Tactical Differences

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  V. Khokhlov
Tactical differences among the Bolsheviks in 1917

"Tactical Differences Among the Bolsheviks in 1917" in Russian PDF format

From the authors of the site: The book reveals the position of various Bolsheviks during 1917. As an example, consider the position of Bogdatiev, who until the April conference was on the side of the right, led by Kamenev, with the support of the provisional government, and then swung sharply to the left of Lenin with the slogan of the immediate overthrow of the provisional government.

 Excerpts from the book:

... In his letters from abroad, Lenin repeatedly pointed to the approach of a revolutionary explosion. Especially from the letters to Comrade Shlyapnikov, one can trace how Lenin prepared the party for the revolution. On the basis of these directives, the Bureau of the Central Committee in Russia decides at the end of 1916 to switch from directing individual strikes to preparing a general strike and organizing street movements and demonstrations. The PC and MK, following these instructions, decide to organize the first mass review, which, in Petrograd alone, yields more than 200,000 workers on strike.

...Lenin clearly imagined the possibility of two ways of unfolding the revolution - peaceful and violent. In the first case, power passes to the existing councils and the party inside the councils fights for its influence. In the second case, power remains in the hands of the provisional government, the soviets objectively cover it up, while they themselves do not exercise any influence, and only by overthrowing the provisional government of the bourgeoisie, when favorable conditions for this are ripe, will the dictatorship of the proletariat and the poorest peasantry be implemented. Lenin proceeded from these two possible ways of developing the revolution during the entire first period (until the July days), until the course of events finally proved the impossibility of the first option. But in both cases, Lenin's tactics were basically the same - it consisted in the struggle of the Bolsheviks for the soviets, in winning back the political army from the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, in isolating these petty-bourgeois parties from the broad working masses.

... This point of view was especially vividly expressed by Nogin, an old supporter of Kamenev's platform. “I was sure,” he said at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Moscow Soviet on November 8, “that during the October Revolution, as it was in February, all socialists would be in the same camp, that the other parties would not betray us, would not betray us, leaving us to go.” us alone to be shot. I was convinced that at the Congress of Soviets all the parties would try to unite and find a common language. A number of other comrades, who disagreed with Lenin and the Central Committee, proceeded from the same attitude. When the Menshevik-defensists, Bundists and Socialist-Revolutionaries were forced to leave the Congress of Soviets, having suffered a complete defeat, this fact frightened the “old Bolsheviks” of the Kamenev-Zinoviev type so much that they immediately took the platform of the Menshevik Martov demanding the formation of a “general democratic government” .

... The Central Committee presented the minority, headed by Kamenev and Zinoviev, with a sharp ultimatum, which stated: “Yesterday at the meetings of the Central Executive Committee, the Bolshevik faction, with the direct participation of members of the Central Committee, from the minority, openly voted against the decision of the Central Committee (on the issue of numerical and personal representation our party in the government). Such an unheard-of violation of discipline, committed by the members of the Central Committee behind the back of the Central Committee, after numerous debates in the Central Committee, caused by these same representatives of the opposition, makes it obvious to us that the opposition intends to starve the party institutions, sabotaging the work of the party at such a moment when, from the immediate outcome of this work depends on the fate of the party, the fate of the revolution.

Addressing the Central Committee minority with this statement, we demand a categorical answer in writing to the question whether the minority undertakes to submit to party discipline and to pursue the policy formulated in Lenin's revolution adopted by the Central Committee. And then the ultimatum was given: “We have no doubt that the Party will adopt the only possible revolutionary line, expressed in yesterday’s decision of the Central Committee, and then the Party must resolutely demand the representatives of the opposition, to transfer its disorganizing work outside the boundaries of our Party organization. There is no other way, and there cannot be. Of course, a split would be an extremely regrettable fact. But an honest open split is now better than internal sabotage of frustrating one's own decisions, disorganization and prostration.

... The Right, in the faces of Kamenev, Zinoviev, Rykov, Milyutin and Nogin, in response to this ultimatum, declared that they were withdrawing from the Central Committee. They then wrote to the Central Committee of the party: “On November 1, the Central Committee of the RSDLP (Bolsheviks) adopted a resolution that in fact rejects an agreement with the parties that are members of the Council of R. and S. Deputies for the formation of a socialist Soviet government.

We believe that only an immediate agreement on the conditions indicated by us would enable the proletariat and the revolutionary army to consolidate the gains of the October Revolution, consolidate their positions in new positions and muster the forces for the further struggle for socialism...

We therefore resign from ourselves the title of members of the Central Committee in order to have the right to frankly express our opinion to the mass of workers and soldiers and call on their support. Our cry: “Long live the government of the Soviet parties! Immediate agreement on this condition."

By this reply, the Rights not only did not agree to the fulfillment of the demands of the Central Committee, but in advance secured for themselves the possibility of fighting against the line of the Party. Disagreements were transferred outside the Central Committee to the broad masses. In this struggle, the Rights did not shy away from such a means, which they had already tested, as blocking with other parties, in this case with the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries. At a meeting of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on November 17, after the declaration of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries on their refusal to cooperate with the Bolsheviks, Nogin from a group of Bolsheviks, members of the Council of People's Commissars, announced a declaration about their departure from all responsible words. “We stand on the point of view of the need to form a socialist government from all Soviet parties,” they wrote. - We believe that outside of this, there is only one way: the preservation of a purely Bolshevik government by means of political terror. This path was taken by the Council of People's Commissars. We cannot and do not want to join it. We see that this leads to the removal of the mass proletarian organizations from the leadership of political life, to the establishment of an irresponsible regime and to the destruction of the revolution and the country. We cannot bear responsibility for this policy, and therefore we resign from ourselves before the Central Executive Committee the title of people's commissars.

In response to such anti-Party activities of the Rightists, the Central Committee could only once again, in the most categorical form, put before the comrades the question of the possibility of their being in the Party.

“The Central Committee once issued an ultimatum to the most prominent representatives of your policy (Kamenev and Zinoviev),” the new decision of the Central Committee said, “demanding complete obedience to the decisions of the Central Committee and its line, complete renunciation of sabotage of its work and disorganization activities.

By leaving the Central Committee, but remaining in the Party, the representatives of your politics have thus assumed the obligation to obey the decisions of the Central Committee. Meanwhile, you, not limited to criticism within the Party, introduce waverings into the ranks of the fighters of the still unfinished uprising and continue violating Party discipline, disrupting the decisions of the Central Committee outside the framework of our Party, in the soviets, in municipal institutions, in trade unions, etc., and hinder his work.

In view of this, the Central Committee is forced to repeat its ultimatum and propose that you either immediately give in writing an obligation to obey the decisions of the Central Committee and to carry out its policy in all your speeches, or to step aside from all public party activity and leave all responsible posts in the labor movement until the party congress.

Refusal to give one of these two obligations will put the Central Committee in front of the need to raise the question of your immediate expulsion from the party.

... Within the Moscow Regional Bureau there was a group of comrades who not only shared the platform of the Rights, but also went further than Kamenev. They (Vladimirsky, Nogin, and others) suggested constructing a government that would include even the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and Popular Socialists. Was infected with Kamenev's sentiments and an insignificant part of other organizations, most of them non-proletarian. The absolute majority of organizations were on the line of the Central Committee of the party; some of them even made more "leftist" decisions than those of the Central Committee; Thus, for example, the Moscow Regional Bureau immediately put before the Central Committee the question of expelling all those who had left responsible posts from the Party.

Lenin, after the facts of disorganizing factional activities of the right, on behalf of the Central Committee, published in the press a special appeal "from the Central Committee of the RSDLP to all members of the party and to all the working masses of Russia" on the argument of the desertion of several members of the leading bodies of the party and the Soviet government. We will quote in full this appeal, which sums up all the splitting activities of the Rights in 1917.

“Comrades! Several members of the Central Committee of our Party and the Council of People's Commissars, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Nognn, Rykov, Milyutin and a few others, left the Central Committee of your Party yesterday, November 4, and the last three from the Council of People's Commissars....

“Remember, comrades, that two of the deserters, Kamenev and Zinoviev, already before the uprising in Petrograd came out as deserters and as strikebreakers, because not only did they not vote at the decisive meeting of the Central Committee on October 10, 1917 against the uprising, but even after the decision of the Central Committee took place in front of party workers with agitation against the uprising.

Everyone knows that the newspapers, fearful of taking the side of the workers and tending more towards the side of the bourgeoisie ... then, together with the entire bourgeois press, raised a fuss and cry about the "collapse" of our party, about the "failure of the uprising", etc. But life quickly refuted the lies and slander of some, the hesitation and cowardice of others.The "storm" that they wanted to raise about the steps of Kamenev and Zinoviev to disrupt the Petrograd uprising turned out to be a storm in a teacup, and the great upsurge of the masses, the great heroism of millions of working soldiers and peasants in St. Petersburg and in Moscow, at the front, in the trenches and in the villages, he pushed deserters away with the same ease with which a railway train throws away chips ... "

... In response to the ultimatum of the Central Committee, on November 20, Zinoviev sent a letter to the Central Committee and published in Pravda with a readiness to "submit to discipline and reunite with our old comrades in the struggle." Kamenev was removed from the chairmanship of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. Only 3 weeks later, Kamenev and his group filed an application with an attempt to return to the Central Committee. But in this statement they did not say anything about the mistakes they had made, and therefore the Central Committee, at the suggestion of Lenin, refused to return them.


I. The Party on the Eve of the February Revolution

Party during the war

Lenin's assessment of the political moment

Disagreements among the Bolsheviks during the war years

Unifying mood

Composition of organizations

II. Party in February-March days

The role of the party in the February revolution

Lenin's assessment of the February Revolution

Assessment of the situation by the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee

CC and PC line after Kamenev's drive

Conciliation in the ranks of the Bolsheviks

III. Lenin's April Theses and the April Conference

Leniv's arrival in Russia and assessment of the moment

Kamenev's Appraisal of the Moment and Tasks of the Party

Kamenev's struggle with Lenin

Petrograd and All-Russian Party Conferences

Development of a new party orientation

IV. Party during the revolutionary mobilization of the masses (May-August)

Period content

April demonstration

June demonstration

July days

Days of Kornilov

Development of new tactics. VI Congress

V. Party on the Eve of October

General features of the period

Disagreements over the Democratic Caucus

The question of preparing and organizing an uprising

Party in the October days
Organization of the uprising in Trotsky's assessment

Differences in the Party after October