J. V. Stalin

Citizens !

October 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.

The mighty giant—the proletariat of all Russia — is stirring again. . . . Russia is in the throes of a broad, country-wide strike movement. All over the boundless expanse of Russia life has come to a standstill as if by the wave of a magic wand. In St. Petersburg alone and on its railways, over a million workers have gone on strike. Moscow—the old, tranquil, sluggish capital, faithful to the Romanovs—is completely enveloped in a revolutionary conflagration. Kharkov, Kiev, Yekate-rinoslav and other cultural and industrial centres, the whole of central and south Russia, the whole of Poland and, lastly, the whole of the Caucasus, have come to a standstill and are threateningly looking the autocracy straight-in the face.

What is going to happen? The whole of Russia is waiting with bated breath for an answer to this question. The proletariat is hurling a challenge at the accursed two-headed monster. Will this challenge be followed by a real clash, will the strike develop into an open, armed uprising, or will it, like previous strikes, end “peacefully” and “subside”?

Citizens! Whatever the answer to this question may be, in whichever way the present strike ends, one thing must be clear and beyond doubt to all: we are on the eve of an all-Russian, nation-wide uprising—and I he hour of this uprising is near. The general political strike now raging—of dimensions unprecedented and unexampled not only in the history of Russia but in the history of the whole world—may, perhaps, end today without developing into a nation-wide uprising, but tomorrow it will shake the country again with even greater force and develop into that mighty armed uprising which must settle the age-long contest between the Russian people and the tsarist autocracy and smash the head of this despicable monster.

A nation-wide armed uprising—that is the fateful climax to which all the events that have recently taken place in the political and social life of our country are leading with historical inevitability! A nation-wide armed uprising—such is the great task that today confronts the proletariat of Russia and is imperatively demanding execution!

Citizens! It is in the interests of all of you, except the handful of financial and landed aristocrats, to join in the rallying cry of the proletariat and to strive jointly with it to bring about this all-saving, nation-wide uprising.

The criminal tsarist autocracy has brought our country to the brink of doom. The ruination of a hundred million Russian peasants, the downtrodden and distressed condition of the working class, the excessive national debt and burdensome taxes, the lack of rights of the entire population, the endless tyranny and violence that reign in all spheres of life, and lastly, the utter insecurity of the lives and property of the citizens — such is the frightful picture that Russia presents today. This cannot go on much longer! The autocracy, which has caused all these grim horrors, must be destroyed! And it will be destroyed! The autocracy realises this, and the more it realises it the more grim these horrors become, the more frightful becomes the hellish dance which it is whipping up around itself. In addition to the hundreds and thousands of peaceful citizens —workers whom it has killed in the streets of towns, in addition to the tens of thousands of workers and intellectuals, the best sons of the people, whom it has sent to languish in prison and in exile, in addition to the incessant murders and violence perpetrated by the tsar’s bashi-bazouks in the countryside, among the peasantry all over Russia — and finally, the autocracy has invented new horrors. It has begun to sow enmity and hatred among the people themselves and to incite different strata of the population and whole nationalities against each other. It has armed and unleashed Russian hooligans against the Russian workers and intellectuals, the unenlightened and starving masses of Russians and Moldavians in Bessarabia against the Jews, and lastly, the ignorant and fanatical Tatar masses against the Armenians. With the assistance of Tatars it has demolished one of the revolutionary centres of Russia and the most revolutionary centre of the Cau-casus—Baku—and has frightened the whole of the Armenian province away from the revolution. It has converted the entire Caucasus with its numerous tribes into a military camp where the population anticipates attack at any moment not only by the autocracy, but also by neighbouring tribes, the unfortunate victims of the autocracy. This cannot go on any longer! And only revolution can put a stop to it!

It would be strange and ridiculous to expect the autocracy, which created all these hellish horrors, to be willing, or able, to stop them. No reform, no patching of the autocracy—such as a State Duma, Zemstvos, and so forth, to which the liberal party wishes to limit itself—can put a stop to these horrors. On the contrary, every attempt in this direction, and every resistance to the revolutionary impulses of the proletariat, will only serve to intensify these horrors.

Citizens! The proletariat, the most revolutionary class in our society, the class which has up to now borne the brunt of the struggle against the autocracy, and which will remain to the end its most determined and unrelenting enemy, is preparing for open, armed action. And it calls upon you, all classes of society, for assistance and support. Arm yourselves and help it to arm, and prepare for the decisive battle.

Citizens! The hour of the uprising is near! We must meet it fully armed! Only if we do that, only by means of a general, country-wide and simultaneous armed uprising will we be able to vanquish our despicable foe—the accursed tsarist autocracy—and on its ruins erect the free democratic republic that we need.

Down With the Autocracy!

Long Live the General Armed Uprising!

Long Live the Democratic Republic!

Long Live the Fighting Proletariat of Russia!