V. I.   Lenin

Resolution on the Agrarian Question Adopted by the “Majority” Conference at Tammerfors[1]

December 12-17 (25-30), 1905

Published: Hectographed leaflet of the Conference resolutions, issued in December 1905. Published according to the leaflet text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, page 88.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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1. The Conference recognises that the development of the peasant movement fully confirms the fundamental views of revolutionary Marxism, with regard to both the revolutionary nature and the real social and economic essence of this movement, which is destroying the survivals of serfdom and creating free bourgeois relationships in the country side. The Conference holds that it is desirable to amend the agrarian programme of our Party as follows: to delete the clause on cut-off lands[2]; to declare, instead, that the Party supports the revolutionary measures of the peasantry, including the confiscation of all state, church, monastery, crown and privately-owned land, making it its principal and constant task to ensure the independent organisation of the rural proletariat, explain to it the irreconcilable conflict between its interests and those of the rural bourgeoisie, and point out the ultimate goal of socialism, which alone is capable of doing away with the division of society into classes and all exploitation of man by man.

2. The Conference expresses the desire that the demand for the refunding of land redemption payments[3] and the establishment of a special fund out of the sums thus collected be deleted from the agrarian programme. The demand for the confiscation of state, monastery, etc., lands should be transferred to another clause.


[1] The “Majority” Conference met in Tammerfors, Finland, from December 12-17 (25-30), 1905, instead of the regular Party Congress which the Central Committee had planned and announced and which could not take place because of revolutionary developments (the railwaymen’s strike and the Moscow armed uprising). The Conference was attended by delegates from 26 Bolshevik organisations. Lenin reported on the current situation and the agrarian question. The Conference passed the resolutions on the agrarian question and the reorganisation of the Party drafted by Lenin. It declared for the restoration of Party unity and for the merger of the practical centres of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks and of their central organs on the principle of equality, and instructed the Joint Central Committee to convene a unity congress. The Conference also discussed the stand to be taken on the Duma, and resolved to boycott the First Duma. The relevant resolution was drafted by a committee which included Lenin. As the Moscow insurrection had already begun, the Conference hastened to conclude its work on a motion by Lenin, and the delegates went home to take part in the insurrection.

The Conference resolutions were published by the Central Committee in leaflet form and printed in No. 1 of Molodaya Rossiya (Young Russia) on January 4 (17), 1906 (see The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Its Congresses, Conferences, and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee, Moscow, 1953, Part I, p. 98, Russ. ed.).

[2] Cut-off lands (otrezki)—the lands which were “cut off” from the peasants’ allotments in favour of the landlords in 1861 when serfdom was abolished in Russia. Subsequently the landlords leased those lands to the peasants on onerous terms.

[3] Land redemption payments were established by the “Regulation Governing Redemption by Peasants Who Have Emerged from Serf Dependence...” adopted on February 19, 1861. The tsarist government compelled the peasants, in return for the allotments assigned to them, to pay redemption to the landlords amounting to several times the real price of the land. When the deal was concluded, the government paid the landlord the purchase price, which was considered a debt owed by the peasant, to be repaid over a period of   49 years. The instalments to be paid annually by the peasants were called land redemption payments. These were an intolerable burden on the peasants and caused their impoverishment and ruin. The peasants formerly belonging to landlords alone paid nearly 2,000 million rubles to the tsarist government, whereas the market price of the land that the peasants received did not exceed 544 million rubles. In view of the fact that the adoption of the redemption scheme by the peasants did not take place at once, hut dragged on until 1883, the redemption payments were not to have ended before 1932. The peasant movement during the first Russian revolution (1905-07), however, compelled the tsarist government to abolish the redemption payments as from January 1907.

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