The First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies sat in Petrograd from June 3 to 24 (June 16 to July 7), 1917. It was attended by more than a thousand delegates. Tho Bolsheviks, then a minority in the Soviets, were represented by 105 delegates. The majority was made up of Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks. Among the items on the Congress agenda were: the attitude to the Provisional Government, the war, and preparations for the Constituent Assembly. Lenin spoke on the attitude to the Provisional Government and on the war. The Bolsheviks tabled their own motions on all the major issues. They exposed the imperialist character of the war, stressed the disastrous consequences that compromise with the bourgeoisie was bound to have, and insisted that all power be transferred to the Soviets. The Congress resolutions declared in favour of the Provisional Government and its preparations for an offensive at the front, and took a stand against the transfer of power to the Soviets.
The first coalition government was formed on May 5 (18), 1917, and its composition announced in the press the following day. Along with representatives of the bourgeoisie, it included the Socialist-Revolutionaries Kerensky and Chernov, Pereverzev, who was close to the S.R.s, the Mensheviks Skobelev and Tsereteli; and the Popular Socialist Peshekhonov.
The Provisional Government was formed on March 2 (15), 1917, by agreement between the Duma's Provisional Committee and the S.R. and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. It was composed of Prince G. Y. Lvov (Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of the Interior), P. N. Milyukov, the Cadet leader (Minister for Foreign Affairs), A. I. Guchkov, the Octobrist leader (War, and ad interim Naval, Minister), and other members of the big bourgeoisie and landed proprietors, as well as the Trudovik A. F. Kerensky (Minister of Justice).
Rabochaya Gazeta (Workers' Gazette ) -- a daily newspaper published by the Mensheviks in Petrograd from March 7 (20) to November 30
(December 13), 1917. On August 30 (September 12) it became a mouthpiece of the Menshevik Central Committee. It supported the bourgeois Provisional Government and fought against the Bolshevik Party and its leader, Lenin. Its reaction to the October Revolution and the establishment of Soviet rule was hostile.
K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1965, p. 395.
Lenin is referring to the resolutions of the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), held in Petrograd from April 24 to 29 (May 7-12), 1917 (see The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and Plenary Meetings of the C.C., 7th ed., Part I, 1954, pp. 332-53 [in Russian]).
Lyakhov -- a colonel of the tsarist army, led the Russian troops which put down the bourgeois revolution of 1908 in Persia. By Lyakhov's policy" Lenin means the suppression of the revolutionary and national liberation movements by the tsarist government.
Cadets -- members of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the leading party of the liberal monarchist bourgeoisie in Russia. The party, founded in October 1905, grouped members of the bourgeoisie, Zemstvo officials from among the landowners, and bourgeois intellectuals. Among its leaders were P. N. Milyukov S. A. Muromtsev, V. A. Maklakov, A. I. Shingaryov, P. B. Struve and F. I. Rodichev. Subsequently the Cadets became a party of the imperialist bourgeoisie. During the First World War they fully supported the tsarist government's aggressive foreign policy. During the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917, they did their best to rescue the monarchy. Following the victory of the October Socialist Revolution they took an uncompromising stand against the Soviet state and shared in all the armed counter-revolutionary actions and campaigns of the interventionists. After the foreign invaders and the whiteguards had been defeated, the Cadets fled from the country and continued their anti-Soviet, counter-revolutionary activity as émigrés.
Izvestia Petrogradskogo Soveta Rabochikh i Soldatskikh Deputatov (Bulletin of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies ) -- a daily newspaper founded on February 28 (March 13), 1917.
After the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets had formed the Central Executive Committee of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, Izvestia became the organ of the C.E.C., and from August 1 (14) on, that is, beginning with its issue No. 132, appeared under the title of Izvestia Tsentralnogo Ispolnitelnogo Komiteta i Petrogradskogo Soveta Rabochikh i Soldatskikh Deputatov (Bulletin of the Central Executive Committee and the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies ). On September 29 (October 12), its issue No. 184 appeared under the new title Izvestia Tsentralnogo
Ispolnitelnogo Komiteta Sovetov Rabochikh i Soldatskikh Deputatov (Bulletin of the Central Executive Committee of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies ). Throughout that period the paper was controlled by the Mensheviks and S.R.s, and waged a bitter struggle against the Bolshevik Party.
After the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets the Izvestia editorial board was changed and the paper became the official organ of Soviet power. It published the first important documents of the Soviet Government, and articles and speeches by Lenin. In March 1918 its publication was transferred to Moscow. In December 1922, with the formation of the U.S.S.R., Izvestia became the organ of the C.E.C. U.S.S.R. and the All-Russia C.E.C.
The paper was reorganised by decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. dated January 24, 1938, and ever since January 26, 1938, has been published under the title of Izvestia Sovetov Deputatov Trudyashchikhsya (Bulletin of the Soviets of Working People's Deputies ).
The First All-Russia Congress of Peasant Deputies was held in Petrograd from May 4 to 28 (May 17 to June 10), 1917. It was attended by 1,115 delegates from the gubernias and army units. The Bolsheviks, who took an active part in its deliberations, exposed the imperialist policies of the bourgeois Provisional Government and the Menshevik and S.R. policy of compromise. Lenin spoke on the agrarian question. He insisted on immediate confiscation of the landed estates, to be transferred to peasant committees, and on nationalisation of all the lands in Russia. S.R. domination at the Congress left its imprint on the resolutions adopted. The Congress approved the Provisional Government's policy and the entry of "socialists" into the government. It declared for war "to a victorious conclusion " and for an offensive at the front, then in preparation. It pronounced itself against the immediate transfer of the landed estates to the peasants, and put off decision on the land question pending convocation of the Constituent Assembly.
Novaya Zhizn (New Life ) -- a daily newspaper of a Menshevik trend published by a group of Social-Democrats who called themselves internationalists". The group comprised the Mensheviks who supported Martov, and certain intellectuals with semi-Menshevik leanings. It vacillated continuously between the conciliators and the Bolsheviks.
Novaya Zhizn appeared in Petrograd from April 1917. After the October Revolution it adopted a hostile attitude to the Soviet state. It was closed down in July 1918.
Lenin has in mind the British Government issuing a passport to Ramsay MacDonald, the British Independent Labour Party leader, who was invited to Russia by the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The trip was frustrated by the British Seamen's Union, which refused to man the ship in which MacDonald was to sail to Russia.
The Manifesto of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies "To the Peoples of the World" was adopted by the Soviet on March 14 (27), 1917, and was published in the capital the next day. The S.R. and Menshevik leaders were compelled to vote for it under pressure from the revolutionary people, who insisted on ending the war.
The Manifesto called on the working people of the belligerent countries to take action in favour of peace. However, it did not expose the predatory nature of the war, nor did it propose any practical measures for peace. It virtually justified the continuation of the imperialist war by the bourgeois Provisional Government.
In June 1917 Italy overran Albania and proclaimed her independence under Italy's virtual protectorate.
In Greece, a coup d'etat was carried out under the pressure of Britain and France. By launching an economic blockade that caused a terrible famine, and by occupying a number of Greek provinces, the Allies forced King Constantine to abdicate, and put Venizelos, their adherent, in power. Greece was dragged into the war on the side of the Entente, contrary to the will of the vast majority of her people.
During the First World War Persia (Iran) was occupied by British and Russian troops. By early 1917 Persia, having lost an independence, was occupied by the Russians in the north and the British in the south.
Provisional Government diplomats backed all these acts of imperialist tyranny.
Reference is to the declaration which the bureau of the Bolshevik group and the bureau of the united internationalist Social-Democrats made at the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets. They demanded that the Congress first of all discuss the offensive at the front for which the Provisional Government was preparing. The declaration pointed out that the offensive was being imposed by the magnates of the imperialist Allies and that the Russian counter-revolutionaries expected thereby to concentrate power in the hands of the military-diplomatic and capitalist groups, and to deliver a blow to the revolutionary fight for peace and to the positions gained by the Russian democrats. The declaration warned the working class, the armed forces and the peasants of the danger threatening the country, and called on the Congress to immediately repel the counter-revolutionaries' onslaught. The Congress rejected the proposal made by the bureau of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) group.
Dyelo Naroda (People's Cause ) -- an S.R. daily published in Petrograd between March 1917 and June 1918. It changed its title several times. It adopted a defencist and conciliatory stand and supported the bourgeois Provisional Government. Its publication was resumed in Samara in October 1918 (three issues were brought out) and in
Moscow in March 1919 (ten issues). The paper was closed down the same year for its counter-revolutionary trend.
Lenin described as Narodniks three petty-bourgeois parties of a Narodnik type: the Trudoviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Popular Socialists.
Basle Manifesto of 1912 -- a manifesto on the war, adopted by the Extraordinary International Socialist Congress which sat in Basle on November 24 and 25, 1912. It warned the nations against the imminent threat of a world imperialist war, revealed the aggressive aims of the war and called on the workers of the world to fight for peace and "to pit against the might of capitalist imperialism the international solidarity of the working class". The Manifesto included a clause, formulated by Lenin, from a resolution of the Stuttgart Congress (1907), to the effect that in the event of an imperialist war the socialists should take advantage of the economic and political crisis that would result from the war to hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule and fight for socialist revolution.
Allusion is to the prohibition of the All-Ukraine Army Congress by Kerensky, the Provisional Government's War Minister. Despite the ban, the Congress sat from June 5-12 (18-25), 1917, in Kiev. It was attended by some 2,000 delegates. It passed the "Universal Act" on the autonomy of the Ukraine, published by the Ukrainian Central Rada.
The counter-revolutionary policies of the Provisional Government and the Menshevik and S.R. parties towards the Ukraine were denounced by Lenin in the articles "The Ukraine" and "The Ukraine and the Defeat of the Ruling Parties of Russia" (see pp. 91-92 and 99-102 of this volume).
Reference is to the tsar's Manifesto of October 17, 1905, promising "civil liberties" and a "legislative" Duma. The Manifesto was a concession wrested from the tsarist regime by the revolution. The autocracy wanted to gain time, split the revolutionary forces, foil the All-Russia Strike and crush the revolution. The Bolsheviks exposed this political manoeuvre. On October 18 (31), 1905, the C.C. R.S.D.L.P. issued the appeal "To the Russian People" revealing the spurious character of the tsar's Manifesto and calling on the working people to continue their revolutionary struggle.
The Russian revolution of 1905-07 gave rise to revolutionary movements among the peoples of the East. In 1908 a bourgeois revolution broke out in Turkey. In 1906 there was a bourgeois revolution in Persia, resulting in the overthrow of the shah in 1909. The year 1910 saw the rise of a revolutionary movement in China against the feudal lords and foreign imperialists. The movement led to a revolution, and to the establishment of a bourgeois republic in December 1911.
Sotsial-Demokrat (The Social-Democrat ) -- a daily newspaper of the Moscow Regional Bureau, the Moscow Committee, and subsequently the Moscow District Committee of the Bolshevik Party. It was published from March 1917 to March 1918, and was merged with Pravda when the Party's Central Committee had moved to Moscow.
Pravda (The Truth ) -- a Bolshevik daily newspaper published legally. Its first issue appeared in St. Petersburg on April 22 (May 5), 1912.
Lenin, who guided Pravda ideologically, contributed to the paper almost daily. He gave recommendations to its editors with a view to making it a militant revolutionary paper.
A substantial part of the Party's organising work was done through Pravda. Conferences with representatives of local Party cells were held in its offices, which also received information on Party work in factories and passed on directives of the Party's Central and Petrograd Committees.
Pravda was doggedly persecuted by the police and was closed down on July 8 (21), 1914.
It did not resume publication until after the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917. From March 5 (18), 1917, onwards it was brought out as a paper of the Central and Petrograd Committees of the R.S.D.L.P.
Upon his arrival in Petrograd Lenin joined the editorial board, and Pravda launched a campaign for his plan to bring about the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution.
From July to October 1917 the paper, being persecuted by the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government, had to change its title more than once. It appeared as Listok "Pravdy", Proletary, Rabochy and Rabochy Put. Since the victory of the October Socialist Revolution it has been published -- beginning with October 27 (November 9), 1917 -- under its original title, Pravda.
Pravda holds a prominent place in the history of the Bolshevik press. The generation of advanced workers it educated played an outstanding part in the October Revolution and in socialist construction. Pravda was the first mass paper of the working class to be published legally. It marked a new stage in the development of the press of Russia's working class and the world proletariat.
The day when the first issue of Pravda appeared has been celebrated as the workers' Press Day ever since 1914.