The Constituent Assembly

January 1918 was also notable as the month in which the Constituent Assembly held its only proper meeting.  In the wake of the October Revolution, elections to the Assembly had taken place in November, with the Socialist-Revolutionary (S-R) Party gaining the greatest number of places, followed at some distance by the Bolsheviks (who were, however, more successful in urban areas).

The meeting took place from 4pm until 4.40am on 5 (18) January in Petrograd, with delegates agreeing to return for a second session later on the second day.  On their return, they found the doors locked against them.  That day, the Bolsheviks decreed that the Assembly had folded.

On display is a work by Viktor Denisov, known as Deni, one of the great early Soviet poster artists.  Taken from an exquisite 1925 book on the Russian revolutionary poster, the image shows Viktor Chernov, the S-R President of the Constituent Assembly cast away at sea.  He is shown on the right, hugging a tsarist general, with a bourgeois on the other side and France behind them; the message is that the Assembly favoured the old regime and foreign capitalists rather than the workers and peasants.

From Russkii revoliutsionnyi plakat / Viacheslav Polonskii (CCA.54.27)

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