J. V. Stalin

Either — Or

March 26, 1917

Source : Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
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.

In the interview he gave on March 23, Mr. Milyukov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, outlined his "program" on the aims of the present war. Our readers will know from yesterday's Pravda 1 that these aims are imperialistic: seizure of Constantinople, seizure of Armenia, partition of Austria and Turkey, seizure of Northern Persia.

It appears that the Russian soldiers are shedding their blood on the battlefields not in "defence of the fatherland," and not "for freedom," as the venal bourgeois press assures us, but for the seizure of foreign territories in the interests of a handful of imperialists.

That, at least, is what Mr. Milyukov says.

In whose name does Mr. Milyukov say all this so frankly and so publicly?

Not, of course, in the name of the Russian people. Because the Russian people—the Russian workers, peasants and soldiers—are opposed to the seizure of foreign territories, opposed to the violation of nations. This is eloquently attested by the "appeal" of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the spokesman of the will of the Russian people.

Whose opinion, then, is Mr. Milyukov expressing?

Can it be the opinion of the Provisional Government as a whole?

But here is what yesterday's Vecherneye Vremya 2 had to say about it :

"In connection with the interview given by Foreign Minister Milyukov published in the Petrograd papers on March 23, Minister of Justice Kerensky has authorized the Press Information Bureau of the Ministry of Justice to state that the exposition it contained of the aims of Russian foreign policy in the present war is the personal opinion of Milyukov and does not represent the views of the Provisional Government."

Thus, if Kerensky is to be believed, Mr. Milyukov does not express the opinion of the Provisional Government on the cardinal question of the war aims.

In brief, when Foreign Minister Milyukov told the world that the aims of the present war were annexa-tionist, he went not only against the will of the Russian people, but also against the Provisional Government, of which he is a member.

In the days of tsardom Mr. Milyukov advocated the responsibility of Ministers to the people. We agree with him that Ministers should be accountable and responsible to the people. We ask: does Mr. Milyukov still recognize the principle of the responsibility of Ministers? And if he does, why does he not resign?

Or perhaps Kerensky's statement was not—accurate?

Either one thing or the other:

Either Kerensky's statement was untrue, in which case the revolutionary people must call the Provisional Government to order and compel it to recognize its will.

Or Kerensky is right, in which case Mr. Milyukov has no place in the Provisional Government—he must resign. There can be no middle way.


Pravda, No. 18, March 26, 1917


1. In connection with the interview given by Milyukov to the press, Pravda (No. 17, March 25, 1917) carried an editorial entitled "Down With Imperialist Policy!" analyzing the foreign policy of the Provisional Government.

After the February Revolution (on March 5, 1917) Pravda became the Central Organ of the Bolshevik Party. On March 15, 1917, at an enlarged meeting of the Bureau of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.(B.), J. V. Stalin was appointed a member of its editorial board. On his return to Russia in April 1917, V. I. Lenin took over the direction of Pravda. V. M. Molotov, Y. M. Sverdlov, M. S. Olminsky and K. N. Samoilova were among the paper's regular contributors. On July 5, 1917, the Pravda editorial offices were wrecked by military cadets and Cossacks. When V. I. Lenin went into hiding after the July days, J. V. Stalin became the editor-in-chief of the Central Organ. On July 23, 1917, the Army Organization of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.(B.) managed to found a paper called Rabochy i Sol-dat (Worker and Soldier), and the Central Committee of the Party gave instructions that, pending the restarting of the Central Organ, Rabochy i Soldat should perform its functions. In the period July-October the Central Organ contributed immensely to rallying the workers and soldiers around the Bolshevik Party and in preparing the ground for an armed uprising. On August 13, 1917, the Bolshevik Central Organ began to appear under the name of Proletary (Proletarian), and, when that paper was banned, it reappeared as Rabochy (Worker), and then, until October 26, 1917, as Rabochy Put (Workers' Path). On October 27, 1917, the Bolshevik Central Organ resumed its old name—Pravda.

2. Vecherneye Vremya (Evening Times)—an evening paper of reactionary trend, founded by A. S. Suvorin, and published in St. Petersburg from 1911 to 1917.