Russia: Tsarist and Communist

By Anatole G. Mazour | Go to book overview

29
The Soviet Revolution (1917-1921)

ASCENDANCY OF THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY

ON NOVEMBER 8, 1917, the All-Russian Congress of Soviets announced the names of the new 'Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government which presumably was to govern the country until the meeting of the Constituent Assembly. The head of the newly formed government was to be a Council of People's Commissars, accountable to the All-Russian Congress and its Central Executive Committee. The chairmanship of the Soviet of People's Commissars was given to Lenin, with Trotsky in charge of foreign affairs and Stalin heading the Commissariat of Affairs of the Nationalities.

As soon as the Soviet under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party seized power, on November 8, a Land Decree was promulgated, announcing among other provisions, the following:

The right of private ownership of land is abolished forever. Land cannot be sold, bought, leased, mortgaged, or alienated in any manner whatsoever. All land--state, appanage, cabinet, monastery, church, entail, private, communal, peasant, and any other lands pass to the nation without indemnification and are turned over for the use of those who till them. . . .

All the underground resources, such as ores, petroleum, coal, salt, etc., as forests and waters which have national importance, are transferred for the exclusive use of the state. . . .

The land is to be divided equally among the toilers, according to needs or labor capacity, depending on local conditions. Each community is to decide for itself how its land is to be apportioned, whether it is to be held collectively or as homesteads or artels.

The ascendancy of the Bolshevik Party was no assurance of an immediate establishment of peace; it was only a step in the direction of a greater and more bitter struggle of universal scope. It was to initiate a world-wide struggle between two camps: the 'exploited' and 'exploiters'; it was to engage the two in a battle for the emancipation of the former and the elimination of the latter. It was the basic faith of the leaders that national boundaries were to be obliterated--the proletariat has no fatherland but the world--and that the common interest of the toiling masses would bring them into a single army of the working people for the 'last and

____________________
1
Frank Golder, Documents of Russian History, 623-24.

-584-

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