First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Peasants Deputies
First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies
a congress held in Petrograd from May 4 (17) to May 28 (June 10), 1917. It was convoked at the request of the Central Committee of the Peasant Union and the All-Russian Cooperative Congress, which was held in March 1917.
The congress was attended by 1,353 delegates, but the credentials committee approved only 1,167 delegates, of which 558 were from the front and 609 were from 69 different provinces and regions. There are statistics on 1,115 of these deputies, which indicate that there were 537 Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s), 103 Social Democrats (mostly Mensheviks), four Popular Socialists, six Trudoviks, 136 nonparty delegates, and 329 who did not indicate their party affiliation. The peasant Bolshevik faction comprised nine delegates, in addition to a “group of 14 nonparty delegates,” which was organized by M. V. Frunze and which voted with the Bolsheviks on every question. The SR’s, who dominated the congress, succeeded, though with great difficulty, in passing the resolutions they had introduced on support for the coalition Provisional Government, on war and peace, and on the question of nationalities.
On May 7 (20), Lenin addressed an open letter to the congress. In the letter he set forth the policies of the Bolshevik Party on the questions of land and war and on the state structure. On May 22 (June 4), Lenin spoke at the congress on the agrarian question. In order to avoid the defeat of their resolution on the agrarian question, the SR’s were forced to include the provision that “all lands must without exception be placed under the jurisdiction of the land committees” (provision 2). Final action on the land question was deferred for the decision of the Constituennt Assembly. Despite the formal victory of the SR party line, the congress made important contributions toward the peasant movement’s achievement of its goal to seize the landowners’ estates and toward the Bolshevik Party’s efforts to influence the peasantry.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I.”Otkrytoe pis’mo k delegatam Vserossiiskogo s”ezda krest’ianskikh deputatov.” Poln. sobr. soch, 5th ed., vol. 32.
Lenin, V. I. “I Vserossiiskii s”ezd krest’ianskikh deputatov: 4–28 maia (17 maia-10 iiunia) 1917.” Ibid.
Sovety krest’ianskikh deputatov i dr. krest’ianskie organizatsii, vol. 1, part 1. Moscow, 1929.
Gaisinskii, M. Bor’ba bol’shevikov za krest’ianstvo v 1917: Vserossiiskie s”ezdy Sovetov krest’ianaskikh deputatov. Moscow, 1933.
E. A. LUTSKII