Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region


a congress of soviets held in Petrograd from Oct. 11 to 13 (24 to 26), 1917, on the initiative of the Bolshevik party. Of the 94 delegates in attendance, 51 were Bolsheviks, 24 Left Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s), four SR-Maximalists, one Menshevik Internationalist, ten right SR’s, and four Menshevik Defensists. The delegates represented the soviets of Petrograd and Moscow and 21 soviets in Finland, in Estonia, and in Petrograd, Pskov, and Novgorod provinces. The SR-Menshevik Central Executive Committee of the soviets attempted to break up the congress, declaring it a “private meeting.” The congress agenda consisted of (1) reports by representatives of the province, (2) the current situation, (3) the military and political situation in the country, (4) the land question, (5) the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, (6) the Constituent Assembly, and (7) the organizational question. N. V. Krylenko was elected chairman of the congress.

On Oct. 8 (21), 1917, V. I. Lenin wrote the “Letter to the Bolshevik Comrades Attending the Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region,” in which he analyzed the domestic and international situation and drew attention to the need for immediate, careful, and serious preparation for an armed uprising against the bourgeois Provisional Government, for, as he wrote in the letter, “the situation is such that, in truth, delay would be fatal” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 34, p. 385).

Krylenko, V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko, and other speakers echoed the resolve of the workers and the revolutionary soldiers and sailors to answer the call of the Bolshevik party and rise against the bourgeois Provisional Government. The Bolshevik participants in the congress were well acquainted with the decision of the Central Committee of the RSDLP(B) of Oct. 10 (23), 1917, on armed insurrection. On October 12, (25), the congress adopted a resolution on the current situation, a resolution that demanded the transfer of power to the soviets and the creation of a Soviet government. On October 13 (26), it considered the question of the convocation of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets. A Northern Region Executive Committee of 17 members— including 11 Bolsheviks—was elected and given the responsibility for the convocation of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. In a special telegram to the local soviets, the congress recommended that revolutionary military committees be established in order to undertake active preparations for an armed uprising.

The Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region played a significant organizational and agitational role in the preparation of the October Armed Uprising of 1917.


Lenin, V. I. “Sovety postoronnego.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 34.
Breslav, B. A. Kanun Oktiabria 1917 g.: S”ezd Sovetov Severnoi oblasti, 11–13 okt. 1917. Moscow, 1934.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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