J. V. Stalin

A Government of Bourgeois Dictatorship

September 27, 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.

After the fake conference and the disgraceful collapse of the government, after the "conversations" with the Moscow stockbrokers and the mysterious visits to Sir George Buchanan, after the lovers' meetings at the Winter Palace and a series of treacheries on the part of the compromisers, a "new" (brand new!) government has at last been-formed.

Six capitalist Ministers as the core of the "cabinet" with ten "socialist" Ministers to serve them as executants of their will.

The government has not yet issued its declaration, but what its main planks will be is known: "measures against anarchy" (read: against the Soviets!), "measures against economic disruption" (read: against strikes!), "improvement of the fighting efficiency of the army" (read: continuation of the war, and "discipline"!).

This, in general, is the "program" of the Kerensky-Konovalov government.

What it means is that the peasants will not get land, the workers will not get control of industry, and Russia will not get peace.

The Kerensky-Konovalov government is a government of war and bourgeois dictatorship.

The ten "socialist" Ministers are a screen behind which the imperialist bourgeoisie will work to strengthen its rule over the workers, peasants and soldiers.

What Kornilov wanted to achieve with the bluntness and simpleness of a general, the "new" government will endeavour to achieve gradually and inconspicuously by the hand of the "Socialists" themselves.

What distinguishes the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie from the dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary peasantry?

The fact that the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is the rule of a minority over the majority, exercised solely by coercing the majority and calling for civil war against the majority. The dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary peasantry, on the other hand, is the rule of the majority over the minority, and can therefore dispense with civil war altogether. But it follows from this that the policy of the "new" government will be a policy of provoking unsuccessful partial actions, in order to incite the soldiers against the workers, or the front against the rear, and drown the might of the revolution in blood.

The fact also that the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is a secret, concealed, backstage dictatorship, which needs a plausible camouflage with which to deceive the masses. The dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary peasantry, on the other hand, is an open dictatorship, a dictatorship of the masses, which has no need to resort to deception in home affairs or to secret diplomacy in foreign affairs. But it follows that our bourgeois dictators will strive to solve the most vital problems of the country, the question of war and peace, for example, behind the back of the masses, without the masses, by means of a conspiracy against the masses.

We have clear evidence of this in the very first steps of the Kerensky-Konovalov government. Judge for yourselves. The key posts in foreign affairs have been entrusted to leading Cadet Kornilovites. Tere-shchenko gets the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nabokov the embassy in London, Maklakov the embassy in Paris, Yefremov the embassy in Berne, where a (preliminary!) international peace conference is now gathering. And these people, who have no connection with the masses, who are open enemies of the masses, will decide the question of war and peace, in which the lives of millions of soldiers are at stake!

Or again: according to the newspapers, "Kerensky, Te-reshchenko, Verkhovsky and Verderevsky are today leaving for General Headquarters," where "besides a discussion of the general situation at the front in which Te-reshchenko will participate, there will be a conference of the foreign military agents attached to General Headquarters" (Birzhovka, evening edition). . . . And all that as a preliminary to an Allied conference, to which the celebrated Tsereteli is being taken in the capacity of Mr. Tereshchenko's Sancho Panza. What can these loyal servitors of imperialism have to whisper about, if not the interests of the imperialists, home and Allied? And what can their clandestine discussions of peace and war amount to, if not to a conspiracy against the interests of the people?

Doubt is out of the question. The Kerensky-Konovalov government is a government of the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie. Its home policy is provocation of civil war. Its foreign policy is a clandestine settlement of the question of war and peace. Its aim is to consolidate the rule of a minority over the majority of the population of Russia.

It is the task of the proletariat, as the leader of the Russian revolution, to tear the mask from this government and expose its true counter-revolutionary face to the masses. It is the task of the proletariat to rally around itself the soldier and peasant masses and to restrain them from premature action. It is the task of the proletariat to close its ranks and prepare tirelessly for the impending battles.

The workers and soldiers in the capital have already taken the first step by passing a vote of no confidence in the Kerensky-Konovalov government and by calling upon the masses "to rally around their Soviets and to refrain from partial actions" (see the resolution of the Petrograd Soviet 1).

It is now for the provinces to say their word.


Rabochy Put No. 21, September 27, 1917


1. The resolution of the Petrograd Soviet was published in Rabochy Put, No. 21, September 27, 1917.