V. I.   Lenin

Speech at a Meeting in
Presnya District

July 26, 1918[1]

Published: First published in 1957 in the journal Kommunist No. 5. Printed from the typewritten copy of the minutes.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 104c-105.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

(Lenin’s appearance was greeted with a prolonged standing ovation. The “Internationale” was sung.) In his speech Lenin, in a clear and popular form, explained the essential features and basic points of the Soviet Constitution. The Soviets were the highest form of democratic government by the people. The Soviets were not something invented out of one’s head, they were the product of living reality. They   appeared and developed for the first time in history in our backward country, but objectively they should become the form of government by the working people all over the world.

All constitutions that had existed till now safeguarded the interests of the ruling classes. The Soviet Constitution was the only one that served and would constantly serve the working people and was a powerful weapon in the fight for socialism. Comrade Lenin very aptly pointed out the differences between the demands for “freedom of the press and assembly” in bourgeois constitutions and in the Soviet Constitution. There, freedom of the press and assembly was an exclusive monopoly of the bourgeoisie there the bourgeoisie met in their saloons, issued their big dailies financed by the banks with the aim of sowing lies and slander and poisoning the minds of the masses; there the workers’ press was strangled, not allowed to say what it thought about the predatory war; there, those opposed to the war were hounded and their meetings banned. Here in Soviet Russia, however, the workers’ press existed and served the working people. In Russia we were taking the sumptuous houses and palaces away from the bourgeoisie and turning them over to the workers to be used by them as clubs, and that was freedom of assembly in practice. Religion was a private concern. Everyone could believe in what he wants or believe in nothing. The Soviet Republic united the working people of all nations and defended the interests o the working people without national discrimination. The Soviet Republic knew no religious distinctions. It stood above all religion and strove to separate religion from the Soviet state. Lenin went on to describe the Soviet Republic’s difficult position, surrounded as it was on all sides by imperialist predators. Comrade Lenin expressed his confidence that the Red Army men would defend our Soviet Republic with all their might against all encroachments by international imperialism and would keep it safe until our ally-the international proletariat-came to our aid. (Comrade Lenin’s speech was greeted with prolonged and tumultuous applause. The “Internationale” was sung.)


[1] Lenin addressed a meeting in the large hail of the Racing Society at Khodynka on the evening of July 26, 1918. The hall was crowded to overflowing with workers and Red Army men. A soldier made a speech on behalf of the First Reserve Artillery Brigade in which he said that in the person of Lenin they greeted the Council of People’s Commissars and were ready to defend the workers’ and peasants’ government at the Council’s first call. The resolution proposed after Lenin’s speech was adopted unanimously with one abstention. In conclusion Zriamensky briefly acquainted the audience with Lenin’s biography.

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