Ten Days That Shook the World
John Reed

Part 7 out of 8

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

_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



_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

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

“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

“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

“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



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_
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, say freedom…. More arms and provisions for the
Army! Bread—for the great cities. Order and organisation in the

“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,

“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

_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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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’

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

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




_Workers’ Control_

1. (See Ppage 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

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

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

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. “hellip; 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



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

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

“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

“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

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 archæologists, 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,_

* * * * *


“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 archæologists, 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-archæological 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

“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

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

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



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




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

_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

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

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

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

“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

“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

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

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

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
bureau-cratic 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


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