V. I.   Lenin

Liberals as Defenders of the Fourth Duma

Published: Pravda No. 128, June 6, 1913. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 177-179.
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

From the very inception of the Third Duma, the Marxists pointed out—not in an article here and an article there, but in a formal decision—that the June Third system had deliberately created two possible Duma majorities—Right-Octobrist and Octobrist-Cadet.[1] Both are reactionary in nature, both are necessary to the government in the same way as the support of the bourgeoisie is necessary to the landowners.

And now we have lived long enough to ,see the liberals systematically defending the Fourth Duma and demanding “popular and public support” for it.

Improbable as it is, it is a fact. The quoted words are in the leading article of Rech No. 139. This leading article is more deserving of the title “historical” than is the voting in the Fourth Duma on the budget estimate of the Ministry of the Interior. This leading article is truly programmatic. The question of the attitude of the Duma to the country and of the country to the Duma—presented broadly and splendidly explained—is an object-lesson to democrats.

We will leave it to the Social-Democrats to assert,” writes the chief liberal newspaper, “that the Duma is only a decoration, that the work of the Duma is deception and hypocrisy, and that the ideologists of the Duma only deceive the people and feed them constitutional illusions.”

Our congratulations to the new ideologists of the Duma, of the Fourth Duma! It is only a pity that they are such ignoramuses. The Social-Democratic Party has never assert ed that the Third and Fourth Dumas are only a decoration,   but has always pointed to the mistake made by the Left Narodniks in thinking and saying so; the Party has always given proof that the Third and Fourth Dumas signify the foundation of a serious and business-like alliance of the counter-revolutionary forces.

While awaiting [?] the social forces that are still conspicuous only by their absence in the arena of social struggle,” writes Rech, “the Duma is a social force.”

It is indisputable that the Duma, liberal gentlemen, is a force. But what kind of force? It is a landowners’ and bourgeois counter-revolutionary force. And if the Cadets “notice” only the “absence” of democratic forces in the arena, there is nothing left for us to do but remind them of that wise saying: there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Let us cite here a little historical parallel; eighteen years ago, in 1893 and 1896, a movement of tens of thousands of workers was noticed, noticed very much indeed, by liberal society. At the present moment that same “society” notices only the “absence” of a quantity ten times greater. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

This unwillingness to see is to he explained by the class interests of the Octobrist and Cadet bourgeoisie, who have turned away from democracy.

We call upon public opinion,” says Rech, “to see in the Duma its own force ... the direct manifestation of the social will to create interest in the Duma on the part of society,” etc., etc.

To what disgraceful depths, into what baseness and filth did the liberals and Cadets have to fall in order to laud the Octobrists and the Octobrist Duma in this manner! Here you have for the hundredth and thousandth time proof that the Cadets are those same Octobrists painted pink to deceive simpletons.

Let us conclude with another historical parallel. Half a century ago the Prussian Octobrists and Cadets[2] “fought” against Bismarck, not only with formulations demanding reforms, but also by refusing him credits. And what happened? In Prussia, the “Third Duma” election law predominates to this day. To this (lay Prussia stands as art example of a country in which the amazing economic might of the bourgeoisie   is combined with its amazing servility towards the landowners.

Not support for the Cadet-Octobrist bloc in the Duma, but an explanation of its internal rottenness and of the independent tasks of democracy—that is what the interests of the working class and of all democracy demand.


[1] See present edition, Vol. 13, p. 144.—Ed.

[2] ByPrussian Octobrists and Cadets” Lenin meant the Progressives, the party of the Prussian liberal bourgeoisie.

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