Eighth All-Russian Congress of Soviets

Eighth All-Russian Congress of Soviets

 

(full name, Eighth All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, Red Army, and Cossack Deputies), held in Moscow on Dec. 22-29, 1920. The congress convened during the final phase of the war against domestic counterrevolution and foreign military intervention, when the economic front was becoming “the most important and the basic front” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42, p. 137). The congress was attended by 2,537 delegates (1,728 with a deciding vote and 809 with a consultative vote). The party composition was 2,284 Communists, 67 Communist sympathizers, 98 nonaffiliated delegates, eight Mensheviks, eight Bundists, and two Left Socialist Revolutionaries; the remaining dele-gates were members of other parties. The agenda of the congress included the report of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and of the Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars) on foreign and domestic policies (speaker, V.I. Lenin); the situation in industry and measures toward its restoration (speaker, A. I. Rykov); electrification (speaker, G. M. Krzhizhanovskii); transport (speaker, L. D. Trotsky); the development of agricultural production and aid to peasant farms (speaker, I. A. Teodorovich); improvement of the work of Soviet bodies at the center and in the provinces and the fight against bureaucratism (speaker, G. E. Zinoviev); and elections to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. The main questions on the agenda were discussed beforehand at sessions at the fraction of the RCP (Bolshevik). To allow a comprehensive discussion of the questions, the congress formed three sections—industry, agriculture, and Soviet institutions. The congress worked under Lenin’s direct guidance. In the report on foreign and domestic policies Lenin summed up the results of the Civil War and outlined the chief political and economic tasks that the country faced in the period of the restoration and development of the national economy. “Only when the country has been electrified,” Lenin pointed out, “and industry, agriculture, and transport have been placed on the technical base of modern large-scale industry, only then shall we be fully victorious” (ibid., p. 159). The congress adopted a resolution fully approving the government policy. Discussing the questions of the restoration and development of the national economy, the delegates adopted several resolutions on combating economic dislocation. The resolution on heavy industry noted the need to increase the extraction of coal and iron ores. It was proposed that special attention be devoted to the development of the coal and metallurgical industries of Siberia, the Urals, and the Moscow and Donets basins. One of the most important questions of the congress was the discussion and confirmation of the plan for the electrification of Russia, GOELRO, which was drawn up upon Lenin’s initiative and instruction. This was a long-range national economic plan of the Soviet state, one that Lenin called the “second Party program” (ibid., p. 157). The resolution adopted on Krzhizhanovskii’s report was written by Lenin. The congress unanimously approved the important draft law on measures to strengthen and develop peasant agriculture. Emphasizing the importance of this law, Lenin said that around it, “as on a focal point, hundreds of decisions and legislative measures of the Soviet government are grouped” (ibid., p. 148). Lenin participated in the discussion of the major propositions of the draft law. The congress adopted resolutions on the strengthening and development of trans-port and other elements of the national economy. The delegates appealed to the working people of the country to devote all their forces to the restoration of the national economy. The congress approved resolutions on the development of Soviet institutions, including a resolution on the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, and the Sovnarkom (on rights and duties) and one on the relations between the central and local bodies of economic administration. The congress approved the new Statute on the Council of Labor and Defense, ratified the workers’ and peasants’ treaty of alliance between the RSFSR and the Ukrainian SSR, and adopted a resolution on reducing the size of the Red Army. The All-Russian Central Executive Committee that was elected was composed of 300 members and 100 candidate members. The congress instituted the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “VIII Vserossiiskii s”ezd Sovetov 22-29 dekabria 1920.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42.
S”ezdy Sovetov Soiuza SSR, Soiuznykh i Avtonomnykh sovetskikh sotsialisticheskikh respublik: Sb. dokumentov, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959. Pages 124-58.
G. M. ERMINA