Written: Written on May 18 (31), 1906
Published: Published in Volna, No. 21. May 19, 1906. Signed: N. L—n. Published according to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, pages 430-431.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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We have just heard that the following incident occurred in the Duma today. The Bill for the abolition of capital punishment was under discussion. Aladyin, a member of the Trudovik Group, put the question more emphatically than it has been put so far. “We must fight against the executive authority,” he said (we are quoting from the stop press news in the evening edition of Birzheviye Vedomosti). “We intend to wear down the Ministers with interbellations; but is it not obvious that they will ignore them? We must choose between two paths: either continue playing at interpellations, or take the cause of the people into our own hands.” Aladyin proposed that the question be decided at once and not postponed for a month by sending the Bill to a committee. He concluded his speech by saying: “And woe to us if we do not tell the people the whole truth, if we do not tell them clearly that the guilt rests on those who control the guns and the machine-guns.”
The priest Poyarkov spoke in the same strain. He said: “The government is mocking at the State Duma. We must not petition, we must demand: abolish capital punishment today, or at latest tomorrow. If not, then I propose that we all return home, because I think it is dishonest to deliberate here and receive salaries while capital punishment is still in force.”
Thus a proposal was heard from the Trudovik Group of which the sense is perfectly clear: appeal to the people, make demands and not requests, ignore the bureaucratic regulations, don’t drag out questions, and don’t send them to committees.
The Cadets prevented the Duma from appealing to the people. The Cadet Nabokov, who spoke after Poyarkov, called on the members of the Duma “to keep to the legal path”. He insisted on the Bill being sent to a committee.
At the close of the debate the Chairman of the Duma (the Cadet Dolgorukov) announced: “We have four proposals before us: two of these 1 cannot put to the vote, as they are contrary to the rules of parliamentary procedure. These two proposals are: to appeal to the people and to appeal to the monarch.”
Of the two other proposals—Q1) that the Bill be sent to a committee and (2) that it be discussed immediately—the former was carried unanimously, as the latter was withdrawn.
Evidently the Trudovik Group again yielded to the importunities and threats of the Cadets, and did not keep to the resolute position it at first took up.
The people, who realise the meaning of the struggle for freedom, must protest against the Cadets’ behaviour in the Duma and call upon the Trudovik Group resolutely and emphatically to declare that it will appeal to the people and to do so!