In Defence of October

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Outline Programme For Peace Negotiations

“No annexations or indemnities”

(1) The talks shall be political and economic.

(2) The main theme of the political talks and the basic principle shall be: “No annexations or indemnities”.

(3) Concept of annexation:

(a) non-acceptability of the definition of annexation as lands integrated after the proclamation of the present war.[The definition of annexation under which only lands integrated after the proclamation of the war are regarded as annexed is rejected.]

(b) any territory shall be deemed to be annexed whose population, over the last few decades (since the second half of the 19th century), has expressed dissatisfaction with the integration of their territory into another state, or its status in the state, regardless of whether such dissatisfaction has been expressed in writings, decisions of meetings, assemblies, municipal councils and similar institutions, in state and diplomatic acts, arising from the national movement in these territories, in national friction, clashes, disturbances, etc.133

(1) Official recognition for each (non-sovereign) nation, which is part of a given belligerent country, of the right to free self-determination, including secession and formation of an independent state; (2) the right to self-determination shall be realised through a referendum of the whole population of the territory seeking self-determination; (3) the geographical boundaries of the territory seeking self-determination shall be established by democratically elected representatives of the territory and contiguous territories; (4) preliminary conditions guaranteeing the exercise of the right of nations to free self-determination:

(a) withdrawal of troops from the territory seeking self-determination;

(b) return to the territory of refugees and inhabitants expelled by the authorities since the outbreak of war;

(c) establishment in the given territory of a caretaker administration consisting of democratically elected representatives of the nation seeking self-determination, with the right (among others) of implementing Clause (b);

(d) establishment under the caretaker administration of commissions of the contracting parties with the right of reciprocal control;

(e) the expenditure on implementing Clauses (b) and (c) shall be covered from a special fund set up by the occupying party.


[1] Written , it would appear, in connection with the discussion by the Soviet Government on November 27 (December 10), 1917, of instructions to the Soviet delegation empowered to negotiate a peace with Germany at the peace conference at Brest-Litovsk. The government decision on this question said: 'Instruction on the Talks, on the Basis of the Decree on Peace."

The peace conference opened on December 9 (22), 1917, and was attended by the Soviet delegation and those of the Quadruple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey). At the first sitting tire Soviet delegation read out a declaration on the peace terms. The other side appeared to agree to conduct the talks on these terms, but in fact this preliminary period already revealed Germany's annexationist intentions. On January 5 (18), the delegates of the Quadruple Alliance made known their govern-merits' territorial claims to the Soviet delegation. This included a part of Russia which was to be ceded to Germany and Austria-Hungary (a territory of more than 150,000 square kilometers): Poland, Lithuania , a part of Estonia and Latvia, and also sizable areas inhabited by Ukrainians and Byelorussians.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.

The February Revolution
Strikes and protests erupt on women's day in Petrograd and develop into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the workers win over the army and bring down the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy.
Lenin Returns
Lenin returns to Russia and presents his ‘April Theses’ denouncing the Bourgeois Provisional Government and calling for “All Power to the Soviets!”
The June Days
Following the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the reformist leaders called a demonstration to show the strength of "democracy". 400,000 people attended, the vast majority carried banners with Bolshevik slogans.
The July Days
Spontaneous, armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government erupt in Petrograd. The workers and soldiers are suppressed by force, introducing a period of reaction and making the peaceful development of the revolution impossible.
The Kornilov Affair
Following the July days, the Bolsheviks were driven underground and the forces of reaction were emboldened. This process culminated in the reactionary forces coalescing around General Kornilov, who attempt to march on Petrograd and crush the revolutionary movement in its entirety.
The October Revolution
The Provisional Government is overthrown. State power passes to the Soviets on the morningm of 26th October, after the Bolsheviks’ Military Revolutionary Committee seize the city and the cabinet surrenders.
  • V. I. Lenin

    V. I. Lenin

    "The dominating trait of his character, the feature which constituted half his make-up, was his will..."
  • L. Trotsky

    L. Trotsky

    “Astounding speeches, fanfares of orders, the unceasing electrifier of a weakening army.”
  • G. Plekhanov

    G. Plekhanov

    "In the final analysis the brilliant aspects of Plekhanov’s character will endure forever."
  • G. O. Zinoviev

    G. O. Zinoviev

    "Zinoviev has won the reputation of being one of the most remarkable orators – a difficult feat."
  • Y. M. Sverdlov

    Y. M. Sverdlov

    “He did not die on the field of battle, but we are right to see him as a man who gave his life for the cause.”
  • V. Volodarsky

    V. Volodarsky

    “He was always to be seen in the front row, the on-the-spot leader. So, they killed him.”
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Reading Guides

  • The 1917 February Revolution

    The 1917 February Revolution

    The February Revolution saw a mass strike develop from below at a furious pace which posed the question of state power within a week of its inception. Workers in Petrograd took to the streets against intolerable bread shortages, the slaughter
  • Lenin Returns in April

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  • The July Days 1917

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  • The Kornilov affair

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    Kornilov’s failed coup brought the direct action of the masses into play again, and proved to them once and for all that they were the only force in society capable of transforming their own living conditions. For the first time,
  • The October Insurrection 1917

    The October Insurrection 1917

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