V. I.   Lenin

The Third Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (Second All-Russian)[1]

Written: Written in July 1907
Published: First published in 1933, in Lenin Miscellany XXV. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 13, pages 60-61.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
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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Draft Resolution on Participation in the Elections to the Third Duma


(1) active boycott, as the experience of the Russian revolution has shown, is correct tactics on the part of the Social-Democrats only under conditions of a sweeping, universal, and rapid upswing of the revolution, developing into an armed uprising, and only in connection with the ideological aims of the struggle against constitutional illusions arising from the convocation of the first representative assembly by the old regime;

(2) in the absence of these conditions correct tactics on the part of the revolutionary Social-Democrats calls for participation in the elections, as was the case with the Second Duma, even if all the conditions of a revolutionary period are present.

(3) the Social-Democrats, who have always pointed out the essentially Octobrist nature of the Cadet Party and the impermanence of the Cadet electoral law (11-XII-1905) under the autocracy, have no reasons whatever for changing their tactics because this law has been replaced by an Octobrist electoral law;

(4) the strike movement which is now developing in the central industrial region of Russia, while being a most important guarantee of a possible revolutionary upswing in the near future, at the same time calls for sustained efforts towards converting the movement, which so far is only a trade-union one, into a political and directly revolutionary movement linked with an armed uprising,

the Conference resolves:

(a) to take part in the elections to the Third Duma too;

(b) to explain to the masses the connection of the coup d’état of 3-VI-1907 with the defeat of the December up rising of 1905, as well as with the betrayals by the liberal bourgeoisie, while at the same time showing the inadequacy of trade-union struggle alone and striving to convert the trade-union strike movement into a political and direct revolutionary struggle of the masses for the over throw of the tsarist government by means of an uprising;

(c) to explain to the masses that the boycott of the Duma is not by itself capable of raising the working-class movement and the revolutionary straggle to a higher level, and that the tactics of boycott could be appropriate only provided our efforts to convert the trade-union upswing into a evolutionary assault were successful.


Outline of a Draft Resolution on the All-Russian Congress of Trade Unions

The Conference considers it the duty of all members of the Party energetically to carry out the London Congress resolution on the trade unions, all local conditions being taken into consideration when effecting organisational contacts between the trade unions and the Social-Democratic Party or when the latter’s leadership is accepted by the former, and always, under all conditions, paying primary attention that the Social-Democrats in the trade unions should not confine themselves to passive accommodation to a “neutral” platform—a favourite practice of all shades of bourgeois-democratic trends (Cadets, non-party Progressists,[2] Socialist-Revolutionaries, etc.,)—but should steadfastly uphold the Social-Democratic views in their entirety and should steadfastly promote acceptance by the trade unions of the Social-Democrats’ ideological leadership and the establishment of permanent and effective organisational contacts with the trade unions.


[1] The Third Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (“Second All-Russian”) was held in Kotka (Finland) on July 21-23 (August 3-5), 1907. Twenty-six delegates attended, nine of them Bolsheviks, five Mensheviks, five Polish Social-Democrats, five Bundists, and two Lettish S.D’s. The questions on the agenda were: participation in the elections to the Third Duma, election agreements, and the All-Russian Congress of Trade Unions. On the first question three reports were delivered: those of Lenin (against boycott) and Bogdanov (for boycott) on behalf of the. Bolsheviks, and that of Dan on behalf of the Mensheviks and the Bund. The Conference adopted Lenin’s resolution; on the question of the All-Russian Trade-Union Congress, four draft resolutions were submitted, which were handed over to the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. as material. One of the drafts was based on the text of a resolution proposed by Lenin.

[2] Non-party Progressists—a political grouping of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, who, in the elections to the Duma and within the Duma itself, sought to unite various elements of the bourgeois and landlord parties and groups under the flag of “non-partisan ship”.

In the Third Duma the Progressists formed a parliamentary group consisting of representatives of the “Peaceful Renovation” and “Democratic Reforms” parties. Fear of another revolutionary outbreak made them criticise the “extremes” of the tsarist government, whose unyielding policy, in their opinion, provided a basis for Left, revolutionary activities. During the elections to the Fourth Duma in 1912 the Progressists formed a bloc with the Cadets, and by their pretended non-partisanship helped the Cadets to angle for the votes of the “bourgeois June-the-third electors”.

In November 1912, the Progressists formed a separate political p arty with the following programme: a moderate constitution with limited franchise, petty reforms, a responsible ministry, i. e., a government responsible to the Duma, and suppression of the revolutionary movement. Lenin pointed out that in composition and ideology the Progressists were “a cross between the Octobrists and Cadets”; he described the programme of their party as being a national-liberal programme. “It will be a party of the ‘real’ capitalist bourgeoisie, such as we have in Germany.” (See present edition, Vol. 18, “The Results of the Elections”, “National Liberals”.)

During the First World War the Progressive Party became more   active; it demanded a change of military leadership, the gearing of industry to the needs of the front, and a “responsible ministry” in which the Russian bourgeoisie would be represented. After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution some of the party’s leaders were members of the bourgeois Provisional Government. After the victory of the October Socialist Revolution the Progressive Party waged an active fight against the Soviet power.

Among the party’s leaders were the well-known Moscow manufacturers P.P. Ryabushinsky and A.I. Konovalov, and the land owner I.N. Yefremov. The Progressists, at different times, published their political organs: Moskovsky Yezhenedelnik (Moscow Weekly), and the newspapers Slovo (The Word), Russkaya Molva (Russian Hearsay), and Utro Rossii (Russia’s Dawn).

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