V. I.   Lenin

The Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

April 10 (23)-April 25 (May 8), 1906



Draft Resolution on the State Duma Submitted to the Unity Congress[1]


(1) the election Law of December 11 and the conditions in which the elections were actually conducted prevented the proletariat and the Social-Democratic Party from participating in the elections by putting up and independently securing the election of real Party candidates;

(2) in view of this, the real significance of participation by the workers in the elections was bound to, and as experience has shown, actually did, lead to the obscuring of the strictly class position of the proletariat as a consequence of agreements with the Cadets or other bourgeois groups;

(3) only complete and. consistent boycott enabled the Social-Democrats to maintain the slogan of convening a constituent assembly by revolutionary means, to place all responsibility for the State Duma on the Cadet Party and to warn the proletariat and the peasant or revolutionary democrats against constitutional illusions;

(4) the State Duma, with its now evident (predominantly) Cadet composition, cannot possibly fulfil the function of a real representative of the people, and can only indirectly help to develop a new, wider and deeper revolutionary crisis;

We are of the opinion and propose that the Congress should agree:

(1) that by boycotting the State Duma and the Duma elections, the Party organisations acted correctly;

(2) that the attempt to form a Social-Democratic parliamentary group in present political conditions, and in view   of the absence in the Duma of really party Social-Democrats capable of representing the Social-Democratic Party, holds out no promise of reasonable success, but rather threatens to compromise the R.S.D.L.P. and place upon it responsibility for a particularly harmful type of parliamentarians, mid way between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats;

(3) that in view of the foregoing, conditions do not yet exist to enable our Party to take the parliamentary path;

(4) that the Social-Democrats must utilise the State Duma and its conflicts with the government, or the conflicts within the Duma itself, fighting its reactionary elements, ruthlessly exposing the inconsistency and vacillation of the Cadets, paying particular attention to the peasant revolutionary democrats, uniting them, contrasting them with the Cadets, supporting such of their actions as are in the interests of the proletariat, and preparing to call upon the proletariat to launch a determined attack on the autocracy at the moment when, perhaps, in connection with a crisis in the Duma, the general revolutionary crisis becomes most acute;

(5) in view of the possibility that the government will dissolve the State Duma and convene a new Duma, this Congress resolves that in the subsequent election campaign no blocs or agreements shall be permitted with the Cadet Party or any similar non-revolutionary elements; as for the question whether our Party should take part in a new election campaign, it will be decided by the Russian Social-Democrats in accordance with the concrete circumstances prevailing at the time.

Volna, No. 12, May 9, 1906

Published according to the Volna text



[1] The Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks drafted for the Fourth (Unity) Congress their resolutions on the attitude to the Duma. By the time this question had come up for discussion at the Congress both drafts, written prior to the Duma elections, were obsolete, and new drafts were proposed instead. The committee which was set up at the seventh session of the Congress to draft a joint resolution on the Duma and which comprised G. V. Plekhanov, P. B. Axelrod, V. I. Lenin, F. I. Dan, I. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov (Fyodorov), A. V. Lunacharsky (Voyinov) and 0. A. Yermansky (Rudenko), did not reach unity, and submitted two draft resolutions to the Congress: a Menshevik one, prepared by Plekhanov, Axelrod and Dan, and a Bolshevik one, prepared by Lenin, Skvortsov-Stepanov and Lunacharsky. The new Bolshevik draft, written by Lenin, was read by the chairman of the Congress at its sixteenth session, and by Lenin at its seventeenth session, during his co-report on the Duma. It was published in Volna, No. 12, after the Congress, on May 9, 1906, with an afterword by Lenin (see p. 401 of this volume).

  Speech in Reply to the Debate on the Present Situation and the Class Tasks of the Proletariat | Co-Report on the Question of the Attitude Towards the State Duma  

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