V. I. Lenin

Declaration Of The R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks) Group At The Constituent Assembly Meeting

January 5 (18), 1918[1]

Written: 5 January, 1918
First Published: 19 January, 1918 in Pravda No. 5.
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 429-430
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


The vast majority of working Russia—workers, peasants and soldiers—have demanded that the Constituent Assembly should recognise the gains of the Great October Revolution, the Soviet decrees on land, peace and workers’ control, and above all the power of the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. The All-Russia Central Executive Committee, fulfilling the will of the vast majority of the working classes of Russia, has proposed that the Constituent Assembly should declare itself bound by t.his will. However, the majority of the Constituent Assembly—in line with the pretensions of the bourgeoisie, has rejected this proposal, thereby challenging the whole of working Russia.

The majority in the Constituent Assembly went to the Party of the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, the party of Kerensky, Avksentyev and Chernov. This party, which calls itself socialist and revolutionary, is leading the fight of the bourgeois elements against the workers’ and peasants’ revolution and is in fact a bourgeois and counter-revolutionary party.

The Constituent Assembly, as at present constituted, is the result of the balance of forces obtaining before the Great October Revolution. The present counter-revolutionary majority of the Constituent Assembly elected on outdated party lists, is a reflection of an earlier period of the revolution and is trying to throw up a roadblock in the way of the workers’ and peasants’ movement.

The day-long debate has shown that the Party of Right Socialist-Revolutionaries continues, as it did under Kerensky, to lavish the people with promises of all manner of things; actually it has decided In light against the power of the workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ Soviets, against the socialist measures, the transfer of land and all implements to the peasants without compensation, the nationalisation of banks, and the repudiation of the state debt.

Refusing for a single moment to cover up the crimes of the enemies of the people, we make this announcement of our withdrawal from the Constituent Assembly, leaving it to Soviet power to take the final decision on the attitude to the counter-revolutionary section of the Constituent Assembly.


[1] When the counter-revolutionary majority of the Constituent Assembly refused to discuss the §Declaration of Rights of the Working and Exploited People”, the Bolshevik and Left Socialist-Revolutionary groups demanded an adjournment to allow the groups to confer. Lenin made a short speech at the meeting of the Bolshevik group (no record of it remains). He proposed that his declaration of the Bolshevik group should be read out in the Assembly, after which the Bolsheviks would walk out. His proposal was adopted by the group.

When the Bolsheviks left, the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, whose attitude to the Constituent Assembly was uncertain, motioned an immediate vote on the attitude to the policy of peace conducted by Soviet power. When this proposal was rejected by the Right wing, the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries walked out as well.

Shortly after, P. E. Dybenko, People’s Commissar for the Navy; who was in charge of security in the Taurida Palace, ordered the guard to close the sitting of the Constituent Assembly. When Lenin heard of this, he issued the following instructions: “The comrades soldiers and sailors on guard duty in the Taurida Palace must refrain from any acts of violence in respect of the counterrevolutionary section of the Constituent Assembly, freely allowing everyone to leave the Taurida Palace, but allowing no one in without a special pass. Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, V. Ulyanov (Lenin). (Lenin Miliscellany XVIII, p. 46. Published in Russian.) The Constituent Assembly adjourned at 4:40 am, on January 6 (49), 1918.