V. I.   Lenin

The Scales are Wavering

Published: Novaya Zhizn, No. 16, November 18, 1905. Signed: N. Lenin. Published according to the text in Novaya Zhizn.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, pages 58-59.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

Russia’s present condition is often described as anarchy. In reality, this incorrect and lying designation expresses the fact that there is no established order in the country. The war of a new, free Russia against the old, feudal- autocratic Russia is raging all along the line. The autocracy is no longer strong enough to defeat the revolution, and the revolution is not yet strong enough to defeat tsarism. The old regime has been smashed but not yet destroyed, and the new, free order exists unrecognised, half-concealed, very often persecuted by the minions of the autocratic regime.

Such a state of affairs may last for quite a while yet, it will inevitably be attended by manifestations of instability and vacillation in all spheres of social and political life: people hostile to liberty, who now profess to be friends of liberty by way of a military stratagem, will inevitably try to fish in these troubled waters. But the longer this state of transition lasts, the more surely will it lead to the complete and decisive victory of the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry. For nothing opens the eyes of the most ignorant masses of town and country so effectively, nothing so greatly rouses even the most indifferent and most sleepy, as this long-drawn-out decay of the autocracy, which has been condemned by all and has acknowledged its condemnation.

What do the latest political events tell us—this new and great strike of the post and telegraph employees,[1] this growing ferment and growing revolutionary organisation in the armed forces and even in the police, this victory of politically-backward troops fettered by discipline over the army of freedom in Sevastopol, this unparalleled slump in   government securities? They tell us that the autocracy is firing its last shots and using up its last reserves. Even the stock exchange—loyal to the tsar in its bourgeois cowardice and its bourgeois longing for the end of the revolution— even the stock exchange has no faith in the “victors” of Sevastopol. These events tell us that the revolutionary people is steadily extending its conquests, rousing new fighters, exercising its forces, improving its organisation and marching forward to victory, advancing as irresistibly as an avalanche.

The weapon of the political strike is being perfected; new contingents of workers are now learning to wield this weapon, workers without whom a modern civilised community cannot exist even for a single day. The awareness of the need for freedom is growing in the armed forces and in the police, preparing new centres of insurrection, new Kronstadts and new Sevastopols.

The victors of Sevastopol have hardly any reason for rejoicing. The Crimean insurrection has been defeated. The insurrection of all Russia is invincible.

Let worker Social-Democrats therefore prepare for even greater events, which will impose on them an immense responsibility!

Let them not forget that only a solidly united Social Democratic Party can lead the proletariat of Russia to victory, hand in hand with the Social-Democratic proletariat of the whole world!


[1] The great strike of post and telegraph employees lasted from November 15 (28) to December 15 (28), 1905. It was provoked by the authorities’ prohibition to form a union of post and telegraph employees and the discharge of a number of employees who had taken part in organising the union. The All-Russian Congress of the Post and Telegraph Union, which opened in Moscow on November 15(28), resolved to send Premier Witte a telegram insisting on the readmission of the discharged employees. The dead-line it set for a reply was 1800 hours of the same day, November 15 (28). As the government had sent no answer by the appointed time, the Congress circulated a telegram ordering a strike. The strike involved the whole of Russia.

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