V. I. Lenin

Meeting of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) October 10 (23), 1917[1]

Written: October, 1917
First Published: Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 10, 1922; Published according to the hand-written copy of the Minutes
Source:Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 188-190
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



Report Minutes

Comrade Lenin maintains that a sort of indifference to the question of insurrection has been noticeable since the beginning of September. But this is impermissible if we are issuing the slogan of the seizure of power by the Soviets in all seriousness. It is therefore high time to pay attention to the technical aspect of the question. Apparently a lot of time has already been lost.

Nevertheless the question is an urgent one, and the decisive moment is near.

The international situation is such that we must take the initiative.

What is being done to surrender territory as far as Narva, and to surrender Petrograd makes it still more imperative for us to take decisive action.

The political situation is also working impressively in this direction. Decisive action on our part on July 3, 4 and 5 would have failed because we did not have the majority behind us. Since then we have made tremendous progress.

Absenteeism and indifference on the part of the masses is due to their being tired of words and resolutions.

We now have the majority behind us. Politically, the situation is fully ripe for taking power.

The agrarian movement is also developing in that direction, for it is obvious that extreme effort would be needed to stem that movement. The slogan of the transfer of all land has become the general slogan of the peasants. The political situation, therefore, is mature. We must speak of the technical aspect. That is the crux of the matter. Nevertheless we, like the defencists, are inclined to regard the systematic preparation of an uprising as something in the nature of a political sin.

It is senseless to wait for the Constituent Assembly that will obviously not be on our side, for this will only make our task more involved.

The regional congress and the proposal from Minsk[2] must be used for the beginning of decisive action.



The Central Committee recognises that the international position of the Russian revolution (the revolt in the German navy which is an extreme manifestation of the growth throughout Europe of the world socialist revolution; the threat of peace by the imperialists with the object of strangling the revolution in Russia) as well as the military situation (the indubitable decision of the Russian bourgeoisie and Kerensky and Co. to surrender Petrograd to the Germans), and the fact that the proletarian party has gained a majority in the Soviets—all this, taken in conjunction with the peasant revolt and the swing of popular confidence towards our Party (the elections in Moscow), and, finally, the obvious preparations being made for a second Kornilov revolt (the withdrawal of troops from Petrograd, the dispatch of Cossacks to Petrograd, the encircling of Minsk by Cossacks, etc.)—all this places the armed uprising on the order of the day.

Considering therefore that an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe, the Central Committee instructs all Party organisations to be guided accordingly, and to discuss and decide all practical questions (the Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region, the withdrawal of troops from Petrograd, the action of our people in Moscow and Minsk, etc.) from this point of view.


[1] The Meeting of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. on October 10 (23), 1917, was the first one Lenin attended after his return to Petrograd from Vyborg. Sverdlov was in the chair. Lenin gave a report on the current situation. The Central Committee adopted the resolution motioned by Lenin who proposed immediate preparations for an armed uprising. Only Zinoviev and Kamenev voted against the proposal. Trotsky abstained, but he held that it had to be postponed until the Second Congress of Soviets, which in practice meant bungling the insurrection and allowing the Provisional Government to pull up its forces to crush the uprising on the day the Congress opened. The Central Committee rebuffed the capitulants. The October 10 meeting of the Central Committee is of tremendous historical importance. The resolution on the uprising adopted by 10 to 2 became the Bolshevik Party's directive in starting immediate preparations for an insurrection. To direct the insurrection, the Central Committee set up a Political Bureau headed by Lenin.

[2]The reference is to Sverdlov's report to the Central Committee on October 10 (23),1917, on the third item of the agenda: "Minsk and the Northern Front". He said that there was a technical possibility of staging an armed uprising in Minsk, and that Minsk had offered to send a revolutionary corps to help Petrograd.