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All-Russian Constituent Assembly
Всероссийское Учредительное Собрание
Type
Type Constituent assembly
Timeline
Country Russia Russia
Declared by Assembly to be Russian Democratic Federal Republic[1], but its foundation was interrupted by Bolshevik-controlled Russian Soviet Republic.
Established 1917
Preceded by Council of the Russian Republic
Succeeded by VTsIK
All-Russian Congress of Soviets Both VTsIK and Congress also governs Russia since October Revolution
Disbanded 1918
Leadership and Structure
Members 703
Election
Voting system Direct multi-party elections
Last election November 25, 1917
Meeting place
Tauridepalace.gif
Tauride Palace


The All Russian Constituent Assembly (Всероссийское Учредительное Собрание, Vserossiiskoe Uchreditelnoe Sobranie) was a democratically elected constitutional body convened in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. It met for 13 hours, from 4 PM to 5 AM 5 January – 6 January 1918 (OS). It was elected by popular vote and dissolved by the Bolshevik government.

Contents

Origins

The convocation of a democratically elected Constituent Assembly that would write a constitution for Russia was one of the main demands of all Russian revolutionary parties prior to the Russian Revolution of 1905. After the revolution, the Tsar decided to grant basic civil liberties and hold elections to a newly created legislative body, the State Duma, in 1906. The Duma, however, was not authorised to write a new constitution, much less abolish the monarchy. Moreover, the Duma's powers were falling into the hands of the Constitutional Democrats and not the Marxist Socialists. The government dissolved the Duma, as was their legal agreement, in July 1906 and, after a new election, in June 1907. The final election law written by the government after the second dissolution on June 3, 1907 favoured poor and the working classes. What little the Duma could do after 1907 was often vetoed by the Tsar or the appointed upper house of the Russian parliament. The Duma was therefore widely seen as representative of the lower working classes, and the demands for a Constituent Assembly that would be elected on the basis of wealthy class universal suffrage continued unabated.

Provisional Government (February–October 1917)

With the overthrow of Nicholas II during the February Revolution of 1917, state power was assumed by the Russian Provisional Government, which was formed by the liberal Duma leadership and supported by the socialist-dominated Petrograd Soviet. According the will of Grand Duke Michael who refused the throne after abdication of Nicholas II, the new government should hold country-wide elections to the Constituent Assembly, which in turn should determine the form of government, a task complicated by the continuing World War I and occupation of some parts of the Russian Empire by the Central Powers. The reason why the successive four governments between February and October 1917 were called "Provisional" was that their members intended to hold on to power only until a permanent form of government was established by the Constituent Assembly.

According to the initial plan of the Grand Duke, the Constituent Assembly was the only body to have authority to change the form of government in Russia. Alexander Kerensky and the Provisional Government claimed that they would organize elections after the war, but in spite of the initial agreement in July 1917, they declared Russia a republic and began preparations for elections in the "Preparliament", later named the Council of the Russian Republic.[2] These actions triggered criticism from both left and right. Monarchists saw the declaration of a republican form of government in Russia as unacceptable, while the left considered the declaration a power grab intended to weaken the influence of the soviets. Soon after, the Kornilov Affair (a failed military coup) paved the way for the Bolsheviks to seize power in the October Revolution.

Bolsheviks and the Constituent Assembly

The Bolsheviks' position on the Constituent Assembly evolved throughout 1917. At first, like all other socialist parties, they supported the idea. Although one of their slogans after Vladimir Lenin's return from Switzerland in April 1917 was "All Power to the Soviets!", it referred to transferring current state power from the Provisional Government to the socialist-dominated workers' and soldiers' councils known as "soviets" (Совет, council) and not to the ultimate power which was to be held by the Constituent Assembly. For example, on September 12–September 14, 1917, Lenin wrote to the Bolshevik Central Committee, urging it to seize power:

Nor can we "wait" for the Constituent Assembly, for by surrendering Petrograd [prime minister] Kerensky and Co. can always frustrate its convocation. Our Party alone, on taking power, can secure the Constituent Assembly’s convocation; it will then accuse the other parties of procrastination and will be able to substantiate its accusations.[3]

On 25 October 1917, Old Style (7 November 1917, New Style), the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government (known as the October Revolution) through the Petrograd Soviet and the Military Revolutionary Committee. The uprising coincided with the convocation of the Second Congress of Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets, where the Bolsheviks had 390 delegates out of 650 and which transferred state power to the newly formed Bolshevik government, the Sovnarkom. Deputies representing more moderate socialist parties, Mensheviks and right wing of Socialist Revolutionaries, protested what they considered an illegitimate seizure of power and walked out of the Congress.

Over the following few weeks, the Bolsheviks established control over almost all ethnically Russian areas, but had less success in ethnically non-Russian areas. Although the new government limited freedom of the press[4] (by sporadically banning non-socialist press) and persecuted the Constitutional Democratic party (the main liberal party in the country) it otherwise permitted elections to proceed on November 12, 1917 as scheduled by the Provisional Government.

Officially, the Bolshevik government at first considered itself a provisional government and claimed that it intended to submit to the will of the Constituent Assembly. As Lenin wrote on November 5 (emphasis added):

Hence the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies, primarily the uyezd and then the gubernia Soviets, are from now on, pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, vested with full governmental authority in their localities[5]

Election Results (November 12, 1917)

For details see the main article Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917

More than 60 percent of citizens with right to vote actually voted for Constituent Assembly.[6] The election yielded the following results:

Party Votes Number of deputies
Socialist Revolutionaries 17,490,000 370
Bolsheviks 9,844,000 175
Mensheviks 1,248,000 16
Constitutional Democrats 2,000,000 17
Minorities 77
Left Socialist Revolutionaries 2,861,000 40
People's Socialists 4
Total: 41,700,000 703[7]

However, due to the size of the country, the ongoing World War I and a deteriorating communications system, these results were not fully available at the time. A partial count (54 constituencies out of 79) was published by N. V. Svyatitsky in A Year of the Russian Revolution. 1917-18, Moscow, Zemlya i Volya Publishers, 1918. Svyatitsky's data was generally accepted by all political parties, including the Bolsheviks,[8] and was as follows:

Party Ideology Votes
Russian Socialist Revolutionaries Socialist 16,500,000
Bolsheviks Socialist 9,023,963
Ukrainian, Moslem, and other non-Russian Socialist Revolutionaries Socialist 4,400,000
Constitutional Democrats Liberal 1,856,639
Mensheviks Socialist 668,064
Moslems Religious 576,000
Jewish Bund[citation needed] Socialist/Ethnic 550,000
Ukrainian socialists Social Democratic/Ethnic 507,000
Popular Socialists Social Democratic 312,000
Other Rightist groups Rightist 292,000
Association of Rural Proprietors and Landowners Rightist 215,000
Bashkirs Ethnic 195,000
Poles Ethnic 155,000
Germans Ethnic 130,000
Ukrainian Social Democrats Social Democratic/Ethnic 95,000
Cossacks Ethnic 79,000
Old Believers Religious 73,000
Letts Ethnic 67,000
Co-operators Social Democratic 51,000
German socialists Social Democratic/Ethnic 44,000
Yedinstvo Social Democratic 25,000
Finnish socialists Social Democratic/Ethnic 14,000
Belarusians Ethnic 12,000
Total: 35,333,666

The bottom line was that the Bolsheviks received between 22% and 25%[9] of the vote, albeit as clear winners in Russia's urban centers and among soldiers on the "Western Front" (two-thirds of those soldiers' votes), while the Socialist-Revolutionary Party received around 57-58% (62% with their social democratic allies), having won the massive support of the country's rural peasantry. However, this is a half truth because the Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionaries did not attend the Constituent Assembly when it convened. Another major factor is the split within the Socialist Revolutionaries which led to support for the Bolsheviks by the leftist SR faction.

Between the Election and the Convocation of the Assembly (November 1917-January 1918)

The Bolsheviks began to equivocate on whether they would submit to the Constituent Assembly immediately after the elections were held and it looked likely that they would lose. On November 14, 1917, Lenin said at the Extraordinary All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Peasants' Deputies:

As for the Constituent Assembly, the speaker said that its work will depend on the mood in the country, but he added, trust in the mood, but don't forget your rifles.[10]

On November 21, People's Commissar for Naval Affairs Pavel Dybenko ordered to keep 7,000 pro-Bolshevik Kronstadt sailors on "full alert" in case of a convocation of the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1917. A meeting of some 20,000 Kronstadt "soldiers, sailors, workers and peasants" resolved to only support a Constituent Assembly that was:

so composed as to confirm the achievements of the October Revolution [and would be free of] Kaledinites and leaders of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie"[11]

With the split between mainstream Socialist Revolutionaries and Left Socialist Revolutionaries finalized in November, the Bolsheviks formed a coalition government with the latter. On November 28, the Soviet government declared the Constitutional Democratic Party "a party of the enemies of the people", banned the party and ordered its leaders arrested.[12] It also postponed the convocation of the Constituent Assembly until early January. At first the Soviet government blamed the delays on technical difficulties and machinations of their enemies,[13] but on December 26, 1917 Lenin's Theses on the Constituent Assembly were published. In these theses, he argued that the Soviets were a "higher form of democracy" than the Constituent Assembly:

2. While demanding the convocation of a Constituent Assembly, revolutionary Social-Democracy has ever since the beginning of the Revolution of 1917 repeatedly emphasised that a republic of Soviets is a higher form of democracy than the usual bourgeois republic with a Constituent Assembly.

and that the Constituent Assembly as elected was not truly representative of the will of the Russian people because:

5. ... the party which from May to October had the largest number of followers among the people, and especially among the peasants — the Socialist-Revolutionary Party — came out with united election lists for the Constituent Assembly in the middle of October 1917, but split in November 1917, after the elections and before the Assembly met.

Therefore Lenin asserted that:

the interests of this [October 1917] revolution stand higher than the formal rights of the Constituent Assembly [...]
17. Every direct or indirect attempt to consider the question of the Constituent Assembly from a formal, legal point of view, within the framework of ordinary bourgeois democracy and disregarding the class struggle and civil war, would be a betrayal of the proletariat's cause, and the adoption of the bourgeois standpoint[14]

Not all members of the Bolshevik party were willing to go along with what increasingly looked like an upcoming suppression of the Constituent Assembly. In early December, the moderates even had a majority among the Bolshevik delegates to the Constituent Assembly, but Lenin prevailed at the December 11, 1917 meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee, which ordered Bolshevik delegates to follow Lenin's line.[15]

Meeting in Petrograd (January 5-6, 1918)

In the morning of January 5, 1918, a massive peaceful demonstration in support of the assembly was shot at and dispersed by the troops loyal to the Bolshevik government.[16]

The Constituent Assembly quorum met in the Tauride Palace in Petrograd, between 4 p.m. and 4:40 a.m., January 5-6, 1918. A prominent Bolshevik, Ivan Skvortsov-Stepanov, in a speech approved by Lenin, explained why the Bolsheviks didn't feel obligated to submit to the democratically elected Constituent Assembly:

"How can you," he wondered, "appeal to such a concept as the will of the whole people? For a Marxist "the people" is an inconceivable notion: the people does not act as a single unit. The people as a unit is a mere fiction, and this fiction is needed by the ruling classes".[17]

A motion by the Bolsheviks that would have recognized the Bolshevik government and made the assembly powerless was voted down. Victor Chernov, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries, was elected Chairman with 244 votes against the Bolshevik-backed leader of Left Socialist Revolutionaries Maria Spiridonova's 153 votes. The Bolsheviks and their Left Socialist Revolutionary allies then convened a special meeting of the Soviet government, Sovnarkom, and decided to dissolve the Assembly. After Deputy People's Commissar for Naval Affairs Fyodor Raskolnikov read a prepared statement, the two factions walked out. Lenin left the building with the following instructions:

There is no need to disperse the Constituent Assembly: just let them go on chattering as long as they like and then break up, and tomorrow we won't let a single one of them come in.[17]

Around 4 a.m., the head of the guards detachment, A. G. Zheleznyakov, approached Chernov and said:

The guard are tired. I propose that you close the meeting and let everybody go home.[17]

Chernov quickly read the highlights of the SR-drafted "Law on the Land", which proclaimed a radical land reform,[18] a law making Russia a democratic federal republic (thus ratifying the Provisional Government's decision adopted in September 1917) and an appeal to the Entente Allies for a democratic peace. The Assembly voted for the proposals, scheduled the next meeting for 5 p.m. on January 6 and dispersed at 4:40 a.m. The next day the deputies found the building locked down and the Constituent Assembly declared dissolved by the Bolshevik government. It was exactly as Stolypin had done to the State Duma in 1906 after its first session. A Decree of dissolution of Parliament was ratified by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) late on January 6.

Between Petrograd and Samara (January-June 1918)

Barred from the Tauride Palace, Constituent Assembly deputies met at the Gurevich High School and held a number of secret meetings, but found that the conditions were increasingly dangerous. Some tried to relocate to the Tsentral'na Rada-controlled Kiev, but on January 15, 1918 Rada forces had to abandon the city, which effectively terminated the Constituent Assembly as a cohesive body[19]

The Socialist Revolutionary Central Committee met in January and decided against armed resistance since:

Bolshevism, unlike the Tsarist autocracy, is based on workers and soldiers who are still blinded, have not lost faith in it, and do not see that it is fatal to the cause of the working class[20]

Instead the socialists (Socialist Revolutionaries and their Menshevik allies) decided to work within the Soviet system and returned to the Soviet All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK), the Petrograd Soviet and other Soviet bodies that they had walked out of during the Bolshevik uprising in October 1917. They hoped that Soviet re-elections would go their way once the Bolsheviks proved unable to solve pressing social and economic problems. They would then achieve a majority within local Soviets and, eventually, the Soviet government, at which point they would be able to re-convene the Constituent Assembly.

The socialists' plan was partially successful in that Soviet re-elections in the winter and especially spring of 1918 often returned pro-SR and anti-Bolshevik majorities, but their plan was frustrated by the Soviet government's refusal to accept election results and its repeated dissolution of anti-Bolshevik Soviets. As one of the leaders of Tula Bolsheviks N. V. Kopulov wrote to the Bolshevik Central Committee in early 1918:

After the transfer of power to the soviet, a rapid about-face began in the mood of the workers. The Bolshevik deputies began to be recalled one after another, and soon the general situation took on a rather unhappy appearance. Despite the fact that there was a schism among the SRs, and the Left SRs were with us, our situation became shakier with each passing day. We were forced to block new elections to the soviet and even not to recognize them where they had taken place not in our favor.[21]

In response, Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks started Assemblies of Workers' Plenipotentiaries which ran in parallel with the Bolshevik-dominated Soviets. The idea proved popular with the workers, but had little effect on the Bolshevik government.

With the signing of the peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the Bolsheviks on March 3, 1918, the Socialist Revolutionary leadership increasingly viewed the Bolshevik government as a German proxy. They were willing to consider an alliance with the liberal Constitutional Democrats, which had been rejected as recently as December 1917 by their Fourth Party Congress. Socialists and liberals held talks on creating a united anti-Bolshevik front in Moscow in late March. However, the negotiations broke down since the SRs' insisted on re-convening the Constituent Assembly as elected in November 1917 while the Constitutional Democrats, who had done poorly in the November election, demanded new elections.[22]

Samara Committee (June-September 1918)

On May 7, 1918 (New Style aka Gregorian Calendar from this point on) the Eighth Party Council of the Socialist Revolutionary Party convened in Moscow and decided to start an uprising against the Bolsheviks with the goal of reconvening the Constituent Assembly. While preparations were under way, the Czechoslovak Legions overthrew Bolshevik rule in Siberia, Urals and the Volga region in late May-early June 1918 and the center of SR activity shifted there. On June 8, 1918, five Constituent Assembly members formed an All-Russian Constituent Assembly Committee (Komuch) in Samara and declared it the new supreme authority in the country.[23]

The Committee had the support of the Czechoslovak Legions and was able to spread its authority over much of the Volga-Kama region. However, most of the Siberia and Urals regions were controlled by a patchwork of ethnic, Cossack, military and liberal-rightist local governments, which constantly clashed with the Committee. The Committee functioned until September 1918, eventually growing to about 90 Constituent Assembly members, when the so-called "State Conference" representing all the anti-Bolshevik local governments from the Volga to the Pacific Ocean formed a coalition "All-Russian Supreme Authority" (aka the "Ufa Directory") with the ultimate goal of re-convening the Constituent Assembly once the circumstances permitted:

2. In its activities the government will be unswervingly guided by the indisputable supreme rights of the Constituent Assembly. It will tirelessly ensure that the actions of all organs subordinate to the Provisional Government do not in any way tend to infringe the rights of the Constituent Assembly or hinder its resumption of work.
3. It will present an account of its activities to the Constituent Assembly as soon as the Constituent Assembly declares that it has resumed operation. It will subordinate itself unconditionally to the Constituent Assembly, as the only supreme authority in the country.[24]

The All-Russian Constituent Assembly Committee continued functioning as "Congress of Members of the Constituent Assembly" but had no real power, although the Directory pledged to support it:

All possible assistance to the Congress of Members of the Constituent Assembly, operating as a legal state organ, in its independent work of ensuring the relocation of members of the Constituent Assembly, hastening and preparing the resumption of activity by the Constituent Assembly in its present composition[24]

Initially, the agreement had the support of the Socialist Revolutionary Central Committee which delegated two of its right-wing members, Nikolai Avksentiev and Vladimir Zenzinov, to the five member Ufa Directory. However, when Victor Chernov arrived in Samara on September 19, 1918, he was able to persuade the Central Committee to withdraw support from the Directory because he viewed it as too conservative and the SR presence there as insufficient.[25] This put the Directory in a political vacuum and two months later, on November 18, 1918, it was overthrown by rightwing officers who made Admiral Alexander Kolchak the new "supreme ruler".

Final Collapse

After the fall of the Ufa Directory, Chernov formulated what he called the "third path" against both the Bolsheviks and the liberal-rightist White Movement, but the SRs' attempts to assert themselves as an independent force were unsuccessful and the party, always fractious, began to disintegrate. On the Right, Avksentiev and Zenzinov went abroad with Kolchak's permission. On the Left, some SRs became reconciled with the Bolsheviks. Chernov tried to stage an uprising against Kolchak in December 1918, but it was put down and its participants executed. In February 1919 the SR Central Committee decided that the Bolsheviks were the lesser of two evils and gave up armed struggle against them. The Bolsheviks let the SR Central Committee re-establish itself in Moscow and start publishing a party newspaper in March 1919, but they were soon arrested and spent the rest of the Russian Civil War in prison.[26] Chernov went undercover and eventually was forced to flee Russia while the imprisoned Central Committee members were put on trial in 1922 and their leaders sentenced to death, although their sentences were suspended.[27]

With the main pro-Constituent Assembly party effectively out of the picture, the only remaining force that supported its re-convocation was the Entente Allies. On May 26, 1919, the Allies offered Kolchak their support predicated on a number of conditions, including free elections at all levels of government and reinstating the Constituent Assembly. On June 4, 1919 Kolchak accepted most of the conditions, but he refused to reconvene the Assembly elected in November 1917 since, he claimed, it had been elected under Bolshevik rule and the elections were not fully free. On June 12, 1919, the Allies deemed the response satisfactory and the demand for a reconvocation of the original Constituent Assembly was abandoned.[28]

Both Kolchak and the leader of the White Movement in the South of Russia, General Anton Denikin, officially subscribed to the principle of "non-predetermination", i.e. they refused to determine what kind of social or political system Russia would have until after Bolshevism was defeated. Kolchak and Denikin made general promises to the effect that there would be no return to the past and that there would be some form of popular representation put in place. However, as one Russian journalist observed at the time:

in Omsk itself ... could be seen a political grouping who were prepared to promise anything that the Allies wanted whilst saying that "When we reach Moscow we can talk to them in a different tone".[29]

Numerous memoirs published by the leaders of the White Movement after their defeat are inconclusive on the subject. There doesn't appear to be enough evidence to tell which group in the White Movement would have prevailed in case of a White victory and whether new Constituent Assembly elections would have been held, much less how restrictive they would have been.

After the Bolshevik victory in the Civil War in late 1920, 38 members of the Constituent Assembly met in Paris in 1921 and formed an executive committee, which consisted of the Constitutional Democrats leader Pavel Milyukov, one of the Progressist leaders Alexander Konovalov, a Ufa Directory member Avksentiev and the head of the Provisional Government Kerensky. Like other emigre organizations, it proved ineffective.[30]

Historical disputes

According to a 1975 book, Leninism under Lenin by Marcel Liebman, the Bolsheviks and their allies had a majority in the Soviets due to its different electoral system. Per the 1918 Soviet Constitution, each urban (and usually pro-Bolshevik) Soviet had 1 delegate per 25,000 voters. Each rural (usually pro-SR) Soviet was only allowed 1 delegate per 125,000 voters. The Bolsheviks justified closing down the Assembly by pointing out that the election did not take into account the split in the SR Party. A few weeks later the Left SR and Right SR got roughly equal votes in the Peasant Soviets. The Bolsheviks also argued that the Soviets were more democratic as delegates could be removed by their electors instantly rather than the parliamentary style of the Assembly where the elected members could only be removed after several years at the next election. The book states that all the elections to the Peasant and Urban Soviets were free and these Soviets then elected the All-Russian Congress of Soviets which chose the Soviet Government, the Second Congress taking place before the Assembly, the Third Congress just after.

Two more recent book using material from the opened Soviet achieves, The Russian Revolution 1899-1919 by Richard Pipes and A People's Tragedy by Orlando Figes, give a different version. Pipes argues that the elections to the Second Congress were not fair, for example one Soviet with 1,500 members sent 5 delegates which was more than Kiev. He states that both the SRs and the Mensheviks declared this election illegal and unrepresentative. The books states that the Bolsheviks, two days after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, created a counter-assembly, the Third Congress of Soviets. They gave themselves and the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries 94% of the seats, far more than the results from the only nationwide parliamentary democratic election in Russia during this time.

Notes

  1. ^ (Russian) Всероссийское Учредительное собрание в документах и материалах
  2. ^ See Six Red Months in Russia by Louise Bryant, Chapter VII, available online
  3. ^ See V. I. Lenin. The Bolsheviks Must Assume Power: A Letter to the Central Committee and the Petrograd And Moscow Committees Of The R.S.D.L.P.(B.), Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 19-21, available online
  4. ^ For an account of the closure of the non-socialist newspapers in Petrograd by the Military Revolutionary Committee on October 26 see Nikolai Sukhanov. The Russian Revolution, 1917, Oxford University Press, 1955, pp.649-650. For the first Sovnarkom decree on press censorship see Rex A. Wade. The Russian Revolution, 1917, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-521-84155-0 p.276. For the second Sovnarkom decree that established more extensive government control of the press see V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 283-284, available online
  5. ^ See V. I. Lenin. Reply To Questions From Peasants, Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 300-301, available online
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Russian history / James R. Millar, editor in chief, Thomson Gale, 2004, ISBN 0-02-865696-2 (v. 3), p. 1930
  7. ^ See Oliver H. Radkey. Russia Goes to the Polls: The Election to the All-Russian Constituent Assembly, 1917, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1989, ISBN 0801423600 xxvi, 171 p.
  8. ^ See V. I. Lenin. The Constituent Assembly Elections and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, December 1919, Collected Works, Volume 30, pages 253-275 Progress Publishers, 1965. Available online
  9. ^ The exact number of votes received by individual parties is still in dispute due to a large number of invalid ballots
  10. ^ See V. I. Lenin. The Extraordinary All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Peasants' Deputies: Speech On The Agrarian Question November 14, Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 321-332, available online
  11. ^ See Israel Getzler. Kronstadt 1917-1921: The Fate of a Soviet Democracy, Cambridge University Press, 1983, paperback edition 2002, ISBN 0-521-89442-5 p.180
  12. ^ See Rex A. Wade. op. cit. p.277. See Lenin's decree published on November 29 in V. I. Lenin. Decree On The Arrest Of The Leaders Of The Civil War Against The Revolution, Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1972, pp.351, available online
  13. ^ See V. I. Lenin. On The Opening Of The Constituent Assembly, Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 367, available online:
  14. ^ See V. I. Lenin. Theses On The Constituent Assembly, Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 379-383, available online
  15. ^ See V. I. Lenin. Speech At A Meeting Of The Central Committee Of The R.S.D.L.P.(B.), December 11(24), 1917 and footnotes, Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 377, available online
  16. ^ See Nikolai N. Smirnov "Constituent Assembly" in Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution 1914-1921, eds. Edward Acton, Vladimir Iu. Cherniaev, William G. Rosenberg, Indiana University Press/Arnold, 1997, ISBN 0-253-33333-4 p.332
  17. ^ a b c All quotes from Bolshevik deputies from F.F. Raskolnikov. Tales of Sub-Lieutenant Ilyin: The Tale of a Lost Day, Moscow, 1934, English translation London, New Park Publications Ltd, 1982, available online
  18. ^ See Jonathan D. Smele. Civil War in Siberia: The Anti-Bolshevik Government of Admiral Kolchak, 1918-1920, Cambridge University Press, 1996 ISBN 0-521-57335-1 p.34 on the violent opposition of Siberian landowners to the Constituent Assembly in the wake of this decision
  19. ^ See Nikolai N. Smirnov "Constituent Assembly" in Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution 1914-1921, op. cit., p.332
  20. ^ See "Tsentral'nyi komitet PS.-R. Tezisy dlia partiinykh agitatorov i propagandistov. No. 1", in Partiia sotsialistov-revoliutsionerov posle oktiabr'skogo perevorota 1917 goda. Dokumenty iz arkhiva PS.-R., Amsterdam, Stichting Beheer IISG, 1989, p55. Quoted in Scott Smith. "The Socialists-Revolutionaries and the Dilemma of Civil War" in The Bolsheviks In Russian Society: The Revolution and the Civil War Years ed. Vladimir N. Brovkin, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1997, 83-104. Available online
  21. ^ See Scott Smith, op. cit. on the Bolshevik non-recognition of anti-Bolshevik deputies in Petrograd, Astrakhan, Tula, etc.
  22. ^ See Scott Smith, op. cit. on the evolution of the SRs' attitude towards the Bolshevik government\
  23. ^ See Jonathan D. Smele. Op. cit., p.32
  24. ^ a b Both quotes from the "Constitution of the Ufa Directory", first published in Narodovlastie, No. 1, 1918, reprinted in Istoriya Rossii 1917 - 1940, Ekaterinburg, 1993, pp. 102 - 105, English translation available online
  25. ^ See Michael Melancon. "Chernov", in Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution 1914-1921, op.cit., p.137
  26. ^ See Ronald Grigor Suny. The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States, Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-19-508105-6 p.80
  27. ^ See Elizabeth A. Wood. Performing Justice: Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia, Cornell University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-8014-4257-5, p.83
  28. ^ See Georg Schild. Between Ideology and Realpolitik: Woodrow Wilson and the Russian Revolution, 1917-1921, Contributions to the Study of World History, ISSN 0885-9159, no. 51, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 1995, ISBN 0-313-29570-0 p.111
  29. ^ See Arnol'dov. Zhizn' i revoliutsiia, p. 158, quoted in Jonathan D. Smele, op.cit., p.254
  30. ^ See Nikolai N. Smirnov, "The Constituent Assembly" in Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution 1914-1921, op. cit., p. 332
In view of the delay in the elections to the Constituent Assembly, mainly due to the fault of the former All-Russia Electoral Commission, and in view of the formation by counter-revolutionary groups of a special Constituent Assembly Commission in opposition to the Commissariat set up by Soviet power, rumours have been circulated that the Constituent Assembly, as at present constituted, would not be convened at all. The Council of People’s Commissars deems it necessary to declare that these are absolutely false rumours, deliberately and maliciously spread by the enemies of the Soviets of Peasants’, Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies

References

  • Oliver Henry Radkey. Russia Goes to the Polls: The Election to the All-Russian Constituent Assembly, 1917, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1989, ISBN 0801423600 vi, 171 p.
  • Karl Kautsky. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, chapter VI, Constituent Assembly and Soviet
  • The Russian Provisional Governments, eds. Robert Browder and Alexander Kerensky, Stanford University Press, 1961, in 3 volumes, 1875p.
  • Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams. From Liberty to Brest-Litovsk, the First Year of the Russian Revolution, London, Macmillan, 1919, 526p. OCLC: 15796701 x}}ii, 526p. See chapter XIII on the Constituent Assembly
  • Boris Sokoloff. The White Nights, New York, Devin-Adair, 1956. See the chapter on unsuccessful attempts to defend the Constituent Assembly
  • The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1918. Documents and Materials, eds. Frank Alfred Golder, James Bunyan and Harold Fisher, Stanford University Press; H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1934. See the section on the Constituent Assembly
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