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Sovfoto / UIG / Dinodia Photos
01 March, 2024

THREE HUNDRED AND ONE voting delegates, representing members of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), attend its eighth Congress in Moscow in March 1919. The Congress had 102 delegates who had speaking rights but not the right to vote.

Vladimir Lenin had formed a distinct Bolshevik organisation, splitting the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party, in 1912. It formally seized control of the government in October 1917 and changed its name to RCP (B) the next year.

In his opening speech at the eighth Congress, Lenin noted that the RCP (B) first had to fight “for the Soviet Republic’s right to existence.” But, he said, “by its next step the Party, which wants to lay the sound foundations of communist society, must take up the task of correctly defining our attitude towards the middle peasants. This is a problem of a higher order.”

The Congress had several matters on its agenda. Foremost among them appeared to be electing a new central committee of the party. Apart from that, a report on the previous central committee, the party programme and the party’s work in the countryside was presented. The Congress resolved as well to strengthen the Red Army. It also sent a wireless message to the government of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. “The proletariat throughout the world is watching your struggle with intense interest and will not permit the imperialists to raise their hands against the new Soviet Republic,” the message said. In his closing speech, Lenin noted the many challenges facing the “proletarian revolution in Hungary.”

Lenin remarked that the “seed sown by the Russian revolution” was springing up in Europe. He declared that “no matter how difficult the trials that may still befall us and no matter how great the misfortunes that may be brought upon us by that dying beast, international imperialism, that beast will perish, and socialism will triumph throughout the world.”