Central Executive Committee
Decree on Abolition of Class Distinctions and Civil Ranks

Written: November 10/23, 1917
First Published: Sobranie Uzakonenii i Rasporiazhenii Rabochego i Krestianskogo Pravitelstva, 1917, No. 3, pp. 35-36.
Source: James Bunyan and H.H. Fisher, The Bolshevik revolution, 1917-1918: Documents and materials, Stanford University Press; London: H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1934, p. 279-280.
Translated: Emanuel Aronsberg
Transcription/Markup: Zdravko Saveski
Online Version: marxists.org 2017

1. All classes and class distinctions which have hitherto existed in Russia, class privileges and class limitations, class organizations and institutions, as well as all civil ranks are abolished.

2. All estates (noble, merchant, commoner, peasant, etc.), titles (prince, count, etc.), and designations of civil ranks (privy councilor, state councilor, etc.) are abolished, and in their places the inhabitants of Russia are to have one name common to all--citizens of the Russian Republic.

3. Property of the nobility[1] is to be transferred at once to the corresponding zemstvo institutions.

4. Properties of merchants' and commoners' associations are to be transferred at once to the municipalities.

5. All class institutions, transactions, records, and archives are to be transferred at once to the municipal and zemstvo institutions.

6. All laws [relating to class institutions] are repealed.

7. The present decree is to go into effect on the day of its publication and to be put into effect at once by the local Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies.

The present decree has been confirmed by the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies at its meeting of November 23, 1917.


President of the Central Executive Committee


President of the Soviet of People's Commissars


[1] Of the nobility as a class, such as schools, clubs, etc.