Manifesto of the RSDLP Central Committee of February 27, 1917, To All

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Manifesto of the RSDLP Central Committee of February 27, 1917, “To All Citizens of Russia,”

 

a document of the Bolshevik Party proclaiming the overthrow of autocracy and stating the basic demands of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. The decision to issue the manifesto was taken by the party’s Vyborg raion committee in the capital, which was carrying out the functions of the RSDLP’s St. Petersburg Committee. The final text was edited and approved by the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP. It was distributed in Petrograd on February 27 (March 12) in the form of a hectographed leaflet; on February 28 it was published in the supplement of the first issue of Izvestiia Petrogradskogo Soveta rabochikh deputatov.

The manifesto “To All Citizens of Russia” defined the main task of the moment as the creation of a provisional revolutionary government under the protection of the insurgent people and army—that is, a revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry; and it outlined a program of action for such a government, including establishment of a democratic republic, introduction of the eight-hour day, confiscation of the estates of the pomeshchiki (landowners), the monasteries, and the state and their distribution to the people, the convening of a constituent assembly, and the suppression of any attempts at counterrevolution. The immediate confiscation of all food reserves was proposed, to feed the population and the army. There was no direct reference in the manifesto to the soviet of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies as an organ of insurrection, but the Petrograd Bolsheviks at the same time issued leaflets calling for the creation of Soviets of workers’ deputies. The manifesto contained an appeal for an end to the imperialist war, proposing that the Provisional Revolutionary Government “establish relations with the proletariat of the warring countries to promote the revolutionary struggle of the peoples of all countries against their own oppressors and enslavers, against the governments of kings and capitalist cliques” (KPSS v resoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 1, 1970, p. 428).

V. I. Lenin approved of the manifesto, emphasizing that on the question of war and peace the tactic of the Central Committee was truly socialist, truly revolutionary, and, in principle, the opposite of the opportunist tactics of the Mensheviks. He especially noted the importance of establishing relations “with the proletarians of all the belligerent countries” (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 31, p. 34). The manifesto reflected the fundamental demands of the masses and helped rally them for the subsequent struggle; and it also contributed to the growth of Bolshevik influence.

REFERENCES

Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v Rossii posle sverzheniia samoderzhaviia: Sb. dokumentov. Moscow, 1957.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 2. Moscow, 1966.

A. I. OSADCHAIA

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