Extraordinary Fourth All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Extraordinary Fourth All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, Soldiers’, and Cossacks’ Deputies


a congress held from Mar. 14 to Mar. 16,1918, in Moscow. The congress was attended by 1,232 voting delegates, among whom were 795 Bolsheviks, 284 Left Socialist Revolutionaries (Left SR’s), and 21 Mensheviks. The agenda included ratification of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, on which V. I. Lenin presented a report and B. D. Kamkov, a member of the Left SR faction, delivered an additional report; relocation of the seat of government; and the election of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

After G. V. Chicherin apprised the congress of the peace treaty signed with Germany in Brest-Litovsk on March 3, Lenin took the floor to explain that ratification of the treaty was the only way to secure the respite needed to preserve and consolidate the achievements of the October Revolution. A continuation of the war with German imperialism threatened destruction of Soviet power. Representatives of the petit bourgeois parties—Kamkov, the Menshevik L. Martov, the communist anarchist A. Iu. Ge, and the SR Maximalist N. I. Ryvkin—opposed ratification. In a roll-call vote after Lenin’s and Kamkov’s final speeches, 784 delegates voted for ratification of the treaty, 261 voted against it, 84 delegates did not vote for various reasons, and the rest, including Left Communists, abstained. After the vote, the Left SR’s announced their withdrawal from the Council of People’s Commissars.

After ratifying the treaty, the congress affirmed the need “to spare no efforts in restoring and increasing the defense capability of our country” and declared itself in favor of Soviet assistance to the international socialist movement. The Ukrainian Central Executive Committee of Soviets and delegates from Soviet organizations of the Ukraine issued a declaration approving the ratification of the treaty. The congress ratified the decision adopted by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee in late February 1918 to move the seat of government of the Soviet republic from Petrograd to Moscow. A new All-Russian Central Executive Committee consisting of 207 members was elected.


Lenin, V. I. “Proekt rezoliutsii po povodu obrashcheniia Vil’sona.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36.
Lenin, V. I. “Doklad o ratifikatsii mirnogo dogovora 14 marta.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Zakliuchitel’noe slovo po dokladu o ratifikatsii mirnogo dogovora 15 marta.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Rezoliutsiia o ratifikatsii Brestskogo dogovora.” Ibid.
Stenograficheskii otchet IV Chrezvychainogo s”ezda Sovetov rabochikh, soldatskikh, krest’ianskikh i kazach’ikh deputatov. Moscow, 1920.
S”ezdy Sovetov v dokumentakh, 1917–1936, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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