A. Badayev

The Bolsheviks in the Tsarist Duma

Notes and Errata

This highly interesting and instructive volume represents a translation of the first Russian edition of Badayev’s reminiscences. In preparing the third edition of his book the author provided it with additional material and corrected certain inaccuracies. As we are reprinting the book from matrices prepared for us by Martin Lawrence, Ltd., London, we are unable to make the required changes in the English edition. We therefore append these notes based on the author’s changes. We take this opportunity also to correct a few misprints that crept into the book.

Page 10, third line from the end. Instead of “no electoral weapon” read “no such electoral weapon.”

Pages 12–13. The electoral campaign was conducted under the general direction of Lenin from Cracow. He supplied the Pravda with articles and letters giving advice and direction on the conduct of the fight. The St. Petersburg organization under the leadership of Comrade Stalin carried out these directions and developed a fierce fight for the bolshevik election platform.

Page 37. In the third edition of his book the author admits the mistake committed by the Bolshevik members of the Duma fraction in joining the Mensheviks in their opposition to the strike. The Party, while directing the movement into organised channels, should have led all the revolutionary actions of the workers and utilised them for the purpose of extending the revolutionary struggle.

The meeting at the printing office of the Pravda to which the author refers declared the attitude of the Duma fraction in this question to have been mistaken.

Page 41. The Trudoviki, whose programme was akin to that of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, pretended to represent the whole of the Russian peasantry, but actually they represented only the interests of the well-to-do strata of the peasants. It was therefore quite natural for them to act in contact with the parties of the liberal bourgeoisie – the Cadets and Progressives. On the other hand, the group expressed the protest of the peasantry as a whole against the feudal landlord regime, and this made common action with the social-democrats possible from time to time.

Page 43. In the third edition of his book the author adds a few lines stressing the persistence and firmness displayed by Comrade Stalin in the struggle against the Mensheviks over the Duma declaration.

Page 61. Lenin repeatedly pointed out that the question of unity can and must be put only from “below” and that unity in any form is possible only with revolutionary workers, but not with those who opposed and distorted revolutionary Marxism.

Page 104. The consent of the workers’ deputies to have their names included in the list of collaborators of the Luch “for tactical reasons” was given without the knowledge and sanction of the Central Committee and Lenin. As soon as the latter learned about this he at once pointed out to the Bolshevik members of the fraction that they had committed a mistake. There could be no unity whatsoever, he explained, even in the press, with the Liquidators who were carrying on disruptive treacherous work against the Party and its illegal organisations. The decision of the Menshevik majority of the fraction to create a united press organ was a manœuvre to deceive the masses of the workers by false demonstrations of unity. It was necessary to expose and reject this manœuvre, in the first instance by refusing to participate in the Menshevik paper.

Page 105, fourth and fifth lines from top. Instead of “and its paper” read “and their paper.”

Page 229. In the third edition of his book the author adds a number of interesting details throwing light on the struggle which went on behind the scenes concerning the course to be adopted in connection with the trial of the Duma Bolsheviks.

“Of course nobody from Nicholas II right down to the last secret service agent, had any doubt as to the necessity of completing the suppression of the fraction by getting them sentenced to death ... It was only a question of doing this in a way that would be least dangerous for the autocracy. The tsarist government knew perfectly well that even in prison the Bolshevik deputies would not be entirely isolated from the masses. The whole activity of the deputies bore witness to the strong ties which connected them with the labour movement and to the strong support which their utterances inside and outside of the Duma received among the working class. But on the other hand there could be no doubt that the masses would not quietly tolerate the deputies being sentenced to death. In other words, it was a question of preventing the arrest and trial of the deputies from becoming a stepping-stone to an increased outbreak of the revolutionary movement instead of serving to forcibly crush it ...”

The actual rulers of the country at that time were the General Headquarters Staff of the Army. Practically the whole country, including Petrograd, was under martial law, so the case should have been tried by court-martial. The Commander-in-Chief, the Grand Duke Nicholas, fearing that the trial of the deputies by court-martial would have a bad effect upon the population and the army, decided to intervene, and insisted on the case being tried by a civil court. This decision met with violent opposition on the part of certain ministers, and for two months the question was discussed in correspondence between General Headquarters and Petrograd. Finally, being unable to agree, the government submitted the question to Nicholas II. Evidently he too was impressed with the danger that would arise if the deputies were court-martialled and sentenced to death, and so he sided with the Grand Duke and ultimately the case was tried in a civil court.

Page 233, seventh line. Instead of “Nenarokomov” read “Nenarokov.”

Pages 235–236. The whole description of the behaviour of the deputies after their arrest and of the trial shows no sign of self-criticism. It gives a vivid picture, but remains a simple statement of fact and leaves the reader in the dark as to whether the behaviour of the accused was all that was desired from the point of view of a revolutionary party or not. This has been remedied by including in the volume the article by Lenin on the trial of the deputies, a course also taken by the author in the third Russian edition of his book.

Last updated on 19.9.2011