V. I. Lenin

Draft Decree On The Nationalisation Of The Merchant Marine And Inland Water Transport[1]

Written: 18 January, 1918
First Published: January, 1945 in Lenin Miscellany XXXV
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 505-506
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



Draft Decree

1. The Council of People's Commissars states that the Central Committee[2] and Tsentrovolga[he Central Committee of the Volga F1eet] are entirely in agreement concerning the need to nationalise, immediately and without compensation, all sea-going and river vessels used for commercial purposes.

2. The C.P.C. accordingly resolves that such nationalisation shall be carried out immediately, and authorises a special commission consisting of representatives of the Navy Commissariat, two from the C.C., two from Tsentrovolga, and a chairman appointed by the Supreme Economic Council to work out the following main points of a nationalisation decree and to submit it to the Council of People's Commissars within two days.

3. The nationalisation of the entire fleet is decreed.

4. It is incumbent on the crews and subsequently on the unions of ship workers of each basin and sea to maintain order on board their vessels, safeguard them, etc.

5. The C.C. and Tsentrovolga shall be regarded as caretaker central boards of the nationalised fleet, pending a congress and their merger.

If the merger is not achieved on a voluntary basis, it shall be carried out forcibly by the Soviet Government.

6. The central boards shall operate in full subordination to the local and central organs of Soviet power.


Addendum to the Draft

This should be added to the immediate decree on nationalisation:

(a) arrest of all boards of management (house arrest),

(b) strict liability for damage to vessels, etc.


[1] The question of the nationalisation of the merchant marine arid inland water transport was discussed at a meeting of the Council of People's Commissars on January 18 (31), 1918. It heard three reports: one from Tsentrovolga, another from the Central Committee of the All-Russia Seamen's and River Transport Workers' Union, and a third from the Supreme Economic Council. Lenin's draft was approved as a decision of the Council of People's Commissars "Or, Seamen and River Transport Workers".

[2] The reference is to the Central Committee of the All-Russia Seamen's arid River Transport Workers' Union.