V. I.   Lenin

Pious Wishes

Published: Put Pravdy, No. 32, March 9, 1914. Published according to the text in Put Pravdy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 142-143.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs and The Late Joe Fineberg
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.

The liberal newspapers recently published or favourably reported K. Arsenyev’s appeal for greater attention to be paid to the collection of information on summary exile.

Although numerous cases of arbitrary and lawless acts on the part of the Administration are reported in the newspapers,” wrote K. Arsenyev, “others, no less numerous and outrageous, pass unnoticed and unobserved. This omission could be rectified to a considerable extent if some sort of system were introduced in the collection of information on the subject. The reasons for summary exile and arrest, which are being widely practised to this day, especially among the workers, become known only by chance and, therefore, in a fragmentary way. Similarly, news about the condition of the exiles in their places of exile finds its way into the press only by accident.”

What is true is true! The liberal parties, the liberal members of the Duma, the liberal lawyers, the liberal journalists, various groups of liberals, and so forth, could very easily collect and publish legally and illegally, very full and systematic material on every one of those cases which “are being widely practised, especially among the workers”.

Rech, for example, “heartily welcomed the advice and the appeals coming from that highly respected public figure” K. Arsenyev.

Then why don’t you go ahead, gentlemen? Surely you, of all people, have every opportunity and means of organising the proper collection and publication of information about this “everyday feature” of Russian life, which you all protest against and condemn, and about which you are always talking! But see, not a single liberal newspaper, which is a thousand times better “provided for” (in all respects) against all kinds of obstacles and barriers, collects precise information about all cases of exile and arrest.

We are obliged to say that our liberals are past masters in the art of expressing good and pious wishes, but when it comes to publishing the names of all those who have been exiled or to publishing information about them and systematic reports of how they are faring, in Arsenyev’s own Vestnik Yevropy, or in Russkiye Vedomosti,[1] or in Rech, then nothing is done.

Evidently, it is much easier (and safer) to “support” appeals in word than to do something in response to those appeals....


[1] Russkiye Vedomosti (Russian Recorder)—a newspaper published in Moscow from 1863 onwards. Expressed the views of the moderate liberal intelligentsia. In the eighties and nineties writers of the democratic camp contributed to it (among them V. G. Korolenko, Saltykov-Shchedrin, Gleb Uspensky) and the paper published articles by liberal Narodniks. In 1905 it became the organ of the Right wing of the Constitutional-Democrats. Lenin commented on the fact that Russkiye Vedomosti was an unusual combination of “Right Cadetism and Narodnik overtones”. (See present edition. Vol. 19, p. 135.) In 1918 the paper was closed down together with other counter-revolutionary newspapers.

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