V. I.   Lenin

The Adjourned Duma and the Embarrassed Liberals

Published: Pravda No. 151, July 5, 1913. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 258-259.
Translated: The Late George Hanna
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

More than a week has passed since the Fourth Duma[1] adjourned, but reviews and appraisals of its work still continue to appear in the newspapers. Everybody admits that there is general dissatisfaction with the Fourth Duma. It is not only the liberals, not only the “responsible” (to the landowners) opposition that are dissatisfied. The Octobrists, too, are dissatisfied. And the Rights are dissatisfied.

Undoubtedly, this dissatisfaction with the reactionary Duma on the part of the reactionary landowners and the bourgeoisie is extremely typical and portentous. These classes have done everything possible to guarantee what they call “peaceful, constitutional” development.

They did everything—and now they have realised that nothing has come of it! Hence the general dissatisfaction in the camp of the landowners and the bourgeoisie themselves. Neither the Rights nor the Octobrists show that rapture and enthusiasm for the June Third system that was typical of the Third Duma epoch.

Our so-called “upper” classes, the social and political summit” cannot rule Russia in the old way, despite the fact that all the fundamentals of the state system and of the government of Russia have been determined exclusively by them and arranged in their interests. But the “lower” classes are full of the desire to change this form of government.

The coincidence of this inability of the “upper” classes to administer the state in the old way, and this increased reluctance on the part of the “lower” classes to put up with such administration of the state, makes up precisely what   is called (admittedly somewhat inaccurately) a political crisis on a nation-wide scale.

The growth of this crisis before our eyes is a fact, and a fact that can scarcely be open to doubt.

It would seem that from this it should be clear to democrats and even to intelligent liberals that the centre of gravity of this desire for improvement is not in the Duma, and that the Duma is in this respect only an inaccurate indicator.

But our liberals have for a long time been letting them selves slide. “Both the Third and the Fourth Dumas are a parody of popular representation,” said a Rech leading article, “but they do exist and hic Rhodus, hic salta” (a Latin expression that means literally “Here is Rhodes, here jump”, i.e., here is the main thing, here is the essence, here prove what you’ve got to prove, here fight).

You are mistaken, gentlemen! Rhodes is not here and you will not “jump” from here since the beginning was not here.

Only the lackeys of the landowners and the money-bags could take the Fourth Duma as a Rhodes for democracy, could forget that in addition to the Duma there “exists”, for example, a working-class movement of nation-wide significance, no matter how the liberals may keep quiet about that significance and no matter how the liberal working-class politicians, the liquidators, may try to curtail and be little that significance.

Have we done everything in our power,” asks Rech, “to bring influence to bear on the Duma to compel it to follow and fulfil our demands?”

That is not particularly literate but it is clear enough. “We”—refers to the landowners and the bourgeoisie. That is the only “society”, the only “public” opinion, that Rech sees and only that society interests it.

Are the more reactionary landowners to be compelled “to fulfil the demands” of the liberal landowners and liberal bourgeoisie who do not themselves know what to “demand” or what they want—a change for the better or a weakening of the working-class movement with its nation-wide scope that is bringing about that change?

Poor liberals!


[1] The Fourth Duma adjourned for the summer vacation after the first session. The summer vacation lasted from June 25 to October 15 (July 8 to October 28), 1913.

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