V. I. Lenin
A “Voluntary Agreement” Between Landowners and Peasants?
Written April 14 (27), 1917
Published April 15, 1917 in Pravda No. 33.
Lenin Collected Works, Volume 24, page 134.
Here is the text of the telegram from Minister Shingaryov, mentioned in yesterday’s editorial of our paper, and printed in today’s Dyen:
“On acquainting myself with the decision of the Ranenburg Committee relating to the grain sowing, I deem it my duty to declare that an independent solution of the land question in the absence of a general state law is inadmissible. Arbitrary action will lead to a national calamity and will jeopardies the cause of freedom by provoking discord. The lawful solution of the land question is the business of the Constituent Assembly. At the present time agricultural conciliation chambers will beset up in each local area under the rural supply committees for the purpose of effecting voluntary agreements between the tillers of the land and the landowners. The question of leaseholds on vacant lands is also being urgently considered. For the sake of general order I request that everybody be guided by the decisions of the Provisional Government and refrain from establishing self-made laws.’
Can you call it ’democracy’, ’people’s freedom’, when the peasants, who clearly constitute the overwhelming majority of the population, have no right to adopt and carry out their own decision, but must wait for a ’voluntary agreement’ between the tillers of the land and the landowners?
One landowner having two thousand dessiatines of land—and three hundred peasant families having two thousand dessiatines. That, on the average, is how things stand in Russia. Three hundred peasants must wait for the ’voluntary’ consent of one landowner!
Is this right, comrade soldiers?