V. I.   Lenin

The National Equality Bill[1]

Published: Put Pravdy No. 48, March 28, 1914. Published according to the text in Put Pravdy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 172-173.
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 Russian Social-Democratic Labour group in the Duma has decided to introduce in the Fourth Duma a Bill to abolish the disabilities of the Jews and other non-Russians. The text of this Bill you will find below.

The Bill aims at abolishing all national restrictions against all nations: Jews, Poles, and so forth But it deals in particular detail with the restrictions against the Jews. The reason is obvious: no nationality in Russia is so oppressed and persecuted as the Jewish. Anti-Semitism is striking ever deeper root among the propertied classes. The Jewish workers are suffering under a double yoke, both as workers and as Jews. During the past few years, the persecution of the Jews has assumed incredible dimensions. It is sufficient to recall the anti-Jewish pogroms and the Beilis case.

In view of these circumstances, organised Marxists must devote proper attention to the Jewish question.

It goes without saying that the Jewish question can effectively be solved only together with the fundamental issues confronting Russia today. Obviously, we do not look to the nationalist-Purishkevich Fourth Duma to abolish the restrictions against the Jews and other non-Russians. But it is the duty of the working class to make its voice heard. And the voice of the Russian workers must be particularly loud in protest against national oppression.

In publishing the text of our Bill, we hope that the Jewish workers, the Polish workers, and the workers of the other oppressed nationalities will express their opinion of it and propose amendments, should they deem it necessary.

At the same time we hope that the Russian workers will give particularly strong support to our Bill by their declarations, etc.

In conformity with Article 4 we shall append to the Bill a special list of regulations and laws to be rescinded. This appendix will cover about a hundred such laws affecting the Jews alone.


1. Citizens of all nationalities inhabiting Russia are equal before the law.

2. No citizen of Russia, regardless of sex and religion, may be restricted in political or in any other rights on the grounds of origin or nationality.

3. All and any laws, provisional regulations, riders to laws, and so forth, which impose restrictions upon Jews in any sphere of social and political life, are herewith abolished. Article 767, Vol. IX, which states that “Jews are subject to the general laws in all cases where no special regulations affecting them, have been issued” is herewith repealed. All and any restrictions of the rights of Jews as regards residence and travel, the right to education, the right to state and public employment, electoral rights, military service, the right to purchase and rent real estate in towns, villages. etc., are herewith abolished, and all restrictions of the rights of Jews to engage in the liberal professions, etc., are herewith abolished.

4. To the present law is appended a list of the laws, orders, provisional regulations, etc., that limit the tights of the Jews, and which are subject to repeal.


[1] The National Equality Bill (official title of the “Bill for the Abolition of All Disabilities of the Jews and of all Restrictions on the Grounds of Origin or Nationality”) was drafted by Lenin for the Russian Social-Democratic Labour group in the Fourth Duma. This Bill was to have been introduced in the Duma, apparently in connection with the discussion of the Ministry of the Interior’s budget.

In publishing this Bill on behalf of the R. S. D. L. group, Lenin considered it a point of honour on the part of the Russian workers to support it with tens of thousands of signatures and declarations. “This,” said Lenin, “will he the best means of consolidating complete unity, amalgamating all the workers of Russia, irrespective   of nationality. (See the article “National Equality”, pp. 237–38 of this volume.)

Works Index   |   Volume 20 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index
< backward   forward >