V. I.   Lenin

A Bloc of the Cadets and the Octobrists?

Published: Proletary, No. 29, April 16 (29). 1908. Published according to the text in Proletary.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow, Volume 15, pages 48-49.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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A private telegram from St. Petersburg to the Frankfurter Zeitung[2] of April 1 (14) states: “Since the end of March secret negotiations have been going on between the Octobrists,[3] the moderate Rights, the Cadets and the Party of Peaceful Renovation[4] about whether they can form a bloc. The plan was initiated by the Octobrists, who can no longer count on the support of the extreme Right. The latter, particularly dissatisfied with the Octobrists on account of their interpellation regarding Dumbadze, intend to vote with the opposition against the Centre. Such a manoeuvre would render difficult the work of the Duma, since a’ combination of the extreme Right and the opposition would command 217 votes against the 223 of the Centre and moderate Rights. The first talk (about a bloc) took place on April 12 (March 30, 0. S.), and was attended by 30 representatives, chosen on a proportional basis. The talks led to no result, and it was decided to hold a new consultation during the coming week."

How reliable this information may be, we do not know. In any case the silence of the Russian newspapers does not prove that it is wrong, and we think it necessary to inform our readers about this report in the foreign press.

In principle there is nothing incredible in the fact that secret negotiations are going on. By all their political history, beginning with Struve’s visit to Witte in November 1905, continuing with the backstairs talks with Trepov and Co. in the summer of 1906,[5] and so forth and so on, the Cadets have proved that the essence of their tactics   is to slip in at the backdoor for talks with those in power. But even if this report about negotiations proved to be untrue, it remains beyond doubt that in practice in the Third Duma there exists a tacit bloc of the Cadets and the Octobrists on the basis of the former taking a turn to the right. A number of Cadet votes in the Third Duma have proved this irrefutably, quite apart from the Cadet speeches and the character of their political activities.

In the Third Duma, we said even before it had been convened, there are two majorities (see Proletary and the resolution of the All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. in November 1907).[1] And we were already demonstrating then that to evade recognition of this fact, as the Mensheviks were doing, and above all to evade a class description of the Cadet-Octobrist majority, means to let oneself be dragged at the tail of bourgeois liberalism.

The class nature of the Cadets is showing itself more and more clearly. Those who would not see this in 1906 are being obliged by facts to recognise it today, or else sink completely into opportunism.


[1] See present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 123-32 and 144-46.—Ed.

[2] Frankfurter Zeitung—a German bourgeois newspaper, published in Frankfort-on-Main from 1856.

[3] Octobrists—members of the League of October Seventeenth, a party formed in Russia after the promulgation of the tsar’s manifesto of October 17, 1905. It was a counter-revolutionary party representing the interests of the big bourgeoisie and landlords who engaged in capitalist farming. Its leaders were the well-known industrialist and Moscow house owner A. I. Guchkov and the big landowner M. V. Rodzyanko. The Octobrists unreservedly supported the tsarist government’s home and foreign policies.

[4] The Party of Peaceful Renovation—a bourgeois-landlord counter revolutionary organisation. Founded in 1906 by amalgamation of the Left Octobrists with the Right Cadets. Lenin called the Party of Peaceful Renovation “the Party of Peaceful Plunder”.

[5] This refers to the talks between the Cadets and Trepov, Deputy Minister of the Interior, concerning the possibility of setting up a Cadet Ministry.

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