Ten Days That Shook the World
John Reed

Part 8 out of 8

most important contributors to the work of culture—the elementary
school teachers. Their just demands ought to be satisfied at once and
at any cost. The proletariat of the schools has in vain demanded an
increase of salary to one hundred rubles per month. It would be a
disgrace any longer to keep in poverty the teachers of the
overwhelming majority of the Russian people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_People’s Commissar on Education,_


* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_In the name of the Russian Republic, the President of the Council of
People’s Commissars,_




_Order Issued by the Military Revolutonary Committee_

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

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

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




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

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

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

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


2 hours after this warning,

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


_Regimental Committee of the Finland Guard Regiment._




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

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

_From the Staff of the Military Revolutionary Committee_

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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




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

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

The Petrograd anti-Bolshevik papers came out next day with headlines,
“Plekhanov’s temperature 39 degrees!” Plekhanov lived at Tsarskoye
Selo, where he was lying ill in bed. Red Guards arrived at the house
and searched it for arms, questioning the old man.

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

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

“Anyway,” said a workman, “you have now sold yourself to the

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



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

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

“Cossacks! Come over to the rank of the victorious People!
Railwaymen, postmen, telegraphers—all, all support the new Government
of the People!”




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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



[Graphic page-354]



In virtue of the powers vested in me by the Military Revolutionary
Committee attached to the Moscow Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’
Deputies, I decree:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. All other banking operations are prohibited during these three

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

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

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

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

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

_Fully-authorised Commissar of the Military Revolutionary Committee,_





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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


_On the Nationalisation of the Banks_

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

1. The banking business is declared a state monopoly.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

_On the Equality of Rank of All Military Men_

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

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

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

3. All addressing by titles is abolished.

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

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

Note.—Orderlies are left only for headquarters, chanceries,
Committees and other Army organisations.

_President of the Council of People's Commissars,_

_People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs,_

_People's Commissar for Military Affairs,_

_Secretary of the Council,_
* * * * *

_On the Elective Principle and the Organisation of Authority in the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_President of the Council of People's Commissars._


_People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs,_


_People's Commissar for Military Affairs,_


_Secretary of the Council,_


* * * * *

_On the Abolition of Classes and Titles_

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_President of the Tsay-ee-kah,_


_President of the Council of People's Commissars,_


_Executive of the Council of People's Commissars,_


_Secretary of the Council,_


* * * * *

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

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

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


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



From _Drug Naroda_ (Menshevik), November 18th:

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

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

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

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

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

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

"'Telephone him, then.'

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

"'Send him a telegram.'

"'I did.'

"'Well, with what result?'

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

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

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

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

"'Write, Uritzky!' he says with severity. 'Write a letter to the
British ambassador, a registered letter with receipt demanded. Write!
I also will write! The peoples of the world await an immediate peace!'

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



To the Attention of All Workers and All Soldiers.

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

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

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

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

Here is the text of the resolution carried at this meeting of the
Petrograd garrison, by 61 votes against 11, and 12 not voting:

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

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

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

"In view of this the meeting resolves:

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

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

"At the same time the meeting deems it necessary that the comrades
Left Socialist Revolutionaries should enter the People's Government."



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

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

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



Two orders concerning them:

_Council of People's Commissars_

_To the Military Revolutionary Committee_

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

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

Such a situation cannot be borne a single day longer.

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

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

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

_President of the Council of People's Commissaries._

Accepted for execution,
_Military Revolutionary Committee attached to
the C. E. C. of the Soviets of W. & S. Deputies._

Petrograd, Nov. 23d, 1917.

* * * * *

_To All Honest Citizens_

_The Military Revolutionary Committee Decrees:_

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

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

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

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


Petrograd, Dec. 2d, 1917.



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

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

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

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

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

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

Purishkevitch, being brought to trial before the Revolutionary
Tribunal, was given a short prison term….



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_President of the Council of People's Commissars,_

_People's Commissar for Public Instruction,_

_Secretary of the Council,_




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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Lenin, To _the People of Russia:_

"Comrades workers, soldiers, peasants—all toilers!

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

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

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

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

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

"Comrades workers, soldiers, peasants—all toilers!

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


_"To All Workers of Petrograd!_

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


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

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


_Petrograd Soviet of W. & S. D._

_Petrograd Council of Trade Unions._

_Petrograd Council of Factory-Shop Committees._



_From the Employees of the State and private Banks To the Population
of Petrograd:_

“Comrades workers, soldiers and citizens!

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

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

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

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


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

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


_Central Board of the All-Russian Union of Employees of the State

_Central Board of the All-Russian Trade Union of Employees of Credit

* * * * *

_To the Population of Petrograd._

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

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

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

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

_Executive Committee of the Employees of the
Ministry of Supplies._

* * * * *

_To the_ Tchinovniki (_Government Officials_).

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

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

_The Military-Revolutionary Committee._

December 7th, 1917.

* * * * *

_From the Special Board for the Supplies_

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

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

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

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

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

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

selfappointed Commissars do not allow the cargoes to be taken out,
and terrorise our employees, threatening them with arrest.



“The work is simply falling out of our hands.

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

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




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

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




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

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

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

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

“The soldier’s and the Cossack’s blood is not flowing there any more.
Now, Cossacks, decide: do you wish to continue this ruinous,
senseless, criminal slaughter? Then support the Cadets, the enemies
of the people, support Tchernov, Tseretelli, Skobeliev, who drove you
into the offensive of July 1st; support Kornilov, who introduced
capital punishment for soldiers and Cossacks at the front. BUT IF YOU

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

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

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

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

“Long live the toiling Cossacks!

“Long live the union of the Cossacks, the soldiers, peasants and

“Long live the power of the Soviets of Cossacks’, Soldiers’, Workers’
and Peasants’ Deputies.

“Down with the war! Down with the landowners and the

“Long live Peace and the Brotherhood of peoples!”

_Council of People’s Commissars._



“Comrades Workingmen and Workingwomen!

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

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

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

_Commission on Public Education attached to the Central City Duma._



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



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

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

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

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


_Order Number Two_

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

_President of the Council of People’s Commissars,_

Petrograd, November 18th, 1917.


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


Back to Full Books