In Defence of October

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The Salaries of High-Ranking Office Employees and Officials

Written on December 1 (November 18), 1917.

Recognising the need for energetic measures to reduce the salaries of high-ranking office employees and officials in all state, public and private institutions and enterprises, the Council of People’s Commissars decrees:

1) that the salary limit for people’s commissars be fixed at 500 rubles a month where there are no children, and 100 rubles extra for each child; housing to be at the rate of not more than 1 room for each member of the family; 2) that all local Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies be asked to prepare and carry out revolutionary measures to impose special taxes on high-ranking employees; 3) that the Ministry for Finance be instructed to draft a general law concerning this reduction; 4) that the Ministry for Finance and all the respective commissars be instructed to immediately study the estimates of the ministries and cut all excessively high salaries and pensions.


[1] This draft was written at a meeting of the Council of People’s Commissars during the discussion of the question of salaries for People’s Commissars and was adopted with slight amendments. It was published as a decree of the C.P.C. “Remuneration for People’s Commissars and High-Ranking Office Employees and Officials” on November23 (December 6), 1917, in Gazeta Vremennogo Rabochego i Krestyanskogo Pravitelstva (Newspaper of the Provisional Workers’ and Peasants’ Government) No. 16.

The question of remuneration for specialists was subsequently revised by the Party and the Soviet Government. The decree of the C.P.C. of January 2 (15), 1918, on “Rates of Pay for High Ranking Officials” (see p. 52 of this volume) specified that the restriction in salaries for People’s Commissars did not imply a ban on higher rates of pay for specialists. The need for making this change in the general system of remuneration was recognised in a decision of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee dated April 29, 1918.


Source: Marxist Internet Achive.

The February Revolution
Strikes and protests erupt on women's day in Petrograd and develop into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the workers win over the army and bring down the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy.
Lenin Returns
Lenin returns to Russia and presents his ‘April Theses’ denouncing the Bourgeois Provisional Government and calling for “All Power to the Soviets!”
The June Days
Following the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the reformist leaders called a demonstration to show the strength of "democracy". 400,000 people attended, the vast majority carried banners with Bolshevik slogans.
The July Days
Spontaneous, armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government erupt in Petrograd. The workers and soldiers are suppressed by force, introducing a period of reaction and making the peaceful development of the revolution impossible.
The Kornilov Affair
Following the July days, the Bolsheviks were driven underground and the forces of reaction were emboldened. This process culminated in the reactionary forces coalescing around General Kornilov, who attempt to march on Petrograd and crush the revolutionary movement in its entirety.
The October Revolution
The Provisional Government is overthrown. State power passes to the Soviets on the morningm of 26th October, after the Bolsheviks’ Military Revolutionary Committee seize the city and the cabinet surrenders.
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