chapter  3
11 Pages

The General Secretary

Sovnarkom’s first two legislative acts were the Decree on Peace and the Decree on Land, published on 26 October 1917. Although the decrees notionally redeemed two of the Bolsheviks’ revolutionary pledges – to secure peace for the country and land for the peasants – it was still the military situation and the agrarian crisis that were to prove the most intractable problems for the new regime over the next four difficult years. The most pressing task was to secure a separate peace with Germany. Trotsky, as Commissar for Foreign Affairs, was in charge of the Soviet negotiating team, but Stalin remained close to Lenin in Petrograd while the talks proceeded at Brest-Litovsk on the Russo-Polish frontier.