Extraordinary Sixth All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Workers’, Peasants’, Cossacks’and Red Army Deputies
|Written||6 November 1918|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1974, pages 135-164
The Congress was held at the Bolshoi Threatre between November 6 and 9, 1918. Its opening coincided with the celebrations of the anniversary of the October Revolution. There were 1,296 delegates (963 with voting rights and 333 with voice but no vote), of whom 1,260 were Communists. The agenda included the following items: anniversary of the October Revolution, the international situation, military situation building of Soviet power at the centre, Poor Peasants’ Committees and local Soviets. Lenin was elected honorary chairman of the Congress. After hearing Lenin’s report on the anniversary of the October Revolution at the first sitting on November 6, the delegates sent greetings to workers, peasants and soldiers of all countries and their leaders who were fighting for peace and socialism, and to the Red Army. On Sverdlov’s proposal the Congress adopted an appeal to the governments at war with Soviet Russia to start peace negotiations. In view of the strengthening of Soviet power and the victories of the Red Army the Congress adopted a decision on amnesty.
At the second session of the Congress on November 8 Lenin made a report on the international situation. The Congress unanimously endorsed a resolution that had been drawn up by Lenin and adopted at the joint session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, the Moscow Soviet, factory committees and trade unions on October 22,1918. On the same day, after hearing the report of People’s Commissar of Justice D. I. Kursky, the Congress passed a resolution on revolutionary legality, drawn up on the basis of Lenin’s theses. At its last session on November 9 the Congress discussed the military situation and Soviet development, and adopted appropriate resolutions. The Congress decided to merge the Poor Peasants Committees, which had already fulfilled their functions with volost and village Soviets. The delegates warmly welcomed the news of the revolution in Germany and expressed their solidarity with the German workers, soldiers and sailors.
A new All-Russia Central Executive Committee was elected, consisting of 207 full members and 39 alternate members. The Congress summed up the results achieved by Soviet power in the first year of its existence and drew up a programme of work for the Soviet Government in the near future.
1. Speech On The Anniversary Of The Revolution[edit source]
November 6, 1918
(Comrade Lenin’s appearance in the hall is greeted with prolonged ovation.) Comrades, we are celebrating the anniversary of our revolution at a time when events of the utmost importance are taking place in the international working-class movement. It has become obvious even to the most sceptical and doubting elements of the working class and working people in general that the world war will end neither by agreements nor by coercion on the part of the old government and the old ruling bourgeois class, that this war is leading the whole world as well as Russia to a world proletarian revolution and to the workers’ triumph over capital. Capital drenched the earth in blood, and, after the violence and outrages of German imperialism, Anglo-French imperialism, supported by Austria and Germany, is pursuing the same policy.
Today, when celebrating the anniversary of the revolution, it is fitting that we cast a glance back along the path traversed by the revolution. We began our revolution in unusually difficult conditions, such as no other workers’ revolution in the world will ever have to face. It is therefore particularly important that we endeavour to review the path we have covered as a whole, to take stock of our achievements during this period, and see to what extent we have prepared ourselves during the past year for our chief, our real, our decisive and fundamental task. We must be one of the detachments, one of the units of the world proletarian and socialist army. We have always realised that it was not on account of any merit of the Russian proletariat, or because it was in advance of the others, that we happened to begin the revolution, which grew out of world-wide struggle. On the contrary, it was only because of the peculiar weakness and backwardness of capitalism, and the peculiar pressure of military strategic circumstances, that we happened in the course of events to move ahead of the other detachments, while not waiting until they had caught us up and rebellEditor We are now making this review so as to take stock of our preparations for the battles that will face us in the coming revolution.
And so, comrades, when we ask ourselves what big changes we have made over the past year, we call say the following: from workers’ control, the working class’s first steps, and from disposing of all the country’s resources, we are now on the threshold of creating a workers’ administration of industry; from the general peasants’ struggle for land, the peasants’ struggle against the landowners, a struggle that had a national, bourgeois-democratic character, we have now reached a stage where the proletarian and semi-proletarian elements in the countryside have set themselves apart: those who labour and are exploited have set themselves apart from the others and have begun to build a new life; the most oppressed country folk are fighting the bourgeoisie, including their own rural kulak bourgeoisie, to the bitter end.
Furthermore, from the first steps of Soviet organisation we have now reached a stage where, as Comrade Sverdlov justly remarked in opening this Congress, there is no place in Russia, however remote, where Soviet authority has not asserted itself and become an integral part of the Soviet Constitution, which is based on long experience gained in the struggle of the working and oppressed people.
We now have a powerful Red Army instead of being utterly defenceless after the last four years’ war, which evoked hatred and aversion among the mass of the exploited and left them terribly weak and exhausted, and which condemned the revolution to a most difficult and drastic period when we were defenceless against the blows of German and Austrian imperialism. Finally, and most important of all, we have come from being isolated internationally, from which we suffered both in October and at the beginning of the year, to a position where our only, but firm allies, the working and oppressed people of the world, have at last rebellEditor We have reached a stage where the leaders of the West European proletariat, like Liebknecht and Adler, leaders who spent many months in prison for their bold and heroic attempts to gather opposition to the imperialist war, have been set free under the pressure of the rapidly developing workers’ revolutions in Vienna and Berlin. Instead of being isolated, we are now in a position where we are marching side by side, shoulder to shoulder with our international allies. Those are the chief achievements of the past year. I want to say a few words about the road we have covered, about this transitional stage.
At first our slogan was workers’ control. We said that despite all the promises of the Kerensky government, the capitalists were continuing to sabotage production and increase dislocation. We can now see that this would have ended in complete collapse. So the first fundamental step that every socialist, workers’ government has to take is workers’ control. We did not decree socialism immediately throughout industry, because socialism can only take shape and be consolidated when the working class has learnt how to run the economy and when the authority of the working people has been firmly establishEditor Socialism is mere wishful thinking without that. That is why we introduced workers’ control, appreciating that it was a contradictory and incomplete measure, but an essential one so that the workers themselves might tackle the momentous tasks of building up industry in a vast country without and opposed to exploiters.
Everyone who took a direct, or even indirect, part in this work, everyone who lived through all the oppression and brutality of the old capitalist regime, learned a great deal. We know that little has been accomplishEditor We know that in this extremely backward and impoverished country where innumerable obstacles and barriers were put in the workers’ way, it will take them a long time to learn to run industry. But we consider it most important and valuable that the workers have themselves tackled the job, and that we have passed from workers’ control, which in all the main branches of industry was bound to be chaotic, disorganised, primitive and incomplete, to workers’ industrial administration on a national scale.
The trade unions’ position has alterEditor Their main function now is to send their representatives to all management boards and central bodies, to all the new organisations which have taken over a ruined and deliberately sabotaged industry from capitalism. They have coped with industry without the assistance of those intellectuals who from the very out set deliberately used their knowledge and education—the result of mankind’s store of knowledge—to frustrate the cause of socialism, rather than assist the people in building up a socially-owned economy without exploiters. These men wanted to use their knowledge to put a spoke in the wheel, to hamper the workers who were least trained for tackling the job of administration.
We can now say that the main hindrance has been removEditor It was extremely difficult, but the sabotage of all people gravitating towards the bourgeoisie has been checkEditor The workers have succeeded in taking this basic step, in laying the foundations of socialism, despite tremendous handicaps. We are not exaggerating and are not afraid to tell the truth. It is true that in terms of our ultimate goal, little has been accomplishEditor But a great deal, a very great deal, has been done to strengthen the foundations. When speaking of socialism, we cannot say that great sections of workers have laid the foundations in a politically-conscious way in the sense that they have taken to reading books and pamphlets. By political consciousness we mean that they have tackled this formidable task with their own hands and by their own efforts. And they have committed thousands of blunders from each of which they have themselves sufferEditor But every blunder trained and steeled them in organising industrial administration, which has now been established and put upon a firm foundation. They saw their work through. From now on the work will be different, for now all workers, not just the leaders and advanced workers, but great sections of workers, know that they themselves, with their own hands, are building socialism and have already laid its foundations, and no force in the country can prevent them from seeing the job through.
We may have had great difficulties in industry, where we had to cover a road which to many seemed long, but which was actually short and led from workers’ control to workers’ administration, yet far greater preparatory work had to be done in the more backward countryside. Anyone who has studied rural life and come into contact with the peasants would say that it was only in the summer and autumn of 1918 that the urban October Revolution became a real rural October Revolution. And the Petrograd workers and the Petrograd garrison soldiers fully realised when they took power that great difficulties would crop up in rural organisational work, and our progress there would have to he more gradual and that it would be the greatest folly to try to introduce socialised farming by decree, fot only an insignificant number of enlightened peasants might support us, while the vast majority had no such object in view. We therefore confined ourselves to what was absolutely essential in the interests of promoting the revolution—in no case to endeavour to outrun the people’s development, but to wait until a movement forward occurred as a result of their own experience and their own struggle. In October we confined ourselves to sweeping away at one blow the age-old enemy of the peasants, the feudal landowner, the big landed proprietor. This was a struggle in which all the peasants joinEditor At this stage the peasants were not yet divided into proletarians, semi-proletarians, poor peasants and bourgeoisie. We socialists knew there would be no socialism without such a struggle, but we also realised that knowing it was not enough—it had to be brought home to the millions, and through their own experience, not through propaganda. And for that reason, since the peasants as a whole could only conceive of the revolution on the basis of equal land tenure, we openly declared in our decree of October 26, 1917, that we would take the Peasant Mandate on the Land as our starting-point. [See present edition, Volume 26, pages 258-60. —Editor;]
We said frankly that it did not accord with our views, that it was not communism, but we were not imposing on the peasants something that was merely in accord with our programme and not with their views. We said we were marching alongside them, as with fellow-workers, fully confident that the development of the revolution would lead them to the conclusions we ourselves had drawn. The result of this policy is the peasant movement. The agrarian reform began with the socialisation of the land which we voted for and carried out, though openly declaring that it did not accord with our views. We knew that the idea of equal land tenure had the support of the vast majority, and we had no desire to force anything upon them. We were prepared to wait until the peasants themselves abandoned the idea and advanced further. So we waited and we have been able to prepare our forces.
The law we then passed was based on general democratic principles, on that which unites the rich kulak peasant with the poor peasant—hatred for the landowner. It was based on the general idea of equality which was undoubtedly a revolutionary idea directed against the old monarchist system. From this law we had to pass to differentiation of the peasants. The land socialisation law was universally accepted; it was unanimously adopted both by us and by those who did not subscribe to Bolshevik policy. We gave the agricultural communes the biggest say in deciding who should own the land. We left the road open for agriculture to develop along socialist lines, knowing perfectly well that at that time, October 1917, it was not yet ready for it. Our preparatory work cleared the way for the gigantic and epoch-making step we have now taken, one that has not been taken by any other country, not even by the most democratic republic. That step was taken this summer by all the peasants, even in the most remote villages of Russia. When food difficulties arose and famine threatened, when the heritage of the past and the aftermath of the accursed four years of war made themselves felt, when counter-revolution and the Civil War had deprived us of our richest grain region, when all this reached a climax and the cities were menaced by famine, the only, the most reliable and firm bulwark of our government, the advanced workers of the towns and industrial regions, went en masse to the countryside. It is slander to say the workers went there to provoke an armed conflict between workers and peasants. Events expose that slander. The workers went to put down the rural exploiters, the kulaks, who were making huge fortunes out of grain profiteering at a time when people were starving. They went to help the poor peasants, that is, the majority of the rural population. The July crisis, when kulak revolts swept the whole of Russia, clearly showed that their mission had not been in vain, that they had extended the hand of alliance, and that their preparatory work had merged with the efforts of the peasants. The working and exploited country people settled the July crisis by rising up everywhere and coming out in alliance with the urban proletariat. Today Comrade Zinoviev told me over the telephone that 18,000 people are attending the regional congress of Poor Peasants’ Committees in Petrograd and that there is remarkable enthusiasm and high spirits.
As events unfolding throughout Russia became more evident, the village poor realised from their own experience when they went into action what the struggle against the kulaks meant, and that to keep the cities supplied with food and to re-establish commodity exchange, without which the countryside cannot live, they must part company with the rural bourgeoisie and the kulaks. They have to organise separately. And we have now taken the first and most momentous step of the socialist revolution in the countryside. We could not have taken that step in October. We gauged the moment when we could approach the people. And we have now reached a point where the socialist revolution in the rural areas has begun, where in every village, even the most remote the peasant knows that his rich neighbour, the kulak, if he is engaged in grain profiteering, sees everything in the light of his old, backwoods mentality.
And so the countryside, the rural poor, uniting with their leaders, the city workers, are only now providing us with a firm and stable foundation for real socialist construction. Socialist construction will only now begin in the countryside. Only now are Soviets and farms being formed which are systematically working towards large-scale socialised farming, towards making full use of knowledge, science and technology, realising that even simple, elementary human culture cannot be based on the old, reactionary, ignorant way of life. The work here is even more difficult than in industry, and even more mistakes are being made by our local committees and Soviets. But they learn from their mistakes. We are not afraid of mistakes when they are made by ordinary people who take a conscientious attitude to socialist construction, because we rely only on the experience and effort of our own people.
And now the tremendous upheaval that in so short a time has led us to socialism in the countryside shows that this fight has been crowned with success. The Red Army is the most striking proof of that. You know the state we were in during the imperialist world war when conditions in Russia made life unbearable for the common people. We know that at that time we were in an utterly helpless state. We frankly told the working people the whole truth. We exposed the secret imperialist treaties, the fruits of a policy which serves as a massive instrument of deception, and which in America today, the most advanced of the bourgeois imperialist democratic republics, is more than ever deceiving the people and leading them by the nose. When the imperialist character of the war became patent to all, the Russian Soviet Republic was the only country that completely shattered the bourgeoisie’s secret foreign policy. We exposed the secret treaties and declared, through Comrade Trotsky, to all countries of the world: We appeal to you to put an end to this war in a democratic way, without annexations and indemnities, and frankly and proudly declare the truth, a bitter truth but the truth nevertheless, that only a revolution against the bourgeois governments can put an end to this war. But we stood alone. So we had to pay the price of that terribly excruciating peace which was forced upon us by the Brest-Litovsk Treaty and which drove many of our sympathizers to gloom and despair. That was because we were alone. But we did our duty and showed up the aims of the war for everyone to see! The onslaught of German imperialism was able to overwhelm us because it took some time before our workers and peasants could organise properly. We had no army then; all we had was the old, disorganised, imperialist army which had been driven to fight in the war for aims which the soldiers did not support and with which they did not sympathise. So we had to go through a very painful period. It was a time when the people needed a respite from the terrible imperialist war, and had to realise that a new war was beginning. We are entitled to regard the war we shall wage in defence of our socialist revolution as our war. That is what millions and tens of millions of people had to learn to appreciate from their own experience. It took months. It took a long and hard battle for this realisation to get through. By this summer, however, everyone saw that it had got through at last, and that the breakthrough had come. Everyone realised that to have the army fight for the Soviet Republic, the army that comes from the people, that is sacrificing itself, and that after four years of bloody slaughter is again prepared to go to war, our country had to replace the weariness and despair of the people going to war by a clear realisation that they go to their death for their own cause: for the workers’ and peasants’ Soviets and the socialist republic. That has been achieved.
The victories we gained over the Czechs in the summer, and the news of big victories now coming in go to show that a turning-point has come, and that the hardest task—organising the people in a politically-conscious, socialist way after four years of terrible war—has been achievEditor That political consciousness has penetrated a long way among the people. Tens of millions of people have come to realise they are tackling a difficult job. And that gives us assurance that we shall not despair, even though the forces of world imperialism, stronger than us today, are being mustered against us, even though we are surrounded by the soldiers of the imperialists, who realise the menace from the Soviet government and are eager to strangle it, and even though we truthfully say they are stronger than us.
We say we are growing, the Soviet Republic is growing. The cause of the proletarian revolution is growing faster than the imperialist forces are closing in upon us. We are full of hope and assurance that we are fighting in the interests of the world socialist revolution as well as the Russian socialist revolution. Our hopes of victory are growing faster because our workers are becoming more politically conscious. What was the state of Soviet organisation last October? Only the first steps were being taken. We could not make it perfect or put it on a proper basis. But now we have the Soviet Constitution. The Soviet Constitution; ratified in July, is, as we know, not the invention of a commission, nor the creation of lawyers, nor is it copied from other constitutions. The world has never known such a constitution as ours. It embodies the workers’ experience of struggle and organisation against the exploiters both at home and abroad. We possess a fund of fighting experience. (Applause.) And this fund of experience has provided a striking corroboration of the fact that the organised workers created a Soviet government without civil servants, without a standing army and without privileges (privileges in practice for the bourgeoisie), and that they created the foundations of a new system in the factories. We are getting down to work and drawing in new helpers, who are essential if the Soviet Constitution is to be carried into effect. We now have ready new recruits, young peasant, who must be drawn into the work and help us carry the job through.
The last question I want to touch upon is the international situation. We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our international comrades, and we have now seen for ourselves the resoluteness and enthusiasm they put into their conviction that the Russian proletarian revolution will go along with them as the world revolution.
As the revolution’s international significance grew, the imperialists of the whole world banded even closer and more furiously together against us. In October 1917 they regarded our Republic as a curiosity not worth serious attention. In February they regarded it as an experiment in socialism not to be taken seriously. But the Republic’s army grew and gained in strength until the very difficult task of creating a socialist Red Army had been accomplishEditor As our cause gained in strength and its successes multiplied, the opposition and the hatred of the imperialists of all countries grew more rabid. Things have reached a state where British and French capitalists, who had proclaimed they were Wilhelm’s enemies, are now on the verge of joining forces with this same Wilhelm in an effort to strangle the Socialist Soviet Republic. For they have come to realise that it is no longer a curiosity or an experiment in socialism, but the hotbed, the really genuine hotbed, of the world socialist revolution. Hence, the number of our enemies has increased along with the successes of our revolution. We must realise what is lying in store for us, without in any way concealing the gravity of the situation. We shall go to meet it not alone but with the workers of Vienna and Berlin, who are moving into the same fight, and who will perhaps bring greater discipline and class-consciousness to our common cause.
To give you an idea of how the clouds are gathering over our Soviet Republic and what dangers are threatening us, I shall read you the full text of a Note sent to us by the German Government through its consulate:
“G. V. Chicherin, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Moscow, November 5, 1918.
On the instructions of the German Imperial Government, the Imperial German Consulate has the honour to notify the Russian Federative Soviet Republic of the following: The German Government has already had occasion to protest twice against the impermissible campaign that is being conducted against German state institutions through declarations made by official Russian authorities in contravention of Article 2 of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. It can no longer confine itself to protests against this campaign, which is not only a violation of the said stipulations of the Treaty, but a serious departure from normal international practice.
When the Soviet Government established its Diplomatic Legation in Berlin after the conclusion of the Peace Treaty, Herr Joffe, the appointed Russian representative, received a clear reminder of the need to refrain from any agitation or propaganda in Germany. To this he replied that he was acquainted with Article 2 of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty and was aware that in his capacity as representative of a foreign Power he must not interfere in Germany’s internal affairs. Herr Joffe and the departments in his charge accordingly enjoyed in Berlin the attention and confidence normally accorded to extraterritorial foreign legations. This confidence was, however, betrayEditor It has been clear for some time that the Russian Legation has been in close contact with certain people working for the overthrow of the political order in Germany, and, by employing such people in its service, has been interested in a movement aimed at overthrowing the existing system in Germany.
The following incident, which occurred on the 4th instant, revealed that the Russian Legation, by importing leaflets calling for revolution, is even taking an active part in movements aimed at overthrowing the existing order, thereby abusing the privilege of employing diplomatic couriers. Because one of the boxes in the official baggage of the Russian courier who arrived in Berlin yesterday was damaged during transportation, it was ascertained that the boxes contained revolutionary leaflets printed in German and, judging by their contents, designed for dissemination in Germany.
The German Government has further grounds for complaint because of the attitude taken by the Soviet Government towards the expiation to be made for the assassination of Count Mirbach, the Imperial Ambassador. The Russian Government solemnly declared that it would do everything in its power to bring the criminals to court. But the German Government has not observed any signs of the prosecution and punishment of the criminals having been undertaken, or even of any intention of it being done. The murderers escaped from a house surrounded on all sides by Public Security men of the Russian Government. The instigators of the assassination, who have publicly admitted they were behind the whole affair, to this day go unpunished and, according to information received, have even been pardon.
The German Government protests against such violations of the Treaty and of public law. It is obliged to demand guarantees from the Russian Government that no further agitation and propaganda running counter to the Peace Treaty will be conductEditor It must furthermore insist on the expiation of the assassination of the Ambassador, Count Mirbach, by the punishment of the perpetrators and instigators of the murder. Until such time as these demands are satisfied, the German Government must request the Government of the Soviet Republic to withdraw its diplomatic and other representatives from Germany. The Russian plenipotentiary in Berlin was today informed that a special train for the departure of the diplomatic and consular representatives in Berlin and of other Russian officials in the city will be ready tomorrow evening, and that measures will be taken to secure the unhampered transit of all Russian personnel to the Russian frontier. The Soviet Government is requested to enable the German representatives in Moscow and Petrograd to leave at the same time, with the observance of all the demands of courtesy. Other Russian representatives in Germany, and likewise German officials in other parts of Russia, will be informed they must leave within a week, the former for Russia, the latter for Germany. The German Government concludes in anticipation that all the rules of courtesy will be similarly observed towards the latter German officials in relation to their departure and that other German subjects or persons under German protection will be allowed the opportunity of unhampered departure should they request it.”
We all know perfectly well, comrades, that the German Government has been fully aware that German socialists enjoyed the hospitality of the Russian Embassy and that no supporters of German imperialism ever crossed the threshold of the Russian Embassy. Its friends were those socialists who opposed the war and who sympathised with Karl Liebknecht. They have been guests of the Embassy ever since it opened, and we have had dealings with them alone. The German Government was perfectly aware of that. It followed the movements of every representative of our government as zealously as the government of Nicholas II used to follow the movements of our comrades. The German Government is now making this move not because the situation has in any way changed, but because it formerly felt stronger, and was not afraid that one “burning’ house on the streets of Berlin would set all Germany alight. The German Government has lost its head, and now that the whole of Germany is ablaze, it thinks it can put out the fire by turning its police hose on a single house. (Stormy applause.)
That is simply ridiculous. If the German Government is going to break off diplomatic relations, all we call say is that we knew it would, and that it is doing all it can to get an alliance with the British and French imperialists. We know Wilson’s government has received telegram after telegram requesting that German troops be left in Poland, the Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia. Although they are enemies of German imperialism, the German troops are doing their job: they are putting down the Bolsheviks. They can clear out when pro-Entente “armies of liberation” appear on the scene to strangle the Bolsheviks.
We are perfectly aware of what is going on and none of it is unexpect. We merely repeat that now that Germany is on fire and Austria is all ablaze, now that they have had to liberate Liebknecht and allow him to visit the Russian Embassy, where a joint meeting of Russian and German socialists with Liebknecht at their head was held, such a step on the part of the German Government shows not so much that they want to fight as that they have completely lost their heads. It shows they are at a loss for a decision because Anglo-American imperialism, the most brutal enemy of all, is advancing upon them, an enemy that has crushed Austria with peace terms a hundred times more onerous than those of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty. Germany sees that these liberators want to strangle, crush and torture her too. But at the same time the workingman’s Germany is rebelling. The German army proved to be useless and unfit for action not because discipline was weak but because the soldiers who refused to fight were transferred from the Eastern front to the German Western front and carried with them what the bourgeoisie call world Bolshevism.
That is why the German army was unfit for action and why this document is the best proof of Germany’s utter confusion. We say it will lead to a diplomatic rupture, and perhaps even to war if they can find the strength to lead the white guard troops. We have therefore sent a telegram to all the Soviets of Deputies, which concludes by warning them to be on their guard, to hold themselves in readiness and muster all their forces, for this is just another sign that the chief aim of international imperialism is the overthrow of Bolshevism. That does not mean defeating Russia alone. It means defeating their own workers in every country. But they will not succeed, no matter what brutalities and outrages may follow this decision. These vultures are preparing to swoop down on Russia from the South, through the Dardanelles, or by way of Bulgaria and Rumania. They are negotiating for the formation of a White Army in Germany to be pitted against Russia. We are fully aware of this danger, and say quite plainly that we have not worked a year for nothing; we have laid the foundations, we are coming up to decisive battles, battles which will indeed be decisive. But we are not alone: the proletariat of Western Europe has gone into action and has not left anything standing in Austria-Hungary. The government of the country is just about as helpless, as wildly confused, has lost its head as completely as Nicholas Romanov’s government at the end of February 1917. Our slogan must be: Put every effort into the fight once more, and remember that we are coming up to the last, decisive fight, not for the Russian revolution alone, but for the world socialist revolution.
We know that the imperialist vultures are still stronger than us. They can still inflict wholesale damage, brutalities and atrocities upon our country. But they cannot defeat the world revolution. They are full of savage hatred, so we tell ourselves that come what may, every Russian worker and peasant will do his duty and will face death if the interests of defence of the revolution demand it. No matter what miseries the imperialists may still inflict upon us, it will not save them. Imperialism will perish and the world socialist revolution will triumph in face of all odds! (Stormy applause passing into prolonged ovation.) Newspaper reports published November 9, 1918 in Pravda No. 242 and Izvestia No. 244 First published in full in 1919 in the book Extraordinary Sixth All-Russia Congress of Soviets. Verbatim Report, Moscow Published according to the book checked with the verbatim report and the Pravda text.
2. Speech On The International Situation[edit source]
(Prolonged applause.) Comrades, from the very beginning of the October Revolution, foreign policy and international relations have been the main questions facing us. Not merely because from now on all the states in the world are being firmly linked by imperialism into a single system, or rather, into one dirty, bloody mass, but because the complete victory of the socialist revolution in one country alone is inconceivable and demands the most active co-operation of at least several advanced countries, which do not include Russia. Hence one of the main problems of the revolution is now the extent to which we succeed in broadening the revolution in other countries too, and the extent to which we succeed meanwhile in warding off imperialism.
I should like to remind you briefly of the main stages of our international policy over the past year. As I have already had occasion to point out in my speech on the anniversary of the revolution, the main feature characterising our position a year ago was that we were on our own. No matter how sound our conviction that a revolutionary force was being and had been created throughout Europe and that the war would not end without revolution, there were no signs at the time that a revolution had begun or was beginning. In these circumstances we could do nothing but direct our foreign policy efforts to enlightening the working people of Western Europe. This was not because we claimed to be more enlightened than they, but because so long as the bourgeoisie of a country have not been overthrown, military censorship and that fantastically bloodthirsty atmosphere which accompanies every war, particularly a reactionary one, predominate in that country. You well appreciate that in the most democratic, republican countries, war means military censorship and unprecedented methods employed by the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois military staffs to deceive the people. We set out to share our achievements in this respect with other nations. We did everything possible for this when we annulled and published the disgraceful secret treaties which the ex-tsar had concluded with the British and French capitalists to the benefit of the Russian capitalists. You know that these were downright predatory treaties. You know that the government of Kerensky and the Mensheviks kept these treaties secret and upheld them. By way of exception, we come across statements in that section of the British and French press which is to any degree honest that, thanks only to the Russian revolution, the French and the British learned much that was material to them as regards their diplomatic history.
We have certainly done very little from the point of view of the social revolution as a whole, but what we have done has been one of the greatest steps in its preparation.
If we now make a general survey of the results gained by the exposure of German imperialism, we shall see that it is now obvious to the working people of all countries that they were made to wage a bloody and predatory war. And at the end of this year of war the behaviour of Britain and America is beginning to be exposed in the same way, since the people are opening their eyes and begin to see through the evil designs. That is all we have done, but we have done our bit. The exposure of these treaties was a blow to imperialism. The terms of the peace treaty which we were compelled to conclude proved to be a powerful weapon of propaganda and agitation; we did more with them than any other government or nation has done. But while it is true that the attempt we made to awaken the people did not produce immediate results, we never even assumed that the revolution would begin immediately, or that all would be lost. During the past fifteen years we have brought about two revolutions, and we have clearly seen how much time must elapse before they grip the people. Recent events in Austria and Germany confirm this. We said that we had no intention of allying ourselves with robbers and becoming robbers ourselves; no, we expected to arouse the proletariat of the enemy countries. We were jeered at and told we were preparing to arouse the German proletariat which would strangle us while we were preparing to launch a propaganda attack. But facts have shown we were right to assume that the working people in all countries are equally hostile to imperialism. They only need to be given a certain period for preparation; the Russian people, too, despite memories of the 1905 Revolution, took some time before they again came up for revolution.
Before the Brest-Litovsk Peace we did everything in our power to hit at imperialism. If the history of the growth of the proletarian revolution did not completely wipe this out, and if the Brest-Litovsk Peace forced us to retreat before imperialism, this was because we were insufficiently prepared in January 1918. Fate condemned us to isolation, and we went through an agonising period after the Brest-Litovsk Peace.
Comrades, the four years which we spent in world war ended in peace, but on onerous terms. In the final analysis, however, even these onerous peace terms proved that we were right and that our hopes were not built on sand. With every passing month we grew strong while West-European imperialism grew weak. Now, as a result, we see that Germany, who six months ago completely ignored our Embassy and thought there could be no Red institution there, recently, at any rate, has been weakening. The latest telegram informs us of the German imperialists’ appeal to the people to keep calm, saying that peace is near at hand. We know what is meant when monarchs appeal for calm and promise to do the impossible in the near future. If Germany gets peace soon, it will be a Brest-Litovsk Peace, which instead of peace will bring the working people more misery than ever.
The results of our international policy shaped in such a way that six months after the Brest-Litovsk Peace we were a devastated country to the bourgeoisie, but, to the proletariat, we were rapidly developing and now head the proletarian army which has begun to shake Austria and Germany. This success vindicated and fully justified all our sacrifices in any worker’s eyes. If we were to be suddenly wiped out, if our activities were to be cut short—this is impossible since miracles do not happen—yet if this were to happen we would be justified in saying, without concealing our mistakes, that we had made full use of the period, offered us by fate, for the world socialist revolution! We have done everything possible for the working people of Russia, and we have done more than anyone else for the world proletarian revolution. (Applause.)
In recent months, and in-recent weeks, the international situation has begun to change sharply; now German imperialism is almost completely defeatEditor All designs on the Ukraine which the German imperialists fostered among their working people proved to be empty promises. It turned out that American imperialism was ready, and a blow was struck at Germany. A totally different situation has arisen. We have been under no illusions. After the October Revolution we were considerably weaker than imperialism and even now we are weaker than international imperialism. We must repeat this now so as not to deceive ourselves: following the October Revolution we were weaker and could not fight. Now we are weaker too and must do everything we can to avoid a clash with imperialism.
That we were able to survive a year after the October Revolution was due to the split of international imperialism into two predatory groups: Anglo-French-American on the one hand, and German on the other, which were locked in mortal combat, and which had no time for us. Neither group could muster large forces against us, which they would have done had they been in a position to do so. They were blinded by the bloodthirsty atmosphere of war. The material sacrifices required to carry on the war demanded the utmost concentration of their efforts. They had no time for us, not because by some miracle we were stronger than the imperialists—no, that would be nonsense—but only because international imperialism had split into two predatory groups which were at each other’s throats. Only thanks to this the Soviet Republic was able to openly declare war on the imperialists of all countries, depriving them of their capital in the shape of foreign loans, slapping them in the face and openly emptying their plunder-laden pockets.
An end has come to the period of declarations which we then made over the correspondence started by the German imperialists, even though world imperialism could not tear into us as it should have done in line with its hostility and thirst for capitalist profits, which had been fantastically expanded by the war. Until the moment of the Anglo-American imperialists’ victory over the other group they were fully occupied fighting among themselves, and so had no chance to launch a decisive campaign against the Soviet Republic. There is no longer a second group. Only one group of victors remains. This has completely altered our international position, and we must take this change into account. The facts show how this change bears on the development of the international situation. The workers’ revolution is now winning in the defeated countries; everyone can clearly see what tremendous advances it has made. When we took power in October we were nothing more in Europe than a single spark. True, the sparks began to fly, and they flew from us. This is our greatest achievement, but even so, these were isolated sparks. Now most countries within the sphere of German-Austrian imperialism are aflame (Bulgaria, Austria and Hungary). We know that from Bulgaria the revolution has spread to Serbia. We know how these worker-peasant revolutions passed through Austria and reached Germany. Several countries are enveloped in the flames of workers’ revolution. In this respect our efforts and sacrifices have been justifiEditor They were not reckless adventures, as our enemies slanderously claimed, but an essential step towards world revolution, which had to be taken by the country that had been placed in the lead, despite its underdevelopment and backwardness.
This is one result, and the most important from the point of view of the final outcome of the imperialist war. The other result is the one to which I referred earlier, that Anglo-American imperialism is now exposing itself in the same way as Austro-German did in its time. We can see that if, at the time of the Brest-Litovsk negotiations, Germany had been somewhat level-headed, able to keep herself in check and to refrain from making gambles, she would have been able to maintain her domination and undoubtedly could have secured an advantageous position in the West. She did not do this because when a machine like a war involving millions and tens of millions, a war which inflamed chauvinist passions to the utmost, a war bound up with capitalist interests totalling hundreds of billions of rubles—when such a machine has gathered full speed there are no brakes that can stop it. This machine went farther than the German imperialists themselves desired, and they were crushed by it. They were stuck; they ended up like a man who had gorged himself to death. And now, before our very eyes, British and American imperialism is in this extremely ugly, but, from the viewpoint of the revolutionary proletariat, extremely useful position. You might have thought they would have had much greater political experience than Germany. Here are people used to democratic rule, not to the rule of some Junker or other, people who went through the hardest period of their history hundreds of years ago. You might have thought these people would-have retained their presence of mind. If we were to speak as individuals, from the point of view of democracy in general, as bourgeois philistines, professors, who have understood nothing from the struggle between imperialism and the working class, whether or not they were capable of level-headedness, if we reasoned from the point of view of democracy in general, then we would have to say that Britain and America are countries with a centuries-old tradition of democracy, that the bourgeoisie there would be able to hold their ground. If by some means they were to succeed now in holding on, this would at any rate be for a fairly long period. But it seems that the same thing is happening to them as happened to the militarist-despotic Germany. In this imperialist war there is a tremendous difference between Russia and the republican countries. The imperialist war is so steeped in blood, so predatory and bestial, that it has effaced even these important differences, and in this respect it has brought the freest democracy of America to the level of semi-militarist, despotic Germany.
We see that Britain and America, countries which had greater opportunities than others for remaining democratic republics, have overdone things as savagely and insanely as Germany did in her time, and so they are heading, just as quickly, and perhaps even faster, towards the end so successfully arrived at by German imperialism. It swelled out fantastically over three-quarters of Europe, became distended and then burst, leaving behind it an awful stench. Now British and American imperialism is racing to the same end. You only have to take a cursory glance at the armistice and peace terms which the British and Americans, the “liberators” of the people from German imperialism, are presenting to the defeated nations. Take Bulgaria. You would have thought that a country like Bulgaria could hold no terror for the Anglo-American imperialist colossus. Nevertheless, the revolution in this small, weak, absolutely helpless country caused the Anglo-Americans to lose their heads and present armistice terms that are tantamount to occupation. In this country where a peasants’ republic has been proclaimed, in Sofia, an important railway junction, the whole railway is now in the hands of Anglo-American troops. They are forced to fight this little peasants’ republic. From the military point of view this is a walkover. People who take the view of the bourgeoisie, of the old ruling class, of old military relations, merely smile contemptuously. What does this pigmy Bulgaria signify in comparison with the Anglo-American forces? Nothing from the military standpoint, but a great deal from the revolutionary standpoint. This is not a colony where they are used to exterminating the defeated people in their millions. The British and Americans consider this is only establishing law and order, bringing civilisation and Christianity to African savages. But this is not Central Africa. Here the soldiers, no matter how strong their army, become demoralised when they come up against a revolution. Germany is proof enough of this. In Germany, at any rate as regards discipline, the soldiers were model army men. Yet when the Germans marched into the Ukraine, factors other than discipline came into play. The starving German soldier marched for bread, and it would have been unrealistic to demand that he should not steal too much bread. Moreover, we know that in this country he was most of all infected by the spirit of the Russian revolution. The German bourgeoisie were well aware of this and it caused Wilhelm to panic. The Hohenzollerns are mistaken if they imagine that Germany will shed a single drop of blood for them. This is the result of the policy of bellicose German imperialism. The same thing is repeating itself in regard to Britain. The Anglo-American army is already becoming demoralised; this began as soon as it launched the ferocious campaign against Bulgaria. And this is only the beginning. Austria followed Bulgaria. Permit me to read you some of the clauses of the terms dictated by the Anglo-American imperialist victors. These are the people who most of all shouted to the working people that they were conducting a war of liberation, that their chief aim was to crush Prussian militarism which threatened to spread the despotic regime over all countries. They shouted loudest that they were conducting a war of liberation. This was a deception. You know that bourgeois lawyers, these parliamentarians who have spent their whole lives learning the art of deception without blushing, find it easy to deceive each other—but they don’t get away with it when they have to deceive the workers in the same way. British and American politicians and parliamentarians are past masters at this art. But they will not get away with deception. The working people, whom they incited in the name of freedom, will come to their senses straight away, and even more so when, on a mass scale, not from proclamations (which help, but do not really move the revolution), but from their own experience, they see they are being deceived, when they become aware of the peace terms with Austria.
These are peace terms now being forced on a comparatively weak, disintegrating state by people who shouted that the Bolsheviks were traitors because they signed the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty. When the Germans wanted to send their soldiers to Moscow, we said we would rather all die in battle than agree to this. (Applause.) We told ourselves great sacrifices would have to be made in the occupied areas, but everybody knows how Soviet Russia helped and kept them supplied with necessities. Now the democratic troops of Britain and France will have to serve to “maintain law and order”, and this when there are Soviets of Workers’ Deputies in Bulgaria and Serbia, when there are Soviets of Workers’ Deputies in Vienna and Budapest. We know what kind of order this means. It means that the Anglo-American troops are to be the throttlers and executioners of the world revolution.
Comrades, when the Russian serf troops were sent to suppress the Hungarian Revolution in 1848, they were able to get away with it because they were serfs; they were able to get away with it in relation to Poland. But people who have known freedom for a century and who were incited to hate German imperialism because it was a beast which had to be destroyed, must understand that Anglo-American imperialism is the same sort of beast whom it would be only right to destroy as well!
And now history, with its usual malicious irony, has arrived at the point where, after the exposure of German imperialism, it is the turn of Anglo-French imperialism to utterly expose itself. We declare to the Russian, German and Austrian working people that these are not the Russian serf troops of 1848! They will not get away with it! They are out to stop people getting from capitalism to freedom and to suppress the revolution. We are absolutely convinced that this bloated monster will fall into the same abyss as did the German imperialist monster.
I now turn to matters which affect us most of all. I shall begin with the peace terms which Germany will have to agree to. The comrades from the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs told me that The Times, the chief mouthpiece of the fabulously rich British bourgeoisie who actually shape the entire policy, has already published the terms to be imposed on Germany. She is expected to hand over Heligoland and the Wilhelmshaven Canal, Essen, where practically all military equipment is manufactured, disband her merchant fleet, immediately hand over Alsace-Lorraine and pay indemnities totalling 60 thousand-million, a great part of which must be paid in kind because money has depreciated everywhere and British merchants too have begun to calculate in another currency. We can see that the peace terms they are preparing for Germany will be completely devastating, far harsher than the Brest-Litovsk terms. They are strong enough materially and physically to do so if it were not for the existence of that awful Bolshevism. By imposing these peace terms they are preparing their own doom. For this is happening in civilised countries in the twentieth century, not in Central Africa. The once disciplined German soldier who put down the illiterate Ukrainian people has now buried his discipline. So it is all the more certain that the British and American imperialists will bury themselves when they make the gamble, which will bring about their political downfall, of making their troops throttlers and gendarmes of all Europe. They have been trying to destroy Russia for some time, and have been thinking of attacking her for some time. You only have to recall the Murmansk occupation, the millions they squandered on the Czechs, the treaty they concluded with Japan. And now Britain has a treaty with the Turks which gives her Baku so that she may strangle us by depriving us of raw materials.
British troops are ready to attack Russia from the South, through the Dardanelles or through Bulgaria and Rumania. They are closing in around the Soviet Republic, they are trying to cut off our economic contacts with the whole world. For this reason they compelled Holland to break off diplomatic relations with us. When Germany expelled our Ambassador she acted, if not in direct agreement with Anglo-French policy, then hoping to do them a service so that they should be magnanimous to her. The implication was that we are also fulfilling the duties of executioner against the Bolsheviks, your enemies.
The main point about the international situation is (as I mentioned the other day) that we have never been so near to world proletarian revolution as we are now. We have proved we were not mistaken in banking on world proletarian revolution. Our great national and economic sacrifices were not made in vain. We achieved successes. Yet if we have never previously been so close to world revolution, then it is also true to say that we have never been in such a dangerous situation as we are now. The imperialists were busy among themselves, but now one group has been wiped out by the Anglo-French-American group, which considers its main task to be the extermination of world Bolshevism and the strangulation of its main centre, the Russian Soviet Republic. To do this, they intend to surround themselves with a Great Wall of China so as to keep out the plague, the plague of Bolshevism. These people are trying to rid themselves of Bolshevism by going into quarantine, but this cannot be done. Even if these Anglo-French imperialist gentlemen, who possess the best techniques in the world, succeed in building this Great Wall around the Republic, the germ of Bolshevism will still penetrate the wall and infect the workers of the world. (Applause.)
The West-European press, the press of Anglo-French imperialism, tries its hardest to keep silent about the state of imperialism. No lie or slander is vile enough to use against the Soviet government. It is true to say now that all the Anglo-French and American papers, with financial backing running into billions, are in capitalist hands and that they act in one syndicate to suppress the truth about Soviet Russia, to spread lies and slander about us. Yet despite the fact that for years there has been a military censor ship which has prevented a word of truth about the Soviet Republic from appearing in the newspapers of the democratic countries, not a single large workers’ meeting held anywhere goes by without the workers siding with the Bolsheviks, because it is impossible to hide the truth. The enemy accuses us of implementing the dictatorship of the proletariat. They are right and we do not hide it. The fact that the Soviet Government is not afraid and openly admits this attracts more millions of workers to its side, because the dictatorship is directed against the exploiters, and the working people see and are convinced that the struggle we are waging against the exploiters is a serious one and will be brought to a serious conclusion. Although the European papers surround us with a conspiracy of silence, they have so far announced that they regard it their duty to attack Russia because Russia surrendered to Germany, because Russia is in fact a German agent, because government leaders in Russia, they claim, are German agents. New forged documents, for which a good price is paid, appear every month proving that Lenin and Trotsky are downright traitors and German agents. Despite all this they cannot hide the truth, and from time to time there are open signs that the imperialist gentlemen feel uneasy. L’Echo de Paris  admits: “We are going into Russia to break the power of the Bolsheviks.” Their official line is that they are only fighting German domination, not conducting a war with Russia and not interfering in military matters. Our French internationalists who publish the III-me Internationale  in Moscow cited this quotation, and although we have been cut off from Paris and France by an extremely elaborate Great Wall of China, we tell the French imperialist gentlemen that they cannot defend themselves from their own bourgeoisie. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of French workers know this small quotation, and others too, and see that all the declarations of their rulers, of their bourgeoisie, are nothing but lies. Their own bourgeoisie let the cat out of the bag; they acknowledge that they want to break the power of the Bolsheviks. After four years of bloody war they have to tell their people: go and fight again against Russia to break the power of the Bolsheviks whom we hate because they owe us 17 thousand million and won’t pay up, because they are rude to capitalists, landowners and tsars. Civilised nations who come down to admitting such things, patently betray the failure of their policy. No matter how strong they may be militarily we calmly review their strength and say: but you have in your rear an even more terrible enemy—the common people, whom you have deceived up to now; so much so that your tongue has dried up from the lies and slander you have spread about Soviet Russia. Similar information may be gleaned from The Manchester Guardian  of October 23. This British bourgeois newspaper writes: “If the Allied armies still remain in Russia and still operate in Russia, their purpose can only be to effect a revolution in . . . Russia. The Allied governments must, therefore, either . . . put an end to their operations in Russia or announce that they are at war with Bolshevism.”
I repeat that the significance of this small quotation, which sounds to us like a revolutionary call, like a powerful revolutionary appeal, is that it is written by a bourgeois newspaper, which is itself an enemy of the socialists, but feels that the truth can no longer be hidden. If bourgeois papers write in this vein you can imagine what the British workers must be thinking and saying. You know the sort of language used by the liberals in tsarist times, prior to the 1905 and 1917 revolutions. You know this language heralded an impending explosion amidst the revolutionary proletariat. From the language of these British bourgeois liberals, therefore, you can draw conclusions about what is going on in the moods, minds and hearts of the British, French and American workers. We must, therefore, face the bitter truth about our international position. The world revolution is not far off, but it cannot develop according to a special time-table. Having survived two revolutions we well appreciate this. We know, however, that although the imperialists cannot contain the world revolution, certain countries are likely to be defeated, and even heavier losses are possible. They know that Russia is in the birth-pangs of a proletarian revolution, but they are mistaken if they think that by crushing one centre of the revolution they will crush the revolution in other countries.
We, for our part, must admit that the situation is more dangerous than ever before, that once again we shall have to summon up every effort. Over the past year we have laid a firm foundation, created a socialist Red Army with a new discipline, and we are absolutely certain that we can and must continue the work we are doing. At all meetings, in every Soviet institution, at trade union meetings and at meetings of Poor Peasants’ Committees we must say: Comrades, we have survived a year and have achieved some success, but all this is still insufficient when we consider the powerful enemy bearing down on us. This enemy, Anglo-French imperialism, is world-wide, powerful and has defeated the whole world. We are going to fight it not because we think ourselves economically and technically on a par with the advanced countries of Europe. No, but we do know this enemy is going to topple into the abyss into which Austro-German imperialism once toppled; we know that the enemy, which has now ensnared Turkey, seized Bulgaria and is bent on occupying the whole of Austria-Hungary with the object of establishing a tsarist, gendarme regime, is heading for its doom. We know this as a historical fact, and that is why, while in no way attempting the impossible, we say we can beat off Anglo-French imperialism!
Every step in strengthening our Red Army will be echoed by a dozen steps in the disintegration of and revolutions in this apparently all-powerful enemy. There is therefore no cause whatsoever for despair or pessimism. We know the danger is great. It may be that fate has even heavier sacrifices in store for us. Even if they can crush one country, they can never crush the world proletarian revolution, they will only add more fuel to the flames that will consume them all. (Prolonged applause passing into ovation.)
- This refers to the Congress of the Poor Peasants’ Committees of the Northern Region, which was held in Petrograd between November 3 and 6, 1918. Over 15,000 representatives of the Poor Peasants’ Committees in eight gubernias of the Northern Region and other gubernias took part in Congress work. Party and Soviet organisations of Petrograd and the Northern Region had carried out extensive preparatory work for the Congress under the guidance of the Organising Bureau headed by S. P. Voskov, People’s Commissar for Food of the Northern Region. The Congress discussed the current situation, Poor Peasants’ Committees and local Soviets, supply and distribution of products, the question of the Red Army, rural education and posts and telegraphs. The Congress adopted a decision to form model regiments from poor peasants, which was later approved by the Sixth All-Russia Congress of Soviets on the proposal of the Regional Congress. Its other resolutions concerned the merger of Poor Peasants’ Committees with local Soviets, the Soviet government’s food policy, educational and other questions.
The Congress was of vast political importance, as it strengthened the alliance of the working class and the working peasants.
- See Resolution Adopted At A Joint Session Of The All-Russia Central Executive Committee, The Moscow Soviet, Factory Committees And Trade Unions
- Reference is to the telegram sent “to all military commissars, military instructors, army commanders and all Soviets” on November 5, 1918, over the signatures of Lenin, Sverdlov and People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin in connection with the rupture by Germany of diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia. It was published in Pravda and Izvestia on November 6.
- In 1848-49 the Russian tsar Nicholas I sent troops to help the Austrian emperor suppress the revolution in Hungary.
- In 1863-64 Russian troops suppressed the liberation insurrection in Poland.
- This refers to the sudden refusal of the Dutch Government to permit the entry of a plenipotentiary envoy of the RSFSR, who was already on his way to the country. Before his departure from Russia the plenipotentiary had received from the Dutch Consul in Moscow a visa notifying him of his recognition by the Dutch Government as a plenipotentiary envoy of the RSFSR at the Hague.
- L’Echo de Paris—a reactionary bourgeois paper published in Paris from 1884 to 1938.
- Ill-me Internationale—organ of the French Communists in Soviet Russia, published in Moscow. Its first issue appeared on October 20 1918. Among its contributors were Jacques Sadoul, Inessa Armand (Y. Blonina) and others. Publication was discontinued in March 1919.
- The total sum of debts incurred by Russia through loans received by the tsarist and Provisional governments (including foreign investments in Russian industry) exceeded 16,000 million rubles in gold. All foreign loans contracted by the tsarist government and the Provisional Government were repudiated by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee’s decree of January 21 (February 3), 1918.
- Manchester Guardian—a liberal newspaper, one of the most popular and influential bourgeois newspapers. It was founded in 1821 and appeared once a week (in 1857 it became a daily). In the first years after the October Revolution it gave a more or less objective coverage of events in Soviet Russia.
The quotation further on is from the article “The Allies and Russia”.