V. I.   Lenin

Treaty with the Finnish Socialist Workers’ Republic[1]

Written: See below.
Published: First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXI. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 61-62a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Draft Decision Of The C.P.C.

The Council of People’s Commissars resolves:

To acknowledge in principle the justice of the Finnish comrades’ desire that part of the territory mentioned in the Finnish addendum to § 6 of the draft treaty be handed over to the Finnish Socialist Workers’ Republic.

The Conciliation Board is instructed to work out ways for the practical implementation of this transfer.[2]

_WRITTEN_ February 25, 1918

Directive of the C.P.C. to the Russo-Finnish Conciliation Board

The Council of People’s Commissars gives the following directive to the Board:

That it be fair and necessary to ensure full political rights for the citizens of both republics residing in the other republic.

_WRITTEN_ February 25, 1918

Draft Decision For The C.P.C.

Taking into consideration

first, that next to Finland there is a great city with an extremely high percentage of the bourgeois population;

second, that Finland usually has about thirty thousand Finnish workers living in Petrograd;

third, that the bourgeoisie of Petrograd usually has about two hundred thousand bourgeois living in Finland;

fourth, that therefore formal equality among Finnish and Russian citizens (in the matter of enjoying political rights abroad) would in practice be an obvious privilege for the. Russian bourgeoisie,

the C.P.C. recommends the Russo-Finnish Conciliation Board to alter § 13 of the draft to read as follows: either have § 13 refer, not to citizens, but only to workers and to peasants who do not exploit other people’s labour;

or add to the former wording of § 13 a reservation to the effect that Russian citizens coming to Finland who are unable to prove that they belong to the two above-mentioned categories of working people, shall not enjoy political rights in Finland.[3]


[1] On January 14 (27), 1918, a revolution started in Finland and power passed into the hands of the proletariat. In February, on the initiative of the workers’ government of Finland—the Council of People’s Representatives—negotiations were commenced for signing a peace treaty between the Russian and Finnish socialist Republics. The draft treaty drawn up by the Russo-Finnish Conci1iation Board was discussed at meetings of the Council of People’s Commissars held on February 25, 27 and 28. The treaty was signed by representatives of the contracting parties on March 1.

Lenin took an active part in drawing up the treaty. He talked with the delegates of the Finnish workers’ government, who had been authorised to sign the treaty, and he edited the draft (see Lenin Miscellany XXI, pp. 241-43).

This was the first treaty in history between two socialist republics, an example of a new type of international relationshipsfraternal, friendly relationships between equal sovereign states where the working class had come to power.

[2] Lenin’s draft was endorsed at the meeting of the C.P.C. held on February 25, 1918.

[3] Lenin’s motion was adopted at the meeting of the C.P.C. on February 27, 1918.

§ 13 of the “Treaty Between the Russian and Finnish Socialist Republics” stated that “The Russian Federative Soviet Republic grants all the political rights of Russian citizens to Finnish citizens residing in Russia who belong to the working class or to the peasants who do not employ other people’s labour, if they live on the territory of Russia for the purpose of engaging in labour occupations.

The Finnish Socialist Workers’ Republic, for its part, undertakes to give citizens of the Russian Federative Soviet Republic in Finland every facility to enjoy political rights, special consideration being given to the interests of the working population who have no permanent domicile” (Decrees of the Soviet Government, Vol. I, Moscow, 1957, p. 508).

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