All-Russian Conference of Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies

All-Russian Conference of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies

 

met in Petrograd from Mar. 29 (Apr. 11) to Apr. 3 (16), 1917, after the victory of the February Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution. It was attended by 480 delegates from 139 soviets, 13 military service units, seven field forces, and 26 separate units of the front. The agenda included the attitude toward the war, the attitude toward the Provisional Government, organizational problems, the organization of revolutionary forces, preparation for the Constituent Assembly, the food question, the agrarian question, questions pertaining to the life of the peasants, and the worker question.

The Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) had the majority at the conference. The Bolshevik group submitted its own draft resolutions on the main points of the agenda. In a defensist resolution on the war, which was submitted by the Menshevik-SR Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet (adopted by 327 votes to 57, with 20 abstentions), the conference approved the Provisional Government’s appeal on the war (March 28), which claimed to have rejected aggressive aims. The Bolshevik group, whose spokesman was L. B. Kamenev, took an erroneous position in withdrawing its draft resolution and voting for the Menshevik-SR resolution after the addition of an amendment calling for “control and pressure” on the Provisional Government and its local bodies by the revolutionary democracy. The conference recognized the need for the legislative establishment of the eight-hour workday, but it did not call upon the workers to establish it immediately by revolutionary means. On the peasant and agrarian questions the conference adopted a resolution that it would support in the Constituent Assembly, providing for the alienation without compensation of all privately owned land and its transfer to the toiling people. However, the conference opposed the “arbitrary solution of the agrarian question in the localities,” thereby leaving the land in the hands of the landlords. On April 3 (16) the conference elected ten representatives from the oblasts and six from the army and navy to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, transforming it into the central body of the Soviets of the entire country prior to the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. At a meeting of the Bolshevik delegates to the conference on April 4 (17), V. I. Lenin delivered a report on war and revolution, in which he presented the April Theses. On the same day he gave the same report at a joint meeting of Bolshevik and Menshevik delegates to the conference.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Luiblanovshchina.” poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 31.
Velikaia Oktiabr’skaia sotsialisticheskaia revoliutsiia: Khronika sobytii, vol. 1 (Feb. 27-May 6, 1917). Moscow, 1957.
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