The Extraordinary All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Peasants' Deputies



Speech In Connection
With The Statement Of A Vikzhel Spokesman

November 18 (December 1)

Newspaper Report

Comrades, the Vikzhel statement is undoubtedly nothing but a misunderstanding. Can you imagine, for one moment, that troops, fully aware of their revolutionary duty and fighting for the people's interests, would approach Field Headquarters and begin smashing up everything and everyone, without making known their demands, without so much as explaining to the soldiers around II.Q. why they had come. You must realise, comrades, that that is impossible. A revolutionary army, conscious of what it is about, must make its demands known to those to whom it applies. When the demands were being made, much more was done; care was taken to make it quite clear that resistance meant resisting the people's will, that this was not a common but a moral crime against the people's freedom, interests and highest aspirations. A revolutionary army never fires the first shot, and acts in anger only against invaders and tyrants. Had it been otherwise, the word revolution would have lost its meaning. I feel I must draw your attention to the fact that while making its unverified charges, Vikzhel announces its "neutrality". That is something Vikzhel has no right to do. At. a time of revolutionary struggle, when every minute counts, when dissent and neutrality allow the enemy to put in his word, when he will certainly be heard, and when no haste is made to help the people in their struggle for their sacred rights. I cannot call such a stand neutrality; it is not neutrality; a revolutionary would call it incitement. (Applause.) By taking Such a stand you incite the generals to action; when you fail to support us, you oppose the people.

To postpone the armistice is just what General Dukhonin wants. By assisting him you are sabotaging the armistice. Think of the grave responsibility that falls upon you, and consider what the people will say.

Comrade Lenin went on to say that the telegraph services were being sabotaged in some areas. The government was left without information, while its opponents circulated absurd rumours. Take the allegation that the Polish battalions were opposing the government, although the Poles had repeatedly declared that they had not interfered and did not intend to interfere in Russian affairs; they have also informed us that they want an armistice.

Published in Izvestia No. 230
19 November 1917
Published according to theIzvestia text