J. V. Stalin

Things are Moving

December 22, 1918

Source : Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1953
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2009
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2009). 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 process of liberation of the Western regions goes forward. The tide of revolution is steadily mounting, breaking down all obstacles in its path. The agents of the old world and the arch-reactionaries of Estland, Latvia and Lithuania are fleeing before it like the devil from holy water.

The Estland Riflemen are already surrounding Taps, an important junction. Acting on the orders of the Council of People's Commissars, our navy is guarding Soviet Estland against possible surprises from the sea. The Red flag of socialism is waving over Estland. The labouring masses of Estland are jubilant. The liberation of Revel is not far off. Needless to say, if British forces attempt to enter Estland and occupy it, they will encounter the solid resistance of the entire Estonian people.

In Lithuania, the revolutionary conflagration is growing. Vilna is already in the hands of the Soviet of Workers' and Landless Peasants' Deputies. The recent impressive demonstrations in Vilna1 have thoroughly demoralized the Tariba, that creature of the Kaiser. The ardent greetings sent by the Vilna Soviet to the Council of People's Commissars and the Red Army 2 speak eloquently enough of the character of the liberation movement in Lithuania. The fact that in Kovno, Shauli and other towns, and in villages and rural areas, Soviets are functioning under the very nose of the hangman

General Hoffmann shows how strong the onslaught of the Soviet revolution is. With its fiery manifesto, the Lithuanian Workers' Government 3 formed in Vileika will undoubtedly constitute a reliable rallying centre for the revolutionary forces of Lithuania. The Lithuanian Red Riflemen will bring liberation to their country. The recognition of the Lithuanian Workers' Government by the Soviet Government of Russia 4 will strengthen their faith in final victory.

The revolution is mounting swiftly and irresistibly in Latvia. The glorious Latvian Red Riflemen have already captured Valka and are victoriously surrounding Riga. The recently formed Soviet Government of Latvia is leading the Latvian workers and landless peasants to victory with a sure hand. Exposing the equivocal policy of the Berlin Government and the German occupation authorities, it declares unreservedly in its Manifesto :

"We emphatically reject all intervention on behalf of our feudal and bourgeois enemies, even if such intervention is threatened by a government that calls itself socialist."

The Latvian Soviet Government relies only on the assistance of the revolutionary proletariat of all countries, and of Russia first and foremost. It says:

"We call for aid and expect it from the genuinely revolutionary proletariat of the whole world, and especially of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic."

Need it be said that the Soviet Government of Russia will render every possible assistance to Latvia now in process of liberation and to its heroic Riflemen?

In the North, in Finland, all is still "quiet." But beneath the surface of quiet and tranquility the counterrevolutionaries are not slumbering and are preparing for new battles. Svinhufvud's resignation and the appointment of Mannerheim imply the renunciation of internal "reforms" and indicate that Britain is planning an attack on Petrograd, through Finland. And that, of course, is bound to intensify the revolutionary crisis which is ripening in Finland.

In the Ukraine, the smoothly staged flight of Skoro-padsky and the recognition of Vinnichenko's Directory by the Entente reveal a new picture, a picture of the new "work" of Entente diplomacy. Evidently, Mr. Petlura, who only yesterday was brandishing the sword of "independence," is today inclining in favour of the forces of the Entente, that is, of Krasnov and Denikin, which are "coming" to his aid. The insurrectionary troops and the Soviets are proclaimed to be the chief enemy of the Ukraine. And the chief friend is the "welcome guest"—the Entente and its friends, the Krasnov and Denikin white-guards, who have already occupied the Donets Basin. Having sold the Ukraine once to the Germans, Mr. Petlura is now selling it again to the British imperialists. Needless to say, the Ukrainian workers and peasants will take account of this new act of treachery on the part of Vinnichenko and Petlura. The rapidly growing revolutionary movement in the Ukraine and the process of disintegration which has already begun in the ranks of Petlura's army are sufficiently convincing evidence of this.

Things are moving. . . .

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 7, December 22, 1918


1. Demonstrations and a general political strike were held in Vilna and other Lithuanian cities on December 16 1918, at the call of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania and Byelorussia in protest against the policy of the bourgeois Tariba and the German occupation authorities. The slogan of the Vilna demonstration, in which some 20,000 workers and the poorer elements of the city took part, was "All power to the Soviets!" The demonstrators also demanded that the Germans should cease removing railway equipment and other property from Lithuania and should release political prisoners.

2.The greetings to the Council of People's Commissars and Red Army were adopted by the Vilna Soviet on December 16, 1918. The greetings to the C.P.C. said: "The Council of People's Commissars, headed by the tried and tested leader of the world proletariat, Comrade Lenin, is the guiding star of the working class of Lithuania in the struggle now developing for its complete emancipation."

The greetings to the Red Army stated: ". . . We, the workers of Lithuania, observe with the deepest admiration the heroic gallantry you are displaying in the struggle against the armed forces of counter-revolution. We also greet the worker and peasant sons of Lithuania who have joined the Red Army and are sacrificing their lives for the general emancipation of the working class and, in particular, of their brothers who are groaning under the yoke of brutal occupation. . ."

3.The Provisional Revolutionary Workers' Government of Lithuania was formed in the early part of December 1918, with the Bolshevik V. S. Mickevic ius-Kapsukas at its head. On December 16, 1918, it issued a manifesto declaring: "1. All power in the country is transferred to the Soviets of Workers' and Landless and Small Peasants' Deputies. 2. The power of the German occupation authorities is abolished. 3. The Kaiser's Tariba in Lithuania with its Council of Ministers is deposed and outlawed."

4.The independence of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic was recognized by a decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R. signed by Lenin on December 22, 1918. A resolution of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, adopted on the report of J. V. Stalin on December 23, 1918, stated: "Now that the Soviet Republics of Estland, Latvia and Lithuania have been established as a result of the revolutionary struggle of the proletarian and peasant masses, the Central Executive Committee re-affirms that the fact that these countries formerly belonged to the old tsarist empire does not impose any obligations upon them. At the same time the Central Executive Committee expresses the firm confidence that only now, with the recognition of full liberty of self-determination and with the transfer of power to the working class, will a free, voluntary and indestructible union of the working people of all the nations inhabiting the territory of the former Russian Empire be created. . . ."