1918 - Soviet government appeal
To the Toiling Masses
Of France, Britain, America, Italy & Japan,
Appeal of the Russian Workers' and Peasants' Soviet Government.
Your entire Capitalist Press is howling like a vicious, unleashed dog, for your governments to intervene in Russian affairs. The hireling newspapers of your exploiters, shouting "Now or Never" have dropped their masks and are openly clamouring for an advance against the workers and peasants of Russia. But even at this moment they lie unscrupulously, and shamelessly attempt to deceive you, for whilst they threaten intervention in Russian affairs, they are already conducting military operations against the Russia of the workers and peasants.
Anglo-French bandits, who have seized the Murman railways, are already executing Soviet railway workers. In the Ural mountains, the Allied governments are using Czecho-slovak troops, maintained at the expense of the French people and commanded by French officers, to break up the workers' Soviets and shoot their elected representatives.
By order of your Governments, Allied troops are cutting off the bread supplies of the Russian people, in order that the workers and peasants may be compelled to put their necks once more under the yoke of the Paris and London Stock Exchanges. The open attack which Franco-British capital is now making on the workers of Russia is only the completion of eight months long underground struggle against the Soviet power.
From the day of the October Revolution, from that moment when the workers and peasants of Russia declared that they would no longer shed either their own blood, or that of other peoples, in the interests, either of Russian or foreign Capital, international capital declared war on us. From the day when we threw to the ground our exploiters and appealed to you to follow our example, to join us in putting an end to international slaughter and exploitation, from that moment the capitalists of your countries have sworn that they would demolish Russia, because the workers had dared, as workers had never done in the history of humanity, to overthrow the yoke of capitalism, and to free their necks from the noose of war.
Your governments supported the Ukrainian Rada in its struggle against the workers and peasants of Russia. The Rada sold itself to German Imperialism and called in the German bayonets to suppress the workers and peasants of the Ukraine.
Your governments supported also the Roumanian Oligarchy which, by its attacks on our South-Western front, helped to destroy Russia's power of self-defence.
The agents of your governments bought for ready cash that same General Krasnoff who, hand in hand with the German military authorities is now trying to cut off Russia from the coal of the Donetz region and from Kuban grain, in order to make her the defenceless victim of German and Russian capitalism.
Moreover your Governments have supported, both morally and financially, the Right wing of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, that party of traitors to the Revolution which took arms against the government of the workers and peasants.
When your governments saw that the hired bandits in Russia were insufficient to crush our workers' Revolution, they decided to sacrifice also the workers of France, Britain and the other Allied countries, who are shedding your blood in the interests of capital on the Marne and the Aisne, in the Balkans, in Syria and Mesopotamia, and who are dying in the snows of North Finland, in the interests of Capital also you are expected in the mountains of the Ural to be the executioners of the Russian Workers' Revolution.
To hide this fact from you, your Capitalists pretend that their new crusade is undertaken, not against the Russian Revolution, but against German militarism, to which they claim we have sold ourselves.
The false hypocrisy of this pretence will be clearly evident to every one of you, if you will but consider the following facts:-
(1) Though the Brest Peace Treaty dismembered Russia, we were compelled to sign it, because your governments, well knowing that Russia was not able any longer to carry on the war, yet refused to take part in the international peace negotiations, in which, the strength of your governments would have saved Russia, and would have given to you an acceptable peace.
It was not Russia, bleeding white as she did for three and a half years, who sold your cause; it was your own governments that cast Russia under the heel of German Imperialism.
(2) We were compelled to conclude the Brest peace treaty, because our people were no longer able to continue the war. The agents of your governments, nevertheless, tried to draw us into the war again, on the pretext that Germany would not allow us to remain at peace with her. We replied "If Germany should destroy the peace we bought at such great cost; if her governments should attack the Russian Revolution, we would defend ourselves. If the Allies would help us in our sacred cause, let them aid us to repair our railways and strengthen our economic position, for an economically weak Russia cannot successfully defend herself." The Allies did not respond to our appeal. Their only thought was to pump out of the Russian people the interest due on old loans advanced by French capitalists to Czarism. These loans advanced to draw the Czar's government into the war, have been paid for by the Russian people in seas of blood and mountains of corpses.
(3) The Allies, not merely failed to help us in any way to reestablish our capacity for self-defence, as we have shown above, they also tried every available means of destroying this capacity, fomenting internal disorder, and cutting us off from the reserves of bread.
(4) The Allies warned us that the Germans would seize Siberian and Murman railways, the only remaining lines directly connecting us with the rest of the world. The Germans could not seize these lines as they were too far away from them. It is the Noble Allies who have seized them. In Murmansk and Siberia, the Allies are [not] carrying on a struggle against the Germans, who are not there, but against the Russian workers, whose Soviets the Allies are everywhere attempting to destroy.
All that the Press of your Capitalists and their agents say in defence of the barbaric assault upon Russia is mere hypocrisy, intended to hide from you the real facts. In their campaign in Russia, the Allied governments have three aims in view:-
I. The seizure of as much Russian territory as possible, in order to use Russian wealth and railways as security for the payment of the interest on French and Russian loans.
II. The suppression of the Workers' Revolution, lest it should inspire you, comrades in the Allied countries; lest it should show you how it is possible to throw off the yoke of capitalism.
III. To create a new Eastern Front, to draw the German forces from the Western front on to Russian territory, your capitalists declare that they will thus diminish the pressure of the German legions upon you and will hasten the moment of victory over German Imperialism. They lie; they were incapable of defeating Germany when the pressure of a great Russian army gave the Allies a numerical superiority; still less can they secure victory on the battlefield, now that the Russian army is but just being created.
German Imperialism can only be defeated when the Imperialism of all states is defeated by a united onslaught of the world's workers. Not continuing the war, but by bringing it to an end shall we secure this object. Both you and the German workers will be freed from fear of the Capitalist class and its aims of conquest, when the international civil war of the exploited against the exploiters, finally puts an end to all kinds of social, as well as national, injustice.
Attempts to draw Russia into the War will not save your blood from being shed. They can but turn the sword against the Russian workers' Revolution and none desire this more than the leaders of the German Military Party, who being close neighbours of the Revolution, fear, more than all others, its inflammatory sparks. As docile tools in the criminal conspiracy of your governments against Russia, you, workers of France, Britain, America and Italy become the executioners of Workers' Revolution.
The descendants of the heroes of the Paris Commune now enter the ranks as assistants to Galife - Such is the role that your masters assign to you, workers of France!
You, sons of British toilers, who, rose in a body when the British textile barons wanted to aid the American slaveowners, are now to become the executioners of the Russian Revolution. Such is the depth of degradation to which your rulers would reduce you.
Workers of America, you who have ever detested the Czar's despotism, are now, at the bidding of the Trust-Kings, to help in erecting a new Czarism. This is the real issue, workers of America.
And you, workers of Italy, who watch with enthusiasm every effort of the working class war of emancipation, your masters wish to transform you into counter revolutionary campaigners against the Russia of the workers!
The Russia of the working class is stretching out her hand to you, toilers of the Allied countries!
Men whose hands reek with the blood of working people shot at Kem, Samara, at Tomsk, by command of the Murman invaders, these, and the organisers of the Czecho-Slovak rebellion, are the people who declare that, under the orders of Germany, we, are breaking the ties which bind us to the peoples of France, Britain, Italy, America and Belgium.
Too long have we calmly suffered the derisive jeers flung at Soviet Russia by the representatives of Allied Imperialism. We have allowed those who licked the boots of Czarism to remain in Russia, although they have refused to recognise the government of the workers. We did not take repressive measures against them even though the hand of their military mission was seen in every plot directed against us. Even now, when it is proved that French officers are leading the Czecho-Slovaks; even in face of the Murmansk outrages, we have not uttered a single word of protest against the presence of the diplomats of your governments in the territory of Soviet Russia, which they refuse to recognise. We only demanded the removal of those diplomats from Vologda to Moscow, in order that we might be able to defend them from those whom their mistakes had moved to deepest indignation. We have borne with them because we did not want to give them the opportunity to tell you that we are breaking with you. And after the departure of the Allied ambassadors, not a single hair will fall from the head of any peaceful citizen of your countries living in our midst who is willing to abide by the laws of the workers' and peasants' Republic.
We are convinced that should we now reply with two blows for every blow dealt by the rapacious "Allies," you will see in our action, not only legitimate self-defence, but the upholding of your interests as well as ours; for the preservation of the Russian Revolution is the common interest of the workers of all countries. We believe that every measure we may take against those, who, on Russian territory are hatching plots against the Russian Revolution will have your sympathy; for such plots are directed against you, as well as against us.
Driven to fight Allied Capitalism, which desires to add new fetters to those imposed on us by German Imperialism, we address ourselves to you, our fellow workers:
Long live the solidarity of the workers of the world!
Long live the solidarity of the working people of FRANCE, ENGLAND, AMERICA, and ITALY with the working people of RUSSIA!
Down with the bandits of International Imperialism! Long live the International Revolution!
In the name of the Soviet of the People's Commissaries,
President of the Soviet of the People's Commissaries,
V. ULIANOFF (LENIN)
People's Commissary for Foreign Affairs
People's Commissary for War