Primary Documents - Lenin's Proclamation of 25 October 1917

Alexander Kerenski, head of the Provisional Government, arriving in Moscow in mid-August 1917 Reproduced below is the text of Lenin's proclamation of 25 October 1917 (7 November using the West's Gregorian calendar) announcing the successful overthrow of Alexander Kerenski's Provisional Government.

In his proclamation Lenin cautioned that the Bolshevik revolution must be guarded against a potential military-led counter-revolution.  He also stated that the country's military leadership needed to be carefully monitored and punished for any anti-revolutionary statements.

Lenin's statement of demands followed his celebrated 'Call for Power' issued the previous day, 24 October.

Lenin's Proclamation of 7 November 1917

We have deposed the Government of Kerenski, which rose against the revolution and the people.  The change which resulted in the deposition of the Provisional Government was accomplished without bloodshed.

The Petrograd Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates solemnly welcomes the accomplished change and proclaims the authority of the Military Revolutionary Committee until the creation of a Government by the Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates.

Announcing this to the army at the front, the Revolutionary Committee calls upon the revolutionary soldiers to watch closely the conduct of the men in command.  Officers who do not join the accomplished revolution immediately and openly must be arrested at once as enemies.

The Petrograd Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates considers this to be the program of the new authority:

First - The offer of an immediate democratic peace.

Second - The immediate handing over of large proprietarial lands to the peasants.

Third - The transmission of all authority to the Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates.

Fourth - The honest convocation of a Constitutional Assembly.

The national revolutionary army must not permit uncertain military detachments to leave the front for Petrograd.  They should use persuasion, but where this fails they must oppose any such action on the part of these detachments by force without mercy.

The present order must be read immediately to all military detachments in all arms.  The suppression of this order from the rank and file by army organizations is equivalent to a great crime against the revolution and will be punished by all the strength of the revolutionary law.

Soldiers!  For peace, for bread, for land, and for the power of the people!


Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

3 British Officers were executed by courts martial during the war, as opposed to 316 Private soldiers and 24 Non-Commissioned Officers.  The vast majority were for desertions.

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Primary Docs