100th Anniversary of the Founding of the USSR
December 30, 1922
The Formation of the Union of the Soviet Republics
Comrades, this day marks a turning point in the history of the Soviet power. It places a landmark between the old period, now past, when the Soviet republics, although they acted in common, yet each followed its own path and was concerned primarily with its own preservation, and the new period, already begun, when an end is being put to the isolated existence of the Soviet republics, when the republics are being united into a single union state for a successful struggle against economic ruin, and when the Soviet power is concerned not only with its preservation, but with developing into an important international force, capable of influencing the international situation and of modifying it in the interests of the working people.
What was the Soviet state five years ago? A small, scarcely noticeable entity, which evoked the derision of all its enemies and the pity of many of its friends. That was the period of wartime ruin, when the Soviet power relied not so much upon its own strength as upon the impotence of its opponents; when the enemies of the Soviet power, split into two coalitions, the Austro-German coalition and the Anglo-French coalition, were engaged in mutual warfare and were not in a position to turn their weapons against the Soviet power. In the history of the Soviet power that was the period of wartime ruin. In the struggle against Kolchak and Denikin, however, the Soviet power created the Red Army and successfully emerged from the period of wartime ruin.
Later, the second period in the history of the Soviet power began, the period of struggle against economic ruin. This period is by no means over yet, but it has already borne fruit, for during this period the Soviet power has successfully coped with the famine which afflicted the country last year. During this period we have witnessed a considerable advance in agriculture and a considerable revival of the light industries. Cadres of industrial leaders have already come to the fore and are the object of our hope and trust. But that is far from enough for the purpose of overcoming economic ruin. To vanquish and eliminate that ruin the forces of all the Soviet republics must be pooled; all the financial and economic potentialities of the republics must be concentrated on the task of restoring our basic industries. Hence the necessity for uniting the Soviet republics into a single union state. Today is the day of the union of our republics into a single state for the purpose of pooling all our forces for the restoration of our economy.
The period of combating wartime ruin gave us the Red Army, one of the foundations of the existence of the Soviet power. The next period, the period of struggle against economic ruin, is giving us a new framework of state existence — the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which will undoubtedly promote the work of restoring Soviet economy.
What is the Soviet power now? A great state of the working people which evokes among our enemies not derision but the gnashing of teeth.
Such are the results of the development of the Soviet power during the five years of its existence.
But, comrades, today is not only a day for summing up, it is at the same time the day of triumph of the new Russia over the old Russia, the Russia that was the gendarme of Europe, the Russia that was the hangman of Asia. Today is the day of triumph of the new Russia, which has smashed the chains of national oppression, organised victory over capital, created the dictatorship of the proletariat, awakened the peoples of the East, inspires the workers of the West, transformed the Red Flag from a Party banner into a State banner, and rallied around that banner the peoples of the Soviet republics in order to unite them into a single state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the prototype of the future World Soviet Socialist Republic.
We Communists are often abused and accused of being unable to build. Let the history of the Soviet power during these five years of its existence serve as proof that Communists are also able to build. Let today’s Congress of Soviets, whose function it is to ratify the Declaration and Treaty of Union of the Republics that were adopted at the Conference of Plenipotentiary Delegations yesterday, let this Union Congress demonstrate to all who have not yet lost the ability to understand, that Communists are as well able to build the new as they are to destroy the old.
Here, comrades, is the Declaration that was adopted yesterday, at the Conference of Plenipotentiary Delegations. I shall read it (see appendix No. 1).
And here is the text of the Treaty that was adopted at the same conference. I shall read it (see appendix No. 2).
Comrades, on the instructions of the Conference of Plenipotentiary Delegations of the Soviet Republics I move that you ratify the texts I have just read of the Declaration and Treaty on the Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Comrades, I propose that you adopt them with the unanimity characteristic of Communists, and thereby add a new chapter to the history of mankind. (Applause.)
1. The First Congress of Soviets of the USSR took place in Moscow on December 30, 1922. There were present 1,727 delegates from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), 364 from the Ukrainian SSR, 91 from the Transcaucasian Federation and 33 from the Byelorussian SSR. The congress discussed J.V. Stalin’s report on the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it ratified the Declaration and the Treaty of Union on the Formation of the USSR, and elected the Central Executive Committee of the USSR.
2. The Conference of plenipotentiary Delegations of the RSFSR, the Ukrainian S.S.R., the Byelorussian S.S.R. and of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic took place on December 29, 1922. The conference examined and adopted the Declaration and the Treaty on the Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. J.V. Stalin made a report to the conference on the order of proceedings at the First Congress of Soviets of the USSR. The conference instructed J.V. Stalin to deliver at the congress the report on the formation of the USSR. In the morning of December 30, the plenipotentiary delegations signed the Declaration and the Treaty on the Formation of the USSR.
(Pravda, No. 298, December 31, 1922)