V. I.   Lenin

The Provisional Government’s Note

Written: Written April 20 (May 3), 1917
Published: Published May 4 (April 21), 1917 in Pravda No. 37. Published according to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 189-191.
Translated: Isaacs Bernard
Transcription\Markup: B. Baggins and D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 1999 (2005). 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.
Other Formats:   TextREADME

The cards are on the table. We have every reason to be grateful to Guchkov and Mllyukov for their Note, printed today in all the newspapers.

The majority of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, the Narodniks, Mensheviks, all those who until now have appealed for confidence in the Provisional Government, have received fitting punishment. They hoped, expected, and believed that the Provisional Government, under the beneficent influence of “contact” with Chkheidze, Skobelev, and Steklov, would for ever repudiate annexations. Things have turned out somewhat differently....

In its Note of April 18, the Provisional Government speaks of “the desire of the whole nation [!] to fight the world war out to a decisive victory”.

Needless to say,” the Note adds, “the Provisional Government ... will fully stand by its obligations towards our Allies.”

Short and clear. War to a decisive victory. The alliance with the British and French bankers is sacred....

Who concluded this alliance with “our” Allies, i.e., with the British and French multimillionaires? The tsar, Rasputin, the tsar’s gang, of course. But to Milyukov and Co. this treaty is sacred.


Some say: because Milyukov Is insincere, he is a crafty person and so on.

But that is not the point. The point is that Guchkov, Milyukov, Tereshchenko, and Konovalov are spokesmen of the capitalists. And the seizure of foreign lands is necessary   to the capitalists. They will receive new markets, new places to export capital to, new opportunities to arrange profitable jobs for tens of thousands of their sons, etc. The point is that at the present moment the interests of the Russian capitalists are identical with those of the British and French capitalists. That, and that alone, is the reason why the tsar’s treaties with the British and French capitalists are precious to the Provisional Government of the Russian capitalists.

The new Note of the Provisional Government will pour oil on the flames. It can only arouse a bellicose spirit in Germany. It will help Wilhelm the Brigand to go on deceiving “his own” workers and soldiers and drag them into a war “to a finish”.

The new Note of the Provisional Government puts the issue squarely: what next?

From the very first moment of our revolution, the British and French capitalists have been assuring us that the Russian revolution was made solely and exclusively in order to fight the war out “to a finish”. The capitalists want to plunder Turkey, Persia, and China. If this should entail the slaughter of another ten million or so Russian muzhiks—what of it? What we need is a “decisive victory”.... And now the Provisional Government, with utter frankness, has adopted the same course.

Fight—because we want to plunder.”

Die in your tens of thousands every day—because ‘we’ have not yet fought it out and have not yet got our share of the spoils!”

No class-conscious worker, no class-conscious soldier will support the policy of “confidence” in the Provisional Government any longer. The policy of confidence is bankrupt.

Our Social-Democratic City Conference stated in its resolution that the correctness of our view would be corroborated now every day.[1] But not even we had expected events to move so fast.

The present Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies is faced with the alternative: either to swallow the pill offered   by Guchkov and Milyukov, which would mean renouncing an independent political role once and for all, for tomorrow Milyukov would put his “feet on the table” and reduce the soviet to a mere cipher; or to reject Milyukov’s Note, which would mean breaking with the old policy of confidence and adopting the course proposed by Pravda.

Naturally, a middle-of-the-road course might be found. But would it be for long?

Workers and soldiers, you must now loudly declare that there must be only one power in the country—the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, The Provisional Government, the government of a handful of capitalists, must make way for these Soviets.



< backward   forward >
Works Index   |   Volume 24 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index