APPEAL OF THE COUNCIL OF PEOPLE'S COMMISSARS TO THE MOSLEMS OF RUSSIA AND THE EAST
3 December 1917
Kluchnikov & Sabanin, ii, p. 94 (dated 7 December)
Great events are taking place in Russia! An end is drawing near to the murderous war, started by the bargainings of foreign Powers. The rule of the plunderers who exploit the peoples of the world is tottering. The ancient citadel of slavery and serfdom is crumbling under the blows of the Russian revolution. The world of violence and oppression is approaching its last days. A new world is being born, a world of the toilers and the liberated. At the head of this revolution stands the workers' and peasants' Government of Russia, the Council of People's Commissars.
Revolutionary councils of workers', soldiers', and peasants' deputies are scattered over the whole of Russia. Power in the country is in the hands of the people. The labouring masses of Russia burn with the single desire to achieve an honourable peace and to help the oppressed peoples of the world to win their freedom.
Russia is not alone in this sacred cause. The mighty call to freedom sounded by the Russian revolution has been taken up by all the toilers in the East and West. The peoples of Europe, exhausted by war, are already stretching out their hands to us, in our work for peace. The workers and soldiers of the West are already rallying under the banner of socialism, storming the strongholds of imperialism. Even far-off India, that land which has been oppressed by the 'enlightened' European robbers for so many centuries, has raised the standard of revolt, organizing its councils of deputies, throwing the hated yoke of slavery from its shoulders, and summoning the peoples of the East to the struggle and to freedom.
The empire of capitalist plunder and violence is falling in ruins. The ground is slipping from under the feet of the imperialist robbers.
In the face of these great events, we turn to you, toiling and disinherited Moslems of Russia and the East.
Moslems of Russia, Tatars of the Volga and the Crimea, Kirghiz and Sarts of Siberia and Turkestan, Turks and Tatars of TransCaucasia, Chechens and mountain Cossacks! All you, whose mosques land shrines have been destroyed, whose faith and customs have been violated by the Tsars and oppressors of Russia! Henceforward your beliefs and customs, your national and cultural institutions, are declared free and inviolable! Build your national life freely and without hindrance. It is your right. Know that your rights, like those of all the peoples of Russia, will be protected by the might of the revolution, by the Councils of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies!
Support this revolution and its authorized Government!
Moslems of the East! Persians, Turks, Arabs, and Hindus. All you in whose lives and property, in whose freedom and native land the rapacious European plunderers have for centuries traded! All you whose countries the robbers who began the war now desire to share among themselves! We declare that the secret treaties of the dethroned Tsar regarding the annexation of Constantinople, confirmed by the deposed Kerensky, are now null and void. The Russian Republic and its Government, the Council of People's Commissars, are opposed to the seizure of foreign territory; Constantinople must remain in the hands of the Moslems.
We declare that the treaty for the partition of Persia is null and void. Immediately after the cessation of military operations the troops will be withdrawn from Persia and the Persians will be guaranteed the right freely to determine their own destiny.
We declare that the treaty for the partition of Turkey, which was to despoil it of Armenia, is null and void. Immediately after the cessation of military operations, the Armenians will be guaranteed the right freely to determine their political destiny.
It is not from Russia and its revolutionary Government that you have to fear enslavement, but from the European imperialist robbers, from those who laid waste your native lands and converted them into their colonies.
Overthrow these robbers and enslavers of your country! Now, when war and desolation are demolishing the pillars of the old order, when the entire world is blazing with indignation against the imperialist brigands, when the least spark of discontent bursts out in a mighty flame of revolution, when even the Indian Moslems, oppressed and tormented by the foreign yoke, are rising in revolt against their slave drivers-now it is impossible to keep silent. Lose no time in throwing off the yoke of the ancient oppressors of your land! Let them no longer violate your hearths! You must yourselves be masters in your own land! You yourselves must arrange your life as you yourselves see fit! You have the right to do this, for your fate is in your own hands!
Advance firmly and resolutely towards a just and democratic peace!
We inscribe the liberation of the oppressed peoples of the world on our banners!
Moslems of Russia!
Moslems of the East!
We look to you for sympathy and support in the work of regenerating the world.
Documents on Soviet Foreign Policy
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