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The Dawn of a New Era
 

p The history of the Soviet land and a new era in the history of mankind began on November 7, 1917, the day when the socialist revolution was accomplished in Russia.

p The developments of that period are described in history books, literary works, in the reminiscences of veteran revolutionary fighters, and depicted in documentary and feature films, all of 162 which provide a better idea of tensity and dynamism of the events, of their magnitude and their impact on history. The substance of what had taken place was described in the terse phrases of the appeal of the Revolutionary Military Committee written by Lenin: "The Provisional Government has been deposed. State power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.. . .

p “The cause for which the people have fought, namely, the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landed proprietorship, workers’ control over production, and the establishment of Soviet power—this cause has been secured."  [162•*  Thus dawned the era of great transformations.

p The Great October Socialist Revolution was not a fortuity, a "zigzag of history”, as the enemies of socialism sometimes call it. It was prepared by the entire course of world socio-economic development. Studying the laws of social development the great thinkers Marx, Engels and Lenin predicted the inevitability of socialism replacing capitalism through revolution.

p The classics of Marxism-Leninism created the scientific theory of socialism, they proved that capitalism was the last form of oppression of man by man, that it would be inevitably replaced by socialism and that the new system would win through proletarian revolution.

p Advanced social thought became an action in the period of the revolution because masses of 163 working people assimilated the theory of revolution.

p The replacement of capitalism by socialism became an unavoidable necessity when private ownership of the means of production turned into impediment to the development of the productive forces. Organising production on an ever increasing scale for the sake of greater profits, capitalism involuntarily created its own gravedigger—the working class—and promoted its growth, cohesion and organisation.

p Russia became the first country to accomplish socialist revolution and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat due to several reasons: it was in Russia that at a specific period of time the basic contradictions of imperialism became most acute, that the oppression of the capitalists and the landowners was most brutal, and that police despotism and national oppression was most insufferable. That was how the objective conditions for the revolution matured in the country; but that was not enough to ensure its victory.

p An exceptionally important role was also played by subjective factors, namely, the ability of the working class to stand at the head of the masses rising in revolt for power, and the existence of an experienced party of the working class armed with advanced revolutionary theory and enjoying the confidence of the masses.

p The working class of Russia proved to be all prepared to carry out the great historical mission and exploit, which fell to its lot. It developed into the most revolutionary contingent of the 164 world proletariat and drew upon its militant experience; it created its own vanguard—the Party of Communists which equipped the masses with the advanced theory of struggle for a better future and guided them to victory; it managed to find a loyal ally—the toiling peasantry of Russia— which made up the bulk of her population.

p The October Socialist Revolution was not a coup at the top—it was carried out by the masses in their own interests. The people did not want to live the old way, they became imbued with the ideals of freedom and were determined to fight for them to the end. And so they swept away the rule of the landowners and capitalists and smashed the armies of counter-revolutionary whiteguard generals and the armies of the interventionists from 14 countries which poured their troops into the country to crush the revolution.

p The storming of the Winter Palace, the grim battles at Perekop, Kakhovka and Volochayevka, the exploits of the heroes of the revolution and the civil war will live for ever in the memory of the Soviet people. They draw upon these glorious examples to educate their sons and daughters to love freedom, to be brave and utterly faithful to their socialist homeland and the Communist Party.

p Vladimir Lenin has gone down in history as a great scientist, leader and organiser of the popular masses, and founder of the Communist Party. A revolutionary in the highest sense of the word, he was a theoretician and practician, strategist and tactician, a great humanitarian and a principled 165 fighter, he was all that a political leader should be. His genius illumines all the victories of the people both on the field of battle and in peaceful endeavour. Having led the masses to victory in the revolution and the civil war, the Party which he founded armed the people with scientificallygrounded scheme of a future society and inspired them to launch creative activity on a scale previously unknown to history.

p Yes, the revolution did not end with the victory over the enemy and the establishment of the power of Soviets: it went ahead in the entire national economy and first and foremost in industry where the people laid the foundations for socialist industry, without which no victory of socialism was possible. Lenin wrote that "the only possible economic foundation of socialism is large-scale machine industry. Whoever forgets this is no Communist.”  [165•* 

p The revolution also continued in the rural areas where it was necessary to transform the petty peasant economy into large-scale socialist agriculture, and turn the peasant into a conscious builder of communism, without which it was also impossible to build a new society.

p The revolution continued in the cultural sphere, in the entire spiritual life of the people. Not only was it vitally important to teach people to read and write but also to make socialist ideology predominant in all spheres of society’s spiritual life, to educate cadres of scientists and specialists. It 166 was necessary to build up a socialist culture, which would absorb all the best that had already been created and which would also constitute a new phase in the spiritual development of the whole of humanity.

p Without suspending her struggle against internal enemies, devastated by the imperialist and civil wars, famine-stricken and impoverished, surrounded on all sides by imperialist armies, Russia embarked on another great historical exploit with the enthusiasm which only a liberated people could display.

p “Our cause,” Lenin wrote, "is assured because the people have themselves set about building a new, socialist Russia."  [166•* 

p Tracing the 50-year history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Leonid Brezhnev in a report delivered at a joint meeting of the CC CPSU, the USSR Supreme Soviet and the RSFSR Supreme Soviet on December 21, 1972 noted: "It is the history of the unprecedented growth and allround development of the state born of the Socialist Revolution, which is now one of the mightiest powers in the world."  [166•** 

p It was Lenin who advanced the plan of establishing the Soviet state. He formulated the fundamental theoretical propositions on nationalstate construction and directed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

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p The famous Declaration of Rights of the Peoples of Russia, which was adopted a few days after the October Socialist Revolution, proclaimed the equality and sovereignty of the peoples of Russia, the right of nations to free self-determination up to and including secession and the establishment of independent states, the abolition of all manner of national and national-religious privileges and restrictions, the free development of the national minorities, and the need for a voluntary alliance of the peoples of Russia and their complete mutual trust. The joint revolutionary struggle of the working masses against class enemies and imperialist intervention welded the peoples of Russia and her national outskirts into a close-knit political, military, economic and diplomatic union whose establishment was stipulated in a number of treaties between them.

p In the course of the ensuing historical development the trends towards unification increased and strengthened. The working class, the working people of all nationalities sought to strengthen their unity, realising that in order speedily to rehabilitate the productive forces undermined by the wars, to overcome their backwardness and improve living standards they would have to pool their efforts. Moreover, it was absolutely essential for them to unite to the fullest extent possible in view of the continued threat of fresh imperialist intervention. Thus, the vital interests of all Soviet peoples, the very logic of the struggle for socialism in the country demanded the formation of a united miltinational socialist state.

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p But, as Leonid Brezhnev said, the establishment of such a state required the Party’s organising role, correct policy and purposeful activity.

p Indeed, the Communist Party did have the necessary theoretical basis for such a policy—the Marxist-Leninist doctrine on the national question. This doctrine constituted an important component of the theory of socialist revolution.

p On October 30, 1922, the First All-Union Congress of Soviets opened in Moscow. In response to the proposals put forward by the congresses of Soviets in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Transcaucasia and the RSFSR it adopted its historic decision setting up the world’s first multinational socialist state—the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On the same day Moscow was chosen as the capital of the Soviet Union.

Mentioning the exceptional importance of the Congress’s decision, Leonid Brezhnev underlined: "December 30, 1922, is a truly historic date in the life of our state, an important milestone in the life of all the Soviet peoples, their great festival.”

* * *
 

Notes

[162•*]   V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 236.

[165•*]   V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 32, p. 492.

[166•*]   V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 88.

[166•**]   L. I. Brezhnev, The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Moscow, 1972, p. 5.