V. I.   Lenin

Thank You for Your Frankness

Published: Pravda No. 35, February 12, 1913. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 551-552.
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.README

We wish to thank the Black-Hundred Novoye Vremya for publishing a frank statement by Kobylinsky, leader of the Rights on the Council of State. We also wish to thank the “leader” himself.

Every now and again,” Mr. Kobylinsky exclaimed, “members of the Duma betray ignorance and inability to legislate ... Only shopkeepers draft laws like that....

We have been attacked for rejecting the Bill to introduce the Zemstvo in Archangel Gubernia.... The Duma did not stop for a moment to think that awing to the absence of cultured elements and the sparse population in Archangel Gubernia, people there would have to elect, as a wit put it, a muzhik, a reindeer and a bear to the Zemstvo council....

Be that as it may, we shall not allow the establishment of a muzhik Zemstvo, as the Third Duma envisaged it.”

Well, how can we help thanking the leader of the Rights on the Council of State, i.e., the leader of the Council of State, for being so frank?

We wholeheartedly recommend to the reader this clear and truthful argument for the Council of State instead of the hackneyed, non-committal liberal phrases against the Council of State.

Shopkeepers in the Duma ... muzhiks and bears in the Zemstvo ... we shall admit no shopkeepers or muzhiks. There you have the plain language of a feudal-minded landlord.

And mind you, he is right, is this feudal lord, in saying that there is no majority in the Duma without the “shopkeepers”, i.e., without the bourgeoisie, to use the language of a class-conscious worker (and not of a wild landlord[1]). He is right, is this feudal lord, in saying that self-government would in fact be peasant self-government (the class-conscious   workers prefer the term peasant to muzhik, which is current among wild landlords). The peasants are a majority.

The Council of State is by no means an accidental political institution but a class organ—this is what Kobylinsky’s truthful speech implies. The class in question is that of the big landlords. They will admit no “shopkeepers or muzhiks”.

Really, Russian liberal “shopkeepers”, and Octobrist and Cadet gentlemen, you must learn from Kobylinsky how to pose political questions seriously!


[1] The wild landlord, a character in M. Saltykov-Shchedrin’s fairy-tale of the same name.

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