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Russian October Revolution of 1917 - a revolution that knows how to protect itself

Russian October Revolution is one of the greatest and most profound revolutions in the history as it knows how to protect itself and acts as a lodestar for the liberation of the human race from oppression and exploitation. Thanks to Russian October Revolution, the Communist Party of Vietnam has led our people to the victories in the August Revolution of 1945, in the defence of our revolutionary fruits, and in today’s Homeland construction and protection.

Lenin delivering a speech amongst Red Army soldiers

Inheriting and developing the ideology of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on arming the masses and protecting the fruits of a revolution as well as learning from the failure of the Paris Commune of 1871, which had existed in only 72 days due to the “political immaturity” of the working class, right in the first victorious night of the October Revolution (October 25th, 1917), the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets ratified the Decree on Peace and stated that Soviet Russia would withdraw from the war and recommend warring nations to quickly end military operations and negotiate for a democratic and equal agreement. However, imperial countries of the Treaty Faction rejected that proposal and forced Soviet Russia to join separate negotiations and sign an Armistice with Germany on December 2nd, 1917 according to which military activities would be ended and the two sides would start discussing the signing of a peace treaty. Taking advantage of the status of a fledgling Soviet Russia, at the negotiating table, German delegation compelled Russia to hand over a territory of 150,000 square kilometres (including Poland, Latvia, and a part of Belarus). Nevertheless, Leon Trotsky, head of the Russian delegation did not observe Lenin’s directive on immediately signing a peace treaty with Germany under Berlin’s terms and conditions. Seizing that opportunity, the German Military launched attacks on the capital city of Petrograd in order to overthrow the government of Soviet Russia.

Against that backdrop, Lenin sent a telegram to Berlin accepting its demands, but Germany continued its military attacks. Meanwhile, within the Bolshevik Party, there were two oppositional forces; the majority of the Party Central Committee and the two key Party Organisations of Petrograd and Moscow did not agree with Lenin’s signing of a peace treaty. Persistently offering explanations in conferences, Lenin was allowed to settle all issues on war and peace, but it did not mean that the Party Central Committee agreed with peace terms. Consequently, full mobilisation was released and young people immediately went to the war. Only after being defeated in front of Petrograd did Germany agree to be back to the negotiating table. On March 3rd, 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed, however, with even worse terms and conditions (Russia had to cut off a territory of 750,000 square kilometres, demobilise troops, and give a compensatory payment of 6 billion Deutsche Marks to Germany). According to Lenin, that was a treaty of “misfortune” but extremely necessary to maintain the Soviet government and spare a valuable peaceful time for preparing and consolidating the force. As anticipated by Lenin, in early November 1918, a bourgeois revolution broke out and was successful in Germany; immediately Soviet Russia nullified the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and determinedly restored its territory and population. Since then, Russia entered a war against 14 imperial countries’ armed intervention together with the White Guard’s rebellions. After three years only (1918-1920), under the leadership of Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, the people of Russia defeated riots and armed intervention of enemies, opening up a new chance for the struggle for peace, national independence, democracy, and socialism. Russian October Revolution proves that “gaining power is hard, but it is harder to maintain power,” and that “a revolution must know self-defence.”

Successful steps towards the defence of Russian October Revolution’s fruits became a strong motivation for colonial peoples to rise up and fight against the bourgeoisie’s oppression and exploitation, while facilitating the development of the national liberation and international Communist and labour movement. As a result, the proletariat confidently stepped on the political arena as the central class of the times. Talking about the significance of Russian October Revolution, President Ho Chi Minh described the Russian Revolution as the Sun to light up the world. According to the President, in order to save the country and liberate the people, there is no other way than a proletarian revolution. And that was the prerequisite for Nguyen Ai Quoc and the Communist Party of Vietnam to lead our people to conduct the General Uprising to seize power in August 1945.

After the August Revolution of 1945, Vietnam shared the same situation as Soviet Russia after its October Revolution. We were besieged by the hostile forces both inside and outside the country. More specifically, Chiang Kai-shek’s army entered Vietnam together with the Vietnam Nationalist Party and other Vietnamese reactionary groups to “destroy Communism,” while in the South, the French expeditionary force in the shadow of the UK launched terrorist attacks and plotted to abolish our revolutionary fruits and deploy troops to the North to restore the colonialist regime. Thus, leader Ho Chi Minh declared to the world about the inevitable and justice of the self-defence of our revolutionary fruits that “Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country and in fact it is so already. And thus the entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilise all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.” Being imbued with Lenin’s viewpoints on the self-defence of a revolution and learning from lessons on protecting Russian October Revolution’s fruits, our Party implemented many strategies to defend our fledgling government. We maintained a peace policy with Chiang Kai-shek’s army to deal with the French and vice versa. On March 6th, 1946, President Ho Chi Minh signed the Preliminary Agreement with the French government according to which France would recognise the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a free nation with its own foreign policy, military, finance, and parliament as well as a member of the Indochinese Federation and the French Union, while the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam agreed to allow 15,000 French troops to replace the army of the Republic of China in North Vietnam to disarm and repatriate Japanese troops. On March 9th, 1946, the Party Central Committee Standing Board issued a directive to explain that the signing of the Preliminary Agreement with the French had been aimed at sparing a time for building forces and making all necessary preparations. Making principled concessions with the French by signing the Preliminary Agreement (March 6th, 1946) and the Provisional Agreement (September 14th, 1946) expressed our people’s burning desire for peace as we would be prepared for a resistance war against the French colonialists. That also demonstrated the revolutionary, scientific nature of Lenin’s argument on the self-defence of a revolution, while proving that lessons on maintaining power of Soviet Union during Russian October Revolution became a spiritual motivation for our Party and people to overcome all hardships and challenges to obtain the historic victory in the battle of Dien Bien Phu of 1954 that “resounded across the five continents, shook the globe,” and positively profoundly impacted on the struggle for peace, national independence, and social progress on a global scale. In the process of its leadership over the defence of the Socialist Homeland in the North since 1954 and after the Great 1975 Spring Victory, applying lessons from Russian October Revolution, our Party has always set out sound, creative guidelines on the Homeland protection to provide a solid foundation for realising the goal of wealthy people, strong nation, democracy, equality, and civilisation.

The self-defence of Russian October Revolution’s fruits not only acted as a lodestar for the oppressed peoples’ national liberation cause, but also provided orientations for constructing and protecting the Socialist Homeland. And that is an undeniable truth. However, the hostile forces have been taking advantage of the event in Soviet Union and Eastern European socialist nations in the 1980s and the 1990s to distort Marxism-Leninism and the history and undermine the greatness of Russian October Revolution. According to them, Marxism-Leninism is now old-fashioned, socialism is over, Russian October Revolution is just a purely Russian uprising, and the establishment of a worker-peasant Soviet State is contrary to the general law of development of the human race.

However, those above-mentioned distortions are just “hopeless.” In spite of a lot of changes, the viewpoints on the self-defence of a revolution remain valuable. Being imbued with Lenin’s instructions on protecting workers and peasants and their fruits, our entire Party, Military, and people will continue flexibly, creatively applying the fundamentals of the defence of national independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity, and socialist regime. Emphasis will be placed on making the postures of all-people national defence and people’s security increasingly strong and building solid provincial-level defensive zones and revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern armed forces with the political strength serving as the basis for raising the synergy and combat power. We will resolutely, persistently safeguard national independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity, protect the Party, the State, the people, and the socialist regime, soon detect and opportunely deal with detriments, and enhance the fight against all plots and artifices of the hostile forces. More importantly, due attention will be paid to thoroughly grasping Lenin’s viewpoints on the self-defence of a revolution and considering them as a principle in the construction and protection of the Socialist Vietnamese Homeland.

Associate Prof. VU QUANG VINH, PhD, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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Editorial: Appeal for National Resistance - its historical and epochal significance
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