In the treaty, Bolshevik Russia ceded the Baltic States to Germany; they were meant to become German vassal states under German princelings. Russia also ceded its province of Kars Oblast in the South Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire and recognized the independence of Ukraine. According to Spencer Tucker, a historian of World War I, “The German General Staff had formulated extraordinarily harsh terms that shocked even the German negotiator.” Congress Poland was not mentioned in the treaty, as Germans refused to recognize the existence of any Polish representatives, which in turn led to Polish protests. When Germans later complained that the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 was too harsh on them, the Allies (and historians favorable to the Allies) responded that it was more benign than Brest-Litovsk.
The treaty was effectively terminated in November 1918, when Germany surrendered to the Allies. However, in the meantime, it did provide some relief to the Bolsheviks, already fighting the Russian Civil War, by the renunciation of Russia’s claims on modern-day Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Lithuania.