Decree on the Rights and Duties of Soviets

Written: December 25, 1917/January 7, 1918
First Published: Sobranie Uzakonenii i Rasporiazhenii Rabochego i Krestianskogo Pravitelstva, 1917, No. 12, p. 189.
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. 280.
Translated: Emanuel Aronsberg
Transcription/Markup: Zdravko Saveski
Online Version: 2017

1. Soviets of workers', soldiers', and peasants' deputies, being local organs, are quite independent in regard to questions of a local character, but must always act in accord with the decrees and decisions of the Central Soviet Government as well as of the larger bodies (uezd, gubernia, and regional Soviets) of which they form a part.

2. Upon the Soviets, as organs of government, devolve the tasks of administration and service in every sphere of local life, viz., administrative, economic, financial, and educational.

3. In the field of administration the Soviets must carry out all decrees and decisions of the central government, undertake to give to the people the widest information about those decisions, issue obligatory ordinances, make requisitions and confiscations, impose fines, suppress counter-revolutionary organs of the press, make arrests, and dissolve public organizations which incite active opposition or the overthrow of the Soviet Government.

Note: The Soviets must report to the Central Soviet Government regarding all measures undertaken by them and concerning most important local events.

4. The Soviets elect from their number an executive organ (executive committee, presidium) which is charged with the duty of carrying out their decisions and the performance of all current business of administration.

Note 1: The Military Revolutionary Committees as fighting organs, which came into existence during the coup d'etat, are abolished.

Note 2: As a temporary measure commissars may be appointed in those provinces where the power of the Soviet is not sufficiently well established or where the Soviet Government is not exclusively recognized.....