V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on May 27 (June 9), 1913
Published: Published on June 5, 1913 in Pravda No. 127

. Printed from the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 251-252.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Our liberal press has taken the notorious Fourth Duma formula on the Ministry of the Interior estimates to mean that “the government is acting in something of a vacuum.... The government has no friends in the country with the exception of the subsidised newspapers, and the handfuls of politicians who are also subsidised and are loyal only so long as the subsidy lasts.”

That is the opinion of the “serious”, professorial Russkiye Vedomosti, and that’s no joke!

The government is completely isolated, and finds no support even in the political groups it set up itself.” That is the opinion of Rech.

It would probably be hard to match the puerility displayed in these observations by the professors, lawyers, writers and deputies of the liberal camp. Theirs is a truly incurable parliamentary cretinism, in a country where “there is, thank God, no parliament”![1]

In a vacuum, you say?

But haven’t you heard, Messrs, professors and deputies, of the Council of the United Nobility, and of its support of the government’s policy; of the hundred million or so of dessiatines of the best land in the best parts of Russia belonging to the landowning class; of all the key civil and military posts held by the same class; of the sugar and other finance barons among the same class?

You haven’t heard of all that? Oh, ye wise statesmen of liberalism!

The government, you say, is completely isolated, it has no friends in the country?

But what are you there for, gentlemen? Wasn’t it you, together with the Progressists and the Octobrists, who voted the estimates of the Ministry of the Interior?

Imagine the existence of millionaire acquaintances who easily give you as much money as you want, while expressing “wishes” which are not binding on anybody. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that we should be entitled to call these millionaires our friends, and that we should not feel ourselves “isolated” (among the millionaires)?

But by your formula you have extended to the government not only material but also great ideological support. This is very important, and you must not think that we shall allow you to dodge this ticklish question before the public.

What was the argument about in the Duma? To vote the funds, but to express a wish for—the reform of the police and for “normal limits of the legal system”, said the nationalists. To vote the funds, but to express a desire for radical or broad reforms, said the Octobrists, adding that their unequivocal stand is counter-revolutionary nationalism and chauvinism.

And now all the liberals perform this trick: they keep silent about the addition, but express delight over the demand for “radical reforms”! All that is lacking is an addendum to their list, on the suggestion of some clever liquidator, on “freedom of association and review of agrarian legislation”....

The feudal landowners are backing the old system. The bourgeoisie is in favour of reform. By its “formula” it inflicted a moral blow on the government. But at the same time that bourgeoisie gave moral support to the government by emphasising its counter-revolutionary attitude! And such support is a hundred times more effective and weighty than dozens of “moral” blows.

The “historic” Duma formula provides fresh confirmation that the June Third system[2] has entered a blind alley. And the bourgeoisie, maintaining the position described, cannot get out of that blind alley. The experience of history teaches us that the bourgeoisie may daydream about reforms, stagnate in a blind alley and bear the yoke of the Purishkeviches for decades, unless the crisis is resolved the way the liberals dread and hope to exorcise.


[1] An exclamation of V. Kokovtsev, then Minister of Finance (later, Prime Minister), in the Duma on April 24, 1908.

[2] On June 3 (16), 1907, the tsarist government arbitrarily dissolved the Second Duma and issued a new electoral law which greatly increased the representation of the landowners and the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie and sharply reduced the number of peasants’, workers’ and non-Russian deputies. It assured the   reactionary bloc of landowners and big capitalists of complete domination of the Third and Fourth Dumas. The June 3 coup ushered in the period of Stolypin reaction known as the June Third regime.

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