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CONSTITUTION (Fundamental Law)


Resolution of the 5th AU-Russian Congress of Soviets, adopted

on July 10, 1918

The declaration of rights of the laboring and exploited people (approved by the third All-Russian Congress of Soviets in January, 1918), together with the Constitution of the Soviet Republic, approved by the fifth Congress, constitutes a single fundamental law of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic.

This fundamental law becomes effective upon the publication of the same in its entirety in the "Izvestia of the All-Russian General Executive Committee." It must be published by all organs of the Soviet Government and must be posted in a prominent place in every Soviet institution.

The fifth Congress instructs the People's Commissariat of Education to introduce in all schools and educational institutions of the Russian Republic the study and explanation of the basic principles of this Constitution.

* From The New York Nation, issue of Jan. 4, 1919.





1. Russia is declared to be a Republic of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies. All the central and local power belongs to these Soviets.

2. The Russian Soviet Republic is organized on the basis of a free union of free nations, as a federation of Soviet national Republics.


3. Bearing in mind as its fundamental problem the abolition of exploitation of men by men, the entire abolition of the division of the people into classes, the suppression of exploiters, the establishment of a Socialist society, and the victory of socialism in all lands, the third All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants’ Deputies further resolves :

(a) for the purpose of realizing the socialization of land, all private property in land is abolished, and the entire land is declared to be national property and is to be apportioned among husbandmen without any compensation to the former owners, in the measure of each one's ability to till it.

(b) all forests, treasures of the earth, and waters of general public utility, all implements whether animate or inanimate, model farms and agricultural enterprises, are declared to be national property.

(c) as a first step towards complete transfer of ownership to the Soviet Republic of all factories, mills, mines, railways, and other means of production and transportation, the Soviet law for the control by workmen and the establishment of the Supreme Soviet of National Economy is hereby confirmed, so as to assure the power of the workers over the exploiters.

(d) with reference to international banking and finance, the third Congress of Soviets is discussing the Soviet decree regarding the annulment of loans made by the Government of the Czar, by landowners and the bourgeoisie, and it trusts that the Soviet

Government will firmly follow this course, until the final victory of the international workers' revolt against the oppression of capital.

(e) the transfer of all banks into the ownership of the Workers' and Peasants' Government, as one of the conditions of the liberation of the toiling masses from the yoke of capital, is confirmed.

(f) universal obligation to work is introduced for the purpose of eliminating the parasitic strata of society and organizing the economic life of the country.

(g) for the purpose of securing the working class in the possession of the complete power, and in order to eliminate all possibility of restoring the power of the exploiters, it is decreed that all toilers be armed, and that a Socialist Red Army be organized and the propertied class be disarmed.

CHAPTER III 4. Expressing its absolute resolve to liberate mankind from the grip of capital and imperialism, which flooded the earth with blood in this present most criminal of all wars, the third Congress of Soviets fully agrees with the Soviet Government in its policy of breaking secret treaties, of organizing on a wide scale the fraternization of the workers and peasants of the belligerent armies, and of making all efforts to conclude a general democratic peace without annexations or indemnities, upon the basis of the free determination of the peoples.

5. It is also to this end that the third Congress of Soviets insists upon putting an end to the barbarous policy of the bourgeois civilization which enables the exploiters of a few chosen nations to enslave hundreds of millions of the toiling population of Asia, of the colonies, and of small countries generally.

6. The third Congress of Soviets hails the policy of the Council of People's Commissars in proclaiming the full independence of Finland, in withdrawing troops from Persia, and in proclaiming the right of Armenia to self-determination.

CHAPTER IV 7. The third All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies believes that now, during the progress of the decisive battle between the proletariat and its

exploiters, the exploiters cannot hold a position in any branch of the Soviet Government. The power must belong entirely to the toiling masses and to their plenipotentiary representatives—the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', 'and Peasants' Deputies.

8. In its effort to create a league-free and voluntary, and for that reason all the more complete and secure of the working classes of all the peoples of Russia, the third Congress of Soviets merely establishes the fundamental principles of the federation of Russian Soviet Republics, leaving to the workers and peasants of every people to decide the following question at their plenary sessions of their Soviets: whether or not they desire to participate, and on what basis, in the federal government and other federal Soviet institutions.





9. The fundamental problem of the Constitution of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic involves, in view of the present transition period, the establishment of a dictatorship of the urban and rural proletariat and the poorest peasantry in the form of a powerful All-Russian Soviet authority, for the purpose of abolishing the exploitation of men by men and of introducing Socialism, in which there will be neither a division into classes nor a state of autocracy.

10. The Russian Republic is a free Socialist society of all the working people of Russia. The entire power, within the boundaries of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, belongs to all the working people of Russia, united in urban and rural Soviets.

11. The Soviets of those regions which differentiate themselves by a special form of existence and national character may unite in autonomous regional unions, ruled by the local Congress of the Soviets and their executive organs.

These autonomous regional unions participate in the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic upon the basis of a federation.

12. The supreme power of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic belongs to the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and, in periods between the convocation of the Congress, to the AllRussian Central Executive Committee.

13. For the purpose of securing to the toilers real freedom of conscience, the church is to be separated from the state and the school from the church, and the right of religious and anti-religious propaganda is accorded to every citizen.

14. For the purpose of securing the freedom of expression to the toiling masses, the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic abolishes all dependence of the press upon capital, and turns over to the working people and the poorest peasantry all technical and material means of publication of newspapers, pamphlets, books, etc., and guarantees their free circulation throughout the country.

15. For the purpose of enabling the workers to hold free meetings, the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic offers to the working class and to the poorest peasantry furnished halls, and takes care of their heating and lighting appliances.

16. The Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, having crushed the economic and political power of the propertied classes and having thus abolished all obstacles which interfered with the freedom of organization and action of the workers and peasants, offers assistance, material and other, to the workers and the poorest peasantry in their effort to unite and organize.

17. For the purpose of guaranteeing to the workers real access to knowledge, the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic sets itself the task of furnishing full and general free education to the workers and the poorest peasantry.

18. The Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic considers work the duty of every citizen of the Republic, and proclaims as its motto: "He shall not eat who does not work."

19. For the purpose of defending the victory of the great peasants' and workers' revolution, the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic recognizes the duty of all citizens of the Republic to come to the defense of their Socialist Fatherland, and it, therefore, introduces universal military training. The honor of defending the revolution with arms is given only to the toilers, and the non-toiling elements are charged with the performance of other military duties.

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