Declaration of the Rights of the Working and Exploited People

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Declaration of the Rights of the Working and Exploited People


one of the most important constitutional acts of the Soviet republic, which legislatively confirmed the achievements of the Great October Socialist Revolution and proclaiming the basic principles and tasks of the socialist state. The declaration was drafted by Lenin and adopted on Jan. 12 (25), 1918, by the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and then on Jan. 18 (31), 1918, by the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets.

The declaration proclaimed Russia to be a republic of soviets of workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ deputies, power being vested wholly and entirely in the working people and their authorized representatives—the soviets of workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ deputies. It established the federal principle of the structure of the Soviet state as a free union of free nations and established the system of the higher organs of state power. It stated that the fundamental aim of Soviet power was to abolish all exploitation of man by man, to eliminate completely the division of society into classes, to crush the resistance of the exploiters, and to establish a socialist organization of society. It confirmed the abolition of the private ownership of land and the establishment of the laws on workers’ control, the Supreme Council on the National Economy, and the nationalization of banks: it also instituted universal labor conscription and decreed the creation of the Red Army. The declaration confirmed the principles of Soviet foreign policy: the policy of peace, abolition of secret treaties, and respect for the national sovereignty of all nations. It welcomed the policy of the Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars) in proclaiming the independence of Finland, the evacuation of troops from Iran, and the freedom of self-determination for Armenia, and it approved the law on the cancellation of the loans contracted by the tsarist regime and the bourgeois Provisional Government. The declaration was included in the Constitution of the RSFSR of 1918 as its first part.


Istoriia Sovetskoi Konstitutsii: Sb. dokumentov 1917-1957. Moscow, 1957. Pages 44-46.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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