V. I.   Lenin

Novoye Vremya and Rech on the Right of Nations to Self-Determination

Published: Proletarskaya Pravda No. 16, December 25, 1913. Published according to the text in Proletarskaya Pravda.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 65-66.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs and The Late Joe Fineberg
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.README

As was to be expected, the controversy between the Social-Democrats and the Cadets on the question of the right of nations to self-determination has aroused the interest of Novoye Vremya. In issue No. 13563, this mouthpiece of Great-Russian nationalism writes:

What to Social-Democrats is an axiom of political wisdom [i. e., recognition of the right of nations to self-determination, to secession], is today beginning to cause disagreement even among the Cadets.”

Despite this Black-Hundred dig at the liberals (the word “even”), Novoye Vremya is compelled to quote the Rech statement that “the Cadets have never undertaken to defend the right of nations to secede from the Russian state”.

This statement is so forthright that Novoye Vremya is compelled to prevaricate. It writes:

Judging by the facts, the loose concept of cultural self-determination evidently differs, from the Cadets’ point of view, from the advocacy of separatism, only in its mode of operation.”

But Novoye Vremya understands perfectly well the difference between the absurd “cultural”, and real, i. e., political, self-determination, for further on we read:

Indeed, the Cadets have never pledged themselves to advocate the right of nations to secede from the Russian state ... except by the immeasurably more polished method of accepting subsidies for their press organs from non-Russians and Jews.”

The old, crude and ridiculous Black-Hundred device of taunting the liberals for receiving assistance from the Jews! But we must not allow these silly little tricks to obscure the main thing: and the main thing is that Novoye Vremya,   in admitting that the Cadets have never undertaken to defend the right to secede, has come to fully realise the difference between the Social-Democrats and the Cadets.

The difference between the Constitutional-Democrats and the Social-Democrats is the distinction between national-liberals and consistent democrats.


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