Documents of the Russian Revolution

Proclamation on the Assumption of Soviet Power

By the Second-All Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies

One hundred years ago today, the Proclamation on the Assumption of Soviet Power announced the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the establishment of a new government. It was adopted by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies on November 8 (October 26, O.S.) and published in Rabochii i soldat, No. 9, on 26 October 1917 [O.S.].

Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets

Proclamation to the Workers, Soldiers and Peasants

November 7, 1917

The Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies has opened. The vast majority of the Soviets are represented at the Congress. A number of delegates from the Peasants’ Soviets are also present. The mandate of the compromising Central Executive Committee has terminated. Backed by the will of the vast majority of the workers, soldiers and peasants, and backed by the victorious uprising of the workers and the garrison which has taken place in Petrograd, the Congress takes power into its own hands.

The Provisional Government has been overthrown. The majority of the members of the Provisional Government have already been arrested.

The Soviet government will propose an immediate democratic peace to all the nations and an immediate armistice on all fronts. It will secure the transfer of the land of the landlords, of the crown and monasteries to the peasants’ committees without compensation; it will protect the rights of the soldiers by introducing complete democracy in the army; it will establish workers’ control over production; it will ensure the convocation of the Constituent Assembly at the time appointed; it will see to it that bread is supplied to the cities and prime necessities to the villages; it will guarantee all the nations inhabiting Russia the genuine right of self-determination.

The Congress decrees: all power in the localities shall pass to the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies, which must guarantee genuine revolutionary order.

The Congress calls upon the soldiers in the trenches to be vigilant and firm. The Congress of Soviets is convinced that the revolutionary army will be able to defend the revolution against all attacks of imperialism until such time as the new government succeeds in concluding a democratic peace, which it will propose directly to all peoples. The new government will do everything to supply all the needs of the revolutionary army by means of a determined policy of requisitions and taxation of the propertied classes, and also will improve the condition of soldiers’ families.

The KornilovitesKerensky, Kaledin and othersare attempting to bring troops against Petrograd. Several detachments, whom Kerensky had got to move by deceit, have come over to the side of the insurgent people.

Soldiers, actively resist Kerensky, the Kornilovite! Be on your guard!

Railroad workers, hold up all troop trains dispatched by Kerensky against Petrograd!

Soldiers, workers and employees, the fate of the revolution and the fate of the democratic peace is in your hands!

Long live the revolution!

(Source: V. I. Lenin, Collected Works (New York: International Publishers, 1934), Vol. XXVI, pp. 247-248)