed in a special list.

10. The right is reserved to retire from the service all commanders on active service who are not elected by the soldiers to any post, and who consequently are ranked as privates.

11. All other functions beside those pertaining to the command, with the exception of posts in the economic departments, are filled by appointment of the respective elected commanders.

12. Detailed instructions regarding the elections of the commanding Staff will be published separately.

President of the Council of People's Commissars.


People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs,


People's Commissar for Military Affairs,


Secretary of the Council,


* * * * *

On the Abolition of Classes and Titles

1. All classes and class divisions, all class privileges and delimitations, all class organisations and institutions and all civil ranks are abolished.

2. All classes of society (nobles, merchants, petty bourgeois, etc.), and all titles (Prince, Count and others), and all denominations of civil rank (Privy State Councillor, and others), are abolished, and there is established the general denomination of Citizen of the Russian Republic.

3. The property and institutions of the classes of nobility are transferred to the corresponding autonomous Zemstvos.

4. The property of merchant and bourgeois organisations is transferred immediately to the Municipal Self-Governments.

5. All class institutions of any sort, with their property, their rules of procedure, and their archives, are transferred to the administration of the Municipalities and Zemstvos.

6. All articles of existing laws applying to these matters are herewith repealed.

7. The present decree becomes effective on the day it is published and applied by the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies.

The present decree has been confirmed by the Tsay-ee-kah at the meeting of November 23d, 1917, and signed by:

President of the Tsay-ee-kah,


President of the Council of People's Commissars,


Executive of the Council of People's Commissars,


Secretary of the Council,


* * * * *

On December 3d the Council of People's Commissars resolved "to reduce the salaries of functionaries and employees in all Government institutions and establishments, general or special, without exception."

To begin with, the Council fixed the salary of a People's Commissar at 500 rubles per month, with 100 rubles additional for each grown member of the family incapable of work….

This was the highest salary paid to any Government official….


Countess Panina was arrested and brought to trial before the first Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal. The trial is described in the chapter on "Revolutionary Justice" in my forthcoming volume, "Kornilov to Brist-Litovsk." The prisoner was sentenced to "return the money, and then be liberated to the public contempt." In other words, she was set free!



From Drug Naroda (Menshevik), November 18th:

"The story of the 'immediate peace' of the Bolsheviki reminds us of a joyous moving-picture film…. Neratov runs-Trotzky pursues; Neratov climbs a wall, Trotzky too; Neratov dives into the water-Trotzky follows; Neratov climbs onto the roof-Trotzky right behind him; Neratov hides under the bed-and Trotzky has him! He has him! Naturally, peace is immediately signed….

"All is empty and silent at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The couriers are respectful, but their faces wear a caustic expression….

"How about arresting an ambassador and signing an armistice or a Peace Treaty with him? But they are strange folk, these ambassadors. They keep silent just as if they had heard nothing. Hola, hola, England, France, Germany! We have signed an armistice with you! Is it possible that you know nothing about it? Nevertheless, it has been published in all the papers and posted on all the walls. On a Bolshevik's word of honour, Peace has been signed. We're not asking much of you; you just have to write two words….

"The ambassadors remain silent. The Powers remain silent. All is empty and silent in the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"'Listen,' says Robespierre-Trotzky to his assistant Marat-Uritzky, 'run over to the British Ambassador's, tell him we're proposing peace!'

"'Go yourself,' says Marat-Uritzky. 'He's not receiving.'

"'Telephone him, then.'

"'I've tried. The receiver's off the hook.'

"'Send him a telegram.'

"'I did.'

"'Well, with what result?'

"Marat-Uritzky sighs and does not answer. Robespierre-Trotzky spits furiously into the corner….

"'Listen, Marat,' recommences Trotzky, after a moment. 'We must absolutely show that we're conducting an active foreign policy. How can we do that?'

"'Launch another decree about arresting Neratov,' answers Uritzky, with a profound air.

"'Marat, you're a blockhead!' cries Trotzky. All of a sudden he arises, terrible and majestic, looking at this moment like Robespierre.

"'Write, Uritzky!' he says with severity. 'Write a letter to the

British ambassador, a registered letter with receipt demanded. Write!

I also will write! The peoples of the world await an immediate peace!'

"In the enormous and empty Ministry of Foreign Affairs are to be heard only the sound of two typewriters. With his own hands Trotzky is conducting an active foreign policy…."



To the Attention of All Workers and All Soldiers.

November 11th, in the club of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, was held an extraordinary meeting of representatives of all the units of the Petrograd garrison.

The meeting was called upon the initiative of the Preobrazhensky and Semionovsky Regiments, for the discussion of the question as to which Socialist parties are for the power of the Soviets, which are against, which are for the people, which against, and if an agreement between them is possible.

The representatives of the Tsay-ee-kah, of the Municipal Duma, of the Avksentiev Peasants' Soviets, and of all the political parties from the Bolsheviki to the Populist Socialists, were invited to the meeting.

After long deliberation, having heard the declarations of all parties and organisations, the meeting by a tremendous majority of votes agreed that only the Bolsheviki and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries are for the people, and that all the other parties are only attempting, under cover of seeking an agreement, to deprive the people of the conquests won in the days of the great Workers' and Peasants' Revolution of November.

Here is the text of the resolution carried at this meeting of the

Petrograd garrison, by 61 votes against 11, and 12 not voting:

"The garrison conference, summoned at the initiative of the Semionovsky and Preobrazhensky Regiments, on hearing the representatives of all the Socialist parties and popular organisations on the question of an agreement between the different political parties finds that:

"1. The representatives of the Tasy-ee-kah, the representatives of the Bolshevik party and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, declared definitely that they stand for a Government of the Soviets, for the decrees on Land, Peace and Workers' Control of Industry, and that upon this platform they are willing to agree with all the Socialist parties.

"2. At the same time the representatives of the other parties (Mensheviki, Socialist Revolutionaries) either gave no answer at all, or declared simply that they were opposed to the power of the Soviets and against the decrees on Land, Peace and Workers' Control.

"In view of this the meeting resolves:

"'1. To express severe censure of all parties which, under cover of an agreement, wish practically to annul the popular conquests of the Revolution of November.

"2. To express full confidence in the Tsay-ee-kah and the Council of People's Commissars, and to promise them complete support.'

"At the same time the meeting deems it necessary that the comrades

Left Socialist Revolutionaries should enter the People's Government."



It was afterward discovered that there was a regular organisation, maintained by the Cadets, for provoking rioting among the soldiers. There would be telephone messages to the different barracks, announcing that wine was being given away at such and such an address, and when the soldiers arrived at the spot an individual would point out the location of the cellar….

The Council of People's Commissars appointed a Commissar for the Fight Against Drunkenness, who, besides mercilessly putting down the wine riots, destroyed hundreds of thousands of bottles of liquor. The Winter Palace cellars, containing rare vintages valued at more than five million dollars, were at first flooded, and then the liquor was removed to Cronstadt and destroyed.

In this work the Cronstadt sailors, "flower and pride of the revolutionary forces," as Trotzky called them, acquitted themselves with iron self-dicipline….



Two orders concerning them:

Council of People's Commissars

To the Military Revolutionary Committee

The disorganisation of the food supply created by the war, and the lack of system, is becoming to the last degree acute, thanks to the speculators, marauders and their followers on the railways, in the steamship offices, forwarding offices, etc.

Taking advantage of the nation's greatest misfortunes, these criminal spoliators are playing with the health and life of millions of soldiers and workers, for their own benefit.

Such a situation cannot be borne a single day longer.

The Council of People's Commissars proposes to the Military Revolutionary Committee to take the most decisive measures towards the uprooting of speculation, sabotage, hiding of supplies, fraudulent detention of cargoes, etc.

All persons guilty of such actions shall be subject, by special orders of the Military Revolutionary Committee, to immediate arrest and confinement in the prisons of Cronstadt, pending their arraignment before the Revolutionary Tribunal.

All the popular organisations are invited to cooperate in the struggle against the spoliators of food supplies.

President of the Council of People's Commissaries.


Accepted for execution,

Military Revolutionary Committee attached to

the C. E. C. of the Soviets of W. & S. Deputies.

Petrograd, Nov. 23d, 1917.

* * * * *

To All Honest Citizens

The Military Revolutionary Committee Decrees:

Spoliators, marauders, speculators, are declared to be enemies of the


The Military Revolutionary Committee proposes to all public organisations, to all honest citizens: to inform the Military Revolutionary Committee immediately of all cases of spoliation, marauding, speculation, which become known to them.

The struggle against this evil is the business of all honest people. The Military Revolutionary Committee expects the support of all to whom the interests of the People are dear.

The Military Revolutionary Committee will be merciless in pursuit of speculators and marauders.


Petrograd, Dec. 2d, 1917.



"The situation at Petrograd is desperate. The city is cut off from the outside world and is entirely in the power of the Bolsheviki…. People are arrested in the streets, thrown into the Neva, drowned and imprisoned without any charge. Even Burtzev is shut up in Peter-Paul fortress, under strict guard.

"The organisation at whose head I am is working without rest to unite all the officers and what is left of the yunker schools, and to arm them. The situation cannot be saved except by creating regiments of officers and yunkers. Attacking with these regiments, and having gained a first success, we could later gain the aid of the garrison troops; but without that first success it is impossible to count on a single soldier, because thousands of them are divided and terrorised by the scum which exists in every regiment. Most of the Cossacks are tainted by Bolshevik propaganda, thanks to the strange policy of General Dutov, who allowed to pass the moment when by decisive action something could have been obtained. The policy of negotiations and concessions has borne its fruits; all that is respectable is persecuted, and it is the plebe and the criminals who dominate-and nothing can be done except by shooting and hanging them.

"We are awaiting you here, General, and at the moment of your arrival, we shall advance with all the forces at our disposal. But for that we must establish some communication with you, and before all, clear up the following points:

"(1) Do you know that in your name all officers who could take part in the fight are being invited to leave Petrograd on the pretext of joining you?

"(2) About when can we count on your arrival at Petrograd? We should like to know in order to coordinate our actions.

"In spite of the criminal inaction of the conscious people here, which allowed the yoke of Bolshevism to be laid upon us-in spite of the extraordinary pig-headedness of the majority of officers, so difficult to organise-we believe in spite of all that Truth is on our side, and that we shall conquer the vicious and criminal forces who say that they are acting for motives of love of country and in order to save it. Whatever comes, we shall not permit ourselves to be struck down, and shall remain firm until the end."

Purishkevitch, being brought to trial before the Revolutionary

Tribunal, was given a short prison term….



1. The printing of advertisements, in newspapers, books, bill-boards, kiosks, in offices and other establishments is declared to be a State monopoly.

2. Advertisements may only be published in the organs of the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government at Petrograd, and in the organs of local Soviets.

3. The proprietors of newspapers and advertising offices, as well as all employees of such establishments, should remain at their posts until the transfer of the advertisement business to the Government…. superintending the uninterrupted continuation of their houses, and turning over to the Soviets all private advertising and the sums received therefor, as well as all accounts and copy.

4. All managers of publications and businesses dealing with paid advertising, as well as their employees and workers, shall agree to hold a City Congress, and to join, first the City Trade Unions, and then the All-Russian Unions, to organise more thoroughly and justly the advertising business in the Soviet publications, as well as to prepare better rules for the public utility of advertising.

5. All persons found guilty of having concealed documents or money, or having sabotaged the regulations indicated in paragraphs 3 and 4, will be punished by a sentence of not more than three years' imprisonment, and all their property will be confiscated.

6. The paid insertion of advertisements…. in private publications, or under a masqued form, will also be severely penalised.

7. Advertising offices are confiscated by the Government, the owners being entitled to compensation in cases of necessity. Small proprietors, depositors and stock-holders of the confiscated establishments will be reimbursed for all moneys held by them in the concern.

8. All buildings, officers, counters, and in general every establishment doing a business in advertising, should immediately inform the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies of its address, and proceed to the transfer of its business, under penalty of the punishment indicated in paragraph 5.

President of the Council of People's Commissars,


People's Commissar for Public Instruction,


Secretary of the Council,




1. The city of Petrograd is declared to be in a state of siege.

2. All assemblies, meetings and congregations on the streets and squares are prohibited.

3. Attempts to loot wine-cellars, warehouses, factories, stores, business premises, private dwellings, etc., etc., will be stopped by machine-gun fire without warning.

4. House Committees, doormen, janitors and Militiamen are charged with the duty of keeping strict order in all houses, courtyards and in the streets, and house-doors and carriage-entrances must be locked at 9 o'clock in the evening, and opened at 7 o'clock in the morning. After 9 o'clock in the evening only tenants may leave the house, under strict control of the House Committees.

5. Those guilty of the distribution, sale or purchase of any kind of alcoholic liquor, and also those guilty of the violation of sections 2 and 4, will be immediately arrested and subjected to the most severe punishment.

Petrograd, 6th of December, 3 o'clock in the night.

Committee to Fight Against Pogroms, attached to the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.



Lenin, To the People of Russia:

"Comrades workers, soldiers, peasants-all toilers!

"The Workers' and Peasants' Revolution has won at Petrograd, at Moscow…. From the Front and the villages arrive every day, every hour, greetings to the new Government…. The victory of the Revolution…. is assured, seeing that it is sustained by the majority of the people.

"It is entirely understandable that the proprietors and the capitalists, the employees and functionaries closely allied with the bourgeoisic-in a word, all the rich and all those who join hands with them-regard the new Revolution with hostility, oppose its success, threaten to halt the activity of the banks, and sabotage or obstruct the work of other establishments…. Every conscious worker understands perfectly that we cannot avoid this hostility, because the high officials have set themselves against the People and do not wish to abandon their posts without resistance. But the working classes are not for one moment afraid of that resistance. The majority of the people are for us. For us are the majority of the workers and the oppressed of the whole world. We have justice on our side. Our ultimate victory is certain.

"The resistance of the capitalists and high officials will be broken. No one will be deprived of his property without a special law on the nationalisation of banks and financial syndicates. This law is in preparation. Not a worker will lose a single kopek; on the contrary, he will be assisted. Without at this moment establishing the new taxes, the new Government considers one of its primary duties to make a severe accounting and control on the reception of taxes decreed by the former régime….

"Comrades workers! Remember that you yourselves direct the Government. No one will help you unless you organise yourselves and take into your own hands the affairs of the State. Your Soviets are now the organs of governmental power…. Strengthen them, establish a severe revolutionary control, pitilessly crush the attempts at anarchy on the part of drunkards, brigands, counter-revolutionary yunkers and Kornilovists.

"Establish a strict control over production and the accounting for products. Arrest and turn over to the Revolutionary Tribunal of the People every one who injures the property of the People, by sabotage in production, by concealment of grain-reserves, reserves of other products, by retarding the shipments of grain, by bringing confusion into the railroads, the posts and the telegraphs, or in general opposing the great work of bringing Peace and transferring the Land to the peasants….

"Comrades workers, soldiers, peasants-all toilers!

"Take immediately all local power into your hands…. Little by little, with the consent of the majority of peasants, we shall march firmly and unhesitatingly toward the victory of Socialism, which will fortify the advance-guards of the working-class of the most civilised Countries, and give to the peoples an enduring peace, and free them from every slavery and every exploitation."


"To All Workers of Petrograd!

"Comrades! The Revolution is winning-the revolution has won. All the power has passed over to our Soviets. The first weeks are the most difficult ones. The broken reaction must be finally crushed, a full triumph must be secured to our endeavours. The working-class ought to-must-show in these days THE GREATEST FIRMNESS AND ENDURANCE, in order to facilitate the execution of all the aims of the new People's Government of Soviets. In the next few days decrees on the Labour question will be issued, and among the very first will be the decree on Workers' Control over the production and regulation of Industry.


"We ask you to cease immediately all economic and political strikes, to take up your work, and do it in perfect order. The work in the factories and all the industries is necessary for the new Government of Soviets, because any interruption of this work will only create new difficulties for us, and we have enough as it is. All to your places.

"The best way to support the new Government of Soviets in these days-is by doing your job.


Petrograd Soviet of W. & S. D.

Petrograd Council of Trade Unions.

Petrograd Council of Factory-Shop Committees.



From the Employees of the State and private Banks To the Population of Petrograd:

"Comrades workers, soldiers and citizens!

"The Military Revolutionary Committee in an 'extraordinary notice' is accusing the workers of the State and private banking and other institutions of 'impeding the work of the Government, directed towards the ensuring of the Front with provisions.'

"Comrades and citizens, do not believe this calumny, brought against us, who are part of the general army of labour.

"However difficult it be for us to work under the constant threat of interference by acts of violence in our hard-working life, however depressing it be to know that our Country and the Revolution are on the verge of ruin, we, nevertheless, all of us, from the highest to the lowest, employees, artelshtchiki, counters, labourers, couriers, etc., are continuing to fulfil our duties which are connected with the ensuring of provisions and munitions to the Front and country.

"Counting upon your lack of information, comrades workers and soldiers, in questions of finance and banking, you are being incited against workers like yourselves, because it is desirable to divert the responsibility for the starving and dying brother-soldiers at the Front from the guilty persons to the innocent workers who are accomplishing their duty under the burden of general poverty and disorganisation.


"From November 6th to November 23d, i.e., during 17 days, 500 million rubles were dispatched to the Front, and 120 millions to Moscow, besides the sums sent to other towns.

"Keeping guard over the wealth of the people, the master of which can be only the Constituent Assembly, representing the whole nation, the employees refuse to give out money for purposes which are unknown to them.


Central Board of the All-Russian Union of Employees of the State Bank.

Central Board of the All-Russian Trade Union of Employees of Credit Institutions.

* * * * *

To the Population of Petrograd.

"CITIZENS: Do not believe the falsehood which irresponsible people are trying to suggest to you by spreading terrible calumnies against the employees of the Ministry of Supplies and the workers in other Supply organisations who are labouring in these dark days for the salvation of Russia. Citizens! In posted placards you are called upon to lynch us, we are accused falsely of sabotage and strikes, we are blamed for all the woes and misfortunes that the people are suffering, although we have been striving indefatigably and uninterruptedly, and are still striving, to save the Russian people from the horrors of starvation. Notwithstanding all that we are bearing as citizens of unhappy Russia, we have not for one hour abandoned our heavy and responsible work of supplying the Army and population with provisions.

"The image of the Army, cold and hungry, saving our very existence by its blood and its tortures, does not leave us for a single moment.

"Citizens! If we have survived the blackest days in the life and history of our people, if we have succeeded in preventing famine in Petrograd, if we have managed to procure to the suffering army bread and forage by means of enormous, almost superhuman, efforts, it is because we have honestly continued and are still continuing to do our work….

"To the 'last warning' of the usurpers of the power we reply: It is not for you who are leading the country to ruin to threaten us who are doing all we can not to allow the country to perish. We are not afraid of threats; before us stands the sacred image of tortured Russia. We will continue our work of supplying the Army and the people with bread to our last efforts, so long as you will not prevent us from accomplishing our duty to our country. In the contrary case the Army and the people will stand before the horrors of famine, but the responsibility therefor belongs to the perpetrators of violence.

Executive Committee of the Employees of the Ministry of Supplies.

* * * * *

To the Tchinovniki (Government Officials).

It is notified hereby, that all officials and persons who have quitted the service in Government and public institutions or have been dismissed for sabotage or for having failed to report for work on the day fixed, and who have nevertheless received their salary paid in advance for the time they have not served, are bound to return such salary not later than on November 27th, 1917, to those institutions where they were in service.

In the event of this not being done, these persons will be rendered answerable for stealing the Treasury's property and tried by the Military Revolutionary Court.

The Military-Revolutionary Committee.

December 7th, 1917.

* * * * *

From the Special Board for the Supplies CITIZENS

"The conditions of our work for the supplying of Petrograd are getting more and more difficult every day.

"The interference with our work-which is so ruinous to our business-of the Commissars of the Military Revolutionary Committee is still continuing.

"THEIR ARBITRARY ACTS, their annulling of our orders, MAY LEAD TO A


"Seals have been affixed to one of the cold storages where the meat and butter destined for the population are kept, and we cannot regulate the temperature SO THAT THE PRODUCTS WOULD NOT BE SPOILT.

"One carload of potatoes and one carload of cabbages have been seized and carried away no one knows where to.

"Cargoes which are not liable to requisition (khalva) are requisitioned by the Commissars and, as was the case one day, five boxes of khalva were seized by the Commissar for his own use.

"WE ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO DISPOSE OF OUR STORAGES, where the self-appointed Commissars do not allow the cargoes to be taken out, and terrorise our employees, threatening them with arrest.



"The work is simply falling out of our hands.

"OUR DUTY is to let the population know of this.

"To the last possibility we will remain on guard of the interests of the population.




There were nineteen tickets in Petrograd. The results are as follows, published November 30th:

+--------------------------+-----+ | Party | Vote | +--------------------------+-----+ | Populist Socialists | 19,109 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Cadets | 245,006 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Christian Democrats | 3,707 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Bolsheviki | 424,027 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Socialist Universalists | 158 | +--------------------------+-----+ | S. D. and S. R. Ukrainean and Jewish Workers | 4,219 | +--------------------------+-----+ | League of Women's Rights | 5,310 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Socialist Revolutionaries (oborontsi) | 4,696 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Left Socialist Revolutionaries | 152,230 | +--------------------------+-----+ | League of the People's Development | 385 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Radical Democrats | 413 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Orthodox Parishes | 24,139 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Feminine League for Salvation of Country | 318 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Independent League of Workers, Soldiers, Peasants | 4,942 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Christian Democrats (Catholic) | 14,382 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Unified Social Democrats | 11,740 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Mensheviki | 17,427 | +--------------------------+-----+ | Yedinstvo group | 1,823 | +--------------------------+-----+ | League of Cossack Troops | 6,712 | +--------------------------+-----+




"You are being deceived. You are being incited against the People. You are told that the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies are your enemies, that they want to take away your Cossack land, your Cossack 'liberty'. Don't believe it, Cossacks…. Your own Generals and landowners are deceiving you, in order to keep you in darkness and slavery. We, the Council of People's Commissars, address ourselves to you, Cossacks, with these words. Read them attentively and judge yourselves which is the truth and which is cruel deceit. The life and service of a Cossack were always bondage and penal servitude. At the first call of the authorities a Cossack always had to saddle his horse and ride out on campaign. All his military equipment a Cossack had to provide with his own hardly earned means. A Cossack is on service, his farm is going to rack and ruin. Is such a condition fair? No, it must be altered for ever. THE COSSACKS MUST BE FREED FROM BONDAGE. The new People's Soviet power is willing to come to the assistance of the toiling Cossacks. It is only necessary that the Cossacks themselves should resolve to abolish the old order, that they should refuse submission to their slave-driver officers, land-owners, rich men, that they should throw off the cursed yoke from their necks. Arise, Cossacks! Unite! The Council of People's Commissars calls upon you to enter a new, fresh, more happy life.

"In November and December in Petrograd there were All-Russian Congresses of Soviets of Soldiers', Workers', and Peasants' Deputies. These Congresses transferred all the authority in the different localities into the hands of the Soviets, i.e., into the hands of men elected by the People. From now on there must be in Russia no rulers or functionaries who command the People from above and drive them. The People create the authority themselves. A General has no more rights than a soldier. All are equal. Consider, Cossacks, is this wrong or right? We are calling upon you, Cossacks, to join this new order and to create your own Soviets of Cossacks' Deputies. To such Soviets all the power must belong in the different localities. Not to hetmans with the rank of General, but to the elected representatives of the toiling Cossacks, to your own trustworthy reliable men.

"The All-Russian Congresses of Soldiers', Workers', and Peasants' Deputies have passed a resolution to transfer all landowners' land into the possession of the toiling people. Is not that fair, Cossacks? The Kornilovs, Kaledins, Dutovs, Karaulovs, Bardizhes, all defend with their whole souls the interests of the rich men, and they are ready to drown Russia in blood if only the lands remain in the hands of the landowners. But you, the toiling Cossacks, do not you suffer yourselves from poverty, oppression and lack of land? How many Cossacks are there who have more than 4-5 dessiatins per head? But the landowners, who have thousands of dessiatins of their own land, wish besides to get into their hands the lands of the Cossack Army. According to the new Soviet laws, the lands of Cossack landowners must pass without compensation into the hands of the Cossack workers, the poorer Cossacks. You are being told that the Soviets wish to take away your lands from you. Who is frightening you? The rich Cossacks, who know that the Soviet AUTHORITY WISHES TO transfer the landowners' lands to you. Choose then, Cossacks, for whom will you stand: for the Kornilovs and Kaledins, for the Generals and rich men, or for the Soviets of Peasants', Soldiers', Workers' and Cossacks' Deputies.

"THE COUNCIL OF PEOPLE's COMMISSARS elected by the All-Russian Congress HAS PROPOSED TO ALL NATIONS AN IMMEDIATE ARMISTICE AND AN HONOURABLE DEMOCRATIC PEACE WITHOUT LOSS OR DETRIMENT TO ANY NATION. All the capitalists, landowners, Generals-Kornilovists have risen against the peaceful policy of the Soviets. The war was bringing them profits, power, distinctions. And to you, Cossack privates? You were perishing without reason, without purpose, like your brothers-soldiers and sailors. It will soon be three years and a half that this accursed war has gone on, a war devised by the capitalists and landowners of all countries for their own profit, their world robberies. To the toiling Cossacks the war has only brought ruin and death. The war has drained all the resources from Cossack farm life. The only salvation for the whole of our country and for the Cossacks in particular is a prompt and honest peace. The Council of People's Commissars has declared to all Governments and peoples: We do not want other people's property, and we do not wish to give away our own. Peace without annexations and without indemnities. Every nation must decide its own fate. There must be no oppressing of one nation by another. Such is the honest, democratic, People's peace which the Council of People's Commissars is proposing to all Governments, to all peoples, allies and enemies. And the results are visible: ON THE RUSSIAN FRONT AN ARMISTICE HAS BEEN CONCLUDED.

"The soldier's and the Cossack's blood is not flowing there any more. Now, Cossacks, decide: do you wish to continue this ruinous, senseless, criminal slaughter? Then support the Cadets, the enemies of the people, support Tchernov, Tseretelli, Skobeliev, who drove you into the offensive of July 1st; support Kornilov, who introduced capital punishment for soldiers and Cossacks at the front. BUT IF YOU WISH A PROMPT AND HONEST PEACE, THEN ENTER THE RANKS OF THE SOVIETS AND SUPPORT THE COUNCIL OF PEOPLE's COMMISSARS.

"Your fate, Cossacks, lies in your own hands. Our common foes, the landowners, capitalists, officers-Kornilovists, bourgeois newspapers, are deceiving you and driving you along the road to ruin. In Orenburg, Dutov has arrested the Soviet and disarmed the garrison. Kaledin is threatening the Soviets in the province of the Don. He has declared the province to be in a state of war and is assembling his troops. Karaulov is shooting the local tribes in the Caucasus. The Cadet bourgeoisie is supplying them with its millions. Their common aim is to suppress the People's Soviets, to crush the workers and peasants, to introduce again the discipline of the whip in the army, and to eternalise the bondage of the toiling Cossacks.

"Our revolutionary troops are moving to the Don and the Ural in order to put an end to this criminal revolt against the people. The commanders of the revolutionary troops have received orders not to enter into any negotiations with the mutinous Generals, to act decisively and mercilessly.

"Cossacks! On you depends now whether your brothers' blood is to flow still. We are holding out our hand to you. Join the whole people against its enemies. Declare Kaledin, Kornilov, Dutov, Karaulov and all their aiders and abettors to be the enemies of the people, traitors and betrayers. Arrest them with your own forces and turn them over into the hands of the Soviet authority, which will judge them in open and public Revolutionary Tribunal. Cossacks! Form Soviets of Cossacks' Deputies. Take into your toil-worn hands the management of all the affairs of the Cossacks. Take away the lands of your own wealthy landowners. Take over their grain, their inventoried property and live-stock for the cultivation of the lands of the toiling Cossacks, who are ruined by the war.

"Forward, Cossacks, to the fight for the common cause of the people!

"Long live the toiling Cossacks!

"Long live the union of the Cossacks, the soldiers, peasants and workers!

"Long live the power of the Soviets of Cossacks', Soldiers', Workers' and Peasants' Deputies.

"Down with the war! Down with the landowners and the


"Long live Peace and the Brotherhood of peoples!"

Council of People's Commissars.



"Comrades Workingmen and Workingwomen!

"A few days before the holidays, a strike has been declared by the teachers of the public schools. The teachers side with the bourgeoisie against the Workers' and Peasants' Government.

"Comrades, organise parents' committees and pass resolutions against the strike of the teachers. Propose to the Ward Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the Trade Unions, the Factory-Shop and Party Committees, to organise protest meetings. Arrange with your own resources Christmas trees and entertainments for the children, and demand the opening of the schools, after the holidays, at the date which will be set by the Duma.

"Comrades, strengthen your position in matters of public education, insist on the control of the proletarian organisations over the schools."

Commission on Public Education attached to the Central City Duma.



The notes issued by Trotzky to the Allies and to the neutral powers, as well as the note of the Allied military Attachés to General Dukhonin, are too voluminous to give here. Moreover they belong to another phase of the history of the Soviet Republic, with which this book has nothing to do-the foreign relations of the Soviet Government. This I treat at length in the next volume, "Kornilov to Brest-Litovsk."



"… The struggle for peace has met with the resistance of the bourgeoisie and the counter-revolutionary Generals…. From the accounts in the newspapers, at the Stavka of former Supreme Commander Dukhonin are gathering the agents and allies of the bourgeoisie, Verkhovski, Avksentiev, Tchernov, Gotz, Tseretelli, etc. It seems even that they want to form a new power against the Soviets.

"Comrades soldiers! All the persons we have mentioned have been Ministers already. They have acted in accord with Kerensky and the bourgeoisie. They are responsible for the offensive of July 1st and for the prolongation of the war. They promised the land to the peasants and then arrested the Land Committees. They reestablished capital punishment for soldiers. They obey the orders of French, English and American financiers….

"General Dukhonin, for having refused to obey orders of the Council of People's Commissars, has been dismissed from his position as Supreme Commander…. For answer he is circulating among the troops the note from the Military Attachés of the Allied imperialist Powers, and attempting to provoke a counter-revolution….

"Do not obey Dukhonin! Pay no attention to his provocation! Watch him and his group of counter-revolutionary Generals carefully…."



Order Number Two

"… The ex-Supreme Commander, General Dukhonin, for having opposed resistance to the execution of orders, for criminal action susceptible of provoking a new civil war, is declared enemy of the People. All persons who support Dukhonin will be arrested, without respect to their social or political position or their past. Persons equipped with special authority will operate these arrests. I charge General Manikhovsky with the execution of the above-mentioned dispositions…."




In answer to the numerous enquiries coming from peasants, it is hereby explained that the whole power in the country is from now on held by the Soviets of the Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies. The Workers' Revolution, after having conquered in Petrograd and in Moscow, is now conquering in all other centres of Russia. The Workers' and Peasants' Government safeguards the interests of the masses of peasantry, the poorest of them; it is with the majority of peasants and workers against the landowners, and against the capitalists.

Hence the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies, and before all the District Soviets, and subsequently those of the Provinces, are from now on and until the Constituent Assembly meets, full-powered bodies of State authority in their localities. All landlords' titles to the land are cancelled by the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets. A decree regarding the land has already been issued by the present Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government. On the basis of the above decree all lands hitherto belonging to landlords now pass entirely and wholly into the hands of the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies. The Volost (a group of several villages forms a Volost) Land Committees are immediately to take over all land from the landlords, and to keep a strict account over it, watching that order be maintained, and that the whole estate be well guarded, seeing that from now on all private estates become public property and must therefore be protected by the people themselves.

All orders given by the Volost Land Committees, adopted with the assent of the District Soviets of Peasants' Deputies, in fulfilment of the decrees issued by the revolutionary power, are absolutely legal and are to be forthwith and irrefutably brought into execution.

The Workers' and Peasants' Government appointed by the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets has received the name of the Council of People's Commissars.

The Council of People's Commissars summons the Peasants to take the whole power into their hands in every locality.

The workers will in every way absolutely and entirely support the peasants, arrange for them all that is required in connection with machines and tools, and in return they request the peasants to help with the transport of grain.

President of the Council of People's Commissars, V. ULIANOV (LENIN).

Petrograd, November 18th, 1917.


The full-powered Congress of Peasants' Soviets met about a week later, and continued for several weeks. Its history is merely an expanded version of the history of the "Extraordinary Conference." At first the great majority of the delegates were hostile to the Soviet Government, and supported the reactionary wing. Several days later the assembly was supporting the moderates with Tchernov. And several days after that the vast majority of the Congress were voting for the faction of Maria Spiridonova, and sending their representatives into the Tsay-ee-kah at Smolny…. The Right Wing then walked out of the Congress and called a Congress of its own, which went on, dwindling from day to day, until it finally dissolved….

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