Written: Written on July 5 (18), 1917
Published: Published in Listok “Pravdy”, July 19 (6), 1917. Published according to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 163-164.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive. 2002 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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An immense torrent of abuse and slander is being poured on the Bolsheviks for the demonstration of July 3 and 4.
They go so far as to accuse the Bolsheviks of “trying to seize the city”, of wanting to “violate” the will of the Soviets, of “encroaching on the authority of the Soviets”, and so on, and so forth.
The facts, however, show that the Bolsheviks did not seize a single building, a single institution, let alone a section of the city (although they could have), nor tried to do so even though the people were armed.
The facts show that the only political act of violence against an institution occurred on the night of July 4-5, when the military cadets and Cossacks wrecked Pravda on Polovtsev’s orders, without the knowledge and against the will of the Soviet.
This is a fact.
It was a deliberate, malicious use of force against an entire institution, an “encroachment” and “violation” not in words, but in deeds. Had this encroachment been lawful, either the Provisional Government or the Soviet would have sanctioned the measure. Neither authority, however, did so. Those who committed violence against “Pravda” received no support either in the Soviet or in the Provisional Government.
The Bolsheviks appealed to the soldiers who had started the demonstration to act peaceably and in an organised way.
Neither the Provisional Government nor the Soviet appealed to the military cadets, the Cossacks or Polovtsev to act peaceably and in an organised, lawful way.
But, we are told, there was shooting.
Yes, there was. But who did the shooting? Who dares blame it on anyone without an investigation?
Please listen to a witness from bourgeois quarters.
This witness is the paper Birzheviye Vedomosti, evening edition of July 4—a witness whom nobody in the world could suspect of partiality towards the Bolsheviks! Here is what the witness says:
“At 2 p.m. sharp, when the armed demonstrators were passing the Sadovaya and Nevsky corner and a large number of spectators were watching them quietly, a deafening shot rang out from the right side of Sadovaya, after which disorderly firing began.”
And so, even the witness from the bourgeois paper is compelled to admit the truth, namely, that the shooting began from the right side of Sadovaya!! Surely this is a clear enough indication that the shooting was aimed at the demonstrators.
Is it really so difficult to appreciate that if the demonstrators had planned or wished to use force, they would have sent people against a definite institution, as Polovtsev sent military cadets and Cossacks against Pravda? Since sailors were killed, and since the witness from the bourgeois paper says that the shooting was started “from the right side of Sadovaya” “when the armed demonstrators were passing”, isn’t this obvious enough proof that it was the Black Hundreds, the opponents of democracy, the quarters close to the Cadets, that wanted and were bent on violence?