V. I.   Lenin

Casual Notes


I. Beat – But Not to Death!

On January 23, in Nizhni-Novgorod, the Moscow High Court of Justice, in a special session, with the participation of representatives of the social-estates, tried the case of the murder of the peasant Timofei Vasilyevich Vozdukhov, who had been taken to the police-station “to sober up” and there beaten up by four policemen, Shelemetyev, Shulpin, Shibayev, and Olkhovin, and by acting Station Sergeant Panov, so that he died in the hospital the next day.

Such is the simple tale of this case, which throws a glaring light upon what usually and always goes on in our police-stations.

As far as can be gathered from the extremely brief newspaper reports, what appears to have happened is the following. On April 20, Vozdukhov drove up to the Governor’s house in a cab. The superintendent of the Governor’s house came out to him; in giving evidence at the trial the superintendent stated that Vozdukhov, hatless, had been drinking but was not drunk, and that he, Vozdukhov, complained to him about a certain steamboat booking office having refused to sell him a ticket (?). The superintendent ordered Shelemetyev, the policeman on duty, to take him to the police-station. Vozdukhov was sufficiently sober to be able to speak quietly with Shelemetyev and on arriving at the police-station quite distinctly told Sergeant Panov his name and occupation. Notwithstanding all this, Shelemetyev, no doubt with the knowledge of Panov, who had just questioned Vozdukhov, “pushed” the latter, not into the common cell, in which there were a number of other drunkards, but into the adjoining   “soldiers’ lock-up.” As he pushed him, his sword got caught on the latch of the door and it cut his hand slightly; imagining that Vozdukhov was holding the sword, he rushed at him to strike him, shouting that his hand bad been cut. He struck Vozdukhov with all his might in the face, in the chest, in the side; he struck him so hard that Vozdukhov fell, striking his forehead on the floor and begging for mercy. “Why are you hitting me?” he implored, according to the statement of a witness, Semakhin, who was in the neighbouring cell at the time. “It was not my fault. Forgive me, for Christ’s sake!” According to the evidence of this witness, it was not Vozdukhov who was drunk, but sooner Shelemetyev. Shelemetyev’s colleagues, Shulpin and Shibayev, who had been continuously drinking in the police-station since the first day of Easter week (April 20 was Tuesday, the third day of Easter week), learned that Shelemetyev was “teaching” (the expression used in the indictment) Vozdukhov a lesson. They went into the soldiers’ lock-up accompanied by Olkhovin, who was on a visit from another station, and attacked Vozdukhov with their fists and feet. Police Sergeant Panov came on the scene and struck Vozdukhov on the head with a book, and then with his fists. “Oh! they beat and beat him so hard that my belly ached for pity,” said a woman witness, who was under arrest there at the time. When the “lesson” was over, the sergeant very coolly ordered Shibayev to wipe the blood from the victim’s face—it would not look so bad then; the chief might see it—and then to fling him into the common cell. “Brothers!” cried Vozdukhov to the other detainees, “see how the police have beaten me. Be my witnesses, I’ll lodge a complaint.” But he never lived to lodge the complaint. The following morning, he was found in a state of unconsciousness and sent to the hospital where he died within eight hours without coming to himself again. A post-mortem revealed ten broken ribs, bruises all over his body, and haemorrhage of the brain.

The court sentenced Shelemetyev, Shulpin, and Shibayev to four years’ penal servitude, and Olkhovin and Panov to one month’s detention, finding them guilty only of “insulting behaviour.”...

With this sentence we shall commence our examination of the case. Those sentenced to penal servitude were charged according to Articles 346 and 1490, Part II, of the Penal Code. The first of these articles provides that an official inflicting wounds or injuries in the exercise of his duties is liable to the maximum penalty reserved “for the perpetration of such a crime.” Article 1490, Part II, provides for a penalty of from eight to ten years’ penal servitude for inflicting torture resulting in death. Instead of inflicting the maximum penalty, the court, consisting of representatives of the social-estates and crown judges, reduced the sentence by two degrees (sixth degree, eight to ten years of penal servitude; seventh degree, four to six years), i.e., it made the maximum reduction of sentence permitted by the law in cases of extenuating circumstances, and, moreover, imposed the minimum penalty of that low degree. In a word, the court did all it could to let the culprits off as lightly as possible; in fact, it did more than it could, because it evaded the law concerning the “maximum penalty.” Of course, we do not wish to assert that “supreme justice” demanded precisely ten and not four years’ penal servitude; the essential point is that the murderers were declared to be murderers and that they were sentenced to penal servitude. But we cannot refrain from noting a tendency characteristic of the court of crown judges and representatives of the estates; when they try a police official, they are ready to display the greatest clemency, but when they sit in judgment over an act committed against the police, as is well known, they display inexorable severity.[1]  

With a police sergeant before it, how could the court refuse him clemency? He had met Vozdukhov as he was brought in and apparently had ordered him to be placed, not in a common cell, but first, in order to teach him a lesson, in the soldiers’ lock-up. He took part in the assault, using his fists and a book (no doubt a copy of the Penal Laws); he gave orders to have all traces of the crime removed (to wipe away the blood). On the night of April 20 he reported to the inspector, Mukhanov, upon his return, “everything in order at the station in his charge” (his exact words!)—but he had nothing to do with the murderers, he was only guilty of an insulting act, just insulting behaviour, punishable by detention. Quite naturally, this gentleman, Mr. Panov, innocent of murder, is still in the police service occupying the post of a village police sergeant. Mr. Panov has merely transferred his useful directing activities in “teaching lessons” to the common people from the town to the country. Now, reader, tell us in all conscience, can Sergeant Panov understand the sentence of the court to mean anything else than advice in the future to remove the traces of a crime more thoroughly, to “teach” in such a manner as to leave no trace? You did right in ordering the blood to be wiped from the face of the dying man, but you allowed him to die. That, pal, was careless. In the future be more careful and never forget the first and last commandment of the Russian Derzhimorda [6]: “Beat—but not to death!”

From the ordinary human point of view, the sentence Panov drew was a mockery of justice. It reveals a cringing, servile spirit, an attempt to throw the whole blame upon the minor police officers and to shield their immediate chief with whose knowledge, approval, and participation this brutal crime was committed. From the juridical point of view, the sentence is an example of the casuistry resorted to by bureaucratic judges who are themselves not far   removed from police sergeants. Speech was given to man to conceal his thoughts, say the diplomats. Our jurists may say that the law is given to distort the concepts of guilt and responsibility. Indeed, what refined juridical art is required to be able to reduce complicity in torture to simple insulting behaviour! Panov was guilty of an offence equal in gravity to that perhaps committed by a factory hand who possibly on the morning of April 20 mischievously struck Vozdukhov’s cap off his head! In fact, milder than that: it was not an offence but merely an infringement. Even participation in a brawl (let alone the brutal assault upon a helpless man), if it results in a fatality, is liable to a severer punishment than that meted out to the police sergeant. Legal chicanery took advantage of the fact that the law provides for various degrees of punishment for inflicting injuries in the exercise of official duties and allows the court the discretion to pronounce sentences ranging from two months’ imprisonment to permanent banishment to Siberia, according to the circumstances of the case. Of course, it is quite a rational rule not to bind a judge to strictly formal definitions, but to allow him certain latitude. Our professors of criminal law have often praised Russian legislation for this and have emphasised its liberal character. However, in praising our law, they lose sight of one trifle, namely, that, for rational laws to be applied, it is necessary to have judges who are not reduced to the role of mere officials, that it is necessary to have representatives of the public in the court, and for public opinion to play its part in the examination of cases. Secondly, the assistant public prosecutor came to the aid of the court by withdrawing the charge against Panov (and Olkhovin) of torture and cruelty and pleading only for a sentence for insulting behaviour. In his plea, the assistant prosecutor called expert evidence to prove that the blows inflicted by Panov were neither numerous nor painful. As you see, the juridical sophistry is not very ingenious: since Panov did less beating than the others, it may be argued that his punches were not very painful, and since they were not very painful, it may be argued that his offence was not “torture and cruelty”; and since it was not torture and cruelty, then it was merely insulting behaviour. All this works out to   everybody’s satisfaction, and Mr. Panov remains in the ranks of the guardians of law and order....[2]

We have just referred to the participation of representatives of the public in court trials, and to the part that should be played by public opinion. The case in point is an excellent illustration. In the first place, why was this case tried, not by a jury, but by a court of crown judges and representatives of the estates? Because the government of Alexander III, having declared ruthless war upon every public aspiration towards liberty and independence, very soon found that trial by jury was dangerous. The reactionary press declared trial by jury to be “trial by the street,” and launched against it a campaign which, be it said in passing, continues to this day. The government adopted a reactionary programme. Having crushed the revolutionary movement of the seventies, it insolently declared to the representatives of the people that it regarded them as the “street,” the mob, which must not interfere in the   work of legislation, let alone interfere in the administration of the state, and which must be driven from the sanctuary where Russian citizens are tried and punished according to the Panov method. In 1887 a law was passed removing crimes committed by and against officials from the jurisdiction of courts sitting with a jury and transferring them to courts of crown judges and representatives of the estates. It is well known that these representatives of the estates, merged into a single collegium with the bureaucratic judges, are mute super-numeraries playing the miserable role of witnesses ready to say yes to everything the officials of the Department of Justice decide. This is one of a long series of laws adopted during the latest reactionary period of Russian history and having one single tendency in common: to re-establish a “sound authority.” Under the pressure of circumstances, the government in the latter half of the nineteenth century was compelled to come into contact with the “street”; but the character of the street changed with astonishing rapidity and the ignorant inhabitants gave place to citizens who were beginning to understand their rights and who were capable even of producing the champions of their rights. Realising this, the government drew back in horror, and is now making convulsive efforts to surround itself by a Chinese Wall, to immure itself in a fortress into which no manifestations of independent public action can penetrate.... But I have strayed somewhat from my subject.

Thanks to the reactionary law, the street was deprived of the right to try representatives of the government. Officials have been tried by officials. This has affected, not only the sentence passed by the court, but also the character of the preliminary investigation and the trial. Trial by the street is valuable because it breathes a living spirit into the bureaucratic formalism which pervades our government institutions. The street is interested, not only, and not so much, in the definition of the given offence (insulting behaviour, assault, torture), or in the category of punishment to be imposed; it is interested in exposing thoroughly and bringing to public light the significance and all the social and political threads of the crime in order to draw lessons in public morals and practical   politics from the trial. The street does not want to see in the court “an official institution,” in which functionaries apply to given cases the corresponding articles of the Penal Code, but a public institution which exposes the ulcers of the present system, which provides material for criticising it and, consequently, for improving it. Impelled by its practical knowledge of public affairs and by the growth of political consciousness, the street is discovering the truth for which our official, professorial jurisprudence, weighed down by its scholastic shackles, is groping with such difficulty and timidity—namely, that in the fight against crime the reform of social and political institutions is much more important than the imposition of punishment. For this reason the reactionary publicists and the reactionary government hate, and cannot help hating, trial by the street. For this reason the curtailments put on the competency of jury courts and the restrictions on publicity run like a scarlet thread throughout the whole of the post-Reform history of Russia; indeed, the reactionary character of the “post-Reform” epoch was exposed immediately after the law of 1864, reforming our “judicature,” came into force.[3] The absence of “trial by the street” was markedly felt in this particular case. Who in the court that tried this case could have been interested in its social aspect, and who would have sought to bring it out prominently? The public prosecutor? The official who is closely connected with the police, who shares responsibility for the detention of prisoners and the manner in which they are treated, who, in certain cases, is actually the chief of police? We have seen that the assistant prosecutor even withdrew the charge of torture against Panov. The civil plaintiff—in the event that Vozdukhova, the widow of the murdered man and a witness   at the trial, had put in a civil claim against the murderers? But how was this simple woman to know that it was permissible to bring a civil claim for damages before a criminal court? But even had she known it, would she have been able to retain a lawyer? And even had she been able to do so, could a lawyer have been found who was willing to call public attention to the state of affairs brought to light by this murder? And even if such a lawyer had been found, would his ”civic zeal” have been supported by such “delegates” of the public as the representatives of the social-estates? Picture to yourself a rural district elder— I have in mind a provincial court—embarrassed in his rustic clothes, not knowing what to do with his rough, peasant hands, awkwardly trying to conceal his feet encased in greased top-boots, gazing with awe upon His Excellency, the president of the court, who is seated on the same bench with him. Or imagine a city mayor, a fat merchant, breathing heavily in his unaccustomed livery, with his chain of office round his neck, trying to ape his neighbour, a Marshal of the Nobility, a gentleman in a nobleman’s uniform, who looks sleek and well tended, with aristocratic manners. By his side are judges, men who have gone through the hard grind of the school of bureaucracy, genuine functionaries who have grown grey in the service and are filled with a consciousness of the importance of the duty they have to fulfill—to try representatives of the authorities whom the street is not worthy to try. Would not this scene dampen the ardour of the most eloquent lawyer? Would it not remind him of the ancient aphorism: “neither cast ye your pearls before...”?

And so it happened that the case was rushed through at express speed, as if all concerned were eager to get it off their hands as quickly as possible,[4] as if they feared to rake too thoroughly in the muck; one may get accustomed to living near a cesspool and not notice the foul odours emanating from it, but as soon as an attempt is made to cleanse it,   the stench assails the nostrils, not only of the inhabitants of the particular street, but also of those of the neighbouring streets.

Just think of the number of questions that naturally arise and that no one has taken the trouble to clear up! Why did Vozdukhov go to the Governor? The indictment—the document which embodied the effort of the prosecuting authorities to disclose the crime—not only failed to reply to this question, but deliberately obscured it with the statement that Vozdukhov “was detained in a state of intoxication in the courtyard of the Governor’s house by policeman Shelemetyev.” It even gives ground for the assumption that Vozdukhov was brawling— and where do you think? In the courtyard of the Governor’s house! In actuality, Vozdukhov drove up to the Governor’s house in a cab in order to lodge a complaint—this fact was established. What did he go to complain about? Ptitsyn, the superintendent of the Governor’s house, stated that Vozdukhov had complained about the refusal of a steamship booking office to sell him a ticket (?). The witness Mukhanov, formerly inspector of the station in which Vozdukhov was assaulted (and now governor of the provincial prison in Vladimir), stated that he had heard from Vozdukhov’s wife that she and her husband had been drinking and that in Nizhni they had been beaten up in the river police-station and in the Rozhdestvensky police-station, and that Vozdukhov had gone to the Governor to complain about this. Notwithstanding the fact that the witnesses obviously contradicted each other, the court did not make the slightest attempt to clear up the matter. On the contrary, one has every reason to conclude that the court did not wish to clear up the matter. Vozdukhov’s wife gave evidence at the trial, but no one took the trouble to ask her whether she and her husband had really been assaulted in several Nizhni police-stations, under what circumstances they had been arrested, in what premises they had been assaulted, and by whom, whether her husband had really wished to complain to the Governor, and whether he had mentioned his intention to any one else. Most likely the witness Ptitsyn, an official in the Governor’s office, was not inclined to accept complaints from Vozdukhov—who was not drunk, but whom, nevertheless, it was necessary to make   sober!—against the police and ordered the intoxicated police-man Shelemetyev to take the complainant to the police-station to be sobered up. But this interesting witness was not cross-examined. The cabby, Krainov, who had driven Vozdukhov to the Governor’s house and subsequently to the police-station, was not questioned as to whether Vozdukhov had told him why he was going to the Governor, as to what he had said to Ptitsyn, and whether anybody else had heard the conversation. The court was satisfied merely to hear the brief written affidavit of Krainov (who did not appear in court) which testified that Vozdukhov had not been drunk, but only slightly intoxicated, and the assistant prosecutor had not even taken the trouble to subpoena this important witness. If we bear in mind that Vozdukhov, a sergeant in the army reserve and consequently a man of experience who must have known something about law and order, had said even after the last fatal blows, “I am going to lodge a complaint,” it appears more than likely that he went to the Governor to lodge a complaint against the police, that Ptitsyn lied to shield the police and that the servile judges and the servile prosecutor did not wish to bring this delicate story to light.

Further, why was Vozdukhov beaten? Again the indictment presents the case in a manner most favourable ... to the accused. The “motive for the torture,” it is alleged, was the cutting of Shelemetyev’s hand when he pushed Vozdukhov into the soldiers’ lock-up. The question arises, why was Vozdukhov, who spoke calmly both with Shelemetyev and with Panov, pushed (assuming that it was really necessary to push him!), not into the common cell, but first into the soldiers’ lock-up? He had been brought to the station to be sobered up—there were already a number of drunkards in the common cell, and later on Vozdukhov was put into the common cell; why, then, did Shelemetyev, after “introducing” him to Panov, push him into the soldiers’ lock-up? Evidently for the purpose of beating him. In the common cell there were a number of people, whereas in the soldiers’ lock-up Vozdukhov would be alone, and Shelemetyev could call to his aid his comrades and Mr. Panov, who was “in charge” of Police-Station No. 1 at the time. Consequently, the torture was inflicted, not for some chance reason, but   deliberately and with forethought. We can assume one of two things—either that all who are taken to the police-station for sobering up (even when they behave themselves decently and quietly) are first put into the soldiers’ lock-up to be “taught a lesson,” or that Vozdukhov was put in there precisely for the reason that he had gone to the Governor to lodge a complaint against the police. The newspaper reports of the trial are so brief that one hesitates to express oneself categorically in favour of the second hypothesis (which is not at all improbable); but the preliminary investigation and the court examination could have cleared this point up beyond any doubt. It stands to reason that the court did not pay any attention whatever to this. I say “it stands to reason,” because the indifference of the court reflects not only bureaucratic formalism, but the simple point of view of the Russian man in the street. “What is there to make a fuss about? A drunken muzhik was killed in a police-station! Worse things than that happen!” And the man in the street begins to relate scores of incomparably more revolting cases, in which the culprits have gone scot-free. The remarks of the man in the street are absolutely just; nevertheless, his attitude is absolutely wrong and by his arguments he merely reveals his extreme, philistine short-sightedness. Are not incomparably more revolting cases of police tyranny possible in our country only because this tyranny is the common, everyday practice in every police-station? And is not our indignation impotent against these exceptional cases because we, with customary indifference, tolerate the “normal” cases; because our indifference remains unperturbed, even when a customary practice like an assault upon a drunken (or allegedly drunken) “muzhik” in a police-station rouses the protest of this very muzhik (who ought to be accustomed to this sort of thing), of this very muzhik, who paid with his life for his most impertinent attempt to submit a humble petition to the Governor?

There is another reason why we must not ignore this all too common case. It has long been held that the preventive significance of punishment is not in its severity, but in its inevitableness. What is important is not that a crime shall be severely punished, but that not a single   crime shall pass undiscovered. From this aspect, too, the present case is of interest. Illegal and savage assault is committed in police-stations in the Russian Empire—it may be said without exaggeration-daily and hourly,[5] and only rare and very exceptional cases are brought up in court. This is not in the least surprising, since the criminals are the very police who in Russia are charged with the duty of disclosing crime. These circumstances compel us to devote all the greater, if unusual, attention to those cases in which the courts are constrained to raise the curtain that conceals such habitual facts.

Note, for example, how the police perpetrate their assault. Five or six of them together set upon their victim with brutal cruelty, many of them are drunk, all are armed with swords. But not one of them ever strikes the victim with his sword. They are men of experience and they know how to beat a man up. A sword blow leaves a mark of guilt, but try and prove that bruises made by fists were inflicted   by the police! “Arrested during a brawl in which he was beaten up,”—and your case isn’t worth a straw. Even in the present instance, when the man, as it happened, was beaten to death (“the devil tempted him to die, a hefty muzhik like that! Who would have thought it!”), the prosecution was obliged to bring witnesses to testify that “Vozdukhov was absolutely sound in health before he was taken to the police-station.” Apparently, the murderers, who maintained throughout the trial that they had not beaten the man, stated that they had brought him to the station in a battered condition. It is an extremely difficult matter to get witnesses to give evidence in a case like this. By a happy chance, the window between the common cell and the soldiers’ lock-up was not completely curtained off. True, instead of glass the panes consisted of sheets of tin with holes punched through, and on the side of the soldiers’ lock-up these holes were covered up by a leather curtain. By poking a finger through a hole, one could raise the curtain and see what was going on in the soldiers’ lock-up. Only through this circumstance was it possible at the trial to obtain a picture of the scene of the “lesson.” But such negligence as improperly curtained windows could exist only in the past century. In the twentieth century, the little window between the common cell and soldiers’ lock-up in the Kremlin district Police-Station No. 1 in Nizhni-Novgorod is no doubt blocked up.... And since there are no witnesses, woe betide the poor fellow who finds himself in the soldiers’ lock-up!

In no country in the world is there such a multitude of laws as in Russia. We have laws for everything. There are special regulations governing detention in custody, which specifically state that detention is legally permissible only in special premises, subject to special supervision. As you see, the law is observed. In the police-station, there is a special “common cell.” But before a man is put into the common cell, it is “customary” to “shove” him into the soldiers’ lock-up. Although the role of the soldiers’ lock-up as a real torture chamber was perfectly clear throughout the trial, the judicial authorities did not even think of paying the matter the slightest attention. Surely, the prosecuting attorney cannot be expected to expose   the excesses of our brutal police and to take measures against them!

We have referred to the question of witnesses in a case of this kind. At best, such witnesses can only be persons in the hands of the police. Only under the most exceptional circumstances would it be possible for an outsider to witness a police “lesson” given in a police-station. But it is possible for the police to influence the witnesses that are in their hands. And this is what happened in the present case. The witness Frolov, who at the time of the murder was in the common cell, stated during the preliminary investigation that Vozdukhov had been assaulted by the policemen and the sergeant; later he withdrew his testimony against Sergeant Panov; at the trial, however, he stated that none of the policemen had struck Vozdukhov, that he had been persuaded to give evidence against the police by Semakhin and Barinov (two other men in the common cell who were the principal witnesses for the prosecution), and that the police had not persuaded or prompted him to say this. The witnesses Fadeyev and Antonova stated that no one had laid a finger on Vozdukhov in the soldiers’ lock-up, that everything had been quiet there and no quarrelling had taken place.

As is to be seen, quite the usual thing happened. And the judicial authorities behaved with customary indifference. There is a law that provides severe penalties for perjury. A prosecution instituted against the two perjurers would throw further light on the outrages the police perpetrate against those who have the misfortune to fall into their hands and are almost completely defenceless (hundreds of thousands of the “common” people meet with such misfortune every day). But all that the court is concerned about is applying this or that article of the Penal Code; it is not in the least concerned about that defencelessness. This detail in the trial, like all the others, showed clearly how strong and all-entangling is the net, how persistent the canker, which can only be removed by abolishing the whole system of police tyranny and denial of the people’s rights.

About thirty-five years ago, F. M. Reshetnikov, a well-known Russian writer, met with an unpleasant adventure.   One evening he went to the Assembly of Nobles in St. Petersburg under the mistaken impression that a concert was to he given there. The policeman at the door barred his way and shouted at him: “What’s the shoving? Who are you?” “A factory hand,” roughly replied Reshetnikov, stung to anger by this affront. What followed this reply, as related by Gleb Uspensky, was that Reshetnikov spent the night in the police-station, from which he emerged bruised and battered, bereft of his money and his ring. “I report this matter to Your Excellency,” wrote Reshetnikov in a petition to the St. Petersburg Chief of Police. “ I seek no compensation. May I only humbly trouble you with the request that the police officers and their subordinates shall not beat the people.... As it is, the people have only sufferings in store for them.”[7]

The modest request which a Russian writer was bold enough to make to the chief of police of the capital so long ago has not yet been fulfilled and it cannot be fulfilled so long as the present political system lasts. At the present time, however, every honest man who is tormented by the contemplation of this brutality and violence turns towards the great new movement among the people that is mustering its forces in order to wipe all brutality from the face of the land of Russia and to achieve mankind’s finest ideals. During recent decades, hatred for the police has grown immensely and has become deep-rooted in the hearts of the masses of the common people. The development of urban life, the growth of industry, the spread of literacy, have all served to imbue even the uneducated masses with aspirations for a better life and a consciousness of their human dignity; the police, however, have remained as tyrannical and brutal as ever. To their bestiality we now see added a greater subtlety in the detection and persecution of the new, most dangerous enemy, i.e., everything that brings to the masses of the people a ray of consciousness of their rights and confidence in their strength. Fertilised by this consciousness and this confidence, popular hatred will find vent, not in savage vengeance, but in the struggle for liberty.



[1] In passing, we shall adduce another fact indicating the punishments imposed by our courts for various crimes. A few days after the Vozdukhov murder trial, the Moscow District Military Tribunal tried a private in the local artillery brigade for stealing fifty pairs of trousers and a few pairs of boots, while on guard duty in the storeroom. The sentence was four years’ penal servitude. A human life entrusted to the police is equal in value to fifty pairs of trousers and a few pairs of boots entrusted to a sentry. In this peculiar “equation” the whole of our police state system is reflected as the sun is reflected in a drop of water. The individual against state power is nothing. Discipline within the state power is everything... pardon me, “everything” only for the small fry. A petty thief is sentenced to penal servitude, but the big thieves, the magnates, cabinet ministers, bank directors, builders   of railways, engineers, contracts, etc., who plunder the Treasury of property valued at tens and hundreds of thousands of rubles are punished only on very rare occasions, and at the worst are banished to remote provinces where they may live at ease on their loot (the bank thieves in Western Siberia), and from where it is easy to escape across the frontier (Colonel of Gendermes Meranville de Saint-Clair). —Lenin

[2] In Russia, instead of exposing the outrage in all its horror before the court and the public, they prefer to hush up the case in court and do nothing more than send out circular letters and orders full of pompous but meaningless phrases. For instance, a few days ago the Orel Chief of Police issued an order which, confirming previous orders, instructs the local police inspectors to impress upon subordinates, personally and through their assistants, that they must refrain from roughness and violence in handling drunkards in the streets and when taking them to the police-station to sober up. The order further specifies that police officers must explain to their subordinates that it is the duty of the police to protect drunkards who cannot be left alone with obvious danger to themselves; that subordinate police officers, whom the law has placed in the position of first protectors and guardians of citizens, must, therefore, in taking drunkards into custody, not only refrain from treating them roughly and inhumanly, but must do all they can to protect them until they have become sober. The order warns subordinate police officials that only by such conscientious and lawful exercise of their duties will they earn the confidence and respect of the population, and that if, on the contrary, police officials treat drunkards harshly and cruelly, or resort to violent conduct incompatible with the duty of a police officer, who should serve as a model of respectability and good morals, they will be punished with all the vigour of the law and any subordinate police officer guilty of such conduct will be rigorously prosecuted. A capital idea for a cartoon in a satirical journal—a police sergeant, acquitted of the charge of murder, reading an order that he must serve as a model of respectability and good morals! —Lenin

[3] In their polemics in the legal press against the reactionaries, the liberal advocates of trial by jury often categorically deny its political significance and endeavour to show that they favour participation of public representatives in the courts for reasons other than political. This may partly be explained by the lack of ability on the part of our jurists to think politically to a logical conclusion, notwithstanding their specialisation in “political” science. But, chiefly, it is to be explained by the necessity to speak in Aesopean language, by the impossibility openly to declare their sympathies for a constitution. —Lenin

[4] No one, however, thought of bringing the case to trial quickly. Despite the fact that the case was remarkably clear and simple, it was not tried until January 23, 1901, although the crime had been committed on April 20, 1899. A speedy, just, and merciful trial! —Lenin

[5] These lines were already written when the press brought another confirmation of the correctness of this assertion. At the other end of Russia, in Odessa—a city enjoying the status of a capital—a magistrate acquitted a certain M. Klinkov who had been charged by Station Sergeant Sadukov with disorderly conduct while under arrest in the police-station. At the trial, the accused and his four witnesses testified to the following: Sadukov arrested M. Klinkov, who was in a state of drunkenness, and took him to the police-station. When he became sober, Klinkov demanded to be released, upon which a policeman grabbed him by the collar and began to punch him. Three other police-men arrived on the scene, and the four of them fell upon him, striking him in the face, on the head, the chest, and the sides. Under the rain of blows and covered with blood, Klinkov fell to the floor, whereupon the policemen assaulted him with even greater fury. According to the evidence of Klinkov and his witnesses, this torture was inflicted at the instigation and with the encouragement of Sadukov. As a result of the blows he received, Klinkov lost consciousness. On reviving, he was released from the police-station. Immediately on his release he went to be examined by a physician. The magistrate advised Klinkov to lodge a complaint with the prosecutor against Sadukov and the policemen, to which Kinkov replied that he had already done so and that he would bring twenty witnesses.

One need not be a prophet to foretell that M. Klinkov will fail to get the policemen brought to trial and punished for torture. They did not actually beat him to death; but if, contrary to expectation, they are prosecuted, they are sure to get off lightly. —Lenin

[6] Derzhimorda—the name of the policeman in N. V. Gogol’s comedy The Inspector-General; a boorish, insolent oppressor, a man of violence.

[7] Lenin quotes from Gleb Uspensky’s “Fyodor Mikhailovich Reshetnikov.”

  | II. Why Accelerate the Vicissitude of the Times?  

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