J. V. Stalin

The Ice has Broken !...

April 19, 1912

Source : Works, Vol. 2, 1907 - 1913
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 country lay in chains at the feet of its enslavers, It needed a popular constitution, but it received brutal tyranny, measures of "prevention" and "discretion."

It needed a popular parliament, but it was presented with the gentry's Duma, the Duma of Purishkevich and Guchkov.

It needed freedom of speech, press, assembly, strike and association, but it sees all around nothing but wrecked workers' organisations, suppressed newspapers, arrested editors, broken-up meetings and deported strikers.

It demanded land for the peasants, and it was offered agrarian laws which intensified the land hunger of the masses of the peasants in order to please a handful of the rural rich.

It was promised protection of "person" and "property," but the prisons and places of exile are overcrowded with "unreliables," and the chiefs of criminal investigation departments (remember Kiev and Tiflis!) enter into an alliance with bandits and thieves to tyrannise over persons and to plunder property.

It was promised "prosperity" and "abundance," but peasant farming is steadily declining, tens of millions of peasants are starving, scurvy and typhus are carrying away thousands of victims. . . .

And the country bore all this and went on bearing it. . . .

Those who could not bear it committed suicide.

But everything must come to an end—the patience of the country came to an end.

The Lena shooting has broken the ice of silence—and the river of the people's movement has begun to flow.

The ice has broken!

All that was evil and pernicious in the present regime, all the ills of much-suffering Russia were focused in the one fact, the Lena events.

That is why it was the Lena shooting that served as a signal for the strikes and demonstrations.

That, and that alone, explains the latest events.

And the bosses of the Duma—the Octobrists, Cadets and Progressives 1 are waiting for "explanations" from above, from the lips of the representatives of the government!

The Octobrists "make inquiries," the Progressives simply "inquire" and the Cadets "deem it opportune" to talk about certain Treshchenkos, miserable puppets in the hands of events!

And this at a time when Makarov had already hurled at them his boastful: "So it was, so it will be"!

In the capital, tens of thousands of workers are on strike, the troops are ready for action, internal "complications" are upsetting "our" foreign affairs in connection with the Dardanelles—but they are waiting for a reply from the "upper spheres"!

They are blind! They fail to see that today it is for the proletariat, and not the representatives of the government, to have its say. . . .


The St. Petersburg Zvezda, No. 32, April 19, 1912


1. The Progressives—a liberal monarchist group of the Russian bourgeoisie standing between the Octobrists and the Cadets. The leaders of this group were the Moscow industrialists Ryabushinsky, Konovalov, and others.