Decree on Land (1917)

The Decree on Land was one of the early decrees of the new Soviet government. It was unveiled by Lenin at the Second Congress of Soviets, immediately after the October Revolution. This decree was brief and general, in part because the Bolsheviks were yet to develop a clear and cogent policy with regard to land ownership and distribution:

“1. Landed proprietorship [ownership] is abolished forthwith without any compensation.

2. The landed estates, as well as all crown, monastery, and church lands, with all their livestock, implements, buildings and everything pertaining thereto, shall be placed at the disposal of the land committees and the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies, pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly.

3. All damage to confiscated property, which henceforth belongs to the whole people, is proclaimed a grave crime, to be punished by the revolutionary courts.

The Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies shall take all necessary measures to assure the observance of the strictest order during the confiscation of the landed estates, to determine the size of estates, and the particular estates subject to confiscation, to draw up exact inventories of all property confiscated and to protect, in the strictest revolutionary way, all agricultural enterprises transferred to the people, with all buildings, tools, livestock, stores of produce, etc.”