V. I.   Lenin

The Dissolution of the Duma and the Tasks of the Proletariat


To sum up briefly.

The dissolution of the Duma marks a complete turn to wards autocracy. The possibility of simultaneous action all over Russia is increasing. The probability of all partial uprisings merging into one is increasing. The inevitability of a political strike and of an uprising as a fight for power is felt as never before by large sections of the population.

What we have to do is to develop the widest possible agitation in favour of an all-Russian uprising, to explain its political and organisational tasks, to exert every effort to make everyone realise that it is inevitable, to make all the people see the possibility of a general onslaught so that they undertake not a “riot” or a “demonstration”, not mere strikes and wrecking of property, but a fight for power, a fight with the aim of overthrowing the government.

The whole situation favours the fulfilment of this task. The proletariat is preparing to put itself at the head of the   struggle. A responsible and difficult, but a great and thankful task confronts the revolutionary Social-Democrats: to assist the working class as the advanced detachment of an all-Russian uprising.

This uprising will overthrow the autocracy and will create a representative assembly of the people with real power, i.e., a constituent assembly.

P.S. This article was written before the Sveaborg mutiny[1] began.


[1] The uprising in the Sveoborg fortress (near Helsingfors), which began during the night of July 17-18 (30-31), 1906, broke out spontaneously and prematurely, being to a large extent provoked by the Socialist-Revolutionaries. On receiving information about the situation in Sveaborg and the possibility of an armed uprising, the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. decided on the urgent dispatch of a delegation to Sveaborg with instructions to secure a postponement of the action or, if this could not be achieved, to take the most active part in leading the uprising. The text of the decision was written by V. I. Lenin (see p. 132 of this volume). Finding it impossible to prevent spontaneous action, the Bolsheviks headed the uprising. Its leaders were members of the military organisation of the B.S.D.L.P.— Lieutenants A. P. Yemelyanov and Y. L. Kokhansky. Seven out of 10 artillery companies took an active part in the uprising.   The insurgents put forward the slogans of overthrow of the autocracy, freedom or he people, the transfer of land to the peasants. The working class in Finland took action in support; a general strike began on July 18 (31) in Helsingfors and subsequently spread to other towns. The uprising continued for three days, but the general lack of preparation for action had its effect and on July 20 (August 2), after the fortress had been subjected to a naval bombardment, the Sveaborg uprising was crushed. Its participants were handed over for court-martial; forty-three men were executed and some hundreds sent to penal servitude or imprisoned.

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