in debate with my history teacher we disccused democracy in the USSR and its development. more specificaly, what was the election that lenin supposedly held and then rejected in 1918? I would also be thankfull if anyone could site sources regarding the 1936 stalin constitution.


The election that Lenin held and then rejected in 1918 was the Constituent Assembly I think.

The Assembly was intended to be something along the lines of the Philadelphia Convention or the National Assembly of the French Revolution: a body whose job was to charter new capitalist state.

When the masses overthrew the Tsar at the beginning of 1917 the provisional government was made up of a coalition of moderate socialists and capitalists who agreed to convene a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution for Russia. There were multiple delays and the Bolsheviks pressed hard on the government to convene the Assembly.

The October Revolution then happened and initially the Bolsheviks pledged to convene the Assembly with the intention of having the Assembly ratify the new state. Ultimately however the Bolsheviks dispelled the Assembly on a variety of grounds. The reasoning given by Lenin basically amounts to: by overthrowing the Provisional Government and handing power over to the Bolsheviks, the Russian proletariat and peasantry had effectively outgrown the political forms of the bourgeois revolution that had begun in February of that year. In effect, Lenin argued, by instituting Soviet power, the masses had already “voted” for the new state and therefore did not need the Constituent Assembly’s approval.

Additionally the candidate lists for the Assembly elections had been drawn up before the October revolution and did not reflect party splits that had occurred during the revolution. Lenin forcefully argued that new elections needed to be held because the candidate lists were out of date and therefore lacked legitimacy. He lost this argument and the Assembly was convened on the basis of the candidate lists drawn up before the revolution.

My take is that, as a communist, I overall agree with Lenin’s conclusions about the Assembly but think the Bolsheviks weakened their case by waffling on this question for several months and it made them look confused and a little opportunistic when they finally just dispelled the Assembly once and for all.

Here’s like a one page listicle from the man himself about the situation that goes into greater detail:

The 20th Adversary

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