V. I.   Lenin

The St. Petersburg City Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.[1]

February 11(24), 1906

Published: First published in 1930 in Proletarskaya Revolutsia, No. 12 (107). Published according to the secretary’s notes, now in the archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, pages 120-122.
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.
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Statements Concerning the Validity of the Credentials of the Delegations to the Conference from the Okruzhnoi and Vyborg District Organisations


The decision taken on the Okruzhnoi organisation has annulled the original Conference decision on the general verification of credentials from the formal point of view. There were 56 doubtful votes in the Okruzhnoi organisation, and it could be a question of them alone. The Committee and the district conference have verified the election; if we are not to trust the decision of the St. Petersburg Committee on the Okruzhnoi organisation, then we must be consistent and undertake to verify all districts.


The question posed by Comrade Martov bears on the formal aspect; if you have decided to examine here one district in view of the protests voiced, you should take a similar deci sion on the other districts about which protests are being made. Comrade Akim[2] sees an irregularity in Vyborg District, and the Conference, which has passed a decision on the Okruzhnoi organisation, should extend its decision to Vyborg District.



On a point of order. If the St. Petersburg Committee has recognised the competence of the Okruzhnoi organisation, then I am surprised at Comrade Martov’s proposal to bar the organisation from this Conference.


Comrade Martov’s proposal cannot be put to the vote—only the St. Petersburg Committee can decide the question he has raised.


Think, comrades, of the monstrosity proposed to you. An important question has been under discussion in the decision of which the whole St. Petersburg organisation should take part, and it is suddenly proposed that you should cut off a huge section—Okruzhnoi District. Think of it. I consider voting on a thing like that impermissible in principle. I move that this meeting vote to decide whether it wants Comrade Martov’s proposal to be put to the vote.


We must consider the matter cooly. The question is wheth er we may deprive the Okruzhnoi organisation of the right to vote at this Conference. Since its delegation is validly accredited, it would be the height of unlawfulness to debar it from voting here. You have recognised its credentials to be valid; it did not vote when the issue of their validity was under discussion, but it must take part in the voting on all subsequent questions.

Resolution Against Martov’s Proposal to Withdraw the Report of the St. Petersburg Committee

This meeting considers that the question raised by Coin rade Martov is not open to discussion and does not require voting.


Argumentation of Resolution

Comrade Martov is wrong; he says that remarks like “there he is again” are not allowed, but they are. All sorts of remarks are allowed at meetings. As regards the report, we must hear it. It will take a mere fifteen or twenty minutes; if we do not hear it, it may be said that juridical in addition to moral irregularities were committed at the Conference (that there were juridical as well as moral omissions). We must certainly hear the report. If you see fit to approve it, do so; and if you do not see fit, do not approve it.

Proposal on the St. Petersburg Committee Report

I wish to table a motion. The question brought up by Comrade Akim—that the report be approved—may be shelved. I move the following decision: “Having heard the report of the St. Petersburg Committee, this meeting recognises the Conference delegations to be validly accredited, the Conference duly established, and its decision binding on the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic organisation.”

Statement in Support of the Proposal

I agree that we must vote in logical order, but I hold my proposal to be the most radical, while the others are conciliatory. If you reject the radical proposal, you will then vote on the conciliatory proposals.

Comment on the Resolution Concerning the Tactics of Boycott

I am sorry if I have wearied this meeting by a long resolution, but if we want to discuss its substance, we must have a clear idea of what we are criticising. My draft sums up all that has been said in the course of previous discussions and what there has been no time to speak of here. We must not drag out this meeting any longer. If there is no time to discuss the resolution, we can elect a committee.


[1] The St. Petersburg City Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. was called by the St. Petersburg Committee on February 11 (24), 1906, to decide on the Party’s attitude to the State Duma. It was led by Lenin. There were 65 delegates with the right to vote. Delegates to the Conference were elected after the discussion and voting of the tactical platforms of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks—one delegate per 30 voting Party members. The Bolsheviks won an impressive majority. The Mensheviks demanded that the votes cast by the Okruzhnoi organisation of the R.S.D.L.P., which consisted almost entirely of Bolsheviks, be declared null and void. But the Conference decided to recognise the delegation elected by the Okruzhnoi organisation. It heard a report of the St. Petersburg Committee and passed a resolution moved by Lenin, which recognised   the Conference duly representative and valid and its decisions binding. The report on the attitude to the Duma was made by Lenin (it was not recorded in the Conference minutes). At the close of his report Lenin read his draft resolution on the tactics of an active boycott. The Mensheviks moved a resolution of their own. The Conference voted by a majority for an active boycott of the Duma.

To discuss and finally approve the resolution on the tactics of an active boycott, a second city conference of the St. Petersburg organisation was held between late February and early March 1906. It was attended by 62 delegates. Following the debate, in which Lenin took the floor several times, the Conference approved as a basis the resolution proposed by him. The committee that was elect ed to edit the resolution included Lenin. The Mensheviks refused to participate in the committee and left the Conference.

[2] Akim—the Menshevik L. I. Goldman, a Conference delegate.

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