Russian Constitution of 1918
The first Russian Constitution, which governed the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, described the regime that assumed power in the October Revolution of 1917. This constitution formally recognized the working class as the ruling class of Russia according to the principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The constitution also stated that the workers formed a political alliance with the peasants. This constitution gave broad guarantees of equal rights to workers and peasants. It denied, however, the right of the middle-class or upper-class, or those who supported the White armies in the Russian Civil War (1918-21) to participate in elections to the soviets or to hold political power.
Supreme power rested with the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, made up of deputies from local soviets across Russia. The steering committee of the Congress of Soviets—known as the Central Executive Committee—acted as the "supreme organ of power" between sessions of the congress and as the collective presidency of the state.
The congress elected the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom, Sovet narodnykh kommissarov) as the administrative arm of the young government and defined its responsibilities as "general administration of the affairs of the state". (The Sovnarkom had exercised governmental authority from November 1917 until the adoption of the 1918 constitution July 10th by the Congress of Soviets.)
- (Russian) Full Text of the 1918 Constitution of the R.S.F.S.R.
- English translation of the 1918 Constitution of the R.S.F.S.R.
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