V. I.   Lenin

More About the Political Crisis

Published: Put Pravdy No. 76, May 3, 1914. Published according to the text in Put Pravdy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 274-276.
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.
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A good deal has already been said in the newspapers about the famous Duma session of April 22 at Which all the Social-Democrats and Trudoviks were ejected.[1] However, the full implications of this event have not yet been sufficiently explained.

Every political crisis, whatever its outcome, is useful in that it brings to light things that have been hidden, reveals the forces operating in politics, exposes deception and self-deception, catch-phrases and fictions, and affords striking demonstration of “things as they are”, by forcibly driving them home.

All the democratic members of the Duma, both Social-Democrats and Trudoviks, were suspended for fifteen sessions and ejected, most of them by armed force. This was done in deference to those who, by taking measures against Chkheidze, clearly revealed their “firm” intention of taking a step (or rather, a dozen steps at once) towards the right. The Rights and Octobrists, plus some of the Progressists, i.e., the bourgeois liberals, who are in close, in fact, inseparable league with the Cadets, voted for this ejection.

The Cadets abstained! This abstention by a party which claims to be democratic admirably revealed—by no means for the first time—the true nature of the Cadet gentry’s liberalism. The Fourth Duma prepares to expel Chkheidze, then the other Social-Democrats, and then all the democrats, and starts by suspending them, yet the “leaders” of the liberal opposition abstain front voting! No matter how many gallons of ink the liberals and Cadets may afterwards use up to invent sophisms and evasions such as: we merely disapproved of the “form” of the Social-Democrats’ speeches,   etc.—the crux of the matter will remain clear to anybody who does not wish to deceive himself.

Abstaining from voting when Goremykin, Rodzyanko and their majority expelled the democratic deputies actually implied tacit support, moral approval and political endorsement of Goremykin and Rodzyanko and their majority.

One cannot agree with the point of view expressed by L. M. in Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta, No. 61, who wrote that the “Duma majority headed by the Octobrists have committed political suicide”. That is the point of view of a Left liberal, not of a democrat, and certainly not of a Social-Democrat.

The Duma majority and the Octobrists have not committed suicide at all. All of them are deliberate counter-revolutionaries, deliberate participants in the June Third bloc and in the Stolypin system, deliberate enemies of democracy. Since they recognise Goremykin as their political leader, why is it suicide for them to follow this leader against their class enemies, against the representatives of democracy, who are notoriously hostile to the Octobrists?

What is the purpose of these turgid and utterly false phrases about “suicide”? Such phrases assume that the Octobrists are not the enemies of democracy, i. e., assume something that is disgustingly false. These phrases resemble the vulgar democratism of those misguided Left Narodniks who often shouted that the Third and the Fourth Duma were a “pasteboard” institution, a house of cards. The Octobrists’ vote for Goremykin, Maklakov and Shcheglovitov could have been considered suicidal only if the Octobrists had expressed the “will of the people”. Actually, however, they express the “will” of those sections of the big bourgeoisie and the landlords which stand in mortal fear of the people.

No, let us face the truth squarely. In politics that is always the best and the only correct attitude.

And the truth is that the Duma events of April 22 shattered and killed the remnants of constitutional and legalistic illusions. The counter-revolutionary bloc of Purishkevich, Rodzyanko and the “Left” Octobrists, plus a section of the Progressists, came out against democracy bluntly,   openly, determinedly, in soldier fashion (not in the metaphorical, but in the literal sense of this last term, for soldiers were called into the Duma). The counter-revolutionary liberals, Milyukov and Co., abstained from voting. This could only have been expected after all that has happened in the Third and the Fourth Duma, after all that happened in the first decade of the twentieth century.

Well, the less self-deception there is, the better for the people. What has the country gained from the Duma events of April 22? It has gained by losing another particle of illusions that are detrimental to the cause of freedom in this country.


[1] At the session of the Duma on April 22 (May 5), 1914, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour group (the Bolshevik Six), the Social-Democratic group (the Mensheviks) and the Trudoviks moved that the budget debates should be adjourned pending the adoption of the Bill on the freedom of speech for deputies.

This motion was defeated by a majority of the Duma. Thereupon the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Trudoviks used obstructionist tactics during the speech of Goremykin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Rodzyanko, Chairman of the Duma, retorted by suspending all the Social-Democrats and the Trudoviks from the Duma for fifteen sessions. In reply St. Petersburg and Moscow workers held strikes of protest.

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