V. I.   Lenin

The Manifesto of the Workers’ Deputies in the State Duma[1]

Published: Volna, No. 21, May 19, 1906. Published according to the Volna text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, pages 434-435.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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We warmly welcome the manifesto of the Workers’ Group of Duma deputies, who stand closer to us in their convictions than any other group. This is the first appeal that Duma deputies have made, not to the government, hut directly to the people. The example of the workers’ deputies should, in our opinion, have been followed by the Trudovik, or Peasant, Group in the Duma.

The appeal of the workers’ deputies contains much that is true, but in our opinion it also contains certain flaws.

Our worker comrades want “to strive to make the Duma prepare for the convocation of a constituent assembly”. They can hardly count on the whole Duma, or even on the majority of the deputies, for this. The liberals, who predominate in the Duma, have repeatedly promised the people that they would convene a constituent assembly; but far from keeping their promise, they have not even openly and firmly voiced this demand in the Duma. In this matter, the workers’ deputies can count with any certainty only on the Trudovik Group, on the representatives of the peas ants. And that is why the working class cannot set out to support the whole Duma: the Russian liberals are too unreliable. The workers would, therefore, do better to concentrate on supporting the peasant deputies, in order to stimulate them to speak out independently, and to act like real representatives of the revolutionary peasantry.

The proletariat has proved its ability to fight. It is now mustering its forces to launch another determined struggle, but to launch it only together with the peasantry. The workers’ deputies are therefore right in calling upon the   proletariat not to allow itself to be provoked by anyone, and not to enter, unless really necessary, into isolated collisions with the enemy. Proletarian blood is too precious to be shed needlessly and without certain hope of victory.

Only the peasant masses, when they have realised how powerless and inadequate the present Duma is, can serve as a reliable bulwark for the workers that will ensure victory. Although the resolutions and decisions adopted at workers meetings are very useful in promoting the organisation of the working class for the struggle, they cannot provide a real bulwark against an enemy who has already prepared to reply to the demands of the people with the most brutal violence. On the contrary, the working class must explain to the peasant masses as well that they are mistaken when in their simple-mindedness they place their hopes in requests, resolutions, petitions and complaints.

Affairs in Russia are not moving in the direction where the great argument about the destiny of the people—the question of land and freedom—can be settled by speeches and voting.


[1] The article was written by Lenin as an afterword “From the Editors” to the appeal of the worker deputies in the Duma, “To All Workers of Russia”. The appeal was published together with Lenin’s afterword in Volna, No. 21, on May 19 (June 1), 1906.

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