J. V. Stalin

To Citizens
Long Live The Red Flag !

February 15, 1905

Source : Works, Vol. 1, November 1901 - April 1907
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). 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.

Great hopes and great disappointment! Instead of national enmity—mutual love and confidence! Instead of a fratricidal pogrom—a huge demonstration against tsarism, the culprit in the pogroms! The hopes of the tsarist government have collapsed: the attempt to incite the different nationalities in Tiflis against one another has failed! . . .

The tsarist government has long been trying to incite the proletarians against one another, has long been trying to break up the general proletarian movement. That is why it organised the pogroms in Gomel, Kishinev and other places. It provoked a fratricidal war in Baku with the same object. At last, the gaze of the tsarist government rested on Tiflis. Here, in the middle of the Caucasus, it intended to enact a bloody tragedy and then to carry it to the provinces! No small matter: to incite the nationalities of the Caucasus against one another and to drown the Caucasian proletariat in its own blood! The tsarist government rubbed its hands with glee. It even distributed a leaflet calling for a massacre of Armenians! And it hoped for success. But suddenly, on February 13, as if to spite the tsarist government, a crowd numbering many thousands of Armenians, Georgians, Tatars, and Russians assembles in the enclosure of the Vanque Cathedral and takes a vow of mutual support "in the struggle against the devil who is sowing strife among us." Complete unanimity. Speeches are delivered calling for "unity." The masses applaud the speakers. Our leaflets are distributed (3,000 copies). The masses eagerly take them. The temper of the masses rises. In defiance of the government they decide to assemble again next day in the enclosure of the same cathedral in order once again to "vow to love one another."

February 14. The entire cathedral enclosure and the adjacent streets are packed with people. Our leaflets are distributed and read quite openly. The crowds split up into groups and discuss the contents of the leaflets. Speeches are delivered. The temper of the masses rises. They decide to march in demonstration past the Zion Cathedral and the Mosque, to "vow to love one another," to halt at the Persian Cemetery to take the vow once again and then disperse. The masses put their decision into execution. On the way, near the Mosque and in the Persian Cemetery, speeches are delivered and our leaflets are distributed (on this day 12,000 were distributed). The temper of the masses rises higher and higher. Pent-up revolutionary energy breaks through to the surface. The masses decide to march in demonstration through Palace Street and Golovinsky Prospect and only then to disperse. Our committee takes advantage of the situation and immediately organises a small leading core. This core, headed by an advanced worker, takes the central position—and an improvised red flag flutters right in front of the Palace. The banner-bearer, carried shoulder high by demonstrators, delivers an emphatically political speech during which he first of all asks the comrades not to be dismayed by the absence of a Social-Democratic appeal on the flag. "No, no," answer the demonstrators, "it is inscribed in our hearts!" He then goes on to explain the significance of the Red Flag, criticises the preceding speakers from the Social-Democratic viewpoint, exposes the half-heartedness of their speeches, urges the necessity of abolishing tsarism and capitalism, and calls upon the demonstrators to fight under the Red Flag of Social-Democracy. "Long live the Red Flag!" the masses shout in response. The demonstrators proceed towards the Vanque Cathedral. On the way they halt three times to listen to the banner-bearer. The latter again calls upon the demonstrators to fight against tsarism and urges them to take a vow to rise in revolt as unanimously as they are demonstrating now. "We swear!" the masses shout in response. The demonstrators then reach the Vanque Cathedral and after a minor skirmish with Cossacks, disperse.

Such was the "demonstration of eight thousand Tiflis citizens."

That is how the citizens of Tiflis retaliated to the hypocritical policy of the tsarist government. That is how they took revenge on the despicable government for the blood of the citizens of Baku. Glory and honour to the citizens of Tiflis!

In face of the thousands of Tiflis citizens who assembled under the Red Flag and several times pronounced sentence of death on the tsarist government, the despicable flunkeys of the despicable government were compelled to retreat. They called off the pogrom.

But does that mean, citizens, that the tsarist government will not try to organise pogroms in future? Far from it! As long as it continues to exist, and the more the ground slips from under its feet, the more often will it resort to pogroms. The only way to eradicate pogroms is to abolish the tsarist autocracy.

You cherish your own lives and the lives of your dear ones, do you not? You love your friends and kinsmen and you want to abolish pogroms, do you not? Know then, citizens, that pogroms and the bloodshed that accompanies them will be abolished only when tsarism is abolished!

First of all you must strive to overthrow the tsarist autocracy!

You want to abolish all national enmity, do you not? You are striving for the complete solidarity of peoples, are you not? Know then, citizens, that all national strife will be abolished only when inequality and capitalism are abolished!

The ultimate aim of your striving must be—the triumph of socialism!

But who-will sweep the disgusting tsarist regime from the face of the earth, who will rid you of pogroms?—The proletariat, led by Social-Democracy.

And who will destroy the capitalist system, who will establish international solidarity on earth?—The proletariat, led by Social-Democracy.

The proletariat, and only the proletariat, will win freedom and peace for you.

Therefore, unite around the proletariat and rally under the flag of Social-Democracy!

Rally Under the Red-Flag, Citizens!

Down With the Tsarist Autocracy!

Long Live the Democratic Republic!

Down With Capitalism!

Long Live Socialism!

Long Live the Red Flag!