V. I.   Lenin

Mr. Milyukov’s “Position”

Published: Pravda No. 136, October 6, 1912. Signed: V. I.. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 345-346.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
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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The leader of the Cadet Party has lost his way in a wood of three trees. He has been writing articles as long as Menshikov’s about “three positions” and “one position”. The more he writes, the more evident it becomes that he is trying to fool the reader with his talk, to cover up the point at issue with his dull and empty verbiage.

Poor learned historian! He has to pretend that he does not see the difference between liberalism and democracy. For the whole point is this difference, gentlemen! The Duma votes in general, the attitude towards “reforms”, the votes on the budget, and the issue of “extra-parliamentary tactics” all bring out in different forms one and the same point, the profound difference between the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie and the democrats.

For the thousand and first time, we shall briefly repeat what this difference is, for the benefit of the Milyukovs who “don’t understand”.

The liberals are defending a number of feudal-absolutist privileges (an upper chamber, etc.). The democrats are waging an uncompromising struggle against all privileges.

The liberals are for agreement with the forces of the old in social life: the democrats’ tactics are to eliminate these forces.

The liberals are afraid of the independent activity of the masses, they do not trust it, they reject it; the democrats sympathise with it, believe in it, support and encourage it.

That is enough for the moment.

Does Mr. Milyukov really “not understand” this difference, which is familiar even from textbooks of history?

Does he really “not understand” that the very programme of the Cadets is a programme of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, not of the democrats, and that only liberals (and bad ones at that) could have voted for the budget in the Third Duma, could have declared themselves a loyal opposition, etc.?

Mr. Milyukov understands this perfectly well, and he is trying to fool people with his talk, pretending that he has forgotten the ABC of the difference between liberalism and democracy.

To register in print this pitiful dodging of the Cadets, we shall remark to Mr. Milyukov that in all the official Social-Democratic press (except, of course, that of the liquidators, whom we will gladly give up to Mr. Milyukov), in all the resolutions of the guiding Social-Democratic bodies, and in the whole policy of the Social-Democrats in the Third Duma, we always and invariably meet, in thousands of forms, with the defence of the old tactics which Mr. Milyukov says the Social-Democrats have abandoned.

It is an indisputable historical fact, esteemed learned historian!

We must register in print how low the Cadets must have fallen if they try to deceive the public on questions which are so elementary and have been made perfectly clear by the history of the political parties in Russia.

In conclusion, a little question to Mr. Milyukov—to sum up and recapitulate what we have said: when you Cadet gentlemen agreed to bar Voiloshnikov from five sessions,[1] were you acting as liberals or as democrats?


[1] This refers to the following fact:

A. A. Voiloshnikov, a member of the Social-Democratic group in the Third Duma, speaking on December 2 (15), 1911, at the Thirty-Fifth Sitting of the Duma in the debate on tile Bill to amend the Rules on Military Service, described the tsarist army as a police force and called for the standing army to be replaced by the arming of the whole people. On account of this speech the Chair man of the Duma moved that Voiloshnikov be excluded from the next five sittings. Following Voiloshnikov’s second speech at the same sitting the period of exclusion was increased to fifteen sittings. The Cadets voted for the original motion of the Chairman.

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