First published in Pravda No. 94, July 12 (June 29), 1917.
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 137-139.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Minister Skobelev has published an appeal to all workers of Russia. In the name of “our” (that is what it says: our) socialist ideal, in the name of the revolution, on behalf of revolutionary democrats, and so on, and so forth, he urges the workers to accept “courts of conciliation” and severely condemns all “unauthorised” actions.
This is how well the near-socialist Minister Skobelev ’the Menshevik sings his part:
“You [workers] have every reason to be outraged by the enrichment of the propertied classes that has been taking place during this war. The tsar’s government has wasted thousands of millions of the people’s money. The revolutionary government must restore this money to the people’s treasury.”
He sings well, but where will he alight?
Mr. Skobelev’s appeal was published on June 28. The coalition Ministry was formed on May 6. But during all this time, in which economic dislocation and an unprecedented catastrophe have been advancing on the country with seven-league strides, the government has not taken a single real step against the capitalists who have made “thousands of millions”. To “restore” these thousands of millions “to the people’s treasury”, a law should have been enacted on May 7 abolishing all commercial and bank secrecy and establishing immediate control over the capitalist banks. and syndicates, for otherwise it is impossible to find, let alone “restore”, these thousands of millions.
Does the Menshevik Minister Skobelev really imagine that the workers are babes in the wood whom one can feed with promises of the impossible (for it is impossible to “restore” the “thousands of millions”—may God help us to end plunder of the state and to restore at least one or two hundred millions) without doing the possible and the necessary for weeks on end?
As luck would have it, on the very same day the Menshevik Minister Skobelev presented the workers with another basketful of the most florid republican, revolutionary and “socialist” phrases, Comrade Avilov, who wants to “unite” the defencists (i.e., the chauvinists) with the workers, hit on the unusually, extraordinarily fortunate idea of con tributing an article to Novaya Zhizn in which he gave facts without making deductions.
Nothing on earth could be more eloquent than these simple facts.
On May 5, the coalition Ministry was formed. In a solemn declaration it promised control, and even “organisation of production”.
On May 16, the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet adopted “directions” for its Ministers, demanding “the immediate [listen to this! I and most energetic realisation [this is how it reads, believe it or not!] of government regulation of production”, and so on, and so forth.
Energetic realisation began.
On May 19, Konovalov resigned, making a very “energetic” statement against “the extreme socialists”! On June 1, the All-Russia conference of representatives of industry and commerce took place. The conference declared emphatically against control. The three Deputy Ministers remaining after Konovalov’s resignation began to “realise energetically”: in the conflict of the Donets mine owners (who are wrecking the industry by a “go-slow strike”), Stepanov, the first Deputy Minister, backed the employers. After that the employers rejected all Skobelev’s conciliatory proposals.
Palchinsky, the second Deputy Minister, sabotaged the “fuel conference”.
Savvin, the third Deputy Minister, instituted “a crude and even silly caricature” of regulation in the form of an “inter-departmental conference”.
On June 10, first Deputy Minister Stepanov presented a report” to the Provisional Government taking issue with the Executive Committee’s programme.
On June 21, the Congress of Soviets passed another resolution.
The people began to set up supply committees on their own initiative, from below. From above, a chief “Economic Council” was promised. Second Deputy Minister Palchinsky explained: “It is hard to say when it [the Economic Council] will begin to function.”
It sounds like mockery, but these are the facts.
The capitalists mock at the workers, at the people, by continuing the policy of secret lock-outs and of concealing their outrageous profits, and send the Skobelevs, Tseretelis and Chernovs to “reassure” the workers with empty phrases.