V. I.   Lenin

A Political Lidvaliad

Published: Zreniye, No. 2, February 4, 1907. Published according to the Zreniye text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 12, pages 83-85.
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.README

The Telegraf[1] for January 26 reports the following episode at a meeting held on January 24 in the Civil Engineers’ Hall.

“V. V. Vodovozov appears on the platform and reminds the meeting of the incident in the Nemetti Theatre: ’I asked there whether it was true that Milyukov was conducting negotiations with Stolypin behind the backs of the voters. I was answered by shouts: “Lies”, “Calumny”, and Prof. Gredeskul answered that Milyukov was an honest man, in whom the party had implicit confidence. I have not the least doubt about Milyukov’s personal integrity, but such negotiations did take place. Milyukov himself does not deny it. Today in Rech he writes that he discussed with Stolypin the legalisation of the people’s freedom party, but that the terms were unacceptable. But Milyukov is concealing these terms. If they are abominable they ought to be made public, they ought to be publicly condemned ... pilloried!’

“‘I close the meeting!’ announces a police inspector.

“The public make for the exit, shouting and whistling. The organisers of the meeting sharply reproach Vodovozov, and the police inspector sends a couple of constables to the platform, in case of emergencies.”

Mr. Vodovozov deserves thanks and appreciation, not sharp reproaches, for his attempts to expose Milyukov’s negotiations with Stolypin. Only philistines who fail to understand their duties as citizens, or those who are anxious to conceal from the people the intrigues of the Cadets, can reproach a politician for such action. We really do not know in which of these categories to place the organisers of the meeting, at which the principal speaker was Nabokov, a Cadet.

The question of the negotiations between Milyukov and Stolypin is of tremendous importance. Those who are inclined to treat this question lightly, to brush i aside as   a minor scandal of no significance, are a thousand times wrong. Those who fear a scandal fail to recognise it as their civic duty to expose political Lidvaliads.

And the negotiations between Milyukov and Stolypin are indeed a little bit of political Lidvaliad, in which criminal embezzlement and fraud are replaced by the politically dishonest and criminal haggling of a party that has misappropriated the great words, “the people’s freedom”.

We have already pointed out in the newspaper Trud[2] that Milyukov is concealing Stolypin’s “terms” from the people. He does not say whether there was one audience or several, and when they took place. Nor does he say whether Stolypin invited him, or whether he requested an audience. And lastly, he does not say whether the St. Petersburg Committee and the Central Committee of the Cadets have taken any decision on the matter, and whether anything has been communicated to the provinces about it.

It is not difficult to see that a full assessment of Cadet Zubatovism[3] depends on these facts. Only shameful things are concealed from the people. Mr. Vodovozov is right: they must be made public. And it is Mr. Vodovozov’s duty to continue his disclosures, if he wishes those citizens who understand their political duties to regard him as an honest, consistent and sterling politician, and not a journalist in search of sensation. In cases of infamy in public affairs, it is the duty of a citizen to compel those who are concealing the infamy to speak.

Anyone who knows anything of these villanies and wants to do his duty as a citizen must compel the Milyukovs to take him to court for libel, and there expose the Cadet leader, who, in the thick of the people’s election fight against the old regime, pays back-door visits to a leader of the old regime, behind the backs of the people!

We publicly address the following questions to Mr. Milyukov and the Cadet Party:

(1) When did Milyukov (and his friends?) have his audience or audiences with Stolypin?

(2) Did Stolypin invite Milyukov? Did Milyukov at the time know anything about the “abominable” (to use Mr. Vodovozov’s expression) terms which Stolypin wanted to discuss with him?

(3) When did the St. Petersburg Committee and the Central Committee of the Cadets (or the two committees jointly) meet to discuss Stolypin’s proposals? Did they not decide to take certain steps towards meeting these proposals? Was anything about this communicated to the provinces?

(4) What connection is there between Milyukov’s audience with Stolypin and certain other steps taken by these two worthies to meet each other half way, and the character of the Cadets’ behaviour at the “conference” with the petty-bourgeois bloc on January 18?

We shall return, probably more than once, to these disclosures about the “audience” granted to a Cadet by a reactionary. With all the documents in our hands that an outsider can procure, we shall yet prove that these negotiations between the Cadets and the Black Hundreds caused the failure of the bloc of “Lefts” and Cadets which many people desired, and which we have always opposed.

For the time being we say:

Let Mr. Milyukov and the Cadet Party be advised that not only Vodovozov, but very many other people will exert all their efforts to expose this political Lidvaliad!


[1] Telegraf (Telegraph)—a liberal-bourgeois daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg in January and February 1907.

[2] Trud (Labour)—a Bolshevik daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg in 1907. No copies of this newspaper have yet been found. p. 84

[3] Zubatovism—the policy of “police socialism”; the organisation in 1901-03, on the initiative of Colonel of Gendarmes Zubatov, head of the Moscow secret police, of legal workers’ organisations for the purpose of diverting the workers from the political struggle against tsarism. Zubatov’s activities in founding the legal workers’ organisations were supported by V. K. Plehve, Minister of the Interior. The Zubatov movement tried to keep the working-class movement within the bounds of economic demands and to inculcate in the workers the idea that the government was about to accede to those demands. The first Zubatov organisation was formed in Moscow in May 1901, with the title of “Mutual Aid Society for Workers in Machine Industry”. Zubatov organisations were also founded in Minsk, Odessa, Wilno, Kiev, and other towns.

In a resolution on “The Trade Union Struggle”, the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. described Zubatovism as the policy of “the systematic betrayal of the interests of the working class for the benefit of the capitalists” and recognised the desirability of Party organisations, for purposes of the struggle against Zubatovism, supporting and directing strikes begun by legal workers’ organisations.

The revolutionary Social-Democrats exposed the reactionary nature of Zubatovism, but used the legal workers’ organisations to draw broad sections of the working class into the struggle against the autocracy. In 1905 Lenin wrote: “And now the Zubatov movement is outgrowing its bounds. Initiated by the police in the interests of the police, in the interests of supporting the autocracy and demoralising the political consciousness of the workers, this movement is turning against the autocracy and is becoming an outbreak of the proletarian class struggle” (see present edition, Vol. 5, p. 90).

Under pressure from the growing revolutionary movement the tsarist government was compelled in 1903 to abolish the Zubatov organisations.

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