V. I. Lenin

The Soldiers and the Land

Soldatskaya Pravda No. 1, April 15, 1917.

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 24, pages 137-138.

Most of the soldiers come from the peasantry. Every peasant knows how the landowners have been oppressing the people. But wherein lies the power of the landowners?

In the land.

The landowners have tens of millions of dessiatines of land. That is why millions of peasant families have no choice but to enslave themselves to the landowners.

No “liberties” can help the peasants so long as the landowners are in possession of tens of millions of dessiatines of land.

All the landed estates must be taken over by the people. All the land in the country must become the property of the whole people, and be disposed of by the local Soviets of Peasants’ and Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies.

How is this to he accomplished? We must immediately set up all over Russia, in every village without exception, Soviets of Peasants’ and Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies modelled after the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies in the cities. Unless the peasants and agricultural labourers themselves unite, unless they themselves take their fate into their own hands, no one in the world will help them, no one will free them from their bondage to the landowners.

To enable the peasants to take over all the land from the landowners in their own districts immediately and to dispose of it properly, while preserving perfect order and guarding against any damage to property, the peasants must be supported by the soldiers.

The peasants, soldiers, and workers constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. This majority wants   all the land to pass immediately into the hands of the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies. No one can stop the majority, if it is well organised (solidly united), if it is class-conscious, if it is armed.

Soldiers! Help to unite and arm all the workers and the peasants!

Soldiers! You, too, unite more solidly, and form closer ties with the workers and the peasants! Do not allow your armed power to be taken away from you!

Then, and only then, will the people get all the land, and free themselves from their bondage to the landowners.