V. I.   Lenin

The Provocation That Failed

Published: Novaya Zhizn No. 13, November 15, 1905. Signed: N. Lenin. Published according to the text in Novaya Zhizn.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, pages 52-53.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The resolution of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies[1] which we print in this issue marks an exceedingly important stage in the development of the revolution.

The alliance of the government and the bourgeoisie is making an attempt to defeat the proletariat, taking advantage of its exhaustion. In answer to the introduction of an eight-hour day in the St. Petersburg factories by revolutionary means, the bourgeoisie has announced a lock-out.

The plot has been hatched. They have decided to fight the strike by means of a mass dismissal of workers. Government-owned works are being shut down, together with many private works. Tens of thousands of workers have been thrown on to the streets. The intention is to provoke the St. Petersburg proletariat, exhausted by the previous bat ties, to a new conflict in most unfavourable conditions.

Following the advice of the Social-Democratic representatives, the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies has decided to expose the plot of the counter-revolution before the workers and to caution the proletariat of St. Petersburg against allowing itself to be drawn into a trap. The Soviet has answered the challenge to fight single-handed by appealing for a united struggle throughout Russia; it has answered by immediate steps to consolidate the alliance of the revolutionary workers with the revolutionary peasants and with those sections of the Army and Navy which are beginning to revolt in all parts of Russia.

At such a moment, more than at any other time, it is essential to direct all our efforts towards uniting the army of the revolution all over Russia, it is essential to preserve our forces, to use the liberties we have won for agitation   and organisation increased a hundredfold, to prepare for new decisive battles. Let the autocracy unite with the reactionary bourgeoisie! Let the liberal bourgeoisie (as represented by the congress of Zemstvo[2] and municipal leaders in Moscow[3]) vote confidence in the government, which hypocritically talks about liberty and at the same time uses armed force to crush Poland for demanding the most elementary guarantees of liberty!

We must counteract the alliance between the autocracy and the bourgeoisie by an alliance between the Social- Democrats and all revolutionary bourgeois democrats. The socialist proletariat holds out its hand to the peasantry fighting for freedom, and calls on it to join in a concerted general onslaught all over the country.

It is in this that the enormous importance of the decision of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies lies. We Social- Democrats must see to it that the whole Party comes to the assistance of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. We are bent on more than just the democratic revolution. We are fighting for socialism, i.e., for the complete emancipation of the toilers from all oppression, economic as well as political. Our Party admits into its ranks only those who recognise this great aim and who never for a moment forget the necessity of preparing the forces for its attainment.

But just because we socialists want to reach our socialist goal, we are striving for the most thorough fulfilment of the democratic revolution, for the winning of complete liberty in the interests of a successful fight for socialism. That is why we must go hand in hand with those revolutionary democrats who do not want to bargain with the government, but to fight it, who do not want to curtail the revolution, but to carry it to completion—with these people we must go hand in hand, without, however, merging with them. Long live, then, the alliance of the socialist proletariat and the whole revolutionary people! All the forces of reaction, all the attacks of the counter-revolution will break down before their joint onslaught.


[1] See pp. 50-51 of this volume.—Ed.

[2] Zemstvo—the name given to the local self-government bodies introduced in the central gubernias of tsarist Russia in 1864. The powers of the Zemstvos, which were headed by the nobility, were limited to purely local economic matters (hospital and road building, statistics, insurance, etc.). Their activities were controlled by the governors and the Ministry of the Interior, which could overrule any decision that did not suit the government.

[3] The Congress of Zemstvo and municipal leaders sat in Moscow from November 6-13 (19-26), 1905. It declared against the convocation of a constituent assembly and expressed the hope that the Duma would play the role of queller of peasant unrest by slightly increasing peasant allotments.

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