V. I. Lenin

Wireless Message

Sent: 9 November, 1917
First Published: In Robochy I Soldat No. 20, 9 November, 1917.
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 312-313
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna, Edited by George Hanna
Transcription & HTML Markup: Charles Farrell and David Walters
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive November, 2000


To All Regimental, Divisional, Corps, Army,
and Other Committees, to all Soldiers of the Revolutionary,
Army and Sailors of the Revolutionary Navy[1]

On the night of November 7 the Council of People’s Commissars sent a wireless message to Commander-in-Chief Dukhonin ordering him immediately and formally to propose an armistice to all the belligerent countries, both Allied and those hostile to us.

This message was received at Field Headquarters on November 8 at 5.05 am. Dukhonin was ordered to keep the Council of People’s Commissars constantly informed of the progress of the negotiations and to sign the armistice agreement only after it had been approved by the Council of People’s Commissars. Simultaneously, a similar proposal to conclude an armistice was formally submitted to all the plenipotentiary representatives of the Allied countries in Petrograd.

Not having received a reply from Dukhonin by the evening of November 8, the Council of People’s Commissars empowered Lenin, Stalin and Krylenko to ascertain the causes of the delay from Dukhonin over the direct line.

The conversation lasted from 2 a.m. to 4.30 a.m. on November 9. Dukhonin made numerous attempts to evade, giving an explanation of his conduct and a precise reply to the orders of the government, but when Dukhonin was given a categorical order to enter immediately into formal negotiations for an armistice, he refused to obey. Thereupon, in the name of the Government of the Russian Repub]ic, on behalf of the Council of People’s Commissars, Dukhonin was informed that he was dismissed from his post for refusing to obey government orders and for conduct that entailed untold hardships for the working people of all countries and especially for the armies. At the same time, Dukhonin was ordered to continue his duties pending the arrival of a new Commander-in-Chief or a person empowered by the latter to take over from Dukhonin. Ensign Krylenk has been appointed the new Commander-in-Chief.

Soldiers, the cause of peace is in your hands! Do not allow the counter-revolutionary generals to frustrate the great cause of peace, place them under guard in order to avert acts of summary justice unworthy of a revolutionary army and to prevent these generals from escaping the trial that awaits them. Maintain the strictest revolutionary and military order.

Let the regiments at the front immediately elect representatives to start formal negotiations for an armistice with the enemy.

The Council of People’s Commissars authorises you to do this.

Do everything possible to keep us informed of every step in the negotiations. The Council of People’s Commissars 15 alone authorised to sign the final armistice agreement.

Soldiers, the cause of peace is in your hands! Maintain vigilance, restraint and energy, and the cause of peace will triumph!

In the name of the Government of the Russian Republic

V. Ulyanov (Lenin),
Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars

N. Krylenko,
People’s Commissar for War and Commander-in-Chief


[1] The Soviet Government's call on the soldiers to take the initiative in the armistice negotiations met with broad response in the army. On various sectors divisions, corps and armies, and even entire fronts (e.g., the Western Front) sent envoys across the line and concluded cease-fire agreements, which provided for a stop to military operations, reinforcements, construction of military installations, etc. These so-called soldiers' peace treaties" remained in force until the conclusion of a general armistice.