J. V. Stalin

Close the Ranks !

July 15, 1917

Source : Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

The events of July 3 and 4 were called forth by the general crisis in the country. The protracted war and universal exhaustion, the incredibly high prices and undernourishment, the rising counter-revolution and the economic disruption, the disbanding of regiments at the front and the delay in settling the land question, the general state of dislocation in the country and the inability of the Provisional Government to extricate the country from the crisis—that is what drove the masses into the streets on July 3 and 4.

To attribute this action to the insidious agitation of this or that party is to adopt the point of view of the secret police, who would attribute every mass movement to the instigation of "ringleaders" and "sedition-mongers."

Neither the Bolsheviks nor any other party called for the demonstration of July 3. More than that, as late as July 3, the Bolshevik Party, the most influential in Petrograd, called upon the workers and soldiers to refrain. But when the movement broke out in spite of this, our Party, considering it had no right to wash its hands of the matter, did all it possibly could to lend the movement a peaceful and organized character.

But the counter-revolutionaries were not dozing. They organized the provocative firing; they sullied with blood the days of the demonstration and, relying on certain units from the front, they launched an offensive against the revolution. The core of the counter-revolution, the Cadet Party, as if foreseeing all this, resigned from the Cabinet beforehand and thus set its hands free. And the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries of the Executive Committee, clinging to their shaken positions, perfidiously declared a demonstration in favour of the transfer of full power to the Soviets a rebellion against the Soviets, and incited against revolutionary Petrograd the backward elements of the regiments summoned from the front. Blinded by factional fanaticism, they failed to notice that by striking at the revolutionary workers and soldiers they were weakening the whole front of the revolution and firing the hopes of the counter-revolutionaries.

The result is a riot of counter-revolution and a military dictatorship.

The wrecking of the offices of Pravda and Soldatskaya Pravda, 1 of the Trud printing plant 2 and of our district organizations, the assaults and murders, the arrests without trial and the "unauthorized" reprisals, the vile calumniation of the leaders of our Party by contemptible police spies and the vituperation of the pen pirates of the venal press, the disarming of the revolutionary workers and the disbanding of regiments, the restoration of the death penalty—there you have the "work" of the military dictatorship.

And all this on the plea of "saving the revolution," "by order" of the Kerensky-Tsereteli "Ministry," supported by the All-Russian Executive Committee. And the ruling Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik parties, scared by the military dictatorship, light-heartedly betray the leaders of the proletarian party to the enemies of the revolution, connive at the wrecking and rioting and take no measures to stop the "unauthorized" reprisals.

What we now have is a tacit agreement between the Provisional Government and the general staff of the counter-revolution, the Cadet Party, with the open connivance of the Executive Committee, against the revolutionary workers and soldiers of Petrograd.

And the more the ruling parties yield, the more arrogant the counter-revolutionaries become. From attacking the Bolsheviks they are now proceeding to attack all the Soviet parties and the Soviets themselves. They smash the Menshevik district organizations in Petro-gradskaya Storona and Okhta. They smash the metalworkers' union branch in Nevskaya Zastava. They invade a meeting of the Petrograd Soviet and arrest its members (Deputy Sakharov). They organize special groups on the Nevsky Prospect to track down members of the Executive Committee. They are definitely talking of dispersing the Executive Committee, to say nothing of the "plot" against certain members of the Provisional Government and leaders of the Executive Committee.

The counter-revolutionaries grow more brazen and provocative from hour to hour. But the Provisional Government continues to disarm the revolutionary workers and soldiers on the plea of "saving the revolution." . . .

All this, coupled with the developing crisis in the country, the famine and disruption, the war and its surprises, is adding to the acuteness of the situation and rendering new political crises inevitable.

The task now is to be prepared for the impending battles, to meet them in a fitting and organized manner.

Hence :

The first commandment: Don't allow yourselves to be provoked by the counter-revolutionaries; arm yourselves with restraint and self-control; save your strength for the coming struggle; permit no premature actions.

The second commandment: Rally more closely around our Party; close your ranks in face of the assault of our innumerable enemies; keep the banner flying; encourage the weak, rally the stragglers and enlighten the unawakened.

No compromise with the counter-revolutionaries!

No unity with the "socialist" jailers!

An alliance of the revolutionary elements against counter-revolution and those who shield it—such is our watchword.


Proletarskoye Delo (Kronstadt), No, 2, July 15, 1917


1. Soldatskaya Pravda (Soldiers' Truth)—a Bolshevik newspaper which began publication on April 15, 1917, as the organ of theArmy Organization of the Petrograd Committee, R.S.D.L.P.(B.), and from May 19 as the organ of the Army Organization of the Central Committee, R.S.D.L.P.(B.). The newspaper was extremely popular among the Petrograd soldiers and workers. Workers voluntarily contributed funds for its maintenance and free distribution among the soldiers at the front. Its circulation rose to 50,000 copies, half of which went to the front. During the July days the editorial offices of Soldatskaya Pravda were wrecked, together with those of Pravda, and the paper was suppressed by the Provisional Government. It resumed publication a few days after the October Revolution and continued till March 1918.

2. The Trud printing plant, where the Bolshevik newspapers and books were printed, had been acquired by the Central Committee, R.S.D.L.P.(B.) on April 22, 1917, with funds contributed, in response to Pravda's appeal, by the workers and soldiers themselves. On July 6, 1917, the plant was wrecked by military cadet and Cossack detachments.