February 1917 - SRs and SDs appeal to soldiers to support the revolution

Appeal of the Petersburg inter-district committee of the RSDRP and the PSR

[Translator's note: This appeal was produced as a leaflet jointly by the RSDRP inter-district committee (perhaps the largest and most active of the Marxist groups in Petrograd at the time of the fall of Tsarism) and the Socialist-Revolutionary Party - presumably its Petrograd committee. It is interesting not least in that it reflects the degree of grass-roots co-operation between the different socialist parties and factions around the time of the February revolution. The heading of the leaflet bears the characteristic slogans both of the SRs ("in struggle you will find your rights!") and of the SDs ("workers of the world unite!"). The slogans at the bottom combine both traditional SR demands ("all land to the peasants!") and more general radical socialist sentiments about the war. Although joint statements continued to be issued by diverse groups on various questions throughout the course of 1917, in general the delineation between the factions became much sharper as the year progressed, especially as the emigre leaders returned to Russia to reassert control over their parties.]

27 February 1917

In struggle you will find your rights!
Workers of the world unite!

Comrade Soldiers!

The working class, driven by hunger, has risen in struggle with your and our enemies, in struggle against the war, and against the autocracy of our criminal rulers. It has risen in struggle for freedom and land! Comrades! For 2 1/2 years you have been suffering in trenches and barracks, for 2 1/2 years you have been tormented by your inhuman commanding officers. The soldier’s lot is a hard one. You are treated no better than dogs. Comrades! Brothers! Your hopes lie with us! We place our hopes in you! We extend our calloused hands, crippled with work, to you. Brothers! Some of you have shot at the people. Workers’ blood has been shed! Soldiers! Do not stain your hands with the blood of your brothers! Down with fratricide! Glory and honour to those of you who supported the people! Honour to the Cossacks who drove the city police out of the Znamenie cathedral! Honour to the soldiers of the Pavlovsky regiment who avenged the violence of the city police! Brothers! If you are ordered to shoot at the people, shoot those who gave you the orders. Let your bayonets be turned against the oppressors. Our starving wives await your help. Comrades! Read our leaflets! Organise yourselves! Join up with the workers! It is our sacred belief that the soldiers will not betray the people! Brothers! Hear our voice! Long live the unity of the army and the people! Down with the autocracy! Down with the war! Long live the revolution! All the land to the peasants! Full freedom to the people!

Petersburg inter-district committee of the RS-DRP

Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries.

Archive source: GARF 1741/1/35278
Published in O A Shashkova, compiler, Fevral’skaya revolyutsiya 1917: sbornik dokumentov i materialov, Rossiyskiy gosudarstvennyy gumanitarnyy universitet, Moscow, 1996, p. 79.