V. I. Lenin

Speech Delivered at a Meeting of the

Communist Group at the Fifth Congress of Soviets

July 3, 1918[1]

Brief Newspaper Report

Delivered: 3 July, 1918
First Published: 4 July, 1918, Pravda No, 135, Published according to the Pravda text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 502-503
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

Dealing with Russia’s international position, Lenin said that it continued to be dangetous. The external enemy was not only threatening to attack Russia but was already tearing pieces from her.

This unstable and precarious situation would probably continue until capital was overthrown by the efforts of the working class of the whole world. The present stage muss be taken advantage of as a breathing-space in which to consolidate the Soviet regime.

Speaking of the world war, Lenin stated that the victory of German arms was making peace between the imperialist countries impossible. The British and French capitalists could not reconcile themselves to Germany retaining the huge booty she had seized. Moreover, after a series of offensives in France, where Germany had lost hundreds of thousands of men, a certain balance of forces had ensued,. and German bayonets no longer constituted a direct threat. Besides, the Entente[2] imperialists were fully alive to the disruption and catastrophic state of affairs that had come about in Austria-Hungary.

There was one conclusion to be drawn from the general state of affairs, and that was that the war was becoming hopeless. This hopelessness was an earnest that our socialist revolution had a very good chance of holding on until the world revolution broke out; and the guarantee of this was the war, which only the working masses could end. Our task was to maintain the Soviet regime intact; and that was what we were doing by retreating and manoeuvring. To join open battle at this juncture would damage the position of the world revolution.

Describing the economic state of the country as we had inherited it from the various Right parties formerly in power, Lenin spoke of the great difficulties that would attend the work of economic development organised on new lines, on new principles.

In the struggle against famine, he said, we had two enemies: the rich and the economic disruption. In this struggle it was essential that the poor peasant should believe in a fraternal alliance with the worker. He would believe only deeds, not words. Our only hope here lay in an alliance of the class-conscious urban workers with the poor peasants. The aim of this struggle-the right of all to bread and the right to fair distribution-was a great aim. The ability to distribute equally was the foundation of socialism, which we were building. For this we were answerable not only to our brothers, but to the workers of the whole world.

They must be shown that socialism was not something impossible, but a firm workers’ system, and one for which the proletariat of the whole world must strive.


[1] The meetings of the Communist group at the Fifth All-Russia Congress of Soviets before the Congress opened were held July 1-3, 1918; they were attended by about 500 Communist delegates who had arrived for the Congress. The first meeting was opened by Y. M. Sverdlov, Chairman of the All-Russia C.E.C. After speaking briefly of the tasks before the Congress, he informed the delegates about the work that had been done on drawing up a draft Constitution of the R .S F .S . R. Lenin spoke on July 3 on the foreign and domestic affairs of the Republic. After his speech a resolution approving the policy of the Central Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars was passed unanimously. The group heard reports from the provinces and discussed and approved the Congress agenda.

[2] Entente cordiale-bloc of imperialist powers (Britain, France and Russia) formed at the beginning of this century in opposition to the imperialists of the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy). It took its name from the Anglo-French agreement of 1904. During the world imperialist war of 1914-18 the United States, Japan and other countries joined the Entente. After the Great October Socialist Revolution the chief members of the bloc, Britain, France, the U.S.A. and Japan, inspired, organised and participated in the armed intervention against Soviet Russia.