Pravda No. 13, January 17, 1913.
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 18, pages 489-490.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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This newspaper has already noted the failure, in the Council of State, of the Duma Bill to introduce a Zemstvo in Archangel Gubernia. But it is well worth dwelling once more on the importance of this fact, which, for all its in significance, is highly characteristic.
For almost half a century there has existed a Zemstvo of the nobility, one which guarantees the absolute preponderance of the feudal type of landlord. And only in some gubernias, such as Vyatka Gubernia, where there is hardly any landed nobility, the Zemstvo has more of a muzhik character. However, there it is enmeshed even more in all kinds of bureaucratic bans, impediments, restrictions and specifications. It would seem that it is this sort of harmless, curtailed Zemstvo that Archangel Gubernia, too, has been seeking for over a half century.
And now the resolution of the Black-Hundred, landlord and bourgeois Third Duma to introduce a Zemstvo in Archangel Gubernia has been rejected by the Council of State. What a glaring light this “trifle” sheds on the essence of our “renovated” system! What a splendid lesson on the class roots of politics!
The arguments of the opponents of the Zemstvo on the Council of State are frank—there is no nobility there, you see. “Private” landownership in the whole gubernia amounts to a mere 2,660 dessiatines, exclaimed Mr. Stishinsky, the reporter in the Council of State.
It follows that where there is no landed nobility, the “people” are not mature enough even to deal with the repair of roads and the building of hospitals. But if there are no landlords, they should be implanted, directly or indirectly.
Implanted from where? From central Russia, where they are numerous enough. The landlords of the black-earth central region where the vestiges of serfdom are freshest, where more is left of the corvée (labour service) system than anywhere else, and where diehards like those in Kursk Gubernia rule and reign and govern—those are the ones to rely on where government and public affairs are concerned. In this sense, the attitude of the Council of State to the question of a Zemstvo in Archangel Gubernia is a most instructive and graphic lesson in our statehood.