First published in Pravda No. 95, July 13 (June 30), 1917.
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 145-147.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Rabochaya Gazeta is disturbed about the political significance of the offensive. One of its contributors even reproaches another, saying that the latter’s evasive phrases ultimately amount to an admission that, objectively, the Russian revolutionary army is now shedding its blood for the annexationist plans of the Allied bourgeoisie rather than for peace without annexations (Rabochaya Gazeta No. 93, page 2, column 1).
Now this “objective” significance of the offensive is bound to disturb the workers, some of whom are still following the Mensheviks. And this is also reflected in the columns of Rabochaya Gazeta. Not wishing to venture upon an open break with the workers, the paper is trying to somehow link the “offensive” with the revolutionary proletarian peace struggle. Unfortunately for the cunning editors, the only connection that can be established here is a negative one.
It would be difficult to imagine more pitiful and confused people than these respectable editors frightened by those very spirits which they, together with the Socialist-Revolutionaries, have conjured up.
On the one hand, Rabochaya Gazeta reports that “the West now sees the significance of the Russian offensive in an entirely false light. The British and French bourgeois news papers regard it as a renunciation of the Soviet’s ’utopian’ plans. Chauvinist resolutions are being passed under the pretext of hailing Kerensky and the advancing revolutionary army. And while the war drums thunder for the Russian offensive, the persecution of those who hold the same views as the Russian democrats and accept the same peace policy is growing”.
A very valuable admission! All the more so because it comes from a ministerial newspaper which only yesterday considered our forecasts of these inevitable consequences of the offensive to be prompted by Bolshevik malice. It turns out that the question is not of our “malice” at all, but of the fact that the policy adopted by the leaders of the Soviet has its own logic and that this logic leads to the strengthening of the anti-revolutionary forces in and outside Russia.
It is this unpleasant fact that Rabochaya Gazeta would like to gloss over somehow. The method suggested by the editors is very simple: “It is urgently necessary that the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets of Workers and Soldiers’ Deputies, together with the Soviet of Peasants’ Deputies, should issue an explicit and categorical statement to the effect that, as far as Russian democrats are concerned, the aims of the war remain the same as before”, and so on, and so forth. You see how resolutely the Mensheviks fight against the imperialist war: they are willing to make another urgent and categorical statement. The number of the most “urgent”, most “categorical”, and most “impassioned” statements that have already been made! How many more times will it be necessary to repeat those categorical statements as speedily as possible to moderate with words, if only a little, the actions of a government which the ministerial Rabochaya Gazeta fully supports!
Really, gentlemen, your most “categorical” words, declarations and notes cannot alleviate the facts which you yourselves report. Those facts can only be countered by actions which would actually mark a break with the policy of continuing the imperialist war. The government of Lvov-Tereshchenko-Shingaryov-Kerensky-Tsereteli cannot do that. All it can do is confirm, by its cowardly and pitiful policy towards Finland and the Ukraine, its complete inability to carry out its most “categorical” statements about “no annexations” and about the “right” to self-determination. Under these circumstances, all those promised declarations will serve as a means of lulling the people. Lulling the people with high-sounding declarations instead of waging a “proletarian peace struggle"—this is Rabochaya Gazeta’s programme, this is its real answer to the growth of the anti-revolutionary forces due to the offensive.