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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

The Soviets Proclaimed the Government

Lenin, painting Isaak Brodsky (1884-1939)

"Every minute brings news of fresh conquests of the Revolution–the arrest of ministers, the seizure of the State Bank, telegraph station, telephone station, the staff headquarters. One by one the centers of power are passing into the hands of the people. The spectral authority of the old government is crumbling before the hammer strokes of the insurgents.

A commissar, breathless and mud-spattered from riding, climbs the platform to announce: “The garrison of Tsarskoye Selo for the Soviets. It stands guard at the gates of Petrograd.” From another: “The Cyclists’ Battalion for the Soviets. Not a single man found willing to shed the blood of his brothers.” Then Krylenko, staggering up, telegram in hand: “Greetings to the Soviet from the Twelfth Army! The Soldiers’ Committee is taking over the command of the Northern Front.”

And finally at the end of this tumultuous night, out of this strife of tongues and clash of wills, the simple declaration: “The Provisional Government is deposed. Based upon the will of the great majority of workers, soldiers and peasants, the Congress of Soviets assumes the power. The Soviet authority will at once propose an immediate democratic peace to all nations, an immediate truce on all fronts. It will assure the free transfer of Lands . . . etc.”

Pandemonium! Men weeping in one another’s arms. Couriers jumping up and racing away. Telegraph and telephone buzzing and humming. Autos starting off to the battlefront; aeroplanes speeding away across rivers and plains. Wireless flashing across the seas. All messengers of the great news !

The will of the revolutionary masses has triumphed. The Soviets are the government. This historic session ends at six o’clock in the morning. The delegates, reeling from the toxin of fatigue, 'hollow-eyed- from sleeplessness, but exultant, stumble down the stone stairs and through the gates of Smolny. Outside it is still dark and chill, but a red dawn is a-breaking in the east."" -- American journalist Albert Williams who witnessed the Great October Socialist Revolution and wrote of it in Through the Russian Revolution

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