Russian Federation 1918 Constitution

Table of Contents


The declaration of rights of the laboring and exploited people (approved by the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets in January, 1918), together with the constitution of the Soviet Republic, approved by the Fifth Congress, constitutes a single fundamental law of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic.

This fundamental law becomes effective upon the publication of the same in its entirety in the “Izvestia of the All-Russian General Executive Committee.” It must be published by all organs of the Soviet Government and must be posted in a prominent place in every Soviet institution.

The Fifth Congress instructs the People’s Commissariat of Education to introduce in all schools and educational institutions of the Russian Republic the study and explanation of the basic principles of this constitution.


Chapter One

Article 1

Russia is declared to be a Republic of the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies. All the central and local power belongs to these Soviets.

Article 2

The Russian Soviet Republic is organized on the basis of a free union of free nations, as a federation of Soviet national Republics.

Chapter Two

Article 3

Bearing in mind as its fundamental problem the abolition of exploitation of men by men, the entire abolition of the division of the people into classes, the suppression of exploiters, the establishment of a Socialist society, and the victory of socialism in all lands, the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies further resolves:

  1. For the purpose of realizing the socialization of land, all private property in land is abolished, and the entire land is declared to be national property and is to be apportioned among husbandmen without any compensation to the former owners, in the measure of each one’s ability to till it.
  2. All forests, treasures of the earth, and waters of general public utility, all implements whether animate or inanimate, model farms and agricultural enterprises, are declared to be national property.
  3. As a first step toward complete transfer of ownership to the Soviet Republic of all factories, mills, mines, railways, and other means of production and transportation, the Soviet law for the control by workmen and the establishment of the Supreme Soviet of National Economy is hereby confirmed, so as to assure the power of the workers over the exploiters.
  4. With reference to international banking and finance, the Third Congress of Soviets is discussing the Soviet decree regarding the annulment of loans made by the Government of the Czar, by landowners and the bourgeoisie, and it trusts that the Soviet Government will firmly follow this course until the final victory of the international workers’ revolt against the oppression of capital.
  5. The transfer of all banks into the ownership of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, as one of the conditions of the liberation of the toiling masses from the yoke of capital, is confirmed.
  6. Universal obligation to work is introduced for the purpose of eliminating the parasitic strata of society and organizing the economic life of the country.
  7. For the purpose of securing the working class in the possession of the complete power, and in order to eliminate all possibility of restoring the power of the exploiters, it is decreed that all toilers be armed, and that a Socialist Red Army be organized and the propertied class be disarmed.

Chapter Three

Article 4

Expressing its absolute resolve to liberate mankind from the grip of capital and imperialism, which flooded the earth with blood in this present most criminal of all wars, the Third Congress of Soviets fully agrees with the Soviet Government in its policy of breaking secret treaties, of organizing on a wide scale the fraternization of the workers and peasants of the belligerent armies, and of making all efforts to conclude a general democratic peace without annexations or indemnities, upon the basis of the free determination of the peoples.

Article 5

It is also to this end that the Third Congress of Soviets insists upon putting an end to the barbarous policy of the bourgeois civilization which enables the exploiters of a few chosen nations to enslave hundreds of millions of the toiling population of Asia, of the colonies, and of small countries generally.

Article 6

The Third Congress of Soviets hails the policy of the Council of People’s Commissars in proclaiming the full independence of Finland, in withdrawing troops from Persia, and in proclaiming the right of Armenia to self-determination.

Chapter Four

Article 7

The Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies believes that now, during the progress of the decisive battle between the proletariat and its exploiters, the exploiters cannot hold a position in any branch of the Soviet Government. The power must belong entirely to the toiling masses and to their plenipotentiary representatives—the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies.

Article 8

In its effort to create a league—free and voluntary, and for that reason all the more complete and secure—of the working classes of all the peoples of Russia, the Third Congress of Soviets merely establishes the fundamental principles of the federation of Russian Soviet Republics, leaving to the workers and peasants of every people to decide the following question at their plenary sessions of their Soviets: whether or not they desire to participate, and on what basis, in the federal government and other federal Soviet institutions.