6th Congress

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Sixth Congress of the RSDLP (B). AUGUST 1917.

Protocols. - Moscow: Gospolitizdat, 1958. - Circulation 30,000 copies.

Congress of the RSDLP occupies a special place among the congresses of our party. It went down in the history of the party as "Unity". It formally united two parts of the party - the Bolshevik and the Menshevik, into which the Russian Social Democracy was split. At the congress, the Mensheviks gained a numerical superiority, and this determined the nature of the congress decisions on a number of issues of the first Russian revolution.


The minutes of the VI Congress of the RSDLP (b) are one of the main sources for studying the activities of the CPSU during the preparation of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

After the shooting of the peaceful July demonstration, state power in the country actually ended up in the hands of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, which relied on the military clique. The bourgeoisie won a temporary victory over the revolutionary forces. The dual power characteristic of the first months of the revolution is over. The Soviets, with their Menshevist-Socialist-Revolutionary leadership "due to the fact that they did not take all state power into their own hands in time,” turned into accomplices of the Provisional Government, which continued the imperialist policy of war and the elimination of political freedoms in the country. “After July 4,” wrote V.I. Lenin, “the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, hand in hand with the monarchists and the Black Hundreds, annexed the petty-bourgeois Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, partly intimidating them, and handed the actual state power into the hands of the Cavaignacs, into the hands of a military gang., shooting defenders at the front, crushing the Bolsheviks in St. Petersburg ".

On July 7, the Provisional Government issued an order to arrest the leader of the Bolshevik Party, V.I. Lenin. The party was forced to move to a semi-legal position. V. I. Lenin took refuge in deep underground.

The new political situation in the country posed an urgent task for the party to develop new tactics that would ensure the implementation of the strategic plan adopted by the 7th (April) Conference, calculated for the victory of the socialist revolution.

While underground, VI Lenin wrote a number of articles that helped the party to correctly orient itself in the situation after the July days, to determine the forms of party work and ways of further struggle for the victory of the socialist revolution. In the articles "Three Crises", "Political Situation", "On Slogans" and others, V. I. Lenin gave a deep analysis of the alignment and correlation of class forces in the country and, on the basis of this, concluded that it was necessary a new course - towards an armed uprising. “All hopes for the peaceful development of the Russian revolution have completely disappeared. The objective situation: either the victory of the military dictatorship to the end, or the victory of the armed uprising of the workers, possible only if it coincides with a deep mass uprising against the government and against the bourgeoisie on the basis of economic devastation and dragging out the war,” wrote V. I. Lenin in his article “Political position".

Lenin proposed to temporarily remove the slogan "All power to the Soviets" and put forward the slogan of a decisive struggle against counter-revolution, for the transfer of power into the hands of the proletariat and the poorest peasantry. At the same time, Lenin explained that the withdrawal of the slogan "All power to the Soviets" does not at all mean that the party refuses to fight for the power of the Soviets, that this is not a question of Soviets in general, but a question of combating this counter-revolution and the betrayal of these Soviets.

Considering the Soviets as the greatest achievement of the Russian revolution, as the most expedient form of the revolutionary organization of the masses in their struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat, V.I. stated; “Soviets can and must appear in this new revolution, but not the present Soviets, not organs of compromise with the bourgeoisie, but organs of the revolutionary struggle against it. That even then we will be in favor of building the entire state according to the type of Soviets, it is so”.

In the articles of V. I. Lenin, the main provisions of the party policy adopted by the VI Congress were determined.

An enormous role in the direction of the work of the congress was played by Lenin's article "On Slogans", which was published as a separate brochure during the congress and was adopted by the delegates of the congress as a guideline defining the line of the party's activities at this stage of the revolution. In addition, V.I. Lenin wrote specifically for the congress theses on the political situation, which have not yet been found.

The VI Congress of the RSDLP (b) was held on July 26 (August 8) - August 3 (16), 1917 in Petrograd. The congress conducted its work semi-legally. The press announced only the convocation of the congress but did not indicate the place of its meetings. The threat of closing the congress from the side of the Provisional Government was so real that it was necessary not only to change the place of the congress meetings, but also to hold elections for members of the Central Committee long before its end, and also to shorten the duration of the congress.

The congress was attended by 157 delegates with a casting vote and a PO with a consultative vote, representing 162 party organizations. By the time of the congress, the parties numbered 240,000 members. The ideological leadership of the entire work of the congress was carried out by V.I. Lenin through his students and associates: I.V. Stalin, Y. M. Sverdlov, G.K. Ordzhonikidze, and others.

One of the first at the congress to discuss was the question of VI Lenin's appearance for trial by the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government. The congress spoke out against Lenin's appearance for trial, believing that it would not be a trial, but a reprisal against the leader of the party. The congress protested against the bourgeois police persecution of the leader of the revolution and sent greetings to V.I., Lenin.

The main issues that determined the direction of the entire work of the congress were: the political report of the Central Committee and the report on the political situation, which JV Stalin delivered on behalf of the Central Committee.

The reports of the Central Committee set forth the guidelines of VI Lenin, summarize the activities of the Bolshevik Party since the 7th (April) Conference, and summarize the experience of the Party's work in the struggle for the masses. They contain a Leninist assessment of the political situation in the country after the July events, a deep analysis of the alignment of class forces within the country and in the world arena and outlined prospects for the further development of the revolution. The reports of the Central Committee set forth the political line of the party at the new stage of the revolution, charted a course for an armed uprising.

Following Lenin's instructions, the Sixth Congress withdrew the slogan "All Power to the Soviets" and gave a resolute rebuff both to those who opposed the withdrawal of the slogan "All Power to the Soviets" and to those who regarded the temporary withdrawal of this slogan as the party's refusal to fight for it in general. The congress put forward the slogan of the struggle for the complete liquidation of the dictatorship of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie and the conquest of power by the proletariat in alliance with the poorest peasantry through an armed uprising.

The congress gave a decisive rebuff to the opportunist elements who opposed the party's course towards a socialist revolution, who considered the victory of socialism in Russia impossible. The congress unanimously rejected the anti-Leninist, essentially Trotskyist line of Preobrazhensky, who proposed in the resolution on the political situation to indicate that our country could be directed along the socialist path only if there is a proletarian revolution in the West. The anti-Leninist point of view of Bukharin was also exposed, who argued that the peasantry was defencist, that it was in a bloc with the bourgeoisie and would not follow the working class. Denying the alliance of the working class and the poorest peasantry in the socialist revolution, Preobrazhensky and Bukharin opposed the Leninist theory of the possibility of the victory of socialism initially in a few or even one, separately taken, capitalist country in the era of imperialism, did not believe in the strength of the proletariat, in its ability to lead the peasantry along the socialist path.

In its decisions, the congress emphasized with special force the Leninist thesis on the alliance of the working class and the poorest peasantry as the main condition for the victory of the socialist revolution. The congress expressed confidence that the inevitable new upsurge of the Russian revolution would put the workers and the poorest peasants in power before the socialist revolution in the capitalist countries of the West.

The VI Congress discussed and approved the economic platform of the Party, in which the provisions set forth in the April Theses of V.I. Lenin and in the decisions of the VII (April) Conference on Economic Issues were developed. The main points of the platform: the establishment of workers 'control over production and distribution, the nationalization and centralization of banks, the nationalization of large-scale syndicated industry, the confiscation of landowners' land and the nationalization of all land, the organization of a correct exchange between town and country. The Congress resolution on the economic situation emphasized that the implementation of this platform presupposes the transfer of state power into the hands of the working class.

The temporary victory of the counter-revolution after the July days not only did not retard the growth of the party but caused an influx of new members into the party from among the workers and peasants. Y. M. Sverdlov in his report on the organizational activities of the Central Committee noted that since the 7th (April) conference the number of party members has increased threefold, and the number of organizations more than doubled. Party organizations grew especially rapidly in industrial centers. The Petrograd organization from April to July increased from 16 thousand to 36 thousand members, the Moscow city - from 7 to 15 thousand, the Central Industrial Region by the VI Congress had more than 50 thousand party members, the Urals - 25 thousand, the Donetsk Basin - 16 thousand members. By the Sixth Congress, the party was a truly mass workers' party.

Reports from the field occupied an important place at the congress. A total of 19 reports were heard, 5 of them from military organizations. The speakers noted the steady growth of the influence of the Bolsheviks among the workers, soldiers, and peasants. In the reports of the military organizations of Moscow, Kronstadt, Helsingfors, the Riga and Romanian fronts, it was noted that the influence of Bolshevik organizations among soldiers and sailors was growing. The military organization of the party from April to July grew from 6 to 26 thousand party members. Reports from the field testified to the tremendous work of the Bolsheviks among the masses to create a political army of the socialist revolution.

The Bolshevik press played an important role in strengthening the Party's influence among the masses. From the questionnaire on the party press given at the 6th Congress, it is clear that by the day of the congress the party had 41 publications with a total daily circulation of 235,000 copies, not counting Pravda, which was published daily with an average circulation of 85,000 copies. Out of 41 printed organs, 14 were published in the national languages ​​of the peoples of Russia: Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, Georgian, etc.

At the congress, great attention was paid to the work of the party in the trade unions. The congress condemned the Menshevik theory of the neutrality of the trade unions, clearly and clearly defined their tasks in the new political conditions as militant organizations of the working class. The congress called on all party members to join the trade unions and take an active part in their work.

The Sixth Congress comprehensively discussed the question of the leadership of the Bolshevik Party in unions of working youth. By the opening of the congress, socialist unions of working youth were created in many large centers: in Petrograd, Moscow, Riga, and other industrial cities. The congress pointed out the need for party leadership of youth unions and their transformation into socialist organizations: “At the present time, when the struggle of the working class is passing into the phase of direct struggle for socialism, the congress considers the promotion of the creation of class socialist organizations of working youth one of the urgent tasks of the moment and imposes Party organizations are obliged to pay maximum attention to this work ”, - written in the resolution on youth unions, adopted by the VI Congress. In a special decision "On courses for instructors," the congress instructed the Central Committee of the Party to create courses for instructors on the organization and leadership of socialist youth unions.

The congress adopted a new party charter. Paragraph 1 of the Charter on membership was supplemented by the requirement that party members be subordinate to all party regulations; for the first time were established: the recommendation of two-party members when accepting new members and their approval by the general meeting of the party organization and the regular payment of membership fees in the amount of 1% of the received wages. The new Party Rules demanded a restructuring of all party work from top to bottom on the basis of the Leninist principle of democratic centralism.

The 6th Congress adopted a resolution "On Propaganda", which indicated the need to strengthen the party's agitational and propaganda work among the masses, to organize party schools to train propagandists from among the proletarian intelligentsia and to publish popular science literature.

On the question of uniting the party, the Sixth Congress, following Lenin's instructions, set before the party the task of rallying around itself all the truly internationalist elements of Social Democracy, ready to decisively break with the defencists. The congress condemned all proposals for broad unification and the creation of a single Social Democratic Party. At the VI Congress, the Mezhraiontsy were admitted to the party, who declared a complete break with the defencists, and their agreement with the Bolshevik line.

The congress defined the tasks and tactics of the party in the election campaign for the Constituent Assembly. The congress indicated that, with the approval of the Central Committee, electoral blocs with internationalist elements that broke with the defencists, as well as with non-party revolutionary organizations (with the Soviets of Deputies, with land committees, etc.), which fully adopted the Bolshevik platform, are permissible in the elections to the Constituent Assembly.

The congress elected a Central Committee headed by V. I. Lenin.

The Sixth Congress directed the party towards an armed uprising, towards a socialist revolution. All decisions of the congress were aimed at preparing the working class and the poorest peasantry for an armed uprising against the dictatorship of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie.

The congress instructed the newly elected Central Committee to develop and issue, on behalf of the VI Congress of the party, a "Manifesto of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party to all working people, to all workers, soldiers and peasants of Russia." The manifesto called on workers, soldiers, and peasants to stubbornly prepare for decisive battles against the bourgeoisie for the victory of the socialist revolution. “Get ready for new battles, our comrades in arms! Steadfastly, courageously, and calmly, not succumbing to provocation, save up your strength, line up in battle columns! Under the banner of the party, proletarians, and soldiers! Under our banner, oppressed villages! ”- said in the concluding part of the Manifesto.

This edition of the minutes of the VI Congress of the RSDLP (b) is based on the printed text of the first edition of the minutes published by the Kommunist publishing house in 1919. The minutes of the congress were reissued in 1927 by the Istpart of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party) and in 1934 by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute at the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party (b).

The sessions of the Congress were not recorded in shorthand. The speeches at the congress were recorded by a group of Petrograd party workers. After the congress, all the notes were compiled into one manuscript, which was published in 1919. The manuscript has not been found to date.

The text of the minutes of this publication is compared with the reports on the work of the VI Congress, published in the newspapers Rabochy and Soldier, Proletary and Sotsial-Democrat for July-August 1917. In addition, a record of the VI Congress delegate K-A. Kozlov was used, kept in the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism under the Central Committee of the CPSU. Obvious typos in the text of the protocols were corrected without reservations. All clarifications of the text, its additions are given in footnotes indicating the sources on the basis of which they were introduced.

In this edition, the dates in the text of the minutes are in the old style as in the first edition of the minutes. Dual style is given in editorial text only.

JV Stalin's reports — a report on the political work of the Central Committee and a report on the political situation — are given in the text of the minutes. But in view of the obvious insufficiency and brevity of the presentation of the text of the reports in the minutes, in this edition in the section "Materials of the Congress" there are official reports on the reports of I. V. Stalin, published in July - August 1917 in the newspapers "Worker and Soldier" No. 14 and Proletary No. 3, covering individual passages of the reports more accurately and fully.

The present edition of the minutes has been supplemented with new materials related to the congress. In the section "Materials of the Congress" for the first time there are greetings to the Congress that were not included in the text of the minutes. The list of delegates in this section has been significantly expanded and corrected in comparison with the list in previous editions. In addition, 82 people were added to the list of delegates with an advisory vote, a list of congress participants was given, among whom, possibly, in addition to delegates and a person with guest tickets, and a list of delegates elected by organizations, but who did not arrive at the congress for various reasons that did not depend on them, circumstances. Several corrections and clarifications have been made to the list of voting delegates. All these corrections and clarifications were made on the basis of a study of documentary materials, as well as reports from local party archives and personal confirmation of delegates to the congress. Changes and additions to the lists of delegates are specified in the footnotes.

The section "Appendices" contains for the first time published 69 questionnaires of the Central Committee (questionnaires) filled in by the delegates of the Congress. These documents contain valuable factual material on the state and activity of party organizations in the localities by the time of the VI Congress. The originals of the questionnaires are kept in the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism under the Central Committee of the CPSU.

Decoding of individual words in the text of the protocols and in documents and modern spelling are given without reservations. The words included in the text by the editors are in brackets.

This edition of the minutes of the VI Congress of the RSDLP (b) is supplied with a reference apparatus consisting of notes to the text and indexes of the names mentioned in the text, party organizations, periodicals and literary works and sources.

The publication has been prepared for publication by S. I. Shchegoleva. Assistant to the preparatory teacher: T. G. Breneisen, K. N. Uryvaeva and L. D. Raimbekova. Editors - G. D. Obichkin and M. D. Stuchebnikova.

Institute of Marxism-Leninism under the Central Committee of the CPSU