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From Communism to Anti-Communism

Andre Liebich
Svetlana Yakimovich

From the Revolution to the Comintern

Exiting the Tauride Palace, Comintern Congress, Petrograd, 19 July 1920

Lars Lih

Texte intégral

The back of the document reads in French: “Sortie du Palais Ouritzky” – [“Exit from the Uritsky Palace”]. Black and white photograph; 11 x 15.5 cm.

1After leaving Smolny, the delegates went to the Tauride Palace, a building with a long tradition of representative assemblies. There is no documentary evidence for the caption which calls this the Uritsky Palace, although the assembly hall within the building was renamed the “Uritsky Theater.” Moisei Uritsky was a Bolshevik hero who had died of an assassin’s bullet. The opening session of the Second Congress of the Comintern was held in this room.

2The tsarist Duma had held its sessions in the Tauride Palace beginning with the first Duma of 1906 which was dissolved manu militari by order of the tsar in 1908. It was there too that the Provisional Government was declared immediately after the fall of the empire in February 1917. For a time the building was the seat of the Provisional Government as well as of the Petrograd Soviet. The government moved out to a corner of the Winter Palace, and the Tauride Palace became identified with the Soviet. The Constituent Assembly held its sole meeting in January 1918 in the Tauride Palace before being dispersed by the Bolsheviks. In years to come, the building became the Communist Party School and since the 1990s it has been the meeting place of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Community of Independent States.

3In his brief opening remarks, Grigorii Zinoviev connected the Second Congress with two great revolutionary events of the past: “In a few months fifty years will have passed since the first great, historic insurrection of the European workers, which showed the way both for you and for us. I speak of the Paris Commune … Present here are representatives of the working men and women of Petrograd, who were the first to begin the insurrection of October 1917 … Remember this day. Know that this day is the reward for all your sacrifices and for your courageous, steadfast struggle. Tell you children about this day and explain to them its meaning. Inscribe this solemn hour in your hearts.”

4Lenin gave an extensive speech analyzing the world situation, and then several appeals were made for help in ongoing revolutionary struggles, particularly in Hungary and Poland. The adoption of these sorts of appeals also took place at international congresses during the Second International – only in those days, such appeals most often called for support of the revolutionary struggle in Russia.


Kevin J. Callahan, Demonstration Culture: European Socialism and the Second International, Leicester: Troubadour Publishing, 2010.

John Riddell, ed., Workers of the World and Oppressed People, Unite! Proceedings and Documents of the Second Congress of the Communist International, [vol. 2, The Communist International in Lenin’s Time], New York: Pathfinder, 1991 (Zinoviev quotation pp. 104–105)

Alfred Rosmer, Moscow under Lenin, Introduction by Tamara Deutscher, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973 [1st French edition, 1951].

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Légende The back of the document reads in French: “Sortie du Palais Ouritzky” – [“Exit from the Uritsky Palace”]. Black and white photograph; 11 x 15.5 cm.
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