C H A P T E R S E V E N
3. SUCCESSES OF THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE CAPITAL.
ABOR-TIVE OFFENSIVE OF THE ARMIES OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT.
SUPPRESSION OF THE JULY DEMONSTRATION OF WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
PARTY IN THE PERIOD OF PREPARATION AND REALIZATION OF
THE OCTOBER SOCIALIST REVOLUTION (APRIL 1917-1918)
1. SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY AFTER
THE FEBRUARY REVOLUTION. PARTY EMERGES FROM UNDERGROUND
AND PASSES TOOPEN POLITICAL WORK. LENIN ARRIVES IN
PETROGRAD.LENIN'S APRIL THESES. PARTY'S POLICY OF
TRANSITION TO SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
2. BEGINNING OF THE CRISIS OF THE PROVISIONAL
GOVERNMENT. APRIL CONFERENCE OF THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY
3. SUCCESSES OF THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE CAPITAL.
ABORTIVE OFFENSIVE OF THE ARMIES OF THE PROVISIONAL
GOVERNMENT. SUPPRESSION OF THE JULY DEMONSTRATION OF
WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
4. THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY ADOPTS THE COURSE OF PREPARING
FOR ARMED UPRISING. SIXTH PARTY CONGRESS
5. GENERAL KORNILOV'S PLOT AGAINST THE REVOLUTION.
SUPPRESSION OF THE PLOT. PETROGRAD AND MOSCOW SOVIETS GO
OVER TO THE BOLSHEVIKS
6. OCTOBER UPRISING IN PETROGRAD AND ARREST OF THE
PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. SECOND CONGRESS OF SOVIETS AND
FORMATION OF THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT. DECREES OF THE
SECOND CONGRESS OF SOVIETS ON PEACE AND LAND. VICTORY OF
THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION. REASONS FOR THE VICTORY OF THE
7. STRUGGLE OF THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY TO CONSOLIDATE THE
SOVIET POWER. PEACE OF BREST-LITOVSK. SEVENTH PARTY
8. LENIN'S PLAN FOR THE INITIAL STEPS IN SOCIALIST
CONSTRUCTION. COMMITTEES OF THE POOR PEASANTS AND THE
CURBING OF THE KULAKS. REVOLT OF THE "LEFT"
SOCIALIST-REVOLUTIONARIES AND ITS SUPPRESSION. FIFTH
CONGRESS OF SOVIETS AND ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF
On the basis of the decisions of the April Conference, the Party
developed extensive activities in order to win over the masses, and to
train and organize them for battle. The Party line in that period was,
by patiently explaining the Bolshevik policy and exposing the
compromising policy of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, to
isolate these parties from the masses and to win a majority in the
In addition to the work in the Soviets, the Bolsheviks carried on
extensive activities in the trade unions and in the factory committees.
Particularly extensive was the work of the Bolsheviks in the
army. Military organizations began to arise everywhere. The Bolsheviks
worked indefatigably at the front and in the rear to organize the
soldiers and sailors. A particularly important part in making the
soldiers active revolutionaries was played at the front by the Bolshevik
newspaper, Okopnaya Pravda (Trench Truth ).
Thanks to Bolshevik propaganda and agitation, already in the
early months of the revolution the workers in many cities held new
elections to the Soviets, especially to the district Soviets, drove out
the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries and elected followers of
the Bolshevik Party in their stead.
The work of the Bolsheviks yielded splendid results, especially
A Petrograd Conference of Factory Committees was held from May 30
to June 3, 1917. At this conference three-quarters of the delegates
already supported the Bolsheviks. Almost the entire Petrograd
proletariat supported the Bolshevik slogan -- "All power to the
On June 3 (16), 1917, the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets
met. The Bolsheviks were still in the minority in the Soviets; they had
a little over 100 delegates at this congress, compared with 700 or 800
Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and others.
At the First Congress of Soviets, the Bolsheviks insistently
stressed the fatal consequences of compromise with the bourgeoisie and
exposed the imperialist character of the war. Lenin made a speech at the
congress in which he showed the correctness of the Bolshevik line and
declared that only a government of Soviets could give bread to the
working people, land to the peasants, secure peace and lead the country
out of chaos.
A mass campaign was being conducted at that time in the
working-class districts of Petrograd for the organization of a
demonstration and for the presentation of demands to the Congress of
Soviets. In its anxiety to prevent the workers from demonstrating
without its authorization, and in the hope of utilizing the
revolutionary sentiments of the masses for its own ends, the Executive
Committee of the Petrograd Soviet decided to call a demonstration for
June 18 (July 1). The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries expected
that it would take place under anti-Bolshevik slogans. The Bolshevik
Party began energetic preparations for this demonstration. Comrade
Stalin wrote in Pravda that ". . . it is our task to make sure
that the demonstration in Petrograd on June 18 takes place under our
The demonstration of June 18, 1917, was held at the graves of the
martyrs of the revolution. It proved to be a veritable review of the
forces of the Bolshevik Party. It revealed the growing revolutionary
spirit of the masses and their growing confidence in the Bolshevik
Party. The slogans displayed by the Mensheviks and
Socialist-Revolutionaries calling for confidence in the Provisional
Government and urging the continuation of the war were lost in a sea of
Bolshevik slogans. Four hundred thousand demonstrators carried banners
bearing the slogans: "Down with the war!" "Down with the ten capitalist
Ministers!" "All power to the Soviets!"
It was a complete fiasco for the Mensheviks and
Socialist-Revolutionaries, a fiasco for the Provisional Government in
the capital of the country.
Nevertheless, the Provisional Government received the support of
the First Congress of the Soviets and decided to continue the
imperialist policy. On that very. day, June 18, the Provisional
Government, in obedience to the wishes of the British and French
imperialists, drove the soldiers at the front to take the offensive. The
bourgeoisie regarded this as the only means of putting an end to the
revolution. In the event of the success of the offensive, the
bourgeoisie hoped to take the whole power into its own hands, to push
the Soviets out of the arena, and to crush the Bolsheviks. Again, in the
event of its failure, the entire blame could be thrown upon the
Bolsheviks by accusing them of disintegrating the army.
There could be no doubt that the offensive would fail. And fail
it did. The soldiers were worn out, they did not understand the purpose
of the offensive, they had no confidence in their officers who were
alien to them, there was a shortage of artillery and shells. All this
made the failure of the offensive a foregone conclusion.
The news of the offensive at the front, and then of its collapse,
roused the capital. The indignation of the workers and soldiers knew no
bounds. It became apparent that when the Provisional Government
proclaimed a policy of peace it was hoodwinking the people, and that it
wanted to continue the imperialist war. It became apparent that the
All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets and the Petrograd
Soviet were unwilling or unable to check the criminal deeds of the
Provisional Government and themselves trailed in its wake.
The revolutionary indignation of the Petrograd workers and
soldiers boiled over. On July 3 (16) spontaneous demonstrations started
in the Vyborg District of Petrograd. They continued all day. The
separate demonstrations grew into a huge general armed demonstration
demanding the transfer of power to the Soviets. The Bolshevik Party was
opposed to armed action at that time, for it considered that the
revolutionary crisis had not yet matured, that the army and the
provinces were not yet prepared to support an uprising in the capital,
and that an isolated and premature rising might only make it easier for
the counter-revolutionaries to crush the vanguard of the revolution. But
when it became obviously impossible to keep the masses from
demonstrating, the Party resolved to participate in the demonstration in
order to lend it a peaceful and organized character. This the Bolshevik
Party succeeded in doing. Hundreds of thousands of men and women marched
to the headquarters of the Petrograd Soviet and the All-Russian Central
Executive Committee of Soviets, where they demanded that the Soviets
take the power into their own hands, break with the imperialist
bourgeoisie, and pursue an active peace policy.
Notwithstanding the pacific character of the demonstration,
reactionary units -- detachments of officers and cadets were brought out
against it. The streets of Petrograd ran with the blood of workers and
soldiers. The most ignorant and counter-revolutionary units of the army
were summoned from the front to suppress the workers.
After suppressing the demonstration of workers and soldiers, the
Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, in alliance with the
bourgeoisie and Whiteguard generals, fell upon the Bolshevik Party. The
Pravda premises were wrecked. Pravda, Soldatskaya
Pravda (Soldiers' Truth ) and a number of other Bolshevik
newspapers were suppressed. A worker named Voinov was killed by cadets
in the street merely for selling Listok Pravdy (Pravda
Bulletin ). Disarming of the Red Guards began. Revolutionary units
of the Petrograd garrison were withdrawn from the capital and dispatched
to the trenches. Arrests were carried out in the rear and at the front.
On July 7 a warrant was issued for Lenin's arrest. A number of prominent
members of the Bolshevik Party were arrested. The Trud printing plant,
where the Bolshevik publications were printed, was wrecked. The
Procurator of the Petrograd Court of Sessions announced that Lenin and a
number of other Bolsheviks were being charged with "high treason" and
the organization of an armed uprising. The charge against Lenin was
fabricated at the headquarters of General Denikin, and was based on the
testimony of spies and agents-provocateurs.
Thus the coalition Provisional Government -- which included such
leading representatives of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries
as Tsereteli, Skobelev, Kerensky and Chernov -- sank to the depths of
downright imperialism and counter-revolution. Instead of a policy of
peace, it had adopted the policy of continuing war. Instead of
protecting the democratic rights of the people, it had adopted the
policy of nullifying these rights and suppressing the workers and
soldiers by force of arms.
What Guchkov and Milyukov, the representatives of the
bourgeoisie, had hesitated to do, was done by the "socialists" Kerensky
and Tsereteli, Chernov and Skobelev.
The dual power had come to an end.
It ended in favour of the bourgeoisie, for the whole power had
passed into the hands of the Provisional Government, while the Soviets,
with their Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, had become an
appendage of the Provisional Government.
The peaceful period of the revolution had ended, for now the
bayonet had been placed on the agenda.
In view of the changed situation, the Bolshevik Party decided to
change its tactics. It went underground, arranged for a safe hiding
place for its leader, Lenin, and began to prepare for an uprising with
the object of overthrowing the power of the bourgeoisie by force of arms
and setting up the power of the Soviets.