J. V. Stalin


September 29, 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.

The Party of "Indeterminates" and the Russian Soldiers

In the days of tsarism the Socialist-Revolutionary Party used to cry from the housetops that the landed estates must be turned over to the peasants. The peasants believed the Socialist-Revolutionaries and rallied to them, regarding them as their party, the party of the peasants.

With the fall of tsarism and the victory of the revolution, the time at last came for the Socialist-Revolutionaries to pass from word to deed and to carry out their "golden promises" of land. But . . . (that famous "but"!) the Socialist-Revolutionaries vacillated and stammer-ingly suggested to the peasants that they put off the land question until the meeting of the Constituent Assembly, the convocation of which, moreover, was postponed.

It appeared that it was easier to rant about the land and the peasants than actually to turn over the land to the peasants. It appeared that the Socialist-Revolutionaries had only professed to "commiserate" with the peasants, and that when the time came to pass from word to deed, they preferred to back out and hide behind the Constituent Assembly. . . .

The peasants retorted to this with a powerful agrarian movement, unauthorized "seizure" of landed estates and "appropriation" of farm stock and implements, thereby expressing their lack of confidence in the Socialist-Revolutionaries' policy of temporizing.

The Socialist-Revolutionary Ministers were not slow to retaliate, and they arrested scores and hundreds of peasants, members of the Land Committees. And so we got a picture of Socialist-Revolutionary Ministers arresting Socialist-Revolutionary peasants for carrying out Socialist-Revolutionary promises.

The upshot is the complete disintegration of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, a disintegration most vividly manifested in the voting in the Pre-parliament, when the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries came out for, and the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries against, the immediate transfer of the land to the peasants, while Chernov, that Hamlet of the party, and the Centre judiciously abstained from voting.

The reply was a mass exodus of soldiers from the Socialist-Revolutionary Party.

Now one section of the soldiers, who have not yet left the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, emphatically "urge the Central Committee" to bring about unity in the party by putting an end to the "indeterminateness."

Listen to this :

"This joint conference of representatives of the army organizations of the regiments and special units of Petrograd, Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof, etc., considering it necessary at this grave moment for the Party to cement its majority . . . on the basis of a program which would put an end to the Party's indeterminateness and unite all its virile elements . . . declares in favour of . . . the immediate transfer of all arable land to the Land Committees. . ." (Delo Naroda).

And so, the question of the "immediate transfer of the land" is raised again!

On the basis of the recognition of this demand the soldiers hope to unite all the "virile elements" in the Socialist-Revolutionary Party.

Naive innocents! After a series of failures, they again want to harness Kamkov the revolutionary, Av-ksentyev the Cadet and Chernov the "indeterminate" to one cart!

It is high time to realize, comrade soldiers, that the Socialist-Revolutionary Party no longer exists, that there is only an "indeterminate" mass, one section of which has got entangled in Savinkovism, another has remained within the revolutionary ranks, while a third is hopelessly at a standstill and in practice is serving as a shield for the Savinkovites.

It is high time to realize that and to abandon all attempts to unite the ununitable. . . .

Conspirators in Power

Burtsev writes today in his newspaper Obshcheye Delo 1

"It may now be quite confidently affirmed that there was no Kornilov conspiracy! Actually there was something quite different : a compact between the government and General Kornilov to fight the Bolsheviks ! That which the government's representatives were negotiating with General Kornilov—a fight against the Bolsheviks—had been the cherished dream of representatives of various parties, both democratic and socialist. Right down to that unhappy day of August 26, they all looked upon General Kornilov as their saviour from the impending Bolshevik menace."

Not a "conspiracy," but a "compact"—writes Burtsev in italics.

He is right. In this instance he is undoubtedly right. A compact was concluded to organize a conspiracy against the Bolsheviks, that is, against the working class, against the revolutionary army and the peasantry. It was a compact for a conspiracy against the revolution!

That is what we have been saying from the very first day of the Kornilov revolt. Scores and hundreds of facts corroborate it. Exposures which no one has refuted leave no doubt about it.

In spite of this, the conspirators are in power, or in the purlieus of power. In spite of this, the farce continues—the farce of an inquiry, the farce of "revolution." . . .

A coalition with conspirators, a conspiratorial government—that, it appears, is what the defencist gentry have thrust upon the workers and soldiers!


Rabochy Put No. 23, September 29, 1917


1. Obshcheye Delo (Common Cause)—an evening daily newspaper published in Petrograd in September and October 1917 by V. Burtsev. It supported Kornilov and conducted a frenzied campaign of calumny against the Soviets and the Bolsheviks.