J. V. Stalin

TIFLIS, November 20, 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 Great Russian Revolution has started! We have already passed through the first stormy act of this revolution, an act whose formal close was the Manifesto of October 17. The autocratic tsar "by the grace of God" bowed his "crowned head" to the revolutionary people and promised them "the unshakable foundations of civil liberty." . . .

But this was only the first act. It was only the beginning of the end. We are on the threshold of great events that will be worthy of the Great Russian Revolution. These events are advancing upon us with the inexorable rigour of history, with iron necessity. The tsar and the people, the autocracy of the tsar and the sovereignty of the people—are two antagonistic, diametrically opposed principles. The defeat of one and the victory of the other can come about only as the result of a decisive clash between the two, as the result of a desperate, life-and-death struggle. This struggle has not yet taken place. It still lies ahead. And the mighty Titan of the Russian revolution—the all-Russian proletariat—is preparing for it with might and main.

The liberal bourgeoisie is trying to avert this fateful clash. It is of the opinion that the time has come to put a stop to "anarchy" and to start peaceful, "constructive" work, the work of "state building." It is right, This bourgeoisie is satisfied with what the proletariat has already torn from tsarism by its first revolutionary action. It can now confidently conclude an alliance—on advantageous terms—with the tsarist government and by combined efforts attack the common enemy, attack its "gravedigger"—the revolutionary proletariat. Bourgeois freedom, freedom to exploit, is already ensured, and the bourgeoisie is quite satisfied. Never having been revolutionary, the Russian bourgeoisie is already openly going over to the side of reaction. A good riddance! We shall not grieve very much over this. The fate of the revolution was never in the hands of liberalism. The course and the outcome of the Russian revolution will be determined entirely by the conduct of the revolutionary proletariat and the revolutionary peasantry.

Led by Social-Democracy, the revolutionary urban proletariat and the revolutionary peasantry which is following it, will, in spite of all the machinations of the liberals, staunchly continue their struggle until they achieve the complete overthrow of the autocracy and erect a free democratic republic on its ruins.

Such is the immediate political task of the socialist proletariat, such is its aim in the present revolution; and, backed by the peasantry, it will achieve its aim at all costs.

It has also clearly and definitely mapped the road which must lead it to a democratic republic.

1) The decisive, desperate clash to which we referred above, 2) a revolutionary army organised in the course of this "clash," 3) the democratic dictatorship

of the proletariat and peasantry in the shape of a provisional revolutionary government, which will spring up as a result of the victorious "clash," 4) a Constituent Assembly convened by that government on the basis of universal, direct, equal and secret suffrage—such are the stages through which the Great Russian Revolution must pass before it arrives at the desired goal

No threats on the part of the government, no high-sounding tsarist manifestoes, no provisional governments of the type of the Witte government which the autocracy set up to save itself, no State Duma convened by the tsarist government, even if on the basis of universal, etc., suffrage—can turn the proletariat from the only true revolutionary path which must lead it to the democratic republic.

Will the proletariat have strength enough to reach the end of this path, will it have strength enough to emerge with honour from the gigantic, bloody struggle which awaits it on this path?

Yes, it will!

That is what the proletariat itself thinks, and it is boldly and resolutely preparing for battle.

Kavkazsky Rabochy Listok (Caucasian Workers' Newssheet), 1 No. 1.


1. Kavkazsky Rabochy Listok (Caucasian Workers' Newssheet) — the first legal daily Bolshevik newspaper in the Caucasus, published in Tiflis in Russian from November 20 to December 14, 1905. It was directed by J. V. Stalin and S. G. Shaumyan. At the Fourth Conference of the Caucasian Union of the R.S.D.L.P it was recognised as the official organ of the Caucasian Union. In all, seventeen numbers were published. The last two numbers appeared under the title of Yelizavetpolsky Vestnik (Yelizavetpol Herald).