Lenin suddenly mounted the tribune; for ten minutes the room went mad. “Down with him!” they shrieked. “We will not listen to any of your People’s Commissars! We don’t recognise your Government!”
Lenin stood there quite calmly, gripping the desk with both hands, his little eyes thoughtfully surveying the tumult beneath. Finally, except for the right side of the hall, the demonstration wore itself out somewhat.
“I do not come here as a member of the Council of People’s Commissars,” said Lenin, and waited again for the noise to subside, “but as a member of the Bolshevik faction, duly elected to this Congress.” And he held his credentials up to that all might see them.
“However,” he went on, in an unmoved voice, “nobody will deny that the present Government of Russia has been formed by the Bolshevik party—” he had to wait a moment, “so that for all purposes it is the same thing….” Here the right benches broke into deafening clamour, but the centre and left were curious, and compelled silence.
Lenin’s argument was simple. “Tell me frankly, you peasants, to whom we have given the lands of the pomieshtchiki; do you want now to prevent the workers from getting control of industry? This is class war. The pomieshtchiki of course oppose the peasants, and the manufactures oppose the workers. Are you going to allow the ranks of the proletariat to be divided? Which side will you be on?
“We, the Bolsheviki, are the party of the proletariat—of the peasant proletariat as well as the industrial proletariat. We, the Bolsheviki, are the protectors of the Soviets—of the Peasants’ Soviets as well as those of the Workers and Soldiers. The present Government is a Government of Soviets; we have not only invited the Peasants’ Soviets to join that Government, but we have also invited representatives of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to enter the Council of People’s Commissars….
“The Soviets are the most perfect representatives of the people—of the workers in the factories and mines, of the workers in the fields. Anybody who attempts to destroy the Soviets is guilty of an anti-democratic and counter-revolutionary act. And I serve notice here on you, comrades Right Socialist Revolutionaries—and on you, Messrs. Cadets—that if the Constituent Assembly attempts to destroy the Soviets, we shall not permit the Constituent Assembly to do this thing!”
They are saying that Ukraine has declared itself an independent republic uniting nine gubernias: Kievskaia, Podol’skaia, Volynskaia, Chernigovskaia, Khar’kovskaia, and also Tavricheskaia, not including Crimea itself. How very funny and stupid this is.
The emergency congress of the Soviet of Peasant Deputies has begun. Vladimir Ilyich spoke at this congress twice, considering it very important. See more
From 330 delegates 195 were left socialist-revolutionaries; they were the decisive group; at the congress there was a fight against right socialist revolutionaries (they were only 65 people). After Lenin’s second speech a resolution was adopted that approved of Sovnarkom’s work and of the conditions of the agreement with the left socialist revolutionaries. Left socialist revolutionaries have agreed to participate in government and have sent their representatives to People’s Commissaries, even though not immediately.
The barometer currently stands at the “tempest” setting. I was very sad today… but they advise me not to write it down. Slavery has returned to us—only in a horrible, perverted way and hiding behind the mask of terror. See more
Should I leave a blank page in the book? But I will forget. For I don’t know if freedom comes back... even if for consumption at home only. Ah, well. Let’s swallow this disgrace! We’ll leave a blank page.
Decree on the Abolition of Social Estates and Civil Ranks
1. All classes and class divisions of citizens, class privileges and disabilities, class organizations and institutions which have until now existed in Russia, as well as all civil ranks, are abolished. See more
2. All designations (as merchant, nobleman, burgher, peasant, etc.), titles (as Prince, Count, etc.), and distinctions of civil ranks (Privy, State, and other Councilors), are abolished, and one common designation is established for all the population of Russia-citizen of the Russian Republic.
3. The properties of the noblemen’s class institutions are hereby transferred to corresponding Zemstvo self-governing bodies.
4. The properties of merchants’ and burghers’ associations are hereby placed at the disposal of corresponding municipal bodies.
5. All class institutions, transactions, and archives are hereby transferred to the jurisdiction of corresponding municipal and Zemstvo bodies.
6. All corresponding clauses of the laws which have existed until now are abolished.
7. This decree becomes effective from the day of its publication, and is to be immediately put into effect, by the local Soviets of Workmen’s, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies.
The Mayor of Petrograd called to-day to assure me that Russian democracy strongly condemned the opening of negotiations for a separate anuistice and the publication of our secret agreements. See more
He takes far too optimistic a view of the political outlook. In the course of our conversation he remarked that were the Allied representatives to leave Russia it would be a severe blow to true democracy and to all classes in the country except the Bolsheviks.