In Defence of October

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Interview Given to Gregori Yarros

Interview Given by Lenin to Gregori Yarros, Correspondent of the Associated Press Agency, on November 28 (15), 1917.

In connection with the results of the elections in Petrograd in which the Bolsheviks won six seats,[1] the Associated Press correspondent interviewed Lenin, the President of the Council of National Commissioners, who was elated over the great victory of his party.

“What do you think of the results of the elections to the Constituent Assembly?” the correspondent asked.

“I think that these elections have proved a great victory for the Bolshevik Party. The number of votes cast for it in the elections in May, August and in September is constantly growing.[2] To get six seats out of twelve in a city in which the bourgeoisie (Cadets[3]) are strongest, means to win in Russia.”

“Do you suppose that the Constituent Assembly of such composition as the results of the elections in Petrograd indicate will sanction all the measures of the Government of National Commissioners?”

“Yes, it will sanction, because there will be no majority, according to your supposition, against us, and together with the left social revolutionists[4] we shall constitute a majority in Petrograd (seven out of twelve).”

“What parties will enter into the new Council of National Commissioners?”

“I do not know positively, but I think that only the left social revolutionists, besides the Bolsheviks.”


[1] This refers to the elections to the Constituent Assembly in the Petrograd Electoral Area held between November 42 (25) and 14 (27), 1917. These elections, the preliminary results of which became known on November 15 (28) and the final results the next day, gave the Bolshevik Party 424,000 votes and 6 seats in the Constituent Assembly (out of the twelve assigned to Petrograd); the Cadets received 247,000 votes (4 seats); the Socialist-Revolutionaries 152,000 votes (2 seats, one of them won by the Left S.R.s).

The terms “President of the Council of National Commissioners” and “Social Revolutionists” used by the correspondent are better known as “Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars” and “Socialist-Revolutionaries”.

[2] At the elections to the district councils of Petrograd held at the end of May and beginning of June 1917 the Bolshevik tickets received 20 per cent of the votes. At the elections to the City Council of Petrograd on August 20 (September 2) the Bolsheviks received 33 per cent of all the votes. In speaking of the September elections Lenin was probably referring to the elections to the district councils of Moscow (held on September 24 (October 71, 1917) at which the Bolsheviks received 51 per cent of all the votes. This voting, Lenin pointed out, “is in general one of the most striking symptoms of the profound change which has taken place in the mood of the whole nation” (see present edition, Vol. 26, p. 80).

[3] Cadets—members of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the chief party of the big bourgeoisie in Russia. Founded in October 1905.

[4] Socialist-Revolutionaries (S.R.s)—a petty-bourgeois party formed in Russia at the end of 1901 and beginning of 1902. After the victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917 the S.R.s, together with the Mensheviks and Cadets, were the mainstay of the bourgeois Provisional Government.

At the end of November 1917 the Left wing of the party founded a separate Left Socialist-Revolutionary Party. The Left S.R.s formally recognised the Soviet Government and entered into an agreement with the Bolsheviks, but very soon turned against Soviet power.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.

The February Revolution
Strikes and protests erupt on women's day in Petrograd and develop into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the workers win over the army and bring down the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy.
Lenin Returns
Lenin returns to Russia and presents his ‘April Theses’ denouncing the Bourgeois Provisional Government and calling for “All Power to the Soviets!”
The June Days
Following the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the reformist leaders called a demonstration to show the strength of "democracy". 400,000 people attended, the vast majority carried banners with Bolshevik slogans.
The July Days
Spontaneous, armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government erupt in Petrograd. The workers and soldiers are suppressed by force, introducing a period of reaction and making the peaceful development of the revolution impossible.
The Kornilov Affair
Following the July days, the Bolsheviks were driven underground and the forces of reaction were emboldened. This process culminated in the reactionary forces coalescing around General Kornilov, who attempt to march on Petrograd and crush the revolutionary movement in its entirety.
The October Revolution
The Provisional Government is overthrown. State power passes to the Soviets on the morningm of 26th October, after the Bolsheviks’ Military Revolutionary Committee seize the city and the cabinet surrenders.
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