V. I.   Lenin

The Tsar Visits Europe and Members of the Black-Hundred Duma Visit England

Published: Proletary, No. 46, July 11 (24), 1909. Published according to the text in Proletary.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow, Volume 15, pages 461-466.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Half a century ago Russia’s reputation as an international gendarme was firmly established. In the course of the last century our autocracy rendered no small support to various reactionary causes in Europe even to the point of crushing by downright military force the revolutionary movements in neighbouring countries. One has only to recall the Hungarian campaign of Nicholas I, and the repeated repressions of Poland, to understand why the leaders of the international socialist proletariat from the forties onward denounced tsarism so often to the European workers and European democrats as the chief mainstay of reaction in the whole civilised world.

Beginning with the last three decades or so of the nineteenth century, the revolutionary movement in Russia gradually altered this state of affairs. The more tsarism was shaken by the blows of the growing revolutionary movement at home, the weaker it became as the enemy of freedom in Europe. But in the meantime another international reactionary force had taken definite shape in Europe—the bourgeois governments, which had witnessed insurrections by the proletariat, had realised that a life-and-death struggle between labour and capital was inevitable, and would welcome any adventurer or brigand on the throne for the sake of joining forces against the proletariat. And when, at the be ginning of the century, the war with Japan and the Revolution of 1905 dealt powerful body-blows to tsarism, the international bourgeoisie rushed to the rescue, supporting it with milliards in loans and moving heaven and earth to localise the revolutionary conflagration and restore “order”   in Russia. One good turn deserves another. Tsarism had helped the counter-revolutionary bourgeois governments of Europe more than once in their struggle against democracy. Now the bourgeoisie of Europe, which had become counter-revolutionary in relation to the proletariat, helped tsarism in its fight against the revolution.

The allies are celebrating victory. Nicholas the Bloody is going to Europe to pay his respects to the monarchs there and to the President of the French Republic. The monarchs and the President are excitedly preparing to do the honours to the leader of the Black-Hundred counter-revolution in Russia. But victory fell to these noble knights of Black-Hundred and bourgeois reaction not because their enemy was destroyed, but because its forces were split, because the proletariat does not mature simultaneously in all countries. The victory fell to the united enemies of the working class at the cost of postponing the decisive battle, at the cost of widening and deepening the source which—more slowly perhaps than we would wish, but nonetheless surely—is multiplying the numbers of the proletarians, increasing their solidarity, steeling them in struggle, schooling them in operations against the united enemy. This source is capitalism, which awakened the quondam patriarchal “patrimony” of the aristocratic Romanovs, and which is now awakening the Asian states, one after another.

The allies are celebrating victory. Yet every celebration of Nicholas the Bloody and the leaders of the bourgeois European governments is accompanied, echo-like, by the voice of the revolutionary masses of the workers. “We have crushed the revolution,” cry Nicholas and Wilhelm, Edward and Fallières, shaking hands with each other under the protection of a bristling shield of bayonets or a long line of warships. “We shall overthrow you all together,” replies the revolution like an echo, through the lips of the leaders of the class-conscious proletariat of all countries.

Nicholas the Bloody leaves Russia. He is accompanied by the words of a Social-Democratic member of the Black-Hundred Duma, who voices the republican convictions of all the class-conscious workers of Russia and reminds him of the inevitable downfall of the monarchy. Nicholas arrives in Sweden. He is fêted in the royal palace. He is greeted by   soldiers and spies. He is met by the speech of the leader of the Swedish workers, the Social-Democrat Branting, who protests against the dishonouring of his country by the visit of this butcher. Nicholas goes to England, to France, to Italy. Kings and courtiers, ministers and policemen make ready to do him honour. Labour makes ready to meet him—by a meeting of protest in England, a demonstration of popular indignation in France,, a general strike on the day which is darkened by his arrival in Italy. Socialist members of parliament in all three countries—Thorne in England, Jaurès in France, Morgan in Italy—have already responded to the call of the International Socialist Bureau, and have declared to the whole world the hatred and contempt which the working class entertains for Nicholas the Pogromist, Nicholas the Hangman, the Nicholas who is now crushing the people of Persia and flooding France with Russian spies and agents provocateurs.

The “respectable” bourgeois press in all these countries is in a frenzy of rage, not knowing what word of abuse to use next for the actions of the socialists, what to do next to support the ministers and presidents who have ruled socialists out of order for their speeches. But their frenzy is in vain. The parliamentary representatives of the proletariat cannot be gagged; meetings cannot be stopped in really constitutional countries; the fact cannot be concealed, either by self-deception or by the deception of others, that the Russian tsar dare not appear in public whether in London, Paris or Rome.

The grand celebration of the leaders of international re action, their celebration of the suppression of the revolution in Russia and Persia, has been ruined by the unanimous and courageous protest of the socialist proletariat of all the European countries.

And on the background of this protest by the socialists from St. Petersburg to Paris, from Stockholm to Rome, this protest against the tsarist autocracy in the name of the revolution and its principles, all the more glaring does the despicable servility to tsarism on the part of our Russian liberals stand out. Several members of the Black-Hundred Duma, ranging from the moderate Rights to the Constitutional-Democrats, headed by the Chairman of the Duma,   are visiting England. They pride themselves on the fact that they represent the majority in the Duma, its real Centre, without the extreme Right or the extreme Left. They are posing as the representatives of a “constitutional” Russia, singing the praises of the “renovated” order and the adored monarch who has “granted the people” a Duma. There they are, like the swelling frog in Krylov’s fable,[2] puffing themselves up as victors over the Black-Hundred reaction which, to hear them talk, wants to abolish the “constitution” in Russia. At a luncheon, given by the Lord Mayor, Mr. Milyukov, leader of the “Constitutional-Democratic” (no joke!) Party, declared in his speech: “So long as there is a legislative chamber in Russia controlling the budget, the Russian opposition will remain His Majesty’s Opposition, and not an opposition to His Majesty” (St. Petersburg News Agency telegram of June 19, old style). In its leading article of June 21 bearing the Khlestakovian[3] title “Europe and Renovated Russia”, Golos Moskvy, mouthpiece of the Octobrist Party, warmly applauds the utterances of the Cadet leader, declaring that his “moderately constitutional” speech “marks perhaps a turning-point in Cadet policy, a renunciation of the abortive tactics of creating opposition for the sake of opposition”.

The police rag Rossiya (June 23) devotes a leading article to Milyukov’s speech, in which it quotes the “famous” phrase about His Majesty’s Opposition, and declares: “Mr. Milyukov in England has undertaken certain responsibilities on behalf of the Russian opposition. If he fulfils his pledge he will render a service to his country for which he will be forgiven no small number of his former transgressions.” Your services are rewarded, gentlemen of the Cadet Party. Vekhi in general, and Struve in particular, have been commended by Antonius of Volhynia, the “Lord Bishop” of the Black-Hundred zealots; Milyukov, the leader of your party, has been commended by a venal police rag of a news paper. Your services are rewarded!

It remains for us to remind the reader that we have been exposing the Cadets as Octobrists at heart ever since 1906, when gimcrack “victories” in the Duma turned the heads of many a selfishly-naïve and disinterestedly-naive person.

We have also to remind the reader that the purpose of tsarism’s game, now being played so conspicuously in the Third Duma, was exposed by us over twenty months ago in Proletary, Nos. 19 and 20 (November 1907) when we re viewed the results of the elections to the Third Duma. In the Third Duma as we said, and as was said in the resolution of the All-Russian Conference of the B. S. D. L. P. in November 1907 two majorities are possible: the one consisting of Black-Hundred deputies and Octobrists, the other consisting of Cadets and Octobrists—and both of them are counter-revolutionary. “Such a situation in the Duma,” states the resolution adopted at that time by the St. Petersburg Social-Democrats (published in Proletary, No. 19) and the resolution of the Third All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (Proletary, No. 20), “is exceedingly favourable for a double political game being played by both the government and the Cadets.”[1]

This analysis of the situation has now been fully corroborated, showing the short-sightedness of those who were ready again and again to proclaim Social-Democratic “sup port” for the Cadets.

The Cadets are fighting the Octobrists not as opponents of their principles, but as competitors. The voter must be “won”—we declare ourselves the party of, “the people’s freedom”. Our “respectability” must be proved—we boost the Maklakovs in the Third Duma, we tell Europe through Milyukov that we are “His Majesty’s Opposition”. And that ’is all that Stolypin, the faithful servant of Black-Hundred tsarism needs. Let the Black-Hundred tsarist gang run the country, let them and only them actually decide all the really important questions of policy. But “we” need the Octobrist Cadet majority for play-acting, to “represent” us in Europe, to facilitate the raising of loans, to “correct” the excesses of the Black Hundreds, to dupe simpletons with “reforms”... that are corrected by the Council of State.

His Majesty knows his Opposition. The Cadet Opposition know their Stolypin and their Nicholas. The simple technique of European parliamentary hypocrisy and chicanery has come easily to both our liberals and our ministers. Both   are apt students of the methods used by the bourgeois reactionaries of Europe.

On both of them the socialist proletariat of Russia, in growing unity with the socialist proletariat of the whole world, declares unremitting revolutionary war.


[1] See present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 138 and 144.—Ed.

[2] The reference is to Krylov’s table “The Frog and the Ox”.

[3] Khlestakov—the chief character in Gogol’s comedy The Inspector-General, typifying the unrestrained braggart and liar.

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