V. I.   Lenin

Results of the Elections



The New Duma

To ascertain the results of the elections, let us take the official data on the party composition of the Fourth Duma and compare it with that of the Third Duma, not only at the end of its existence (1912), but also at the beginning (1908). We obtain the following instructive picture[1] :

  Third Duma Fourth
1908 1912
Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 46 65
Nationalists and moderate Rights . . 95 102 120
Octobrists . . . . . . . . . . . 148 120 98
Progressists . . . . . . . . . . 25 36 48
Cadets . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 52 59
The three national groups . . . . 26 27 21
Trudoviks . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 14 10
Social-Democrats . . . . . . . . 19 13 14
Unaffiliated . . . . . . . . . . 27 7
Total . . . . . . . . . 429 437 442

The first conclusion to be drawn from these data is that in the Fourth Duma the former two possible majorities remain—the Right-wing and Octobrist majority of 283 votes (65+120+98) and the Octobrist-Cadet majority of 226 votes (98+48+59+21).

As far as the autocratic government is concerned, the most important thing for practical purposes is to have “its own” majority in the Duma. The distinction between the Third and Fourth Dumas is negligible in this respect. In the Third Duma, the Right-wing and Octobrist majority was 292 votes at the beginning and 268 at the end. What we have now is 283, a figure midway between those two.

But the drop in the Right-wing majority between the beginning and the end of the Third Duma was so consider able that the government, being an autocratic one, could not but resort to extraordinary measures of manipulating the elections. That manipulation is neither an accident nor a departure from the system, as the Meyendorfs, Maklakovs and Co. like to make out, but a measure indispensable for maintaining the “system”.

You, liberal gentlemen headed by Maklakov, talk of “reconciling the government and the country” (i.e., the bourgeoisie). But if that is true, there are two alternatives. Either your talk about reconciliation is not meaningless words, and then you must also accept “manipulating the elections”, for such is the real condition for reconciliation with the real   government. After all, you are so fond of “realistic policy”! Or your protests against “manipulating the elections” are not meaningless words, and then you should speak not of reconciliation, but of something entirely unlike reconciliation.

The second majority of the June Third system, the Octobrist-liberal one, was 252 votes in the early period of the Third Duma and 235 at its end, and it has dropped to 226 in the Fourth Duma. Consequently, the government’s “election campaign” was in effect a success; the government had its way, once again confirming its autocratic character in practice. For the cries about a Right-wing and nationalist majority were merely haggling. In reality, the government needs both majorities, both of which have a counter-revolutionary basis.

It is impossible to lay too much stress on the last circumstance, which the liberals gloss over in order to fool the democrats, while the liberal labour politicians (liquidators) do the same thing from lack of intelligence. The bloc of the Cadets and Octobrists, which came to light so strikingly during Rodzyanko’s election (and was perhaps even more strikingly revealed by the unseemly, slavish words of Rech about Rodzyanko’s speech), is by no means just a “technical” matter. This bloc expresses the community of the counter-revolutionary sentiments of the bourgeoisie in general, from Guchkov to Milyukov; it is made possible only by these sentiments.

On the other hand, the government, too, needs the liberal Octobrist majority from the point of view of the entire system of the June Third regime. For the Third (and Fourth) Duma is not at all a “cardboard” institution, as it is often made out to be by the claptrap of the “Left” Narodniks, who are bogged down hopelessly in Ropshin-like experiences and “otzovist” phrases.[2] No, the Third and Fourth Dumas are a stage in the development of the autocracy and in that of the bourgeoisie; they are an attempt really to bring them closer together, a necessary attempt after the victories and defeats of 1905. And the failure of this attempt would be the failure not only of Stolypin and Makarov, or of Markov the Second and Purishkevich, but also of theconciliatorMaklakov and Co.!

The government needs a liberal-Octobrist majority in order to try to lead Russia forward while preserving the omnipotence of the Purishkeviches. As regards instruments for curbing or moderating unusually fast-moving over zealous liberal-Octobrist “Progressism”, the government has plenty of them—the Council of State and many many more.


[1] The data are taken from the following Duma publications: Ukazatel (Directory) for 1908, Spravochnik (Reference Book) for 1912 and Spravochny Listok [IV] Gosudarstvennoi Dumy (Reference Sheet of the Fourth State Duma) No. 14, December 2, 1912—corrected data as of December 1, 1912. The three national groups are the Poles, Byelorussians and Moslems. —Lenin

[2] ByRopshin-like experiences” Lenin means the reactionary ideas and decadent sentiments which became widespread in the years of reaction among the Socialist-Revolutionary intelligentsia and found a particularly vivid expression in the writings of Ropshin (B. Savinkov).

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