A Journal of People compilation
Between September 30 and October 12 [old style]
Lenin signs two applications stating his consent to stand for the Constituent Assembly as a nominee of the Northern Front of the army in the field and the Battle field.
Fraternization of Russian and German soldiers increases dramatically, and throughout the front mass mutiny’s occur in favor of elected officers. Trade union membership increases to nearly 2 million workers throughout Russia.
Lenin writes the “Letter to the Central Committee, the Moscow and Petrograd Committees and the Bolshevik Members of the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets” proposing that power should be taken without delay.
Lenin writes his message “To Workers, Peasants and Soldiers!”, calling on them to overthrow the Kerensky government and hand power to the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies.
The Bolshevik Party central committee adopts a decision to invite Lenin to Petrograd.
With Stalin, Trotsky and other Bolshevik leaders present, the party votes again on their earlier decision to join the Pre-Parliament. This time around, only 1 vote (Kamenev) supports joining the government.
The Petrograd Soldiers’ Soviet declares that it no longer reports to the Provisional Government.
The Pre-Parliament begins its first session. When the Bolshevik time slot arrives, Trotsky delivers a scathing speech, and drops a bombshell: the Bolsheviks will not participate. For the next 11 days the Pre-Parliament tries to create some sort of unity among its remaining members, but on their first and most urgent question — what to do about the War — it fails to find a majority position. Mass confusion and despair began to set in, as delegates confront their profound ineptitude. Meanwhile, Headquarters plans to launch a new offensive before the 20th, which many generals (who support the government) think is “completely crazy”.
Lenin returns from Vyborg to Petrograd illegally and settles in M V Fofanova’s flat in Vyborg district. The same day he writes his “Letter to the Petrograd City Committee. To be Read in Closed Session”.
Lenin reports to the Party central committee on the current situation; and tables a resolution calling for an armed uprising, which is adopted.
The Bolshevik central committee debates and approves the decision to overthrow the Provisional Government, and to follow the tactics suggested by Lenin, who illegally arrived in Petrograd three days earlier. Kamenev and Zinoviev strongly disagree with the majority decision to overthrow the government. The Political Bureau (Politburo) is created to provide political guideline during insurrection. The Politburo is headed by Lenin.
Between October 10 and 16
In M I Kalinin’s flat, Lenin meets members of the Party central committee and discusses preparations for the armed uprising.
Between October 12 and 15
Lenin had several secret meetings with Q A Paytnitsky, a representative of the Party (RSDLP, B) Moscow committee, and discusses with him preparations in Moscow for the armed uprising; signs statement agreeing to stand in the election to the Constituent Assembly as the candidate of Moscow.
The Petrograd Soviet creates its own Military Revolutionary Committee, which will lead the insurrection.
Lenin responds to the challenge from the Mensheviks and SRs on “Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?”
At the flat of G E Jalava, an engine driver of the Finland Railway, Lenin meets leading Boksheviks to discuss preparations for the armed uprising.
Lenin reports to an enlarged meeting of the RSDLP (B) central committee meeting of October 10, and reads out the resolution on the armed uprising.
The Bolsheviks Kamenev and Zinoviev announce the Bolshevik plan for revolution in a Menshevik newspaper.
Lenin writes his “Letter to Comrades”, exposing Kamenev and Zinoviev’s treacherous behavior in exposing the armed uprising.
Lenin writes his “Letter to Bolshevik Party Members” demanding expulsion of Zinoviev and Kamenev from the party as “strike-breakers, who had divulged the secret central committee decision on the armed uprising.
Kamenev and Zinoviev defend their position before the party: explaining they are simply expressing a difference of opinion.
Lenin responds that public dissent is certainly acceptable, but not after a decision of such a serious nature and magnitude (similar to that of a strike) is democratically made by the party. While they would both be expelled, they were soon after forgiven.
Kerensky demands the General Secretary of Ukraine to immediately come to Petrograd, likely to be arrested. The District Attorney is meanwhile ordered to investigate the Rada for “criminal activity”. Meanwhile, Kerensky also threatens the arrest of the elected officers of the Baltic fleet, if they continue to refuse to deliver freight. The Regional Committee threatens Kerensky to carry out his threat. Meanwhile, the All-Russian Conference of Factory and Shop Committees resolve to support All Power to the Soviets!
The recently appointed Minister of War Verkhovsky makes an impromptu appearance before the Pre-Parliament, and demands that Russia immediately make peace or face complete catastrophe. He is completely ridiculed, and sent on a leave of absence.
For several weeks the Bolsheviks have been carrying on extensive campaigns of agitation throughout the country. Though missing great speakers in Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev; Trotsky and Sverdlov work tirelessly. Most importantly, however, are the thousands upon thousands of ordinary workers, soldiers, peasants, and sailors who convince their fellow workers that the time has come to seize power in their own hands. The Soviets issue “Revolutionary Decree No. 1”: hiring and firing of workers is controlled by the Soviet.
The Provisional Government attempts to close the current underground Bolshevik newspaper (which since July had moved offices and changed names: Lislok Pravdy, Proletary, Flaboehy, Raboehy Put). At the same time, an offensive is launched against Smolny — the headquarters of the Bolshevik central committee and the Revolutionary Military Committee.
Lenin secretly arrives in Smolny, and takes over the general practical directions of the armed uprising of the Petrograd workers, soldiers and sailors.
The October Revolution begins. By nightfall, Trotsky has led the Red Guards and soviet workers to control all the bridges that cross the Neva (except the Dvortsovyi) and key positions throughout the city, including all roads into the city. Lenin arrives at Smolny, and takes command of the Red Guards and Workers’ Soviets.
By morning, the Red Guards have seized the General Post Office, the Nikolaevsky, Varshaysky and Baltiisky train stations, the power stations, the State Bank, the central telephone exchange, and main Government buildings. The Winter Palace, General Staff headquarters, the Mariinsky Palace, and a few other points still remain in the hands of the Provisional Government. At 10 a.m. the Revolutionary Military Committee publishes: To the citizens of Russia!, announcing victory.
Lenin takes part in the Party central committee meeting, which discusses the formation of the Soviet Government.
In Moscow, revolutionary forces encounter stiff opposition from Colonel Ryabtsev. The battles are fierce with casualties on both sides.
At 10 a.m., Lenin, on behalf of the Revolutionary Military Committee, writes the appeal “To the Citizens of Russia”, announcing the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the transfer of power into the hands of the Revolutionary Military Committee.
At 10:40 in the evening, the Second All-Russian Congress of the Soviets opens in the Smolny, and the Mensheviks and SRs walk-out. Kerensky flees to the North, in order to start a counter-revolutionary rebellion.
Lenin attends the meeting of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, drafts the resolution and reports on the tasks of Soviet power.
Lenin writes the appeal of the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies to the Workers, Soldiers and Peasants.
Lenin writes the draft decrees on peace, on land, and the formation of the Soviet Government.
At 2 a.m., the Winter Palace is captured, thus bringing victory for the revolution in Petrograd, without a single life lost by either side.
Lenin takes part in the proceeding of the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, and gives reports on peace and on land.
The Congress of Soviets resolves at 3 a.m. adopts Lenin’s Decree on Peace, the Decree on Land, and the resolution forming the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government. It approves the composition of the Council of People’s Commissars headed by Lenin.
Lenin is elected member of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies (Second Convocation).
Under the leadership of General Krasnov and Kerensky, units of the Third Cavalry Corps drive toward Petrograd. During the day and the morrow, they seize the cities of Gatchina and Tsarskoe Selo and capture the Pulkovo Hills. By the end of the night, Soviet power is successfully established in Minsk, Kronstadt, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Lugansk, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinburg, Revel, Samara and Saratov.
Night of October 27
The central committee of the Party and the Council of People’s Commissars set up a commission headed by Lenin to organize and direct the fight against the Kerensky-Krasnov counter-revolutionary revolt.
Lenin arrives at the headquarters of the Petrograd military district, and hears the reports of N I Podvoisky, V A Antonov-Ovseyenko and K A Mekhanoshin on the situation obtaining after the seizure of Gatchina by General Krasnov’s Cossack units, and the plans for fighting them. On Lenin’s proposal, a decision is taken to use the ships of the Baltic Fleet in the operations against Krasnov’s troops.
Lenin telegraphs an order to Helsingfors on the immediate dispatch to Petrograd of detachments of sailors and warships of the Baltic Fleet and army units to fight the Krasnov-Kerensky troops.
Lenin informs the members of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Party Committee of the Krasnov offensive against Petrograd, and proposes that the digging of trenches and throwing up of barbed-wire entanglements should be started right away at the approaches of the city.
Lenin directs the operations to defeat the Krasnov-Kerensky counter-revolutionary revolt, and takes part in working out plans for operations against them.
Lenin asks the Putilov workers to supply the front with several batteries and an armored train.
Night of October 28
Lenin arrives at the Putilov Works, talks with workers, and asks them to speed up the construction of armored train and assembly of guns.
Junkers launch an insurrectionary attempt within Petrograd, but are quickly defeated by the Red Guard on the same day. Meanwhile, the Vikzhel (Executive Committee of Railwaymen) demand a “United Socialist Government”, composed of Mensheviks, SRs, and Bolsheviks. Until this occurs, they refuse to transport food. The rank and file do not fully agree, and food nonetheless trickles into the cities. Lenin insists that nothing should be done: the rail workers themselves will resolve the issue (and in January the workers did, by electing a new Central Committee).
The Soviet Revolution wins in Baku; and, thus, holding a total of 17 provincial capitals. Meanwhile, Red Guards confront General Krasnov’s troops head on, and after taking back the Pulkovo Hills outside of Petrograd, the opposition dissolves.
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