1918 - Constitution of the Ufa Directory

[Translator's note: This document represents a specific phase in the anti-Bolshevik struggle on Russia's periphery - the so-called "democratic counter revolution". The state conference in Ufa referred to in the preamble to the document brought together a very wide range of bodies and organisations to try to coordinate their armed and political actions against Lenin's government. A five-man Provisional All-Russian Government, or "directory" was established which claimed to govern all Russia. For all the grandiloquent phraseology of the act establishing this body, it failed lamentably to achieve its aims. Not only did it lack the resources to govern effectively, it was paralysed by the unbridgeable political gulf between its left (SRs and Mensheviks) and its right (Kadets, army officers, cossack leaders and so forth). The directory lasted just six weeks before it was overthrown from the right and power was transferred to Admiral A V Kolchak. Its SR members, including the chairman N D Avkstent'ev, were arrested and exiled. From this time on, the white movement had a much more pronounced rightist and military-authoritarian character. - FK]

An Act to Form an All-Russian Supreme Authority

26 August (8 September) - 10 (23) September 1918

The State Conference - made up of members of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly and plenipotentiaries of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly Committee, the Provisional Siberian Government, the Urals oblast government, the Orenburg, Urals, Siberian, Irkutsk, Semirechensk, Enisei and Astrakhan Cossacks, the representatives of the governments of Bashkiria, Alash, Turkestan, the National Administration of Turko-Tartars of the Russian and Siberian interior and the Provisional Government of Estonia, the representatives of the Siberian, Urals and Volga urban and zemstvo congresses, representatives of the following political parties and organisations: the Socialist Revolutionary Party, the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party, the Trudovaya Popular Socialist Party, the Party of People's Freedom [Kadets] and the All-Russian Social-Democratic organisation "Edinstvo" and The Union for the Liberation of Russia - in its unanimous desire to save the country, restore its unity and ensure its independence has resolved fully to entrust supreme power throughout the Russian state to the All-Russian Provisional Government, composed of five persons: Nikolay Dmitrievich Avksent'ev, Nikolay Ivanovich Astrov, Lieutenant-General Vasily Georgievich Boldyrev, Petr Vasil'evich Vologodsky and Nikolay Vasil'evich Chaykovsky.

The All-Russian Provisional Government will in its activities be guided by the following provisions, as established by this instrument:

General Provisions

1. Until the convocation of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly the All-Russian Provisional Government is the single repository of supreme power throughout the Russian State.
2. All the functions of supreme power temporarily being carried out by oblast' governments because of the current situation must be transferred to the All-Russian Provisional Government, as and when required.
3. The powers of the oblast' governments are to be based on the principle of wide-ranging oblast' autonomy and on the programme of government action set out below. These powers will be laid down by the Provisional All-Russian Government in its wisdom.

The Duties of the Government toward the All-Russian Constituent Assembly

The duties of the All-Russian Provisional Government are as follows:
1. All possible assistance to the Congress of Members of the Constituent Assembly, operating as a legal state organ, in its independent work of ensuring the relocation of members of the Constituent Assembly, hastening and preparing the resumption of activity by the Constituent Assembly in its present composition.
2. In its activities the government will be unswervingly guided by the indisputable supreme rights of the Constituent Assembly. It will tirelessly ensure that the actions of all organs subordinate to the Provisional Government do not in any way tend to infringe the rights of the Constituent Assembly or hinder its resumption of work.
3. It will present an account of its activities to the Constituent Assembly as soon as the Constituent Assembly declares that it has resumed operation. It will subordinate itself unconditionally to the Constituent Assembly, as the only supreme authority in the country.

The Provisional Government's Programme of Work

1. The struggle to free Russia from Soviet power.
2. The restoration of those oblasti of Russia which have broken away or become detached.
3. Non-recognition of the Brest Treaty and of all other treaties of an international character, concluded either in the name of Russia, or of its individual parts after the February revolution, by any authority other than the Provisional Government. Relations with the Entente powers will be restored in reality on the basis of our treaties.
4. The continuation of the war against the German coalition.

In the realm of domestic policy the Provisional Government is to pursue the following aims:

I. Military Matters
1. The restoration of fighting efficiency and of a single Russian army free from the influence of political parties and subordinate, through its supreme command, to the Provisional All-Russian Government..
2. Complete non-interference by the military authorities in the sphere of civil administration, with the exception of places in the theatre of military operations or declared by government decree to be subject to martial law, where this is dictated by dire state necessity.

3. The establishment of strict military discipline according to principles of legality and respect for the individual.
4. The inadmissibility of servicemen's political organisations and the removal of the army from politics.

II. Civil Matters
1. The organisation of liberated Russia on the principle of recognition of the rights of its individual oblasti to wide-ranging autonomy, determined by geographical and economic, as well as ethnographic criteria, envisaging the eventual establishment of a state organised on federal principles by a sovereign Constituent Assembly.2. The recognition of the right of national minorities not occupying discrete territories to national self-determination in the cultural sphere.
3. The restoration in those parts of Russia freed from Soviet power of democratic urban and zemstvo self-government, with the organisation of new elections as soon as possible.
4. The taking of measures for the real defence of State security.

III. Economic Matters
1. A struggle against economic collapse.
2. Assistance in the development of the country's productive forces. The attraction of private capital, both Russian and foreign, and the encouragement of private initiative and enterprise.
3. The state regulation of conditions for hiring and dismissing workers.
4. The recognition of the complete freedom of association.
5. In the area of food policy - repudiation of the grain monopoly and fixed grain-prices while retaining rationing of produce in short supply. State procurement with the participation of private and co-operative trade organisations.
6. In the area of finance - struggle against the depreciation of paper money, the restoration of a tax-system and the strengthening of both direct income taxation and indirect taxation.
7. In the area of land policy - without permitting such changes in existing land-relations as would prevent the full resolution of the land question by the Constituent Assembly, the All-Russian Provisional Government is leaving land in the hands of its actual users and is taking measures to resume work on the settlement of land-use on the principle of the maximum increase in cultivated land and the broadening of land-tenure in the light of the economic features of each oblast' and region.

[Source: Narodovlastie, No. 1, 1918.]

This document was published in M E Glavatsky and V A Mazur (editor and compiler) Istoriya Rossii 1917 - 1940, Ekaterinburg, 1993, pp. 102 - 105. For a link to a Russian version, click here.