Land Committees

Land Committees

 

agrarian agencies created in Russia by the bourgeois Provisional Government after the February Revolution of 1917.

The Central Land Committee was formed on Mar. 19 (Apr. 1), 1917, under the Ministry of Agriculture. Local land committees including provincial, district, and volost (small rural district) committees, were created by the decree of Apr. 21 (May 4), 1917. According to the decree on land committees, they were formed “to prepare the agrarian reform and to work out urgent temporary measures until the resolution of the agrarian question by the Constituent Assembly.” In reality, they were created to struggle against the peasant movement, which was aiming to seize the land of th&pomeshchiki (landlords). Constitutional Democrats (Cadets) and the Socialist Revolutionaries were in the majority on the Central, provincial, and district committees. With the growth of the peasant movement, which intensified in September-October 1917, the volost land committees, which were made up of peasants, joined the peasant struggle for the land.

After the victory of the October Revolution, the Soviet government used the lower-level land committees to put into practice the Decree on Land. For temporary instructions, the volost land committees were guided by the resolution on vo-lost land committees adopted by the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets on June 23 (July 6), 1917; this resolution received the force of law under Soviet power, on Oct. 31 (Nov. 13), 1917. V. I. Lenin, in “Reply to Questions From Peasants,” of Nov. 5 (18), 1917, explained the tasks of the volost land committees in the confiscation of the land of the pomeshchiki. On Dec. 5 (18), 1917, the Council of People’s Commissars confirmed the new decree on land committees and the instruction on the regulation by the land committees of agrarian and agricultural relations. The Central Land Committee was dissolved on Dec. 19, 1917 (Jan. 1, 1918). The majority of the local land committees were reelected in November-December 1917.

The All-Russian Congress of Land Committees, meeting jointly with the peasant section of the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets from Jan. 17 to Jan. 28 (Jan. 30–Feb. 10), 1918, spoke out for the elimination of land committees as independent organizations. By the law on the socialization of land of Jan. 27 (Feb. 9), 1918, matters connected with the disposal of land were placed in the hands of the agrarian sections of the local Soviets. In the spring of 1918 the land committees were either dissolved or reorganized into agrarian sections of the Soviets.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Novyi obman krest’ian partiei eserov.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 34.
Lenin, V. I. “Doklad o zemle 26 oktiabria (8 noiabria)” (Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies of Oct. 25–26 [Nov. 7–8], 1917). Ibid., vol. 35.
Lenin, V. I. “Rech’ po agrarnomu voprosu 14 (27) noiabria” (Extraordinary All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies of Nov. 10–25 [Nov. 23–Dec. 8], 1917). Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Rech’ na zasedanii s”ezda zemel’nykh komitetov i krest’ianskoi sektsii III s”ezda Sovetov 28 ianvaria (10 fevralia) 1918 g.” Ibid.
Dekrety Sovetskoi vlasti, vol. 1. Moscow, 1957.
Sbornik dokumentov po zemel’nomu zakonodatel stvu SSSR i RSFSR, 1917–1954. Moscow, 1954.
Lutskii, E. A. “Politika Sovetskoi vlasti po otnosheniiu k zemel’nym komitetam (1917–1918 gg.).” In the collection Trudy Moskovskogo Gos. Istoriko-arkhivnogo instituta, vol. 13. Moscow, 1959.

E. A. LUTSKII

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