V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on May 27 (June 9), 1913
Published: Published on June 2, 1913 in Pravda No. 126

. Printed from the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 249-250.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The press is still exercised over the adoption of the so-called lack-of-confidence-in-the-government formula by the Fourth Duma (on the Ministry of the Interior estimates), by the votes of the Octobrists and the Cadets. Indeed, the formula, like the comments on it in the liberal press, deserves serious consideration. This has really raised questions of principle: it is essential to return to them again and again.

The leader-writer in Rech solemnly declared (No. 137) that May 21, the day this formula was adopted, “will go down as a date of historic significance”. Our liberals are past masters at uttering loud and ringing phrases of this kind; but the very first attempt at a serious analysis of the meaning of the Duma’s decision betrays their astounding shallowness and helplessness.

The liberals ignore the most fundamental and indubitable facts which reveal the meaning of the Duma formula.

Firstly, of the parties which adopted the formula, neither the Octobrists nor the Progressists[1] (with whom the Cadets are ire practice indissolubly tied up!) proposed rejection of the estimates. The rejection of the estimates on the part of the Cadets was only a theatrical gesture to catch the democrats, since all knew perfectly well that the Cadets would in practice support the Octobrists.

The “historic” formula is a phrase, since the majority of the bourgeois parties did not even venture to use their unquestionable “parliamentary” right to reject the budget. And without the support of both the Octobrists and the Progressists the Cadets are nil in the Duma and in the country.

Secondly, what does the ideological and political content of the formula amount to? “We insist on the earliest   implementation of extensive reforms,” says the formula adopted by the Octobrists. That is what the Progressists also said. The same was demanded, in even stronger terms— “radical reforms”!—by the “Centre” (i.e., the semi– Octobrists and semi-nationalists). The same reformist attitude is fully adopted by the Cadet formula: their wording is somewhat sharper, but the ideas are exclusively reformist.

Thirdly, all the formulas, from that of the Cadets to that of the Octobrists, give a clear expression of the reactionary standpoint.

In this respect, contrary to the lying assurances of Rech, the Octobrist formula is not to the right but to the left of the Progressist, and even of the Cadet, formulas. See and judge for yourselves:

(1) The Progressists: (the Ministry) “is sowing in the country the seeds of trouble, threatening the security of the state”;

(2) The Cadets: “such a situation is a serious threat to state and public security”;

(3) The Octobrists: “the Ministry is destroying respect for the law and the authorities among the people, thereby strengthening the mood of opposition.”

Translated from the language of “official policy” into ordinary human terms, this means one thing: the Cadets; the Octobrists and the Progressists all promise to provide better protection for the landowners, not as individuals but as a class, of course, than the present system does.

Fourthly, all these three parties start from nationalism and chauvinism. The Ministry, they allege, “weakens the power of Russia” (say the Octobrists and the Progressists) or “the external might of the state” (say the Cadets, even more clearly!).

Such are the facts hushed up and distorted by the liberals. The “historic” formula of the Fourth Duma is a compact between the Cadets and the Octobrists, with the help of the Progressists, on censuring the government and expressing the wish for “radical reforms”, provided the budget is voted and the standpoint of reactionary nationalism and chauvinism is clearly expressed.


[1] Progressists (Progressist Party)—a party of the counter– revolutionary liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie and landowners in Russia. At first, it was a group in the Third Duma consisting of deputies from the bourgeois and landowner parties of Peaceful Renovation and Democratic Reform. It became a party in November 1912.

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