V. I.   Lenin

The Balkan Peoples and European Diplomacy

Published: Pravda No. 144, October 16, 1912. Signed: V.. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 349-350.
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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Public attention is fixed on the Balkans just now, and understandably so. For the whole of Eastern Europe, the hour is perhaps striking when the peoples themselves will have their free and decisive word to say. There is no longer room for the game of the bourgeois “powers” and their diplomats who are past masters of intrigue, scheming and selfishly tripping up one another.

The Balkan peoples might say, as our serfs used to in the old days: “Save us from lordly anger and lordly love, the worst of all misfortunes.”[1] For the Balkan peasants and workers, both hostile and would-be friendly intervention by the European “powers” means only adding all sorts of fetters and hindrances to free progress to the general conditions of capitalist exploitation.

That is one reason why it is essential to fight against both bureaucratic-governmental and liberal “diplomacy”. Rech, for example, was false through and through when, a few days ago, it invited “Russian society” (i.e., the bourgeoisie) to remember the statement of a British ministerial organ which said that Europe would not permit “misgovernment” in the Balkans! “Let our diplomats not sit back idly,” shouted Rech.

Even the most “liberal” bourgeois Europe, we say in reply, can bring the Balkans nothing but support for decay and stagnation, nothing but bureaucratic obstacles to freedom. It is “Europe” that is hindering the establishment of a federal republic in the Balkans.

The foremost workers in the Balkans, and all Balkan democrats, pin their hopes solely on the development of the political consciousness, democratic spirit and independent activity of the masses, and not on the intrigues of bourgeois diplomats, whatever liberal phrases they adorn themselves with!


[1] Said by Liza, the maid, in Alexander Griboyedov’s comedy Wit Works Woe.

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