A. I. Sobolev
People’s Democracy, a New Form of Political Organization of Society
Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow 1954
The Marxist-Leninist theory is a powerful instrument for the
transformation of the world, a powerful ideological weapon for the
destruction of the old, exploiting system and the creation of a new,
socialist one. Marxism-Leninism gives a correct, scientifically
substantiated answer to all basic problems raised by historical
development, and indicates ways, forms and methods for their solution.
“Marxism,” J. V. Stalin said, “is the science of the laws governing the
development of nature and society, the science of the revolution of the
oppressed and exploited masses, the science of the victory of socialism
in all countries, the science of building communist society.” (J. V.
Stalin, Marxism and Problems of Linguistics, Moscow 1954, p. 71.)
Marxism-Leninism is basically a creative science. It develops and
perfects itself as social relations develop, enriching itself with new
experience, new formulas and conclusions.
V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin ruthlessly combated revisionists who
called for the repudiation of Marxism, and they repeatedly stressed the
need of applying Marxism creatively in resolving concrete problems of
the labour movement. They vigorously opposed dogmatism and rote in
theory, and trite methods in politics.
“We,” Lenin wrote, “do not by any means regard Marx’s theory as
something final and inviolable; we are convinced that it has only laid
the corner-stones of the science which socialists must advance in all
directions if they do not want to be behind the times. We hold that an
independent elaboration of Marx’s theory is especially necessary for
Russian socialists, since this theory provides only general guiding
principles which are applied, in particular, differently to Britain
than to France, differently to France than to Germany, differently to
Germany than to Russia.” (V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 4,
Marxism-Leninism teaches that in defining the policy for the working
class and its vanguard, the Communist Party, one must be guided by the
general theoretical principles concerning the laws governing social
development; base oneself on concrete historical conditions, take into
account the alignment of class forces, and know exactly the real
conditions of the struggle.
J. V. Stalin’s speech at the Nineteenth Congress of the Communist Party
of the Soviet Union is a splendid example of the way scientific account
was taken of a concrete situation. That speech was of great
international significance. Stalin showed that in the present period,
when the bourgeoisie has become even more reactionary, when it has
ceased to play at liberalism, has thrown overboard the banner of the
bourgeois-democratic liberties and the banner of national independence,
Communists have the important task of picking up these banners,
upholding democratic freedoms and national sovereignty and advancing
the cause of the people’s emancipation.
These propositions testify to the continuous expansion of the duties of
the working class in the solution of general-democratic tasks; this was
already clearly manifested in the period of the anti-fascist struggle.
At the same time these propositions are a further step in developing
the Marxist-Leninist tenet concerning the richness and variety of the
forms of transition from capitalism to socialism. “Marx,” Lenin wrote,
“did not commit himself, or the future leaders of the socialist
revolution – as regards the forms, methods and ways of bringing about
the revolution; for he understood perfectly well what a multitude of
new problems would then arise, how much the entire situation would
change in the course of the revolution, and how often and considerably
it would change in the course of the revolution.” (V. I. Lenin, Works,
Vol. 27, 4th Russ. ed., p. 310.)
The change in the historical situation brought about by the setting up
of a powerful socialist state, the victory of the Soviet Union over the
Hitlerite invaders and the further intensification of the general
crisis of capitalism have raised anew a number of problems in the
policies and tactics of Communist Parties.
A creative application of Marxism and a consistent observance of the
principle of a concrete historical approach to the solution of the
revolutionary tasks of the working class enabled the Communist and
Workers’ parties of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe,
China, Korea and others to find the most effective ways of achieving
victory under given conditions, of employing new methods of uniting the
popular masses, and of discovering new forms of political organization
Under present conditions the people’s democratic regime is a new state form of revolutionary power.
The rise and development of People’s Democracy must be examined in
concrete historical conditions, for the experience of the people’s
democratic countries in Europe and Asia shows that People’s Democracy
passes through different stages and, depending upon the stage, its
class content changes.
The first stage is that of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal
revolution, in the course of which People’s Democracy arises as the
organ of revolutionary power, representing in its class content
something akin to the dictatorship of the working class and peasantry,
with the working class in the leading role. The new popular power in
this stage has its sharp edge directed against imperialist oppression,
fascism, as well as against the prop of imperialism and fascism within
the country – big, monopoly capital and landlordism.
The second stage is that of the socialist revolution, when the
dictatorship of the working class is being established and begins to
fulfil its tasks.
The people’s democratic system in Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland,
Rumania, and Czechoslovakia has developed over a long period; at the
present time it is a state form of the proletarian dictatorship. Yet in
China, Korea and Viet-Nam the popular democratic regime is still not
fulfilling the functions of a proletarian dictatorship.
The experience of the People’s Democracies in Europe and Asia once more
confirms the tenets of Marxism-Leninism on the variety of the forms and
pace of revolutionary development in different countries and on the
richness of the forms of transition from capitalism to socialism. At
the same time the example of the People’s Democracies confirms the
correctness of the teaching of Lenin and Stalin regarding the
international significance of the dictatorship of the proletariat as
the essence and general basis for different political forms in the
period of transition from capitalism to socialism.
Historical Prerequisites for the Rise of People’s Democracy
It is exceedingly important to know the origin of People’s Democracy in
order to understand its problems. The ideologists and hirelings of the
British and American imperialists persistently spread shameless
fabrications about the rise of People’s Democracy. On the one hand,
they allege that People’s Democracy triumphed as a result of foreign
interference. At the same time the Yugoslavian bourgeois nationalists,
at the behest of their masters, trumpet the “spontaneous” nature of
People’s Democracy, claiming that the rise of People’s Democracy had
nothing to do with the Soviet Union’s epoch-making victories over
These fabrications seem contradictory. Actually they have one and the
same class essence. Both serve the interests of imperialism, both are
manufactured by sworn enemies of socialism and are utterly false and
A correct and scientifically substantiated answer to the question of
the origin, development and specific features of People’s Democracy can
be given only when guided by the Marxist-Leninist teaching.
The rise of People’s Democracy as a new form of political organization
of society, and its triumph are an inevitable result of the development
of world history in the epoch of flourishing socialism and collapsing
capitalism. People’s Democracy could rise and triumph given definite
It rose and triumphed under conditions of the further accentuation of
the general crisis of capitalism, the continuous intensification of the
decay of the whole capitalist system of economy and the steady
deterioration of the positions of capitalism, i.e., in circumstances of
increasing unevenness of the economic and political development of
capitalist countries, the maximum sharpening of all imperialist
contradictions, the radical change in the relation of class forces on
the international arena in favour of socialism and against capitalism,
the steady consolidation of the socialist system, and the growth of the
strength, prestige and might of the Soviet Union.
This historical situation is characterized by the rapid growth of the
influence of Communist Parties in the struggle against fascism and
reaction, the development of the revolutionary activity of the working
class and the political maturity of the popular masses in capitalist
countries, the unprecedented rise of the national-liberation movement
in colonial and dependent countries with the working class in the
leading role. People’s Democracy has become victorious in the course of
the powerful anti-fascist movement of the labouring masses under the
leadership of the working class and its revolutionary vanguard, the
The decisive role in the rise and victory of People’s Democracy as a
new form of revolutionary power was played by the Soviet Union. By
emphasizing this decisive role of the Soviet Union, it is necessary in
a categoric way to repudiate the slanderous allegations of
reactionaries about the Soviet Union’s interference in the domestic
affairs of other countries. The Soviet Government has pursued and is
pursuing a consistent policy of preserving and consolidating peace and,
therefore, did not, does not, and will not interfere in the domestic
affairs of other countries. The U.S.S.R. Government has never foisted
on any country its political structure or its way of life. It does not
The decisive role played by the U.S.S.R. in the emergence of People’s
Democracy is stipulated by the laws of social development at the
present stage and by the disposition of forces on the international
arena today as a result of logical inevitability.
Wherein lies the decisive significance of the Soviet Union in the rise of People’s Democracy?
Firstly, the Great October Socialist Revolution split the world into
two systems, inflicting upon capitalism a mortal wound from which it
already cannot recover. The October Revolution heralded the beginning
of the world socialist revolution and ushered in the epoch of the
downfall of capitalism and the triumph of socialism.
The October Revolution “... created a powerful and open centre of the
world revolutionary movement, such as the world revolutionary movement
never possessed before and around which it now can rally and organize a
united revolutionary front of the proletarians and of the oppressed
peoples of all countries against imperialism.” (J. V. Stalin, Problems
of Leninism, Moscow 1953, p. 242.)
Secondly, the steady development and strengthening of the socialist
system after the Great October Revolution further undermined the
pillars of imperialism. This period has been a period of continuous
sharpening of imperialist contradictions and intensification of the
process of decay and degradation of the capitalist system. The victory
of socialism in the U.S.S.R., which promoted the broadening of the
world socialist revolution and the consolidation of the bulwark of the
international revolutionary movement, caused a further accentuation of
the general crisis of capitalism and struck a new blow at the whole
capitalist system thereby weakening it to a greater degree.
Thirdly, the Soviet Union dealt another and more powerful blow at the
whole system of imperialism in the course of the Second World War. As a
result of the defeat of the aggressor states – Germany, Italy, and
Japan – three big imperialist powers ceased to be Great Powers, and
that weakened the whole system of imperialism. Such links of
imperialism as France and Britain were also substantially weakened.
As a whole the world system of imperialism emerged from the Second
World War immeasurably weaker than it had been before the war, while
the system of socialism emerged much more powerful, notwithstanding the
fact that the main burden of the struggle against fascism was carried
by the Soviet Union.
In other words, thanks to the great victories of the Soviet Union, the
relation of forces operating on the international arena shifted
continuously in favour of socialism and against capitalism. That
accelerated the maturing of objective and subjective prerequisites for
a new revolutionary outbreak in several countries of Europe and Asia,
for forcing another breach in the chain of imperialism.
By routing the German and Japanese aggressors the Soviet Union released
huge revolutionary potentialities, that had been suppressed by the
invaders, and cleared the path to a progressive solution of urgent
socio-economic, political and other problems, to the victory of the
working class and of all toilers over the black forces of reaction.
This brought about a revolutionary situation in a number of European
and Asiatic countries after the defeat of Hitlerite Germany and
imperialist Japan. The political crisis reached its extreme degree of
intensification. The popular masses in those countries, who had passed
through the severe school of the anti-fascist, anti-imperialist
liberation struggle under the leadership of the working class, refused
to entrust their destinies to the reactionaries: the masses did not
wish to live in the old way. The positions of the reactionary classes
had been undermined and weakened: the reactionaries were unable to rule
those countries in the old way. A new round of revolutions and
national-liberation movements began in colonial and dependent
countries; the struggle developed for the establishment of People’s
The rise of People’s Democracy as a new state form of revolutionary
power and its triumph in some countries of Europe and Asia were thus
prepared by the Great October Socialist Revolution, by the great
achievements of the Soviet people at the front of socialist
construction, and by the heroic feat of the Soviet people, who smashed
the fascist invaders and liberated the peoples of Europe and Asia from
Hitlerite and Japanese imperialist aggression.
As is known, People’s Democracy did not triumph in some countries,
though internal conditions were favourable there. The internal
situations in Greece, France, Italy, Belgium, and in other states
permitted the labouring masses in those countries to throw off the
domination of reaction and establish People’s Democracy, but the
U.S.-British imperialist interference helped the native bourgeoisie to
retain their dominant position.
The situation that arose in the countries of Central and South-Eastern
Europe was totally different, and it was under different conditions
that the peoples of China fought for freedom, independence and
By its epoch-making victories the Soviet Union created the possibility
for establishing People’s Democracy in Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary,
Poland, Rumania, China and Korea and assisted the working people of
those countries to realize this possibility.
This assistance was friendly, disinterested and many-sided. It lay in that:
Firstly, the Soviet Army was the direct liberator of the countries of
Central and South-Eastern Europe from fascist enslavement. Pursuing and
routing the retreating enemy, the Soviet armed forces entered the
territories of those countries and brought them genuine freedom. But
the Soviet Army not only liberated those countries from foreign yoke
and ensured them their national freedom, but proved simultaneously to
be a force representing an immeasurably higher, genuinely progressive
social system – socialism. The Soviet Army did not interfere in the
domestic affairs of those countries, but by its presence it exerted a
mighty revolutionary influence on the march of events, strengthened the
revolutionary energy of the popular masses and accelerated historical
Secondly, the Soviet Union frustrated Anglo-American intervention in
the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe. The Anglo-American
imperialists are known to have sought to land their troops in Albania,
Bulgaria, to break through to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary, and
to reach there before the Soviet Army. It is quite clear that had the
British and American troops entered these countries, the ruling circles
in the U.S. and Britain would have done their utmost to prevent the
victory of People’s Democracy. The Soviet Union saved the countries of
Central and South-Eastern Europe from new intervention and from new
imperialist oppression, thereby rendering the working people of Central
and South Eastern Europe great assistance in establishing a new,
revolutionary power – People’s Democracy.
Hence, far from interfering in the domestic affairs of the Central and
South-Eastern European countries, the U.S.S.R. sheltered them from
Anglo-American interference, from Anglo-American military intervention.
Thirdly, in the course of the war against Hitlerite Germany the Soviet
Army smashed her allies – the armed forces of fascist reaction in
Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria. The working class of those countries
would have required immense strength and energy to annihilate the armed
forces of native fascists, but that was done during the war by the
The Soviet Army drove out the Hitlerite troops and smashed the
Hitlerite violence machine in Poland and Czechoslovakia. Furthermore,
the presence of the Soviet troops prevented reactionary circles in
those countries from creating and developing armed forces of
counter-revolution of any notable size, though such attempts, some
extremely energetic, took place, for instance, in Poland.
The sworn enemies of the Polish nation, abetted and assisted by the
Anglo-American imperialists, created in the rear of the Germans, with
the latter’s consent, a fascist guard, Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (N.S.Z.),
and formed the Armia Krajowa (A.K.), which held themselves in readiness
for the struggle against the Soviet armed forces and Polish Democracy.
But the Soviet Army’s entry onto Poland’s territory brought to naught
the perfidious designs of Polish reactionaries. The A.K. and N.S.Z.
gangs that tried to put up resistance to the Soviet Army were
dispersed, while their remnants, engaged in political brigandage, were
liquidated by the Polish democratic government.
In other words, a very favourable situation for the emergence of
People’s Democracy arose in the countries of Central and South-Eastern
Europe as a result of an extremely rare concurrence of circumstances
and unusual, very specific historical developments. In routing the
fascist invaders the heroic Soviet Army lent the peoples of these
countries fraternal assistance in liberating themselves from the
fascist yoke and prevented the native forces of reaction and the
Anglo-American imperialists from unleashing a civil war. In the final
analysis all this essentially facilitated the victory of People’s
Democracy in Central and South-Eastern European countries.
Fourthly, the Soviet Union extended immense moral and political support
and economic aid to the European countries of People’s Democracy.
Immediately following their establishment the young people’s democratic
regimes were fiercely attacked by international imperialism. The ruling
circles of the U.S.A. and Britain pursued a policy of blackmail,
intimidation, and slander against the People’s Democracies, and exerted
political and economic pressure upon them. They tried by various means
to interfere in the domestic affairs of those countries, and
desperately strove to restore anti-popular, reactionary regimes.
The U.S.S.R., always a champion of the peoples’ independence, made use
of its high international prestige and helped the People’s Democracies
to repel the attacks of the imperialist forces, paralyzed the attempts
of the ruling circles in the U.S.A. and Britain to interfere in the
domestic affairs of those countries, helped them to uphold their
freedom and independence and to strengthen their international
position. The economic aid given by the U.S.S.R. was of great
importance for the consolidation and development of People’s Democracy.
Despite the U.S.S.R.’s enormous war-inflicted economic difficulties,
the Soviet Government helped those countries at the initial stage of
development with raw materials for industry, with food supplies for the
Finally, of greatest significance in the emergence of People’s
Democracy and its successful development is the fact that the Soviet
Union has assisted and is assisting on a vast scale the toilers of the
People’s Democracies with its rich experience in social reformations,
its experience in the struggle against landlords and capitalists, and
its experience in the struggle for building socialism.
The Communist and Workers’ parties of the People’s Democracies are
guided in all their practice by the experience of the Communist Party
of the Soviet Union, and that allows them correctly to define their
policies and to find the most effective and expedient forms of struggle
and development. The experience of the C.P.S.U. is a lodestar for the
Communist Parties throughout the world in their struggle for democracy
All these facts reveal the decisive role played by the Soviet Union in
the rise of People’s Democracy and shatter to pieces the reactionary,
bourgeois-nationalist allegations about the “spontaneous” emergence and
development of People’s Democracy. At the same time they categorically
refute the false assertions of the Anglo-American slanderers about
Soviet interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.
The Soviet Union created favourable conditions for the victory of
People’s Democracy and helped to establish it. But the emergence of
popular governments should be regarded as the result of the activity of
internal forces, as the result of the revolutionary struggle of the
popular masses under the leadership of the working class.
Anti-Imperialist, Anti-Feudal Revolutions in Central and South-Eastern Europe
The establishment of People’s Democracy is a result of natural
development. It is the consummation of the heroic and self-sacrificing
communist-led struggle of the working class and all toilers of a given
country against fascist oppression by foreign imperialists and their
accomplices inside the country in the person of financial and
industrial magnates and landlords.
To grasp the essence and to evaluate the historic role of the
anti-fascist, anti-imperialist struggle of the popular masses in the
countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe it is necessary to bear
in mind the new and specific historical phenomena that arose as a
result of the intensified decay of the capitalist mode of production as
well as a further sharpening of the general crisis of capitalism.
V. I. Lenin defined imperialism as the last, decaying stage of
capitalism. “Formerly progressive, capitalism has become reactionary;
it has developed the forces of production to such a degree that mankind
is faced with the alternative of going over to socialism or of
suffering years and even decades of armed struggle between the ‘great’
powers for the artificial preservation of capitalism by means of
colonies, monopolies, privileges and national oppression of every
kind.” (V. I. Lenin, Socialism and War, Moscow 1952, p. 18.)
V. I. Lenin demonstrated that politically imperialism is a turn from
democracy to political reaction. Democracy, he wrote, corresponded to
the epoch of industrial capitalism, while political reaction
corresponds to the epoch of monopoly capitalism.
Fascism, which is the extreme stage of political reaction in the epoch
of imperialism, provides the most striking evidence of the decay and
degradation of capitalism. As is known, fascism is an overt, bloody,
terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic
elements of finance capital.
Fascism aims to save the decaying, moribund imperialist system, and
prevent the liberation of the masses from economic and political
oppression, and exploitation. The German fascists, in particular,
attempted to secure this by achieving world hegemony for German
imperialism. They dreamt of establishing their domination for
millenniums. This, though monstrous in its design, was clearly a
hopeless attempt to hinder human progress, to stop the inexorable march
of history, its natural progress and continuous development. In the
history of human society fascism has come forward as the bearer of
social regress, as a force directed against the progressive development
The domination of fascism in countries where it seized power and which
it subjugated meant regression in all fields of public life, whether
political, social or national.
Politically regression lay in the fact that fascism liquidated even
those pitiful democratic rights and liberties which the popular masses
had won under bourgeois democracy. The fascist regime is a regime of
open arbitrariness and violence, a regime that deprives the people of
The essence of the fascist regime in Germany was characterized by J. V.
Stalin when he said: “In point of fact the Hitler regime is a copy of
the reactionary regime which existed in Russia under tsarism....
“The Hitler party is a party of enemies of democratic liberties, a
party of medieval reaction and Black-Hundred pogroms.” (J. Stalin, On
the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, Moscow 1954, p. 37.)
Socially the domination of fascism meant the restoration of
feudal-serfdom and even slave forms of exploitation. The nazis tried to
introduce serfdom in many occupied countries, where they set up German
landlords’ estates and placed the peasants of those countries at their
disposal. At the same time the Hitlerites employed slave labour on a
large scale, drawing their slaves from among the toilers of the
countries they occupied. Different sources place the number of slaves
who worked in Hitlerite Germany at 8 to 12 millions. Fascist Germany
was thus the biggest slave market and the biggest slave-holding state
The introduction of serfdom and the slave system cannot be regarded as
an accidental phenomenon in the policy of Hitlerism. The Hitlerite
ringleaders unreservedly stated that world domination cannot be
established unless definite forms of modern feudal dependence or
slavery are created. In other words, the introduction of serfdom and
slavery was a component part of fascist social policy.
Fascist ideologists tried to find some “justification” for the
reactionary policy of Hitlerism and falsely and cynically asserted that
all this was done in the interests of the working people.
Fascist domination also meant regression in the national question. The
Hitlerites enslaved the nations of the majority of European countries;
in some cases enslavement bore the character of direct occupation
(Poland, Czechoslovakia, and so on), and in others it was carried out
under cover of a military “alliance” (Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria,
etc.). After the conquest of Europe the nazis dreamt of enslaving the
peoples of the whole world. They proposed to exterminate every nation
except the German nation, which was to be preserved as a race of
masters. Finally, the Hitlerites proposed the physical annihilation of
whole nations and began carrying out their man-hating plans. Therefore
the peoples of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe were
confronted with the alternatives of becoming free or being enslaved, of
being alive or being burnt in the furnaces of Majdanek and Treblinka.
“The German invaders have enslaved the peoples of the European
continent – from France to the Soviet Baltic countries, from Norway,
Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Soviet Byelorussia to the
Balkans and the Soviet Ukraine; they have robbed them of their
elementary democratic liberties; they have deprived them of the right
to order their own destiny; they have taken away their grain, meat, and
raw materials; they have converted them into their slaves; they have
crucified the Poles, Czechs, Serbs...” (J. Stalin, On the Great
Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, Moscow 1954, pp. 40-41.)
The historical situation that arose as a result of the Hitlerite
aggression is somewhat reminiscent of the situation described by Lenin
as far back as 1916.
At that time V. I. Lenin wrote: “It is highly improbable that this
imperialist war of 1914-16 will become a national war, because the
proletariat, the class that represents progress, is objectively
striving to transform this war into civil war against the bourgeoisie,
and also because the strength of both coalitions is almost equally
balanced, while international finance capital has everywhere created a
reactionary bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that such a
transformation is impossible: if the European proletariat were to
remain impotent for another twenty years; if the present war were to
end in victories similar to those achieved by Napoleon and in the
subjugation of a number of virile national states; if non-European
imperialism (primarily Japanese and American) were to remain in power
for another twenty years without a transition to socialism, say, as a
result of a Japanese-American War, then a great national war in Europe
would be possible. This means that Europe would be thrown back for
several decades. That is improbable. But it is not impossible, for to
picture world history as advancing smoothly and steadily without
sometimes taking gigantic strides backward is undialectical,
unscientific and theoretically wrong.” (V. I. Lenin, Works, Vol. 22,
Russ. ed., pp. 295-96.)
The working class of the fascist-enslaved nations was faced with
completely new, specific tasks, which had not been on the order of the
day several years ago and which appeared because the history of those
countries had moved a step backward because of the victory of fascism.
In all countries conquered by the nazis or under threat of conquest,
including even those where socialist transformation of society had been
on the agenda, tasks of a general-democratic nature came to the fore.
These were anti-imperialist, anti-fascist, and national-liberation
tasks that had intertwined with still unsolved anti-feudal tasks. The
reactionary nature of the bourgeoisie became clearly manifest in the
period of fascist aggression. The bourgeoisie that was in power ceased
to play at liberalism and make advances to the people; it threw
overboard the banner of democratic liberties and national independence
and went over to the service of the nazi invaders. The European working
class had first of all to eject the German invaders, to defeat the
native fascist forces and to restore democratic rights and liberties on
a new basis, and to liquidate all the aftermaths of fascism.
Fascist Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union increased the menace to
the progress of humanity, for at that time the issue concerned not only
the destiny of the European nations, but also that of the socialist
country, the bulwark of the world proletarian revolution, i.e., the
destiny of human progress.
Fascism became the main obstacle in the path of historical development,
and, unless it destroyed fascism, mankind could not move forward.
For that reason the defeat of fascism was at that time the primary and
decisive task of the working class in all countries, and demanded
immediate solution by the motive forces of history.
The struggle against fascism determined the direction of the main blow
and the alignment of class forces both in the international arena and
inside the capitalist countries; it determined the policy and tactics
of the Communist Parties, and the forms and methods of their struggle.
All power for defeating fascism was the slogan of the working class in all countries.
“Our war for the freedom of our Motherland will merge with the struggle
of the peoples of Europe and America for their independence, for
democratic liberties. It will be a united front of the peoples who
stand for freedom and against enslavement and threats of enslavement by
Hitler’s fascist armies.” (J. Stalin, On the Great Patriotic War of the
Soviet Union, Moscow 1954, p. 21.)
Such was the content of the anti-fascist struggle.
In colonies and semi-colonies the struggle against fascism had its own
specific character and special features. Even prior to the fascist
aggression those countries were ruled by foreign imperialists, who
found a social prop in the compradore bourgeoisie, the landlords, and
other feudal gentry. Hence, long before this aggression, the labouring
masses of those countries had been faced with acute anti-imperialist
tasks that were closely intertwined with the anti-feudal ones. The
aggression of Hitlerite Germany and, particularly, of imperialist Japan
emphasized the anti-imperialist character of the struggle of the
peoples in colonies and dependencies.
Consequently, during the Second World War the defeat of fascism was the
principal strategic task of the whole international labour movement,
particularly of the working class in the countries of Central and
These countries differed essentially from each other in levels of
socio-economic and political development, in degrees of maturity and
organization of the working class, etc.
Albania, for instance, was an enthralled backward agrarian country. Her
industry was in an embryo state, the working class had just begun to
form, feudal survivals and even survivals of the tribal way of life
were still considerable. The peasants owned only 56 per cent of the
land, the rest was in the hands of the beys (feudal lords), the
landlord state, and the church. The landless peasants were forced to
rent the land from the beys at a price of up to three-fourths of the
Czechoslovakia, meanwhile, numbered among the industrial-agrarian
countries and had a large working class. Her economy, however,
contained substantial feudal vestiges, and the agrarian problem in the
country was acute. One per cent of the big landlords owned 43.4 per
cent of the land, while 70.9 per cent of the peasants had only 15.5 per
cent of the total. Prior to the fascist aggression the Czechoslovak
bourgeoisie exercised its dictatorship in the shape of bourgeois
Poland, Hungary and Rumania were countries of middle capitalist
development, with a greater volume of unsolved tasks of the
bourgeois-democratic revolution. Bulgaria stood somewhat by herself.
Her industries were weakly developed, agrarian relationships prevailed
in her economy, but there was virtually no landlord class, the
survivals of feudalism were insignificant and, therefore, the volume of
unsolved anti-feudal tasks was not big.
All these differences left their mark on the course of events in those
countries and conditioned their specific character. But the nazi
invasion in the Second World War confronted all those countries without
exception with direct general-democratic, anti-imperialist, and
national-liberation tasks that merged with their already existing
The struggle against the Hitlerite invaders and for national
independence merged indissolubly with the struggle against the native
fascists, traitors and collaborators in the person of the monopolistic
bourgeoisie and the landlords.
In all the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe the German
fascists found for themselves a social prop in the monopolistic
bourgeoisie and the landlords who went over to the side of the
Hitlerites and became a tool for suppressing and enslaving their own
people. The German fascists came as the bearers of national oppression
and social regression, and the native traitors proved to be their true
servants. Therefore, the struggle against the foreign invaders was
interwoven with the democratic struggle against the native fascists and
their social basis. It was impossible to resolve the tasks of national
liberation and to win democracy without striking a decisive blow at the
monopolists and landlords within those countries.
The indisputable conclusion to be drawn from the above is that in the
period of the anti-fascist struggle the working class in all countries
of Central and South-Eastern Europe without exception did not directly
put forward and decide socialist tasks, and that it did not work for
the political defeat of the entire class of the bourgeoisie or for the
immediate establishment of the proletarian dictatorship. In that period
all the energy and strength of the labouring masses of these countries
were aimed at the solution of general-democratic tasks: the defeat of
fascism, the attainment of national independence and democratic
liberties, the abolition of slavery and serfdom that the nazis had
introduced, the liquidation of all the other consequences of the
fascist rule, as well as of the survivals of feudalism.
From this it follows that anti-feudal tasks occupied an important place
at that stage of the revolution. But the content and the character of
the struggle, as well as the alignment of class forces were determined
by the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal tasks taken together. The small
size of the anti-feudal tasks did not and could not cancel the
general-democratic character of the struggle during the rout of
fascism. To this period application may be made with full justification
of what Lenin said in 1905 about the revolutionary tactics of the
proletariat of Russia during the bourgeois-democratic revolution:
“At the head of the whole of the people and particularly of the
peasantry – for complete freedom, for a consistent democratic
revolution, for a republic!” (V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. I, Part
2, Moscow 1952, p. 121.)
In the final analysis, the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution
should be classified as one of the bourgeois-democratic type. But at
the same time, it is broader than the usual bourgeois-democratic
A common feature of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution and of
the bourgeois-democratic revolution is that the former does not
transcend the limits of the general-democratic revolution, does not set
as its direct aim the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the
establishment of the dictatorship of the working class, the abolition
of capitalism and the transition to socialism. Like the
bourgeois-democratic revolution it sets as one of its most important
tasks the liquidation of survivals of feudalism.
But the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution has its own peculiarities and distinctive features.
While the usual bourgeois-democratic revolution is spearheaded only
against the remnants of feudalism in economy and politics, the
anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution was directed first and
foremost against fascism, and bore a pronounced anti-imperialist
character. Only the solution of the anti-imperialist tasks permitted
the uprooting of feudal vestiges.
The fundamental task of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution –
the destruction of fascism – demanded a resolute struggle against one
of the most reactionary detachments of the bourgeoisie, against the big
financial and industrial magnates who strove to reverse the wheel of
history, to destroy democracy and to institute serf and slave labour.
Though the struggle against the monopolistic bourgeoisie in those
historical conditions did not transcend the limit of the
general-democratic revolution, it, naturally, left an imprint on the
whole progress of the revolution, since in the course of
general-democratic revolutionary transformations the foundations of
capitalism were inevitably shattered.
In the present epoch, when imperialism, in its search for allies in the
struggle against democracy and socialism, combined its forces with
feudalism, using the latter as a social prop, it is impossible to do
away with feudalism without destroying the imperialist yoke. The era of
usual bourgeois-democratic revolutions spearheaded only against
feudalism has passed away irrevocably. At present any
general-democratic revolution is possible only if it is anti-feudal and
The peculiarity of the above-mentioned tasks of the anti-imperialist,
anti-feudal revolution called forth a specific alignment of class
Firstly, the working class could and indeed led the anti-fascist
struggle, since no other class was capable of rousing the masses of the
people to defeat fascism.
Though the middle bourgeoisie of the fascist-enslaved countries was
interested in driving out the foreign invaders, it, nevertheless, was
unable to unite the masses of the people, to rouse them to the
struggle. Only the working class and its vanguard, the Communist Party,
could cope with the solution of the tasks of the anti-fascist struggle.
Indeed, the working class alone was the initiator and the most
consistent and staunch fighter in the struggle against fascism. At the
head of the working class were the Communist Parties, which directed
the whole anti-fascist movement. The Communists raised high the banners
of democratic liberties and national independence, and courageously
carried them forward. The heroic struggle of the Communists against
fascism, their whole-hearted devotion to the people, and their
selflessness raised still further the prestige of the Communist
Parties, and strengthened and consolidated their leading role.
The leading role of the Communist and Workers’ parties came about
historically, in the course of a long and intense struggle for national
freedom and democracy, for a new, happy life. It was won in the battles
with the German and native fascists, with the landlords and the
reactionary bourgeoisie. It is the result of a test of the policies of
various parties by the masses of the people.
The popular masses who had passed through the stern school of the
anti-fascist, anti-imperialist struggle for liberation did not wish to
entrust their destiny to the reactionary parties, whose prestige among
the people had been sharply undermined by their treason and
collaboration with fascist enslavers. The masses of the people
entrusted their destiny to the working class, the Communist Parties.
That proved to be a law of historical development.
The Communist Parties were the only parties capable of arousing the
popular masses to the struggle against nazism and of heading that
struggle. In the course of the anti-fascist struggle the popular
masses, by their own stern experience of life, became convinced that
Communists are genuine, sincere, and disinterested champions of the
people’s interests. That was one of the main factors that laid the
ground for the victory of People’s Democracy.
“The growth of the influence of the Communists cannot be regarded as
fortuitous. It is a perfectly natural phenomenon. The influence of the
Communists has grown because in the hard years of fascist domination in
Europe they proved reliable, courageous, and self-sacrificing fighters
against the fascist regime, for the freedom of the peoples.” Millions
of “simple folk” “isolated the reactionaries in Europe, the adherents
of collaboration with fascism, and gave their preference to the left
democratic parties. It is they, these millions of ‘simple folk’ who
tested the Communists in the fire of struggle and resistance to fascism
and decided that the Communists fully deserve the people’s trust. That
is how the influence of the Communists grew in Europe. Such is the law
of historical development.” (J. V. Stalin, Interview Given to a Pravda
Correspondent on Churchill’s Speech on March 18. 1946, Gospolitizdat,
Moscow 1946, p. 12.)
Secondly, the working class forged a powerful anti-fascist coalition
and raised the broadest sections of the people to the struggle against
Under the leadership of the working class the struggle against fascism
was shared by the peasantry, the intelligentsia, the urban petty
bourgeoisie and anti-fascist circles among the middle bourgeoisie.
The unity of the anti-fascist democratic forces was organizationally
expressed in the creation during the struggle of mass socio-political
organizations such as the Fatherland Front in Bulgaria, the National
Front of Czechs and Slovaks in Czechoslovakia, the Democratic Bloc in
Poland, and so on.
In the period of the anti-fascist struggle the working class formed a
firm fighting alliance with the peasantry, which steadily broadened and
gained strength. The working class played a leading part in this
alliance, and this is precisely the factor that determined the further
unfolding of historical events.
Thirdly, the exploiting class was split in that period. One part, the
landlords and the big financial and industrial magnates lined up with
the invaders and became the fascists’ tool in suppressing their own
people, and the other part, namely, anti-fascist-minded circles among
the middle bourgeoisie, was interested in driving out the Hitlerites
and winning national independence. For that reason they took a more or
less active share in the struggle against the Hitlerite bandits. In all
the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe the middle
bourgeoisie joined the anti-fascist coalition and was represented in
the bloc of democratic parties.
In defining their attitude towards the middle bourgeoisie, the working
class and its vanguard, the Communist Parties, were guided by V. I.
Lenin’s well-known precept on tactical questions.
V. I. Lenin wrote: “A more powerful enemy can be vanquished only by
exerting the utmost effort, and without fail, most thoroughly,
carefully, attentively and skilfully using every, even the smallest,
‘rift’ among the enemies, every antagonism of interests among the
bourgeoisie of the various countries and among the various groups or
types of bourgeoisie within the various countries, and also by taking
advantage of every, even the smallest, opportunity of gaining a mass
ally, even though this ally be temporary, vacillating, unstable,
unreliable and conditional. Those who fail to understand this, fail to
understand even a particle of Marxism, or of scientific, modern
socialism in general.” (V. I. Lenin, “Left-Wing” Communism, an
Infantile Disorder, Moscow 1952, p. 90.)
Guided by these instructions the working class of those countries set
out to draw the middle bourgeoisie into the struggle against fascism,
to prevent it from going over to the camp of Hitlerism, though the
working class was, of course, aware that the bourgeoisie was an
unreliable, temporary and conditional ally. Nevertheless, the winning
over of anti-fascist-minded circles among the bourgeoisie weakened the
forces of the enemy and strengthened the forces of the anti-fascist
Such was the internal alignment of class forces in the
anti-imperialist, anti-feudal stage of the revolution, and such were
its motive forces.
A powerful anti-fascist movement developed in all the countries of
Central and South-Eastern Europe under the leadership of the working
class and its vanguard, the Communist and Workers’ parties.
Born in January 1942, the Polish Workers’ Party set the Polish people
the task of actively fighting the Hitlerites, of putting up an armed
resistance to the invaders, and headed that struggle. The armed forces
of Polish democracy arose in Poland and on the territory of the
U.S.S.R. The period of 1943-44 saw the rise of the Krajowa Rada
Naradowa (K.R.N.) – the underground parliament of the Polish people,
which aimed to take the leadership of the armed struggle and of all
other forms of self-defence of the Polish people, to ensure them with
democratic liberties and national independence, and to reconstruct the
future Poland on democratic lines.
In September 1941 the Communist Party of Rumania called upon the
people, all the patriots, to join in the struggle for national
liberation against Hitlerite oppression, to overthrow Antonescu’s
regime, to put an end to the war against the U.S.S.R. and to include
Rumania into the struggle of all freedom-loving nations against nazism.
In July 1942 the illegal radio-station “Hristo Botjeff” broadcast a
programme by the Fatherland Front, which called upon the Bulgarian
people to break off the alliance with Hitlerite Germany, drive out the
German troops, overthrow the fascist regime in the country and set up a
people’s democratic government. With that programme as their banner the
people, led by the Communist Party, started an active armed struggle
against the nazis, that culminated in the victorious uprising of
September 9, 1944.
The peoples of Czechoslovakia, who did not want to reconcile themselves
to the Hitlerite oppression, selflessly fought the nazi invaders.
In Slovakia the climax of that struggle was the armed uprising in the autumn of 1944 and in Czechia – the May uprising of 1945.
The Albanian and Hungarian peoples struggled bravely and actively against the foreign enslavers.
The struggle of the working class and other toilers of Europe against
nazism, for national independence and democratic liberties was an
indissoluble component part of the international anti-fascist movement
headed by the Soviet Union.
The working class and all the labouring masses of the fascist-enslaved
countries waged a heroic struggle against nazism. But they could not
cope with that task without the aid of the Soviet Union. It was solved
by the concerted efforts of the Soviet Union, the working class and all
the toiling people of the enslaved European countries, with the
U.S.S.R. playing the decisive role. The Soviet Union was the main
motive force in the anti-fascist struggle throughout the world, and the
main motive force of the revolutionary process of transformation which
followed the defeat of fascism.
The great successes achieved in the struggle against the German,
Italian and Japanese aggressors by the Soviet Union and the powerful
anti-fascist movement of the working people thus resulted in the rise
of People’s Democracy. That was the outcome of the armed collision
between the world democratic forces with the Soviet Union at their head
and the international reactionary forces which at that time were led by
In the light of the aforementioned a definite answer may be given to
the question how People’s Democracy came into being: peacefully or in
the course of an armed struggle.
As it has been proved above, People’s Democracy triumphed as a result
of the defeat of fascism, in the course of a bloody, fierce conflict
between the forces of democracy and the forces of reaction. Hence, the
thesis on the peaceful rise of People’s Democracy is wrong and by its
content is bourgeois-nationalistic, as it bases itself on the analysis
of only the internal events in the countries of Central and
South-Eastern Europe and ignores the common front of the international
anti-fascist struggle, ignores the greatest revolutionary significance
of the Soviet Union’s struggle against fascist reaction.
The anti-fascist struggle was accompanied by a consolidation process of
the democratic forces, a process in which the political army of the
revolution was formed and hardened and in which the alliance of the
working class and the peasantry was strengthened.
Turning into account the favourable situation that followed the defeat
by the Soviet armed forces of Hitlerite Germany, the working class in
those countries rallied the peasantry, intelligentsia and the urban
petty bourgeoisie and brought about a revolutionary upheaval. It
wrested power from the fascist forces, destroyed the reactionary regime
and established a new democratic system – People’s Democracy.
People’s Democracy was established in Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Albania immediately following the defeat of fascism.
In Rumania and Hungary it was established somewhat later, as a result
of the subsequent struggle of the working class. “The liberation of the
country,” said Matias Rákosi, First Secretary of the Central
Committee of the Hungarian Workers’ Party, “put an end to the power of
the big landlords and capitalists. Under the leadership of the
Communist Party, power passed into the hands of the working class, the
peasantry and that part of the bourgeoisie which had opposed German
imperialism and agreed to co-operate with us in abolishing the relics
of feudalism.” (For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy, June 15,
The establishment of People’s Democracy marked a big revolutionary
turning point, the passing of power from the hands of reaction into the
hands of the people led by the working class. G. M. Dimitrov pointed
out in reference to Bulgaria: “With the working class playing a most
active and guiding role, power was wrested from the hands of the
capitalist bourgeoisie, the exploiting monarcho-fascist minority and
placed in the hands of the overwhelming majority of the people.” (For a
Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy, April 1, 1948.)
The establishment of People’s Democracy solved the question of power in
the sense that the big bourgeoisie and landlords were overthrown, and
the middle bourgeoisie ousted from leadership of society. That meant
the setting up of people’s power headed by the working class, which has
played the decisive and leading part within the framework of People’s
Democracy since its establishment.
However, that was still not the complete solution of the question of
power. In the initial period of People’s Democracy the middle
bourgeoisie in all the European people’s democratic countries was not
politically isolated and defeated, and the problem of winning over the
majority of the population was not fully solved, the working people did
not yet possess a secure majority in the government and the legislative
The middle bourgeoisie was allowed to participate in governing the
country side by side with the working class and the peasantry. The
bourgeoisie existed as an independent, politically organized force,
with its own parties, press, representatives in the government, in the
legislative bodies, and in the state apparatus.
How is that to be explained? Why were certain groups of the bourgeoisie
allowed to participate in governing the country? Why was the whole
bourgeoisie not at once dislodged completely from power?
The answer is that:
Firstly, after the defeat of fascism the working class of the European
People’s Democracies had to decide to some degree the tasks of the
Secondly, in that period the bourgeoisie succeeded in preserving
certain political positions and in leading by fraud more or less
considerable sections of the population. It managed to preserve
definite political positions because:
a) it adroitly used for class purposes its participation in the
anti-fascist struggle, and everywhere demagogically advertised itself
as a champion of the people’s interests;
b) it managed to retain its influence over a certain section of the
populace because of the treacherous policy pursued by the Right
Social-Democrats, who defended the interests of the bourgeoisie under
the screen of socialist demagogy, and also by virtue of the absence of
sufficient political consciousness among some strata of the people, who
were taking part in politics for the first time;
c) it drew its support from the Anglo-American imperialists, who
utilized all pretexts to interfere in the domestic affairs of the
European People’s Democracies and thereby increased the vacillation of
unsteady sections of the population;
d) it held important positions in the national economy.
In view of these factors the middle bourgeoisie was at that time a
strong social force that could not be ignored or immediately
exterminated without complicating the development of the revolution.
The most expedient policy towards the middle bourgeoisie directly after
the defeat of fascism was the policy of its neutralization.
In order to neutralize the middle bourgeoisie the Communist Parties
deemed it possible and necessary to protect by law the private
ownership of the means of production within certain limits, to
guarantee freedom of private enterprise, and to admit the bourgeoisie
to government administration. That policy was essential in the period
when various anti-feudal measures were being carried out, for it
hindered the formation of a united bloc of reaction from the middle
bourgeoisie to the landlords, and was an important transitional stage
for the subsequent policy of isolating the bourgeoisie and its final
The class basis of People’s Democracy is composed of two classes, the
proletariat and the peasantry. The alliance of these two classes, with
the working class in the leading role, comprises the unshakable
foundation of people’s state power.
The class content of the victorious People’s Democracy was determined
by the stage of the revolutionary development, by the content of the
tasks under solution, and by the alignment of class forces. The first
stage was marked by the solution of general-democratic tasks. That was
the stage of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution.
In a review of the question of the character of state power in
countries with a weak capitalistic development, J. V. Stalin pointed
out as far back as 1928:
“Besides capitalistically developed countries, where the victory of the
revolution leads at once to the proletarian dictatorship, there are
countries which are poorly developed capitalistically, where there are
feudal survivals and a specific agrarian question of the anti-feudal
type (Poland, Rumania, etc.), countries where the petty bourgeoisie,
especially the peasantry, is bound to have a weighty word to say in the
event of a revolutionary outbreak, and where the victory of the
revolution, if it is to lead to a proletarian dictatorship, must and
certainly will require certain intermediate stages, in the form, say,
of a dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.” (J.V Stalin,
Works, Russ. ed., Vol. 11, p. 155.)
Stalin’s instructions acquired special importance for the people’s democratic revolutions.
Taking into account that in its first stage the revolution in the
Central and South-Eastern countries of Europe did not solve socialist
tasks, but was directed against foreign and native fascists and
landlords, bearing in mind the alignment of class forces, it may be
definitely asserted, that in all those countries the regime of People’s
Democracy in its initial period was something akin to a dictatorship of
the proletariat and the peasantry. The dictatorship of the working
class and the peasantry in all the countries of Central and
South-Eastern Europe has its own specific, individual features as
compared with the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the
proletariat and the peasantry of which V. I. Lenin spoke in reference
to the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia. The
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry in the people’s
democratic republics appeared in the presence of the mighty Soviet
Union, under conditions of a radical shift in the balance of forces in
the international arena in favour of socialism and adverse to
capitalism. That dictatorship was born in the course of the
anti-fascist struggle, and its sharp edge was directed against
imperialism. In the anti-fascist coalition the revolutionary power had
a broad social and political prop within the country. The leading role
of the working class in this anti-fascist bloc of different classes and
social groups was decisive from the very beginning and enhanced
continuously as the revolution developed.
By virtue of this People’s Democracy became from its birth a
revolutionary power of the whole people with the working class at its
Such are the characteristic features of the dictatorship of the
proletariat and the peasantry, established in the European People’s
Democracies in the first stage of the revolution.
During the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution the working class
of those countries achieved first of all the solution of the
anti-imperialist tasks. With Soviet aid the people expelled the German
fascist invaders, obtained their national freedom, crushed the fascist
forces within the country, and overthrew the monopolistic bourgeoisie.
The broad democratic rights and liberties won by the people would have
been unheard of and impossible under conditions of bourgeois democracy.
The political activities of the masses grew steadily. Political parties
and mass public organizations were set up in all those countries.
People’s Democracy had at its outset gone far beyond the limits of
bourgeois democracy in all spheres.
After the defeat of fascism and the establishment of People’s
Democracy, the working class of the countries of Central and
South-Eastern Europe shifted the centre of gravity of all their work to
uprooting the survivals of feudalism in economics and politics, i.e.,
to the complete and final solution of properly bourgeois-democratic
In analyzing anti-feudal revolutionary measures account should be taken
of the difference between agrarian countries with a large volume of
anti-feudal tasks (Rumania, Albania, etc.) and countries with a
relatively high industrial development (Czechoslovakia), where feudal
survivals likewise existed. That laid its imprint on the development of
historical events, but their essence was the same in all those
countries. In Bulgaria there was actually no anti-feudal question, but
there were survivals of feudalism in economics and politics, and the
agrarian question existed. The volume of anti-feudal tasks had a direct
bearing on the rate of development of the revolution and fixed the time
for the transition to a new stage. Therefore, in Bulgaria, for
instance, the process of the growth of the general-democratic
revolution began somewhat earlier than in the other countries. But that
did not change the general-democratic character of the first stage of
the popular-democratic revolution.
The solution of the agrarian question under present-day conditions
involves not only the liquidation of the landlord class, but also the
defence of the peasants’ farms from ruin by the financial-capitalist
monopolies. In all, this signifies the establishment of the peasant
ownership of land.
The working class attached enormous importance to the carrying out of
the land reform. The agrarian question was a very acute and vital
political question, for on its solution depended the destiny of the
revolution. The peasants were incredibly land-hungry and they were
ruthlessly exploited by the landlords. The peasants demanded land; to
receive it was their age-old dream.
In Poland, for instance, 87.1 per cent of the households owned 31.8 per
cent of the land, while 0.9 per cent of the big estates owned 47.3 per
cent of the total. In Rumania 97.5 per cent of the households owned 60
per cent of the land, while 0.8 per cent of the estates owned 32.2 per
cent of the total. In Hungary 93.8 per cent of the households owned
34.2 per cent of the land, while 0.9 per cent of the estates owned 46.4
per cent of the total.
The working class, true to its role of champion of the people’s
interests, called upon the peasants to start a decisive struggle
against the landlords for the division of their land. The reactionaries
furiously resisted the land reform. A tense class strife raged around
the land reform. The landlords and their allies from the camp of the
bourgeoisie, supported by the British and American imperialists, who
did their utmost to disrupt the land reform and hindered the
promulgation of the revolutionary decrees, fought against the division
of the landlords’ land and its transfer to the tillers of the soil,
spread counter-revolutionary rumours and threatened the peasants with
revenge, and foully assaulted the activists, members of the land reform
committees, and the peasants who received land. In the end the
resistance of the landlords was broken and their land turned over to
The process of carrying out the land reform in the European People’s
Democracies had certain specific features. In their fight to carry out
the land reform the Communist and Workers’ parties were guided by the
propositions of Leninism on the necessity for a differentiated,
concrete historical approach to the question of the principles along
which the agrarian question was to be solved. They took into account
the fact that in countries where capitalist relations had deep roots in
agriculture and had imbued the peasantry with private-property
instincts, the slogan of the nationalization of the whole land would
not be immediately digested; that the higher the capitalistic
development of the country, the stronger the traditions of private land
Allowing for the concrete specific character of agrarian relationships,
the alignment of class forces and the tasks of the further progress of
the revolution, the Communist and Workers’ parties advanced the slogan
of “The land belongs to those who till it.” In accordance with that
slogan the landlords’ land was confiscated and distributed among the
peasants, who acquired it as their private property on very favourable
A maximum, i.e., the limit of land each private farm could own, was
established in all countries. In Poland this maximum was 123.5 acres of
arable land, while in the western part of the country it was 247 acres;
in Rumania and Czechoslovakia the limit was 123.5 acres, in Hungary
about 74 acres, etc. Almost everywhere the landlords’ land was
confiscated without compensation, but a money compensation was paid to
rich peasants for any surplus over and above the maximum.
The land confiscated from the landlords and redeemed from the rich
peasants was given to needy peasants at a small price to be paid in
instalments over 15-20 years. The families of partisans and of those
who fell in the war against the nazis received land gratis. The land
was transferred to peasant ownership, but the charge of it was strictly
regulated: its sale, mortgage, donation and renting were either
forbidden or limited. A certain part of the land was nationalized and
remained in state ownership for the organization of experimental-model
In all, the peasants of the European People’s Democracies received over 37 million acres of land.
The immense social and political significance of the agrarian reforms lay in the fact that they:
a) liquidated the landlord ownership of land and consolidated the peasant land ownership;
b) abolished the landlord class, which was one of the pillars of
fascist reaction, and eradicated forever the survivals of feudalism and
c) provided the peasants with land. This raised them to the status of
middle peasants, placed the material well-being of the labouring
peasantry on a higher level, and considerably limited kulak
exploitation in the countryside;
d) opened the way for a new stage in the development of the forces of production in agriculture;
e) still further consolidated the alliance between the working class
and the peasantry and enhanced the leading role of the working class in
Simultaneously political life was democratized – the judicial and state
institutions introduced by the nazis were destroyed, and the survivals
of feudalism and the aftermaths of fascism in politics were liquidated.
The period required by the countries of Central and South-Eastern
Europe to implement general-democratic measures and to solve
anti-feudal tasks after the defeat of fascism varied from less than a
year to more than a year, although the survivals of feudalism were
completely eradicated only in the stage of the socialist revolution.
The defeat of fascism and the elimination of the aftermaths of its
domination, the replacement of bourgeois democracy by popular
democracy, the completion of the main processes of the agrarian reform,
and a series of other general-democratic measures culminated the
anti-imperialist, anti-feudal stage of the revolution and opened the
way for a new stage – the stage of the socialist revolution. Here the
Communist and Workers’ parties were guided by the well-known
theoretical propositions of Leninism on the socialist revolution and
the growing over of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the
Although, as stated above, the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution
did not transcend directly the limits of a general-democratic
revolution, it would be completely wrong to erect a wall between a
general-democratic and socialist revolution.
In striking a blow at the monopolistic bourgeoisie (which under given
concrete conditions was a general-democratic measure) the
anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution simultaneously weakened
capitalism as a whole, thereby directly bringing nearer the stage of
the socialist revolution. The process of the anti-imperialist struggle
was accompanied by the formation of the forces of the future socialist
revolution, by the consolidation of the alliance of the working class
and the labouring peasantry, and by the enhancement of the leading role
of the working class in this alliance. This leading role of the working
class is the embryo of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a
transitional step towards it.
That is why an anti-feudal, anti-imperialist revolution contained all
the prerequisites for directly growing into a socialist revolution.
That is why an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution is a component
part of the world revolutionary process spearheaded against capitalism.
Such is the dialectics of historical events at the present stage of
Anti-Imperialist, Anti-Feudal Revolutions in the East
The peoples of China, Korea and Viet-Nam have travelled a long
historical path of development in the struggle for national freedom and
democracy. The experience accumulated by them in the process of
historical development is rich and many-sided. Each possesses its own
specific conditions and features.
Whereas the Korean People’s Democratic Republic and the Democratic
Republic of Viet-Nam are in the first stage of the development of
People’s Democracy, the Chinese People’s Republic has already passed
through its first stage, the stage of the democratic revolution, and
now has entered a new stage, that of realizing the tasks of the
socialist revolution. The popular democratic regime in these countries
is a revolutionary power carrying out the functions of the dictatorship
of the proletariat and the peasantry.
The victory of People’s Democracy in these countries was prepared by
the whole course of historical development. It came as a result of a
change in the balance of forces on a world scale in favour of socialism
and against capitalism; as a result of the heroic struggle waged by the
popular masses of these countries under the leadership of the working
class against foreign and domestic imperialist reaction, against the
feudalists, for national freedom and democracy. What has been said
previously about the decisive role of the Soviet Union in the victory
of People’s Democracy in a number of European countries applies
directly to the victory of People’s Democracy in Asiatic countries, too.
The Great October Socialist Revolution, which marked a basic turn in
world history and ushered in a new era of triumphant socialism and
moribund capitalism, exerted a gigantic influence on the development of
the national-liberation movement in colonial and dependent countries,
undermined the positions held by imperialism in these countries,
accelerated the historical development of colonies and dependencies,
and awakened hundreds of millions of people held in the vices of
After the victory of the October Revolution the era of undisturbed
exploitation and oppression of the colonies passed away irrevocably and
was replaced by an era of colonial liberation revolutions under the
leadership of the proletariat of the colonial and dependent countries.
The October Revolution played a highly important role in the destinies
of the peoples of colonial and dependent countries, for it not only
undermined the imperialist positions, but also pointed out to these
peoples the correct path towards freedom and independence, progress and
“The salvoes of the October Revolution,” Mao Tse-tung said, “brought us
Marxism-Leninism. The October Revolution helped progressive elements in
the world, and in China, too, to apply the proletarian world outlook in
determining the destiny of their country and in reviewing their own
problems. To follow the path of the Russians – such was the
conclusion.” (Mao Tse-tung, On People’s Democratic Dictatorship,
Gospolitizdat, Moscow 1949, pp. 5-6.)
The same conclusion was arrived at by advanced people in all colonial
and dependent countries, who started an active struggle for national
freedom and independence.
The continuous strengthening of the Soviet Union, the bulwark of the
international forces of democracy and socialism, and the shaking of the
pillars of imperialism meant a further weakening of its positions in
the colonies. That brought nearer the time for the emancipation of the
colonies and semi-colonies from imperialist oppression, and facilitated
the establishment of the democratic system.
The experience of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the
teachings of Leninism on the character and the motive forces of
revolutions in colonial and dependent countries in the epoch of
imperialism, on the leading role of the working class in these
revolutions, and on the necessity of taking into account national
peculiarities and national characteristics when solving the tasks of
the revolution were of paramount importance for the working class in
the colonies and semi-colonies and its vanguard, the Communist Parties,
to theoretically elaborate the main political, strategic and tactical
problems of the struggle for national liberation and for a genuinely
progressive path of development.
The struggle for national liberation in the epoch of imperialism can
triumph only under the leadership of the working class. This
programmatic thesis of Leninism acquires special meaning for
revolutions in colonies and semi-colonies under present-day conditions,
i.e., under conditions of an acute sharpening of the crisis of the
colonial system of imperialism.
Furthermore, the theory of Leninism proceeds from the position that it
is necessary for the working class to win to its side broad sections of
the people, as well as to employ all available forces within the
country in the struggle against imperialism and feudal aristocracy.
These forces should include the anti-imperialist-minded national
bourgeoisie with which it is possible to enter into temporary blocs and
Utilizing the favourable circumstance of a weakening imperialism
brought about by the great victories of the Soviet Union, the Communist
Parties in the colonies and semi-colonies steered a course towards the
realization of the tasks of a democratic revolution.
National-colonial oppression in the colonies and semi-colonies
intensified during the Second World War when fascist Germany had
enslaved almost all the European countries, and imperialist Japan had
occupied a vast territory in Asia. The Japanese imperialist vultures
strove to enslave China completely and to make her their colony. The
seizure by Japan of Viet-Nam, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia and other
countries marked an intensification of colonial slavery and a sharp
deterioration of the conditions necessary for achieving national
freedom. Therefore, participation in the struggle against the German
fascist and Japanese imperialist invaders was the major task of the
peoples in colonial and dependent countries in that period. The
liquidation of the German and Japanese aggression was an indispensable
factor for winning national freedom and democracy.
The liquidation by the Soviet Union of this aggression opened up for
the colonial peoples fresh visions of achieving national freedom,
independence and democracy, because the victory scored by the Soviet
people over the German fascist and Japanese imperialist aggressors
weakened imperialism still further and shook its positions in the
colonies and semi-colonies.
A revolutionary situation came into being in many colonial and
dependent countries, a situation that saw the beginning of a new round
of colonial revolutions and a new wave of revolutionary liberation
movements of the popular masses against imperialist, colonial
The national-liberation struggle in the colonies and dependencies after the Second World War has certain distinctions.
Firstly, these movements are growing at the time of consolidation of
the camp of democracy and socialism and steady deterioration of the
camp of imperialism.
Secondly, the leading role of the working class in these movements has
been emphatically strengthened. The hegemony of the working class
renders national-liberation movements consistently revolutionary, gives
them a genuinely popular character, and makes them organized,
purposeful and solid.
Thirdly, at its present stage the national-liberation struggle has
attained a highly mass character. The participants in these movements
include the most diverse social forces: the working class, which is
their organizer and inspirer, the peasantry, the urban petty
bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and the national bourgeoisie. In
countries where the people are fighting for national freedom coalitions
have been formed of all democratic, anti-feudal, and anti-imperialist
Fourthly, in a number of colonial and dependent countries, armed
struggle is the basic form of the national fight for liberation at the
Fifthly, the national-liberation movements are being conducted under the banner of fighting for a People’s Democracy.
Considerable historical successes in the struggle for national
independence and People’s Democracy have been scored by the great
Chinese people, who are leaning upon the powerful support of the Soviet
The Communist Party of China, armed with the all-conquering theory of
Marxism-Leninism, raised the Chinese people to a selfless struggle
against imperialist oppression, against the compradore bourgeoisie and
the feudal lords, who were the lackeys of American and British
imperialists within the country. This heroic revolutionary war, that
had lasted for a quarter of a century, ended in an epoch-making victory
of the Chinese people.
As is known, the Chiang Kai-shek clique had systematically parcelled
out the country to various imperialists – American, British and
Japanese. After the defeat of Japanese imperialism by the Soviet Union,
Chiang Kai-shek went over wholly to the service of American
imperialism. U.S. ruling circles rendered the rotten Kuomintang regime
the broadest political, economic and military assistance. They sent
Chiang Kai-shek military advisers, huge quantities of military
equipment, and kept up a constant supply of ammunition to the
Kuomintang armies. But the existence of the powerful Soviet Union held
down the activity of the American aggressors and prevented them from
launching an open intervention against the Chinese people.
“Had there been no Soviet Union,” Mao Tse-tung wrote, “had there been
no victory in the anti-fascist Second World War, had Japanese
imperialism not been defeated (which is particularly important for us),
had there been no People’s Democracies in Europe . . . then the
pressure of the international reactionary forces would, of course, have
been much stronger than it is today. Would we have been able to achieve
victory in those circumstances? Of course not. So, too, it would have
been impossible to consolidate victory after it had been achieved.”
(Mao Tse-tung, On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship, p. 9.)
The Soviet Union rendered the Chinese People’s Republic colossal moral
and political support and economic aid. The experience of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union has been of invaluable importance for China.
Using the experience of the C.P.S.U. and creatively applying the great
teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, Mao Tse-tung gave a
profound scientific and theoretical substantiation for the policy,
strategy and tactics of the Communist Party of China.
By its character the Chinese revolution was anti-imperialist and
anti-feudal. It was directed against foreign imperialist oppression,
Chinese feudalism and the big bureaucratic compradore bourgeoisie,
which was closely linked with the foreign imperialists.
The Chinese revolution was a bourgeois-democratic revolution, but at
the same time it was a national-liberation and an anti-imperialist one,
which merged with the world-wide revolutionary movement of the working
class against imperialism. It transcended the limits of a usual
bourgeois-democratic revolution thanks to its anti-imperialist
direction and as a result of the enhanced leading role of the working
In the course of the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution the
working class built up a united front of the democratic forces,
including the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty
bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and the national bourgeoisie. The
working class, headed by its vanguard, the Communist Party, is the
organizing, leading and directing force of the united front. A firm
alliance of the working class and the peasantry has given the united
front its unshakable foundation.
Viewing the Chinese revolution as the confluence of two streams of the
revolutionary movement – the movement against feudal survivals and the
movement against imperialism, J. V. Stalin with genius predicted as far
back as 1926 the character of the power which would be established as a
result of the victory of this revolution.
“I believe,” J. V. Stalin said, “that the future revolutionary power in
China will in its character resemble the power of which we spoke in our
country in 1905, that is, something in the nature of a democratic
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, but with this
difference that it will be predominantly an anti-imperialist power.
“It will be a power of transition to a non-capitalist, or, to be more
exact, to a socialist development of China.” (J. V. Stalin, Works,
Russ. ed., Vol. 8, pp. 365-66.)
The revolutionary power established in China as a result of the victory
of the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution is, by its content,
a kind of dictatorship of the working class and the peasantry. In the
first stage of the development of People’s Democracy in China socialist
tasks were not projected as immediate tasks and were not solved
therefore. That was a question of the future. Mao Tse-tung pointed out
that only after a flourishing national economy and culture have been
built up will China, in conformity with the will of her people, turn to
the solution of the tasks of socialist construction.
The triumph of People’s Democracy meant the overthrow of the
reactionary Kuomintang clique, which had championed the interests of
bureaucratic capital and the landlords; it meant the passing of power
into the hands of the majority of the population headed by the working
class and the creation of a people’s democratic system. The Chinese
people won the broadest democratic rights and liberties, set up their
political parties, public, trade-union, youth, women’s and other
democratic organizations. The Chinese reactionaries kept the people
away from politics. Today millions upon millions of the Chinese
citizens are turning to politics, are actively participating in
governing the state and are confidently resolving important questions
of the country’s political and economic life.
The people’s democratic state is energetically defending and expanding
the democratic achievements of the people; it is strengthening people’s
democratism, and enhancing the political activity of the people by
drawing more and more fresh forces into the work of governing the
country; it is strengthening the unity of all patriotic forces, first
of all the forces of the working class and the peasantry; it is
employing the national bourgeoisie in building a new China, at the same
time resolutely thwarting the attempts of certain of its sections to
prevent the solution of the tasks of the revolution. The people’s
democratic state is mercilessly suppressing the resistance of the
overthrown reactionary classes, and is carrying on an energetic
struggle against counter-revolutionary bandit groups and against the
spying and subversive activities of the American and Kuomintang agents.
The people’s democratic state of China, which was born in the struggle
against the foreign imperialists and their accomplices inside the
country, is vigilantly protecting its national freedom and democratic
achievements from encroachments by the American and other imperialists.
For this purpose the Chinese people’s government is strengthening the
ties of friendship with the U.S.S.R. and all countries in the camp of
democracy and socialism; it is waging a consistent struggle for peace,
consolidating the defence capacity of the country, and resolutely
rebuffing the attempts of the U.S. imperialists to interfere in the
domestic affairs of China. Chinese volunteers, carrying out the will of
their people, defended in Korea the approaches to Chinese territory and
helped the fraternal Korean nation to uphold its freedom and
independence against the U.S. aggressors.
The Chinese people’s democratic state inaugurated large-scale
revolutionary socio-economic transformations, most important among
which was the agrarian reform, directed at the liquidation of feudalism
and the landlord class. The agrarian revolution in China abolished
landlord ownership and consolidated peasant ownership of land.
The agrarian reform, which was carried through on the principle that
the land should belong to the tillers, destroyed the economic basis for
the existence of the landlord class. That class was abolished forever
and the peasantry was freed from annual rents paid to the landlords and
which amounted to the value of 50 million tons of grain. Over three
hundred million peasants received 116 million acres of land.
The people’s democratic government confiscated the property of the
foreign imperialists and of the Chinese compradore bureaucratic
bourgeoisie, which had close ties with the foreign imperialists, and
took over their factories, mills, banks and commercial enterprises. As
a result, China’s economy now has a state sector. At the same time the
people’s democratic government is drawing private capital extensively
into the development of the national economy.
The economic policy of the people’s democratic power in China as
outlined in Article 26 of the Common Programme of the People’s
Political Consultative Conference, stipulates that “all sectors of the
social economy should, under the leadership of the state-owned economy,
carry out the division and co-ordination of labour and play their
respective parts in promoting the development of the social economy as
All these measures consolidated the socio-economic basis of People’s
Democracy in China and created favourable conditions for accelerating
the rapid upswing of China’s economy. The Chinese people had
enthusiastically rehabilitated their industry, primarily the heavy
industry, restored to life the old factories and mills and began to
build new ones. Agriculture was also recovered and is being developed
on a big scale.
Although the Chinese revolution in its first stage of development did
not transcend the limits of a general-democratic revolution, but being
primarily an anti-imperialist revolution it dealt a blow at the
capitalist system and thereby weakened it still further.
The victory of the Chinese revolution meant that another mighty breach
had been made in the chain of imperialism, a breach second only to the
one made by the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. The
result of this victory was that China broke away from the system of
imperialism and went over to the camp of the countries of democracy and
socialism. The successful solution of anti-imperialist and anti-feudal
tasks ensured the direct growing over of the general-democratic
revolution into a socialist revolution. At present the Chinese people
under the leadership of the working class with the Communist Party at
its head set to realize the tasks of the socialist revolution and of
the socialist transformation of society.
The great victory of the Soviet people over Japanese imperialism
enabled the Korean people to embark upon the path of democracy and
progressive development. This victory of the Soviet Union in the Great
Patriotic War brought the Korean people liberation from the Japanese
imperialist yoke. The Soviet Army freed North Korea and gave the Korean
people an opportunity to break away from imperialism and achieve full
independence and real democracy.
The situation that arose in North Korea differs fundamentally from the
situation in South Korea, which is occupied by United States troops. US
ruling circles made South Korea practically their colony and set up a
reactionary regime headed by the puppet dictator Syngman Rhee.
In North Korea, which entered upon a new, free life, the popular
masses, under the leadership of the working class and guided by the
Party of Labour, set about effecting profound social and economic
transformations directed at the solution of anti-imperialist and
The people, with the working class at their head, smashed the
reactionary forces and established their own rule. People’s Committees
which took over full state authority sprang up throughout the country.
Theirs was a revolutionary power carrying out the tasks of the
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. In establishing
their own power the popular masses won broad democratic rights and
liberties. A new epoch of people’s democratism began in Korea.
Parallel with the solution of the political tasks the country witnessed
great changes in its social and economic structure. Mention must first
be made of the agrarian reform, which led to the liquidation of feudal
landownership, the eradication of feudal survivals, the abolition of
the landlord class, and the consolidation of peasant landownership. At
the same time measures were carried out to abolish monopoly capital.
With this end in view the state power nationalized the major
industries, banks, transport and means of communications.
An important landmark in the development of Korea was the proclamation in 1948 of the Korean People’s Democratic Republic.
The successful solution of the tasks of the anti-imperialist,
anti-feudal revolution made possible the further progressive
development of the Korean Republic. The attack by the American
aggressors on the Korean People’s Democratic Republic interrupted its
peaceful development. Today, after a successful defence of their own
country against the interventionists, the Korean people are engaged in
rehabilitating their national economy and are fighting for peace and
The Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, which arose in 1945, is included
among the People’s Democracies. Under the leadership of the working
class, the Viet-Namese people are insistently working on the solution
of anti-imperialist, anti-feudal tasks. Up to now the main efforts have
been made to fortify resistance to the French and American imperialists
who are endeavouring by force of arms to impose a colonial regime upon
the people of Viet-Nam. Therefore the centre of gravity of the
revolution has been shifted primarily to the complete solution of
anti-imperialist tasks. In the sphere of agrarian relations the people
were carrying out such measures as reducing land rent, turning over
land formerly owned by colonialists and traitors to the poor peasants
and to the families of servicemen disabled or killed in the war,
utilizing land belonging to absentee landlords and wastelands,
redistributing communal lands, etc. All these agrarian measures were
provisional and bore a transient character.
Such a policy allowed the working class to widen the anti-imperialist front.
“The people, i.e., primarily the workers, peasants, the petty
bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie, with whom the patriotic and
progressive elements of the aristocracy and landlords are marching
shoulder to shoulder, comprise at present the motive force of the Viet-
Nam revolution,” says the Programme of the Viet-Nam Lao Dong Party
(Party of Labour).
The problem of carrying out more profound anti-feudal reforms is now next on the list.
Included among them is the law on the agrarian reform ratified in
December 1953 by the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of
Viet-Nam. This reform, that is being carried out under the slogan of
“land to the tillers,” is to multiply the strength of the Viet-Namese
people in their struggle for independence and peace.
Thus, the correct policy of the Viet-Nam Party of Labour has ensured
the solidarity of all patriotic forces of the country under the
leadership of the working class, and has fortified the broad
anti-imperialist front which is achieving great successes.
A considerable part of the country has been liberated from foreign
imperialist oppression. The forces of the French colonialists are
concentrated in a small territory, chiefly around towns situated near
A people’s democratic regime has been set up in the liberated
territory; this is pointed out in the Programme of the Party of Labour.
“In fighting for liberation,” the Programme says, “and in realizing
democratic reforms in economic, political, social, and cultural
spheres, Viet-Nam has taken the path of People’s Democracy.
Consequently, Viet-Nam today has a people’s democratic system, while a
certain part of the country (this refers to districts occupied by the
imperialists – AS.) is living under a colonial and semi-feudal system.”
By its content the people’s democratic regime in Viet-Nam is carrying
out the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the
peasantry with the working class in the leading role; this ensures a
further deepening of the revolution in its subsequent stages of
All these facts demonstrate that in Korea and Viet-Nam their peoples are solving the tasks of the first stage of the revolution.
Among the People’s Democracies of the East there is the Mongolian
People’s Republic, which has travelled a long path of historical
The origin of People’s Democracy in the Mongolian Republic has its own
features and specific character. It is known that pre-revolutionary
Mongolia was an extremely backward feudal country. She had neither
industry nor working class. The popular revolution of 1921 was a
peasant revolution that drew its support from the proletariat of Soviet
Russia. This revolution was levelled against imperialism and feudalism,
but because of the country’s extreme backwardness the elimination of
the feudal class required a considerable period of time.
With the many-sided assistance of the Soviet Union, the Mongolian
people scored important successes: they liquidated the feudal system,
laid the basis for industry which marked the rise of a young Mongolian
working class, and furthered the development of national culture. The
path traversed by the Mongolian People’s Republic reaffirms the
correctness of the Marxist-Leninist teaching that, given the aid of a
socialist state, it is possible for backward countries to pass from
feudalism to socialism and avoid the path of capitalist development.
Article 1 of the Constitution of the Mongolian Republic points out that
“The Mongolian People’s Republic is an independent country of the
labouring mats (herdsmen), workers and intellectuals, who have rid
themselves of imperialist and feudal oppression and ensured for their
country a non-capitalist path of development in order to pass in the
future to socialism.”
The Stage of Socialist Revolution in Central and South-Eastern Europe
The Leninist theory on the socialist revolution, an important component
part of which is the tenet on the growing over of the
bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution, teaches
that the dictatorship of the working class and the peasantry is a state
of revolution, a process of its development. In its essence it is a
temporary revolutionary power, that has its own past and future. Its
historic past, in the fight against which it originates, is a
dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and its future is the dictatorship of
the working class. The same is true of the popular power established
after the victory of the people’s democratic revolution. This power,
whose class content made it a kind of dictatorship of the proletariat
and the peasantry, ushered in a stage of revolutionary development and
a correlation of class forces in which the landlord class was already
smashed, the big bourgeoisie overthrown, but with the bourgeoisie as a
whole, as a class, still undefeated politically, and the question of
power not yet finally solved.
For the final solution of the question of power it was necessary to
ensure the transition of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the
peasantry to the dictatorship of the proletariat. This transition
signified an intensification of the struggle of the working class to
win over the labouring peasantry against the bourgeoisie, the further
consolidation of the alliance between the working class and the
labouring peasantry, and the enhancement of the leading role of the
working class in this alliance. Only in that way was it possible to
ensure the direct transition of the hegemony of the working class
allied with the peasantry, which is the embryo of the proletarian
dictatorship and a step towards it, to the dictatorship of the
The anti-feudal, anti-imperialist revolution began to grow directly
into a socialist revolution in proportion to the growth of the
strength, consciousness, and organization of the working class and the
consolidation of its bond with the labouring peasantry. This growth was
guaranteed by the hegemony of the working class, led and guided by the
Communist Parties in the system of People’s Democracy, and by the
correct policy pursued by these parties.
In defining the strategic line of revolutionary development, the
Communist and Workers’ parties of the European People’s Democracies
were guided by Lenin’s well-known thesis on the growing over of a
democratic revolution into a socialist revolution:
Lenin wrote, that “. . . from the democratic revolution we shall at
once, and just in accordance with the measure of our strength, the
strength of the class-conscious and organized proletariat, begin to
pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted
revolution. We shall not stop half-way.” (V. I. Lenin, Selected Works,
Vol. I, Part 2, p. 160.)
The growing over of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolution into a
socialist one denoted the deepening of the revolution, a new rush to
solve new tasks, and a new regrouping of class forces.
The people’s democratic regime established after the destruction of
fascism was called upon to defend the conquests of the people and to
ensure consistent democratization in all spheres of public life; this
could be realized only on the path to socialism. As far back as 1917
Lenin said that nowadays it is impossible to go forward without moving
to socialism. Under present historical conditions Lenin’s thesis is
acquiring exceptional importance.
The bourgeoisie did not wish to reconcile themselves to the
implementation of political, social and economic reforms. Assisted by
American and British imperialists they launched subversive activities
against the popular power, sabotaged all its economic measures, planned
one counter-revolutionary conspiracy after another, and energetically
organized espionage and wrecking groups. Not only had the bourgeoisie
no desire to co-operate with the people in building a new life, but
persistently sought to overthrow the people’s democratic regime. In
order to safeguard the gains of the people, to consolidate and expand
them, it was necessary finally to resolve the question of power. The
final decision of this question signified the complete breakdown of the
resistance of the bourgeoisie, its political defeat, the ousting of all
its representatives from the government, parliament and other links of
the state apparatus, and the concentration of all state power in the
hands of the working class.
Consequently, the working class tactics in relation to the bourgeoisie
underwent changes depending on the stage of the struggle. In the
anti-fascist stage the working class opposed the big financial and
industrial bourgeoisie as the social prop of fascism, and drew the
middle bourgeoisie into the anti-fascist movement.
In the period of establishing People’s Democracy the working class
dislodged the bourgeoisie from the leadership in the system of the
popular power and pursued a policy of neutralizing the middle
bourgeoisie, at the same time trying to utilize its participation in
the bloc for a successful solution of anti-feudal tasks.
But as the experience of the struggle showed, the middle bourgeoisie
strove to utilize its participation in the bloc in order to hinder the
progress of the revolution and restore its own power.
As the revolution deepened and it became clear that it was winning to
its side greater and greater masses of the people and that it could not
be stopped, the bourgeois parties refused in one form or another to
participate in the blocs and adopted an openly hostile attitude towards
the people’s democratic system. At the same time the bourgeoisie
resorted to the most diversified forms of demagogy in an effort to win
the following of the masses.
In this period the Communist Parties in all People’s Democracies began
a tense struggle to win the lead of the masses, as the solution of the
tasks of the socialist revolution was possible provided the masses were
won over and convinced of the correctness of the policy of the
Communist Party. It was only on this basis that the bourgeoisie could
be isolated and crushed.
In the course of a long struggle the working class of the People’s
Democracies, headed by the Communist Parties, exposed the machinations
of the bourgeoisie and showed it up as an enemy of the people’s power,
an opponent of agrarian reform and the nationalization of industry, and
that its political leaders were spies, traitors and direct agents of
foreign imperialism. The exposure of the treacherous conduct of the
bourgeoisie led to its political isolation and to a further rallying of
the labouring peasantry around the working class.
By wresting the masses from the influence of the bourgeoisie which had
cheated them, and by strengthening the alliance between the working
class and the labouring peasantry and securing the political isolation
of the bourgeoisie, the working class, led by the Communists, completed
the political defeat of the bourgeoisie, concentrated in its hands the
entire state power, and set up its own dictatorship, i.e., solved the
main question of the socialist revolution.
The Communists, who once again displayed their unbounded devotion to
the people and their disinterestedness in championing the people’s
cause, were the leading and directing force in the struggle against the
reactionary and anti-democratic policy of the bourgeoisie. The peoples
rallied closely around the Communist Parties and, entrusting them with
the government of their countries, confidently followed them.
The socialist revolution in the European People’s Democracies developed
under very favourable conditions; it took place in a situation of a
radical change in the correlation of forces in favour of socialism and
against capitalism, rested on the Soviet Union, and bore certain
Firstly, the socialist revolution was not a coup d’état but the
consummation of the started revolution; the matter at issue was not to
overthrow the existing power but to employ this revolutionary power
finally to crush the bourgeoisie, completely to oust it from government
and to concentrate the entire power in the hands of the working class.
Secondly, the socialist revolution in the European People’s Democracies was not an instantaneous act.
The bourgeoisie was not politically defeated forthwith but by a series
of consecutive blows; it was dislodged from power faction by faction in
proportion to the growth of consciousness, solidarity and organization
of the working class and other toilers. The socialist revolution in
Central and South-Eastern Europe was thus a series of separate
outbreaks which together made up the socialist revolutionary eruption.
Thirdly, an important feature of the socialist revolution was that it
proceeded as a broad movement of the popular masses from below,
supported from above by those links of the state apparatus which were
in the hands of the working class.
And fourthly, by virtue of the above circumstances, the socialist
revolution in the European People’s Democracies bore a peaceful
character in that there was no armed uprising.
The bourgeoisie was defeated by the working class in the course of a
tense class contest in which were used the most diverse forms and means
of struggle: political demonstration, the forcible seizure of state
institutions, the armed suppression of military detachments of the
bourgeoisie, the denunciation and liquidation of subversive groups, and
the undermining of the economic might of the bourgeoisie. Other methods
included parliamentary forms of struggle as well, but they were of a
subordinate nature and were more a reflection of the political changes
than the means of their accomplishment. An exclusively important part
in the revolutionary suppression of the bourgeoisie was played by those
links of the state apparatus that were directly in the hands of the
working class, primarily by the state security organs as well as by the
lower organs of power.
Under the circumstances, especially in the face of the friendship
between the People’s Democracies and the Soviet Union, the bourgeoisie
did not risk unleashing a civil war, and for this reason the resistance
of the bourgeoisie was broken by political measures, basically without
an armed struggle.
In the process of the socialist revolution the survivals of bourgeois
might were wiped out step by step, the old bourgeois state apparatus
crushed and replaced by a new, popular democratic state apparatus.
A major measure of the socialist revolution was the nationalisation of
industry, banks, and means of transport and communications. The targets
set by this measure were, firstly, the liquidation of the economic
basis of reaction and the creation of the material basis for the
popular democratic system and, secondly, the securance for the national
economy of complete independence from the American, British, French and
other imperialists who had commanded considerable wealth in the
countries where People’s Democracy triumphed.
The nationalization of the industry, banks and means of transport was
of immense political importance: this dealt a shattering blow at the
positions of capitalism, wiped out all the imperialist cartels, and
annulled the domination of the bourgeoisie in the economic sphere. The
entire large and medium industry passed into the hands of the state and
became national, public-owned property. All the banks, means of
communications, mechanized transport facilities, and all the sources of
raw materials and power were also nationalized. Consequently, the key
positions in the economy of the countries of Central and South-Eastern
Europe were concentrated in the hands of the people, and that was a
great victory of the working class and a decisive defeat of the
bourgeoisie. This gain by the working class was legislatively fixed in
the constitutions of the People’s Democracies.
A very important element in the struggle for a complete solution of the
question of power was the routing of the bourgeois agents within the
labour movement. The bourgeoisie had pinned high hopes on the Right
Social-Democrats. It was perfectly clear that a split in the labour
movement and the existence of bourgeois agents within it weakened the
working class and minimized its leading role. The Communist Parties
carried on a protracted and dogged struggle against the Right-wing
Socialists and smashed their ideological positions. By winning over the
rank-and-file members of the Social-Democratic parties and the
Left-wing leaders, the Communists liquidated the split in the labour
movement and created unitary parties of the working class on the
granite foundation of Marxism-Leninism. The creation of unitary
Marxist-Leninist parties in all the People’s Democracies enhanced the
leading role of the working class and was an important stage in the
struggle to broaden and strengthen the proletarian dictatorship.
The implementation of the above political and socio-economic measures
constituted the content of the socialist revolution, and it was only as
a result of the solution of these tasks that the people’s democratic
regime began to fulfil the functions of the dictatorship of the working
In other words, the question of setting up a proletarian dictatorship may be brought up given the following conditions:
Firstly, when a majority of the populace in the country is rallied
around the working class and its vanguard, the Communist Party, and
when the influence of the Communist Party surpasses the influence of
all other parties taken together;
Secondly, when the bourgeoisie has been routed as an independent
political force and its representatives have been ousted from the state
Thirdly, when the commanding positions in the state apparatus are directly concentrated in the hands of the working class;
Fourthly, when the key positions in economy are concentrated in the hands of the people’s democratic state;
Fifthly, when the split in the working class has been liquidated and a
unitary workers’ party formed on a Marxist-Leninist foundation.
Such conditions were not brought about at once in the European People’s Democracies.
The establishment of proletarian dictatorships in the European people’s
republics was thus not an instantaneous act. It was a historical
process, started in 1945 and consummated by the end of 1947 or 1948 as
a result of the growing over of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal
revolution into a socialist revolution.
The consummation of the socialist revolution, the completion of the
struggle for a proletarian dictatorship allowed the European People’s
Democracies to begin their transition from capitalism to socialism.
People’s Democracy, a New State Form of the Proletarian Dictatorship
The classics of Marxism-Leninism have proved that between capitalism
and socialism there is a period of revolutionary transformation of the
capitalist system of society into a socialist system and that the state
in this transitional period can be nothing other than the revolutionary
dictatorship of the proletariat. It is only through this dictatorship
that the capitalist system can be destroyed and a socialist society
The bitterest enemies of People’s Democracy – bourgeois nationalists of
every hue and colour and Right opportunists who had wormed their way
into the Communist Parties – distorted the Marxist-Leninist teaching on
the socialist state, attempted to disrupt the building of socialism,
clamoured about the so-called spontaneous development of the People’s
Democracies, and negated the leading role of the working class, the
Communist Parties and the necessity for a proletarian dictatorship.
Creatively applying Marxism-Leninism and resting on the theoretical
assistance and experience of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,
the Communist and Workers’ parties in the European People’s Democracies
ideologically and organizationally defeated the bourgeois nationalists
and Right opportunists and, in conformity with concrete circumstances,
proved that the dictatorship of the proletariat was necessary for the
People’s Democracies as well. It was necessary to overcome the
resistance of the overthrown classes, to organize the country’s defence
against external attack, to consolidate the ties between the
proletarians of all countries and primarily the alliance with the
U.S.S.R., to strengthen the bond of the working class and all other
labouring sections of town and countryside with the purpose of drawing
them into the work of building socialism, and to secure the victory of
socialist forms of economy and the liquidation of capitalist elements.
Stressing the historical inevitability and necessity of the
dictatorship of the proletariat in the transitional period, the
classics of Marxism-Leninism at the same time pointed to the possible
variety in state forms of proletarian power.
“The transition from capitalism to communism certainly cannot but yield
a tremendous abundance and variety of political forms, but with all
that the essence will inevitably be the same: the dictatorship of the
proletariat.” (V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, Part 1, p. 234.)
History knows several state forms of proletarian dictatorship.
The revolutionary creativeness of the working class of the Soviet
country brought into existence the Soviets as the highest, most perfect
form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. By setting up the Soviet
form of proletarian dictatorship the working class of the U.S.S.R.
rendered the international labour movement a tremendous historical
service, in as much as the Soviets ensured the building of socialism in
the U.S.S.R., showed mankind the road to socialism, and considerably
facilitated the movement of all peoples towards socialism.
For a long time the Soviets were the only possible form of proletarian
dictatorship, because in the conditions when the chain of imperialism
was broken for the first time and only one country was building
socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat could exist and
successfully function exclusively in its highest form – the form of
At present when the dictatorship of the proletariat in the form of
Soviets has achieved tremendous successes and a mighty socialist state
has been created, the possibility has arisen for the existence of the
dictatorship of the proletariat in other state forms, too. The
functions of the proletarian dictatorship are being carried out by the
people’s democratic state system. The people’s democratic regime in the
countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe is successfully solving
the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship and, in accordance with this,
the people’s democratic state is fulfilling the functions of the
socialist state in the first phase of its development.
The first function of the people’s democratic states is internal. This
function consists in breaking the resistance of the overthrown
exploiting classes that enjoy the active support of international
Clearly realizing that this regime has become stable, that it has the
support of the over-whelming majority of the people, and that any open
assault against the people’s democratic system is doomed to failure
because of the decisive aid and support of the U.S.S.R., the American
and British imperialists and the reactionary forces inside these
countries have launched wide underground activity against People’s
The enemies of the people’s power set themselves the task of working
disguised imperialist agents into leading posts in the Communist
Parties and government organs of the People’s Democracies in order to
demolish the revolutionary power in these countries from within.
The People’s Democracies have had cases of imperialist agents and
bourgeois-nationalist regenerates worming into leading positions with
the aim of destroying People’s Democracy from within and restoring
In Hungary subversive activity was conducted in the Workers’ Party and
the Government by the traitor Rajk, who sneaked into an important
government post and, on instructions from the intelligence services of
the U.S.A. and Britain, prepared a counter-revolutionary coup
d’état in the country. Similar plots were laid by traitors to
the people like Traicho Kostov in Bulgaria, Kochi Xoxe in Albania, and
Rudolf Slansky in Czechoslovakia. A disguised Trotskyite and an agent
of the U.S. intelligence service, Slansky organized an antigovernment
conspiracy centre, worked to undermine the popular democratic system
and prepared a counter-revolutionary putsch with the object of
restoring capitalism and drawing Czechoslovakia into the imperialist
U.S. and British ruling circles set great hopes in their agents. The
danger presented by these conspiracies was considerable, because the
traitors camouflaged their subversive activities by blatantly and
hypocritically urging the conciliation of class interests and declaring
that the class struggle is dying away; they did their utmost to slacken
the vigilance of the Communist Parties and the labouring masses.
But the people’s democratic states, armed with the experience of the
class struggle in the U.S.S.R. and guided by the Leninist-Stalinist
propositions on the inevitability of increased resistance by the
overthrown exploiting classes in the period of building socialism and
on the necessity of maintaining strict revolutionary vigilance towards
the overthrown classes, thwarted the plans of international and
internal reaction and exposed the criminal anti-popular activities of
the agents of the Western imperialists. Conspiracies were unmasked one
after another. The defeat of these counter-revolutionary anti-popular
groups was a serious blow at the plans of international and internal
With the help of remnants of the defeated classes inside the People’s
Democracies the Anglo-American imperialists set to work establishing
subversive, sabotage and wrecking organizations. In Poland, for
instance, a serious plot was uncovered and rendered harmless in 1951.
It had been prepared on the orders of American and British imperialists
by a group of spies who had sneaked into high posts in the army.
A U.S. espionage centre, screened behind the “Standard Electric Co.”
signboard, was discovered in Czechoslovakia. Members of this
organization had been engaged in spying and in wrecking in the
Czechoslovak industry. It aimed to prepare the ground for the
restoration of capitalism in the country. Several espionage
organizations were uncovered and rendered harmless in Rumania, Hungary
and Bulgaria. In all people’s republics wrecking organizations were
discovered and liquidated in various fields of the national economy.
All of them were affiliated to the American and British imperialists
and operated on their orders.
The Catholic Church hierarchy, incited and inspired by the American
imperialists through the help of the Vatican, joined the active
struggle against the popular democratic system.
The Polish ex-Cardinal Hlonda maintained clandestine relations with
Polish traitors and was the link between espionage groups in Poland and
the Vatican. Many Polish Catholic priests actively participated in
In Hungary Cardinal Mindszenty actively prepared for the overthrow of
the popular democratic system. Archbishop Jozef Groesz, successor to
Mindszenty, also plotted for the overthrow of the People’s Republic.
But the plot was uncovered in time.
Defending and guarding the conquests of the people, the popular
democratic state is resolutely negating the attempts of the overthrown
classes to regain power, persistently exposing and destroying all plots
and meting out stern punishment to criminals who raise their hand
against the people’s achievements. All this testifies to the fact that
the people’s democratic regime is actively carrying out the internal
function of the socialist state in its first phase of development.
The task of breaking the resistance of the overthrown classes is being
successfully solved by the people’s democratic regime because it rests
on the U.S.S.R., uses the experience of the Soviet socialist state’s
struggle against capitalist elements, the experience of liquidating the
exploiting classes, and is guided by Stalin’s instructions concerning
revolutionary vigilance and methods of fighting foes and masked
double-dealers – the agents of the capitalist encirclement.
The second basic function of the socialist state carried out by the
people’s democratic regime is the defence of the country from outside
attack. This function consists in creating favourable external
conditions for building socialism, for defending the country’s
independence from encroachments by the international reactionary forces
of imperialism. At present the main concern is to safeguard the gains
of the people against the intrigues of the U.S.-British imperialists.
The people’s democratic regime in the countries of Central and
South-Eastern Europe is carrying out the external function of the
socialist state and is actively struggling for national freedom against
the aggressive policy of the American and British imperialists. To
create external conditions for building socialism the popular
democratic regime is consolidating first of all its friendship with the
Soviet Union, pursuing a peaceful democratic foreign policy, increasing
the country’s economic might, and actively fighting to strengthen the
positions of the camp of democracy and socialism throughout the world.
The treaties of friendship and mutual assistance concluded between the
U.S.S.R. and the People’s Democracies and similar treaties by these
republics among themselves constitute an important factor in the
struggle of the People’s Democracies for independence.
But under present conditions of the struggle for national independence
the question of repelling the assault of the imperialists is different
from what it was in the period when the Soviet Union was building
The existence of the mighty Soviet Union is the main, decisive
condition ensuring the independence of the People’s Democracies. The
U.S.S.R. is the power which, in the final analysis, paralyzes the
economic pressure of the imperialists on the People’s Democracies,
destroys the political and diplomatic intrigues of the ruling circles
in the U.S.A. and Britain against these countries, and disrupts the
military interventionist plans of international reaction.
The people’s republics have rallied closely around the great Soviet
Union. The U.S.S.R. headed the formation of a mighty camp of democracy
and socialism which is opposing the reactionary camp of imperialist
The popular democratic state is carrying out also a third function of
the socialist state – an economic-organizational and
cultural-educational function. The experience of the U.S.S.R. showed
that this function does not reach its full volume in the first phase of
development of the socialist state. This applies to the European
People’s Democracies, too. However, due to the many-sided and
continuous assistance by the powerful Soviet state the popular
democratic regime is able to develop the economic-organizational and
cultural-educational function to a greater degree than was possible for
the Soviet state in its first phase of development.
In carrying out this function, the people’s democratic regime relies
upon the most diverse economic, scientific-technological and other
assistance from the Soviet Union and is drawing upon its extremely rich
experience of socialist construction, and upon its culture, which is
the most advanced in the world.
The popular democratic regime is thus successfully carrying out the
functions of the socialist state in its first phase of development and
is the basic instrument for the building of socialism.
The Soviet Union with the vast experience it accumulated in the
struggle against its class enemies, the help it is rendering in the
work of building socialism, and its defence of the People’s Democracies
against the economic and political expansion of the imperialist
vultures, is facilitating substantially the popular democratic regime’s
work of carrying out all the functions of the proletarian dictatorship,
i.e., the function of suppressing the overthrown exploiting classes,
the economic-organizational and cultural-educational function as well
as the function of defending the country from outside attack.
In essence Soviets and People’s Democracy are completely synonymous:
their content is the dictatorship of the working class. The only
difference is in the form of political organization of society.
What are the characteristic features of the popular democratic regime as a new state form of the proletarian dictatorship?
A very important characteristic feature of political life in the
people’s republics is that in addition to a Communist Party there are
other political parties and public organizations which express the
interests of the labouring masses and participate in building socialism.
Apart from Communist and Workers’ parties the People’s Democracies have
the following parties and political public organizations: in Poland –
the United Peasant Party, Stronnictwo Demokratyczne; in Czechoslovakia
– the Socialist Party, the People’s Party, etc.; in Bulgaria – the
Agricultural Workers’ Alliance; in Rumania – the Ploughman’s Front, etc.
All the People’s Democracies have mass popular political organizations
of the people’s front type; they are the Fatherland Front in Bulgaria,
the Front of People’s Democracy in Rumania, the People’s Independence
Front in Hungary, the National Front in Poland and Czechoslovakia, and
the Democratic Front in Albania.
The people’s front organizations were formed at the initiative of the
Communist and Workers’ parties, which guide the activities of these
organizations. The formation of the people’s fronts was a vital
necessity as these organizations made it possible to unite all the
democratic forces and to use them effectively in the struggle against
fascism, for national freedom and independence.
At present in the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe these
people’s-front type organizations unite all political parties and
public organizations (trade unions, women’s and youth organizations,
etc.), embrace the overwhelming majority of the population, and are the
political and organizational expression of the alliance between the
working class and other labouring classes and layers – the peasantry,
artisans, intellectuals – who under the leadership of the working class
stand for the solution of the tasks of socialist construction.
These tasks demand the further consolidation of the unity of the
working people, the strengthening of the people’s fronts, and a still
greater enhancement in them of the leading role of the Communist
The regime of People’s Democracy can also fulfil the functions of the
dictatorship of the proletariat when several parties or public
organizations exist, but on the indispensable condition that the
Communist Party is the only leading and guiding force of the state. The
Communist Parties do not and cannot share their leadership. Convinced
through long experience of struggle that only the Communist Parties are
able consistently to implement the principles of democracy, other
democratic parties and political organizations recognized their leading
and guiding role and followed them. Therefore the Communist and
Workers’ parties exercise undivided leadership even when there are
other parties in the country.
The governments in the People’s Democracies bore or still bear a
coalition character. They are formed of representatives of several
parties and political public organizations. But the coalition character
of the government does not mean that the working class is sharing its
power. The working class does not and cannot share its power with
anybody; it establishes and exercises undivided domination in political
However, as the spokesman and defender of national interests, the
working class is drawing other labouring classes in the person of their
political and public representatives into participation in governing
the country and in deciding state affairs.
People’s Democracy is a real and unrestricted power of the people. It
expresses and champions the interest of all the labouring masses who
constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. This is a
genuinely popular power and registered as such constitutionally through
legislation. “The people are the sole source of state power,” says
Article 1 of the Czechoslovak Republic’s Constitution. “All power comes
from the people and belongs to the people,” says the Constitution of
the Bulgarian Republic.
The state system of the European People’s Democracies varies depending
on concrete historical conditions, but the principles of the state
structure are basically the same.
The people’s democratic republic is a form of the state system of the
European People’s Democracies. The parliament elected by all these
people on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret
ballot is the highest organ of state power in the people’s republics.
In Bulgaria and Albania this organ is called the National Assembly, in
Hungary —the State Assembly, in Rumania —the Grand National Assembly,
in Czechoslovakia —the National Assembly, and in Poland —the People’s
The administrative authority in these countries is exercised by the government which is accountable to parliament.
The localities, such as regions, uyezds, districts, volosts, etc., and
administered by the local organs of state power, elected by the people.
In Bulgaria, Albania and Rumania they are called people’s councils, in
Czechoslovakia – national committees, and in Poland – Rady Narodowe.
The social, class basis of People’s Democracy is the unshakable, firm
alliance of the working class with the labouring peasantry, which was
formed in the conflagration of the anti-fascist struggle and became
strengthened in the battles against reaction in the subsequent stages
of political development. People’s Democracy is implementing the
proletarian dictatorship’s supreme principle – the preservation and
strengthening of the alliance between the working class and the
peasantry, and the leadership of the working class in this alliance.
The Communist and Workers’ parties are the leading and directing force
in the People’s Democracies, and this ensures the fulfilment by the
popular democratic regime of the functions of the proletarian
dictatorship and the development of these countries along the path to
As was shown above, the leading role of the Communist and Workers’
parties took shape historically and was won in long and bitter
struggles for national freedom and democracy against the German and
native fascists, against the landlords and reactionary bourgeoisie,
against the U.S.-British imperialists and their agents, the Right
Social-Democrats and bourgeois nationalists.
After the victory over fascism the question was raised about the
further prospects of historical development, and it was only the
Communists who pointed out to the peoples the path to a new life
without exploiters and enslavers, the path of genuine democracy. For
that reason the prestige of the Communists rose immeasurably among the
working people, and the influence of the Communist and Workers’ parties
increased in all spheres of political life.
These parties ensured the defeat of the reactionary forces and the
establishment of people’s power. They were the initiators and
organizers of the land reforms; the nationalization of industry, banks,
transport facilities, etc., was carried out under their guidance.
Various bourgeois parties that existed in all the people’s republics
were reduced to bankruptcy. The people turned their backs on them
because these parties strove to set up reactionary order and spared no
effort to hinder revolutionary development. The leaders of these
parties betrayed the people, went over to the service of the
U.S.-British imperialists, and became spies and wreckers.
The Communist and Workers’ parties completely exposed the Right
Social-Democrats; they showed them to be masked advocates of the
interests of the bourgeoisie and agents of the American and British
imperialists. Supported by the Communist Parties the Left-wing elements
in the Social-Democratic parties broke away from opportunism and went
over to the side of Marxism-Leninism. The Right Social-Democrats were
expelled from party units.
The ideological, political and organizational defeat of Right Social-
Democratism was an important victory of the Communist Parties; it was a
victory of Marxism-Leninism over Social-Democratism. This resulted in
the liquidation of the split in the labour movement and the formation
of unitary working-class parties which based their activities on the
ideological and organizational principles of Marxism-Leninism. This
increased still further the authority and influence of the Communists,
enhanced their leading role in all public life, and was an important
step in reinforcing politically the popular democratic regime.
Under the leadership of the Communist and Workers’ parties the people
solved the task of rehabilitating the national economy in an
exceptionally brief space of time and started the building of socialist
The Communist and Workers’ parties are unswervingly pursuing the policy
of proletarian internationalism, and persistently consolidating and
developing their friendship with the U.S.S.R., the great socialist
These parties are thus a decisive factor that ensures the fulfilment by
the popular democratic regime of the functions of the proletarian
dictatorship and the successful solution of the tasks of socialist
The idea of People’s Democracy has acquired great drawing power. It
penetrates the minds of the popular masses in the capitalist and
colonial countries, rouses and rallies them to the struggle against the
imperialist enslavers and native reactionaries, for national freedom,
for the development and consolidation of democracy, for world peace,
Click here to return to the
index of archival material.