Pravda No. 26, February 1, 1913.
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 18, pages 539-540.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Mobilisation of land is the transfer of landownership from one person to another. With regard to our peasants, both our legislation and our “public” opinion (even liberal opinion, as expressed by the Cadets) still maintain the feudal view that mobilisation of peasant lands is harmful and should be prohibited or restricted.
From the democratic point of view, the very assumption that peasants—adult persons and full-fledged citizens—may be prohibited from or impeded in selling their land is a most shameless affront to the peasantry. Only in a country like Russia, where all government officials and the bulk of the liberals still cling to the old, feudal view of the “muzhik” as being slow-witted, underprivileged and requiring tutelage, can this attitude to mobilisation persist.
From the economic point of view, the harm caused by all prohibition and restriction of mobilisation is enormous. Given living conditions that are at all tolerable, the peasant will never sell his land. On the other hand, when want or other conditions (resettlement, death of the breadwinner, and so on) compel a peasant to sell his land, no law can stop him. The law will always be bypassed, and bans will merely worsen the terms of sale of the land.
In the January issue of Russkaya Mysl, the mouthpiece of the extreme Right-wing Cadets, a cross-breed of liberals and Black Hundreds, a certain Prince V. Obolensky, who apparently shares the usual Black-Hundred and liberal view on mobilisation, was compelled to cite facts proving the stupidity and harm of all restrictions on it. Non-peasants are prohibited from buying allotments. So they register as peasants! Or a person is prohibited from buying more than six per capita allotments. So he signs fictitious, fraudulent deeds in the name of his relatives, and so on! Or he is prohibited from mortgaging allotment land. This makes speculative deals all the easier and the purchase of land by middle peasants all the more difficult!
Only feudal-minded people and hypocrites can expect restrictions on mobilisation to “relieve” the peasantry. As far as the politically-conscious peasants are concerned, they seek an entirely different solution.