Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers, Peasants, Red Army

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, Red Army, and Cossack Deputies


a congress of soviets held in Moscow from July 4 to July 10, 1918. The imperialists had already begun their open military intervention and the Civil War of 1918–20 had broken out. The congress was attended by 1,164 delegates with a casting vote, including 773 Bolsheviks, 353 Left Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s), 17 Maximalists, four anarchists, four Menshevik-Internationalists, two representatives of national groups (Dashnaktsutiun and Poalei Zion), one Right SR, and ten unaffiliated delegates.

On the agenda were reports by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars (delivered by V. I. Lenin and Ia. M. Sverdlov), a report on the food question (A. D. Tsiurupa), a report on the organization of a socialist Red Army (L. D. Trotsky), and a report on the Constitution of the Russian Republic (Iu. M. Steklov). Elections were held to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

The leaders of the Left SR’s (M. A. Spiridonova, B. D. Kamkov, V. A. Karelin) made provocational appeals to the delegates to reject the decrees on the food dictatorship and on the organization of committees of the poor, to pass a vote of no confidence in the policy of the Soviet government, and to annul the Brest-Litovsk Treaty with Germany. Rejecting the demands of the Left SR’s, the congress approved on July 5 by a majority vote the Soviet government’s foreign and domestic policy. The anti-Soviet speeches of the Left SR’s at the congress culminated in a Left SR revolt in Moscow on July 6–7, which was suppressed with the help of the Bolshevik delegates to the congress. Because of the revolt the congress temporarily suspended its work on July 6 and the Left SR faction was arrested. (Later, the Left SR’s not implicated in the revolt were released, and about 200 of them returned to the congress and condemned the rebels.) When the congress resumed its work on July 9, it heard a communiqué on the events of July 6–7, condemned the Left SR conspirators, approved the Soviet government’s suppression of the revolt, and issued a directive on purging the soviets of the Left SR’s who had supported the anti-Soviet policy of their Central Committee.

The congress adopted a resolution on the food question and approved the food policy of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars. It also endorsed the decrees issued by these bodies granting the people’s commissar of food extraordinary powers to fight the rural bourgeoisie, who were hiding grain and speculating in it, as well as the decrees providing for the organization of the poor peasants and the formation of food detachments.

On July 10 the congress adopted a resolution on the Red Army stating that the Red Army must be centralized, well trained and well equipped, and cemented by iron discipline. To create such an army, it would be necessary to employ military specialists from the prerevolutionary period who were willing to cooperate honestly with the Soviet government. Concurrently, the congress posed the task of speeding up the training of commanders from among workers and peasants and reinforcing the staff of the military commissars. The congress adopted a directive providing for the rapid mobilization of several age groups of workers and working peasants.

On July 10, 1918, the congress adopted the Constitution of the RSFSR, the first constitution of the Soviet state. The Constitution was promulgated and became effective on July 19, 1918. The congress elected an All-Russian Central Executive Committee of 200 members.


Lenin, V. I. “Piatyi Vserossiiskii s”ezd Sovetov rabochikh, krest’ianskikh, soldatskikh i krasnoarmeiskikh deputatov.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36.
Sverdlov, Ia. M. Izbr.proizv., vol. 2. Moscow, 1959. Pages 230–51.
Piatyi Vserossiiskii s”ezd Sovetov rabochikh, krest’ianskikh, soldatskikh i kazach’ikh deputatov: Slenograficheskii otchet. Moscow, 1918.
S”ezdy Sovetov Soiuza SSR, soiuznykh i avtonomnykh Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik: Sb. dokumentov, 1917–1936, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.