Disintegration of the Soviet Government[1]

First Published: Novaya Zhizn, No. 173, November 5 (18), 1917, p. 3.
Sources: "Bolshevik Resignations from the Sovnarkom" in James Bunyan and H.H. Fisher, The Bolshevik revolution, 1917-1918: Documents and materials, Stanford University Press; London: H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1934, pp. 202-203; National Library of Russia.
Translated: Emanuel Aronsberg
Online Version: Marxist Internet Archive 2021
HTML Markup: Zdravko Saveski

We take the stand that it is necessary to form a Socialist government of all parties in the Soviet. We believe that only such a government can preserve the fruits of the heroic war won by the working class and the revolutionary army in the October-November days. The alternative is - a purely Bolshevik government which can maintain itself only by means of political terror. It is this last-named alternative which the Soviet of People's Commissars has chosen. We cannot and will not accept it, for it is certain to alienate the proletarian masses and cause their withdrawal from political leadership; it will lead to the establishment of an irresponsible regime and to the ruin of the revolution and the country. We cannot assume responsibility for such a policy, and, therefore, we give up the name of People's Commissars.

V. NOGIN, People's Commissar of Commerce and Industry;
A. RYKOV, People's Commissar of Interior;
V. MILIUTIN, People's Commissar of Agriculture;
I. TEODOROVICH, People's Commissar of Food;
A. SHLIAPNIKOV,[2] People's Commissar of Labor;
D. RIAZANOV, Commissar of Railways;
N. DERBYSHEV, Commissar of the Press;
I. ARBUZOV, Commissar of the State Printing Office;
YURENEV,2 Commissar of the Red Guard;
G. FEDOROV, Chief of the Section of Conflicts in the Commissariat of Labor;
Yu. LARIN, Chief of Section of Legislation


[1] This statement was made on November 4 (17), 1917 at the conclusion of the discussion in the Central Executive Committee on the decree on the press.

[2] "I agree with the above estimate of the political situation .... but do not feel it is right to resign."