The Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies was held in Petrograd from January 10 to 18 (23 to 31), 1918. It was attended by delegates from 317 Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies and 110 army, corps and divisional committees. At the opening were 707 delegates, 441 of them Bolsheviks. On January 13 (26), it was joined by the delegates to the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Peasants' Deputies. Together with late arrivals there was a total of 1,587 delegates at the final sitting.
The Presidium of the Congress consisted of 10 Bolsheviks, 3 Left Socialist-Revolutionaries and 1 delegate from each other group (Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks etc.).
Greetings were conveyed by delegates from the Swiss, Rumanian, Swedish and Norwegian Social-Democratic parties, the British Socialist Party and the labour socialists of America.
The Congress discussed Sverdlov's report on the activity of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee. Lenin reported to the Congress on the activity of the Council of People's Commissars. In the debates, the Mensheviks, Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Menshevik internationalists opposed the domestic and foreign policy of Soviet power. Their attitudes were criticised by Lenin in a summing-up speech. The Congress approved Lenin's "Declaration of Rights of the Working and Exploited People, which later became the basis of the Soviet Constitution. A Congress resolution gave full approval to the policy of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars and gave them a vote of confidence.
The Congress also approved the Government's policy on peace and conferred on it the broadest powers in this matter.
The Congress heard a report by Stalin, People's Commissar for Nationalities' Affairs, on the principles of federation and the nationalities' policy of Soviet power and adopted a resolution constituting the Russian Socialist Republic as a federation of Soviet Republics, on the basis of a free union of the peoples of Russia. The Congress approved the Government's policy on the nationalities question.
The arrival of the delegates to the Third All-Russia Peasants' Congress was a notable event: the Congress continued its deliberations as a joint Congress of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies.
The Congress approved the basic provisions of the law on the socialisation of land worked out on the basis of the Decree on Land.
It elected an All-Russia Central Executive Committee consisting of 160 Bolsheviks, 125 Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, 2 Social-Democrat internationalists, 3 anarchist Communists, 7 Socialist-Revolutionary Maximalists, 7 Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and 2 Mensheviks.
In a summing-up speech, Lenin said that the Congress "has opened a new epoch in world history" and by establishing the organisation of a new state power created by the October Revolution "has projected the lines of future socialist construction for the whole world, for the working people of all countries" (p. 479).
The reference is to the talks between the All-Russia Leather Workers Union with their employers for wider workers' representation in the Central Leather Committee and its remoulding on democratic lines. The Central Committee and the district committees were reorganised in early 1918 with the workers getting two-thirds of the votes. On April 6, 1918, a telegram signed by Lenin was sent to all Soviets on the need to democratise the local organs of the leather industry, and fulfil precisely the instructions issued by the Central and district committees for the leather industry.
Marx's letter to Engels of February 12, 1870.
The reference is to the anti-war general strike by Italian workers in Turin in August 1917, and the strikes staged by Austrian workers in January 1918 in connection with the peace talks in Brest-Litovsk. The strikes in Austria were held under slogans demanding a general peace and improvement of food supplies for the workers.
The reference is to the Message of the Revolutionary Finnish Government to the Council of People's Commissars of the Russian Republic, published in Pravda (evening edition) No. 13, on January 17 (30), 1918.
The revolution in Finland broke out in mid-January 1918 in the southern industrial areas. On January 15 (28), the Finnish Red Guard occupied Helsingfors, the capital, and overthrew the reactionary bourgeois government of Svinhufvud. A revolutionary government of Finland, the Council of People's Representatives was set up on January 16 (29). Power in the towns and villages in the south of Finland passed into the hands of the workers. The Svinhufvud government was entrenched in the north and appealed to the German Government for help. Following the intervention of the German armed forces and a bitter civil war, the revolution in Finland was crushed in May 1918.
The reference is to the Basic Law on the Socialisation of Land tabled for approval at the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets. The draft was edited by a commission of the Congress in which
Lenin took part. On January 18 (31), 1918, the law (Section One -- General Provisions) was approved by the Congress. It was further elaborated at joint sittings of the Congress of land committees and the peasant section of the Third Congress of Soviets. The final text of the law was approved by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on January 27 (February 9).