V. I.   Lenin

Letter to the Editors of Proletarskoye Dyelo

Published: First published in Proletarskoye Dyelo No. 2, July 28 (15), 1917. Published according to the text in Proletarskoye Dyelo.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 183-184.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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We have changed our minds about submitting to the Provisional Government’s decree ordering our arrests, for the following reasons.

From the letter of Pereverzev, the former Minister of Justice, published on Sunday in Novoye Vremya, it became perfectly clear that the “espionage” “case” of Lenin and others was quite deliberately framed by the party of the counter-revolution.

Pereverzev has openly admitted that he took advantage of unconfirmed accusations to work up (his actual expression) the soldiers against our Party. This is admitted by the former Minister of Justice, a man who only yesterday called himself a socialist! Pereverzev is gone, but whether the new Minister of Justice will hesitate to adopt Pereverzev’s and Alexinsky’s methods, nobody can venture to say.

The counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie are trying to create a new Dreyfus case. They believe in our “espionage” as much as the leaders of Russian reaction, who framed the Beilis case,[1] believed that Jews drink children’s blood. There are no guarantees of justice in Russia at present.

The Central Executive Committee, which considers it self the plenipotentiary organ of the Russian democrats, appointed a commission to investigate the espionage charges, but under pressure from the counter-revolutionary forces dismissed it. The Central Executive Committee refused to either directly confirm or to revoke the warrant for our arrest. It washed its hands of the case, virtually delivering us to the counter-revolution.

The charges of “conspiracy” and “moral incitement” to revolt preferred against us are of a very definite nature, but no precise indictment of our alleged crime is brought either by the Provisional Government or by the Soviet, both of which know full well that it is sheer nonsense to speak of “conspiracy” in referring to a movement like that of July 3–5. The Menshevik and S.R. leaders are simply trying to appease the counter-revolution that is already bearing down on them too, by delivering a number of our Party members to the counter-revolutionaries in compliance with their demand. At present there can be no legal basis in Russia, not even such constitutional guarantees as exist in the orderly bourgeois countries. To give ourselves up at present to the authorities would mean putting ourselves into the hands of the Milyukovs, Alexinskys, Pereverzevs, of rampant counter-revolutionaries who look upon all the charges against us as a simple civil war episode.

After what happened on July 6–8, not a single Russian revolutionary can harbour constitutional illusions any longer. Revolution and counter-revolution are coming to grips in a decisive fashion. We shall continue to fight on the side of the former.

We shall continue to aid the proletariat’s revolutionary struggle as far as we can. The Constituent Assembly alone, if it meets, and if its convocation is not the handiwork of the bourgeoisie, will have full authority to pass judgement upon the Provisional Government’s decree ordering our arrest.

N. Lenin


[1] Beilis case—the trial of the Jew Beilis, staged for provocative purposes by the tsar’s government in 1913 in Kiev. Beilis was falsely accused of the ritual murder of Yushchinsky, a Christian boy (the murder was actually committed by the Black Hundreds). The government’s aim was to stir up anti-Semitism and take advantage of anti-Jewish pogroms to divert the people’s attention from the revolutionary movement growing throughout the country. The trial aroused public indignation. In a number of towns, workers held protest demonstrations. Beilis was acquitted.

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