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The Dissolution of the Constituent Assembly

 

The History of the USSR & the Peoples’ Democracies

Chapter 2, Section 3 (C2S3)

 

Saed Teymuri

 

During the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks abolished the electorally established ‘Constituent Assembly’, whose elected majority belonged to the ‘Social Revolutionaries’. This Bolshevik decision has been vastly misunderstood. Hereby read the truth of the matter, as confessed by MI6-affiliated authors and US state media. 

 

An article by the US Government’s United States Information Agency (USIA) stated:

The Left SRs had already rejected the Provisional Government, agreeing with the Bolsheviks that it must be replaced by a revolutionary socialist government. However, they had felt that it was preferable to wait for the Constituent Assembly to create such a government, counting on the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, meanwhile, to defend their cause. (…). When the Bolsheviks … succeeded in overthrowing the Provisional Government, the Left SRs were quick to join them. Feeling that the revolution was now in Bolshevik hands, the [SR] Leftists favored collaboration as a means of moderating Bolshevik policy. The rejection of this course by the rest of the party initiated a break which became final when the Leftists refused to join the rest of the party delegation in a walkout from the Congress in protest against the Bolshevik coup [read: revolution]. (The Socialist Revolutionaries, Herbert J. Ellison. In: Problems of Communism, US Information Agency, Abraham Brumberg, November-December 1967, Vol. XVI, p. 6) (IMG)

Unlike the communists/Bolsheviks who represented the proletarian masses, the Social Revolutionaries were widely regarded as the party of the agrarian petit-bourgeois majority. Hence, it was somewhat predictable that:

in any free election throughout Russia the majority of the votes would go to the anti-bolshevik Socialist Revolutionaries. The left wing of this party only became a separate entity after 19 November when its first congress met, less than a week before the date fixed for the elections to the Constituent Assembly. The lists of candidates for the elections had been prepared some time before the party had split.  (“The Origin of the Communist Autocracy: Political Opposition in the Soviet State First Phase 1917–1922”, Leonard Schapiro, 1954, p. 81) (IMG)

That is according to Leonard Schapiro, a WWII-era commander of the MI6, a British intelligence Lieutenant-Colonel, a member of the General Staff of the War Office and a prominent British intelligence analyst on Soviet affairs. Schapiro’s student Geoffrey Swain – who served as the Alec Nove Chair in Russian and Eastern European Studies, and worked for the BBC Monitoring Service – added:

Long promised by the Provisional Government, the elections to the Constituent Assembly took place on 12 November 1917. This gave 52.3 per cent of the votes to the Socialist Revolutionary Party, and 23.6 per cent to the Bolsheviks. However, the allocation of Socialist Revolutionary Party candidates took place before the split in the SR Party and the formation in late October of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries as a separate party. The victory of the Left SRs at the Extraordinary Congress of Peasant Soviets and the Second Congress of Peasant Soviets, both held in November, suggested that they would have secured a large number of seats if able to stand in the Constituent Assembly elections. The Bolshevik-Left Socialist Revolutionary Coalition Government requested that the Constituent Assembly should recognise what it termed the 'right of recall' and allow local soviets to call by-elections where the local SR deputy was not felt to represent the popular will. When the Constituent Assembly met on 5 January 1918 it refused point blank to agree to this, and so was forcibly dissolved. (Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, Routledge, Geoffrey Swain, 2014, p. XIV) (IMG)

As the facts above show, influenced by the ideological line of the Left SR faction of their party, the SRs went ahead towards the elections, but selected the Right SR politicians of their party as the candidates for the Constituent Assembly. In other words, the SR candidates were predominantly from the Right SR, whereas the party line was predominantly shaped by the Left SR faction. During the election to the Constituent Assembly, the peasantry voted for the SR because of its Left SR-influenced party line. Given the peasants were the majority in Russia, the SR party won a decisive victory in the election. The story became complicated when, shortly prior to the elections to the Constituent Assembly, the SR party split into two new entities: the Left SRs and the Right SRs. When the SR party emerged victorious, the Right SRs controlled the seats of the Constituent Assembly but no longer represented their platform which was that of the Left SR. The facts showed, further, that had the Left SRs had their own candidates, they would have decisively won against the Right SRs. The Bolsheviks and the Left SRs who were allies by then, called for the right to recall candidates, so to allow the peasant majority’s vote for Left SRs to be represented in the Constituent Assembly. The Right SRs rejected. Hence, the Constituent Assembly lost its democratic legitimacy. It was thus abolished and replaced by a popular front coalition government of the Bolsheviks and the Left SRs:

Subsequently read out of the party by the Rightist leadership, the Left SRs moved toward closer collaboration with the Bolsheviks. By an agreement reached on November 15, the Left SR-controlled peasants' soviets were merged at the top administrative level with the Bolshevik-dominated workers' soviets. Three days later a Left SR, and former head Of the Peasants' Soviet of Kazan province, A. L. Kalegaev, became Commissar for Agriculture. (The Socialist Revolutionaries, Herbert J. Ellison. In: Problems of Communism, US Information Agency, Abraham Brumberg, November-December 1967, Vol. XVI, p. 6) (IMG)

Again, as stated previously, the Bolsheviks and the Left SRs formed a popular front coalition government at the time. The MI6 reported:

At the same time several social revolutionary members of the Constituent Assembly from Ufa have come to Moscow and entered into relations with the Bolsheviks. Though their terms were not fully accepted by the Bolsheviks they have agreed to compromise, and these so-called Social Revolutionary leaders appear to have accepted the conditions offered them.  (MEMORANDUM ON TWO TENDENCIES IN THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT, Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office, Russia /020, February 15, 1919. In: Foreign Office (1917-1918), p. 59) (IMG)

Swain too, from the Wilson Center and BBC, reported:

The Bolshevik-Left Socialist Revolutionary Coalition Government requested that the Constituent Assembly should recognise what it termed the 'right of recall' and allow local soviets to call by-elections where the local SR deputy was not felt to represent the popular will. (Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, Routledge, Geoffrey Swain, 2014, p. XIV) (IMG)

Hence,:

When the Constituent Assembly met on 5 January 1918 it refused point blank to agree to this, and so was forcibly dissolved. (Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, Routledge, Geoffrey Swain, 2014, p. XIV) (IMG)

The Constituent Assembly was dissolved and the Bolshevik-Left-SR popular front state as a republic of soviets was firmly established.

·        Note: SR = Social Revolutionaries.

 

Screenshots of Sources

 

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