J. V. Stalin
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.
Burtsev said recently in Obshcheye Delo that "there was no Kornilov conspiracy," that there was "only a compact" between Kornilov and the Kerensky government to wipe out the Bolsheviks and the Soviets with a view to establishing a military dictatorship. In confirmation of this, Burtsev publishes in Obshcheye Delo, No. 6, an "explanatory memorandum" of Kornilov's, consisting of a number of documents which give the history of the conspiracy. The immediate object of Bur-tsev's move is to create a favourable atmosphere for Kornilov and to enable him to escape trial.
We are far from inclined to consider Kornilov's materials exhaustive. Apart from the fact that Korni-lov is trying to shield himself from the charge of treason, he omits to mention, for example, certain persons and organizations implicated in the conspiracy, in the first place, representatives of certain Embassies at General Headquarters who, on the evidence of witnesses, played a by no means secondary role. It should also be noted that Kornilov's "explanatory memorandum" was police-edited by Burtsev, who deleted several, and probably very important, passages from it. Nevertheless, the "memorandum" is of great value as documentary evidence, and until it is countered by testimony of equal weight, it is as documentary evidence that we shall treat it.
We therefore consider it necessary to discuss this document with our readers.
Who were Kornilov's advisers and inspirers? To whom did he confide his conspiratorial designs in the first place?
"I wanted," says Kornilov, "to invite M. Rodzyanko, Prince G. Lvov and P. Milyukov to participate in the discussion of the state of the country and the measures needed to save it and the army from complete collapse, and requests were wired to them to be at General Headquarters not later than August 29."
Those were the principal advisers, on the admission of Kornilov himself.
Nor is that all. Besides advisers and inspirers, Kornilov had major collaborators, in whom he placed his hopes, on whom he relied, and with whom he intended to carry out his plot.
Listen to this:
"A project for the constitution of a 'Council of National Defence' was drawn up, to consist of the Supreme Commander as Chairman and Kerensky as Vice Chairman, Savinkov, General Alexeyev, Admiral Kolchak and Filonenko. This Council of Defence was to exercise a collective dictatorship, since it was recognized that a one-man dictatorship would be undesirable. Other Ministers suggested were Messrs. Takhtamyshev, Tretyakov, Pokrovsky, Ignatyev, Aladin, Plekhanov, Lvov and Zavoiko."
This was the sinister band of right honourable conspirators who inspired Kornilov and were inspired by him, who secretly confabulated with him behind the backs of the people and applauded him at the Moscow Conference. Milyukov, head of the Party of Popular Freedom; Rodzyanko, head of the Council of Public Men; Tretyakov, head of the industrialists; Kerensky, head of the Socialist-Revolutionary defencists; Plekhanov, teacher of the Menshevik defencists; Aladin, agent of an unknown firm in London — these were the hope and trust of the Kornilovites, the heart and nerves of the counter-revolution.
Let us hope that history will not forget them and that their contemporaries will give them their deserts.
Their aims were "clear and simple": to "improve the fighting efficiency of the army" and "create a healthy rear" for the purpose of "saving Russia."
As a means of improving the fighting efficiency of the army, "I pointed," says Kornilov,
"to the necessity of immediately restoring the death penalty in the theatre of military operations."
As a means of creating a healthy rear, "I pointed," Kornilov continues,
"to the necessity of extending the death penalty and the revolutionary military courts to the interior districts, on the assumption that no measures for restoring the fighting efficiency of the army would have the desired effect so long as the army received as replenishments from the rear bands of dissolute, untrained and propagandized soldiers."
But that was not all. In Kornilov's opinion, "in order to achieve the objects of the war" . . . it was necessary to have three armies: "the one in the trenches, and a labour army and a railway army in the rear. "In other words, it was "necessary" to extend military "discipline," with all its implications, to the munitions factories and the railways; that is, it was "necessary" to militarize them.
And so, the death penalty at the front, the death penalty in the rear, militarization of the factories and railways, conversion of the country into a "military" camp, and, as the coping stone, a military dictatorship presided over by Kornilov—such, it transpires, were the aims of this gang of conspirators.
These aims were expounded in a special "report" which had acquired notoriety even before the Moscow Conference. They are to be found in Kornilov's telegrams and "memorandum" under the designation of "Kornilov's demands."
Were these "demands" known to the Kerensky government?
They undoubtedly were.
Was the Kerensky government in agreement with Kornilov?
It evidently was.
"After signing the general report on measures for restoring the morale of the army and the rear, which had already been signed by Messrs. Savinkov and Filonenko," Kornilov says, "I submitted it to a private conference of the Provisional Government composed of Messrs. Kerensky, Nekrasov and Tereshchenko. After the report was examined, I was informed that the government agreed with all the measures proposed, but that their implementation was a question of the tempo of government measures."
Savinkov said the same thing when he told Kornilov on August 24: "The Provisional Government will comply with your demands within the next few days."
Were Kornilov's aims known to the Party of Popular Freedom?
They undoubtedly were.
Did it agree with Kornilov?
It evidently did, for Rech, central organ of the Party of Popular Freedom, publicly stated that it "fully shared General Kornilov's ideals."
Our Party was right when it asserted that the Party of Popular Freedom is a party of bourgeois dictatorship.
Our Party was right when it asserted that the Ke-rensky government is a screen for this dictatorship.
Now that the Kornilovites have recovered from the first blow the plotters in power have again begun to talk about "improving the fighting efficiency of the army" and "creating a healthy rear."
The workers and soldiers must remember that "improving the fighting efficiency of the army" and "creating a healthy rear" mean the death penalty in the rear and at the front.
Their method was as "clear and simple" as their aims. It was to wipe out Bolshevism, disperse the Soviets, make Petrograd a special military governorship and disarm Kronstadt. In short, to smash the revolution. It was for this that the Third Cavalry Corps was needed. It was for this that the Savage Division was needed.
Here is what Savinkov said to Kornilov after discussing with him the boundaries of the Petrograd military governorship:
"Thus, Lavr Georgievich, the Provisional Government will comply with your demands within the next few days, but the government is afraid that serious complications may arise in Petro-grad. You know, of course, that serious action by the Bolsheviks is expected in Petrograd approximately on August 28 or 29. The publication of your demands, carried out through the Provisional Government, will, of course, serve as a spur to the Bolsheviks' action. Although we have sufficient troops at our disposal, we cannot rely upon them fully; the more so as we do not yet know what attitude the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies will adopt towards the new law. It, too, may be opposed to the government, and if so, we shall be unable to rely on our troops. I therefore request you to give orders to have the Third Cavalry Corps brought to Petrograd by the end of August and placed at the disposal of the Provisional Government. If, besides the Bolsheviks, the members of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies should also take action, we shall have to operate against them too."
And Savinkov added that the operations must be most resolute and ruthless. To this General Kornilov replied that he "cannot conceive of any other operations; if the Bolsheviks and the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies take action they will be suppressed with the utmost energy."
For the direct execution of these measures Kornilov assigned General Krymov, commander of the Third Cavalry Corps and the native division, "two missions":
"1) In the event of receiving from me (Kornilov), or directly on the spot, news that a Bolshevik action had begun, he was to move the corps immediately to Petrograd, occupy the city, disarm the units of the Petrograd garrison which joined the Bolshevik movement, disarm the population of Petrograd and disperse the Soviets;
"2) On the execution of this mission General Krymov was to send a brigade reinforced with artillery to Oranienbaum, which on its arrival was to call upon the Kronstadt garrison to dismantle the fortress and to cross to the mainland.
"The Prime Minister's consent to the dismantling of the Kron-stadt fortress and the evacuation of the garrison was received on August 8, and a report to this effect, with the minute of the Prime Minister, was sent by Naval Headquarters to the Supreme Commander's Chief of Staff with a letter from Admiral Maximov."
Such was the method adopted by this sinister band of plotters against the revolution and its conquests.
The Kerensky government not only knew of this diabolical plan, but itself took part in elaborating it, and, together with Kornilov, was preparing to carry it out.
Savinkov, who at that time was still Deputy Minister of War, openly admits this to have been the case, and his statement, known to everyone, has not yet been refuted by anyone.
Here it is :
"I consider it my duty, for the sake of historical accuracy, to declare that on the instructions of the Prime Minister, I requested you (Kornilov) to send the Cavalry Corps to ensure the establishment of martial law in Petrograd and the suppression of any attempt at revolt against the Provisional Government, no matter from what quarter it might proceed. . . ."
Clear, one would think.
Did the Cadet Party know about Kornilov's plan? It undoubtedly did.
For on the eve of the Kornilov revolt, Rech, the party's central organ, assiduously circulated provocative rumours of a "Bolshevik uprising," thus paving the way for Kornilov's invasion of Petrograd and Kronstadt.
And, as is evident from Kornilov's "memorandum," a representative of the Cadet Party, Mr. Maklakov, "personally" took part in all the talks between Savinkov and Kornilov on the plans for the invasion of Petrograd. As far as we know, Maklakov did not then occupy any official post under or in the Provisional Government. In what other capacity, then, could he have taken part in these talks, if not as a representative of his party?
Such are the facts.
Our Party was right when it asserted that the Ke-rensky government is a government of bourgeois counterrevolution, that it relies upon the Kornilovites and is distinguished from the latter only by a certain "irresolution."
Our Party was right when it asserted that the ideological and political threads of the counter-revolution converge in the Central Committee of the Cadet Party.
If the counter-revolutionary plan of the Petrograd and Mogilev plotters failed, it was not the fault of Ke-rensky and Kornilov, or of Maklakov and Savinkov, but of the very Soviets which they were preparing to "disperse," but which they were not strong enough to withstand.
Now that the Kornilovites have recovered and wormed their way into power with the aid of the compromisers, the question of fighting the Soviets is again being raised. The workers and soldiers must remember that if they do not support the struggle of the Soviets against the Kornilovite government, they run the risk of falling under the iron heel of a military dictatorship.
What is this "collective dictatorship" which the plotters against the revolution—Kornilov and Milyukov, Aladin and Filonenko, Kerensky and Prince Lvov, Rodzyanko and Savinkov—conspired to establish? In what political form did they intend to clothe it?
What political institutions did they consider necessary for the establishment and smooth working of this "collective dictatorship"?
Let the documents speak for themselves.
"General Kornilov asked Filonenko whether he did not think that the only way out of the grave situation was the proclamation of a military dictatorship.
"Filonenko replied that considering the question practically, in the light of the existing situation, the only person he could conceive in the capacity of dictator was General Kornilov. But against a one-man dictatorship Filonenko advanced the following objection. General Kornilov lacked sufficient knowledge of the political situation, and therefore under his dictatorship there would arise what is usually called a camarilla. The democratic and republican elements would be bound to oppose this, and hence would oppose a one-man dictatorship.
"General Kornilov : What then is to be done, seeing that the government is taking no measures?
"Filonenko : A way out might be the formation of a Directory. A small War Cabinet consisting of men of exceptionally strong will should be formed within the government. This cabinet, which might be called the 'Council of National Defence' or some other name—the name makes no difference—must include, as an indispensable condition, Kerensky, General Kornilov and Savinkov. The cardinal object of this small cabinet should be the defence of the country. In such form, the Directory project ought to be acceptable to the government.
"Kornilov : You are right. What is needed is a Directory, and as soon as possible. . ." (Novoye Vremya).
"A project for the constitution of a 'Council of National Defence' was drawn up, to consist of the Supreme Commander as Chairman and A. F. Kerensky as Vice Chairman, Mr. Savinkov, General Alexeyev, Admiral Kolchak and Mr. Filonenko.
"This Council of Defence was to exercise a collective dictatorship, since it was recognized that a one-man dictatorship would be undesirable" (Obshcheye Delo).
Thus, a Directory was the political form the Kornilov-Kerensky "collective dictatorship" was to have been clothed in.
It should now be clear to everyone that in creating a Directory after the failure of the Kornilov "revolt," Kerensky was establishing this same Kornilov dictatorship by other means.
It should now be clear to everyone that when, at its celebrated night session, the decrepit Central Executive Committee declared in favour of Kerensky's Directory, it voted for General Kornilov's counter-revolutionary plan.
It should now be clear to everyone that when they were foaming at the mouth in advocacy of Kerensky's Directory, the wiseacres of Delo Naroda were, without realizing it themselves, betraying the revolution, to the glee of the overt and covert Kornilovites.
Our Party was right when it asserted that the Directory was a masked form of counter-revolutionary dictatorship.
But a Directory alone "will not carry you far." The virtuosos of counter-revolution could not but realize that it was impossible to "rule" a country which had tasted the fruits of democracy merely with the aid of a Directory, without some sort of "democratic" cloak. A "collective dictatorship" in the form of a Directory— yes! But why a naked one? Would it not be better to cloak it with something in the nature of a "Pre-parliament"? Let there be a "democratic Pre-parliament" and let it talk, so long as the machinery of state is in the hands of the Directory! We know that it was Mr. Zavoiko, Kornilov's attorney, Mr. Aladin, agent of an unknown firm in London, and Kornilov "himself," Milyukov's friend, who were the first to suggest the idea of a "Pre-parliament" as a prop and screen for the Directory, which was to be "responsible" (no joke!) to this "Pre-parliament."
Let the document speak for itself.
"When insisting on the creation of a Directory, General Kor-nilov and his circle did not conceive it as not being responsible to the country.
"M. M. Filonenko was one of the firmest supporters of Aladin's proposal for a representative body to which the government would be unconditionally responsible pending the convocation of a Constituent Assembly.
"This representative body, as Aladin conceived it, was to consist of the Fourth State Duma (except for the Right wing and all the inactive members), the Left elements of the first three Dumas, a delegation from the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies (without limitation of representation of the parties) and ten to twenty of the most prominent revolutionary leaders, such as Breshko-Breshkovskaya, Kropotkin, Figner, etc., who were to be co-opted to the representative body by the body itself. Thus the idea of a 'Pre-parliament' was first conceived by A. F. Aladin" (Novoye Vremya).
And so, the "representative body" that was to serve as a "democratic" prop for the Kornilov-Kerensky "collective dictatorship" was to be a "Pre-parliament."
A "Pre-parliament" as the body to which the government was to be "responsible" "pending the convocation" of a Constituent Assembly; a "Pre-parliament" that was to be a substitute for the Constituent Assembly until the latter was convened; a "Pre-parliament" that was to be a substitute for the Constituent Assembly if the convocation of the latter were postponed; a "Pre-parlia-ment" that was to provide the "legal grounds" (rejoice, o ye lawyers!) for postponing the convocation of the Constituent Assembly; a "Pre-parliament" as a means of torpedoing the Constituent Assembly—that was the sum and substance of the counter-revolutionary "democracy" of the plotters against the revolution.
It should now be clear to everyone that in "sanctioning" the Kornilov "Pre-parliament" which is to meet in two days' time, Kerensky is merely carrying out by other means the counter-revolutionary plan of the plotters against the revolution.
It should now be clear to everyone that in organizing the "Pre-parliament" and in committing a number of forgeries for the purpose, the Avksentyevs and Dans worked for the overt and covert Kornilovites and against the revolution and its conquests.
It should now be clear to everyone that when they call for a Constituent Assembly and at the same time support the Kornilov "Pre-parliament," the wiseacres of Delo Naroda are working to torpedo the Constituent Assembly.
Kornilov's pupils — that is all they have proved capable of being, those "responsible" chatterboxes at the "Democratic Conference," the Tseretelis and Chernovs, the Avksentyevs and Dans.
It is evident from the documents examined that the "Kornilov affair" was not a "revolt" against the Provisional Government, and not simply the "adventure" of an ambitious general, but a regular conspiracy against the revolution, an organized and thoroughly planned conspiracy.
Its organizers and instigators were the counter-revolutionary elements among the generals, representatives of the Cadet Party, representatives of the "public men" of Moscow, the more "initiated" members of the Provisional Government, and — last but not least ! — certain representatives of certain embassies (about them the Kornilov "memorandum" says nothing).
In a word, all those who "jubilantly" hailed Kor-nilov at the Moscow Conference as the "recognized leader of Russia."
The "Kornilov conspiracy" was a conspiracy of the imperialist bourgeoisie against the revolutionary classes of Russia, against the proletariat and the peasantry.
The aim of the conspiracy was to crush the revolution and establish a dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie.
There were divergencies among the plotters, but they were of a minor, quantitative order. They concerned the "tempo of government measures": Kerensky wanted to act cautiously and circumspectly, Kornilov wanted to "crash through." But they were in agreement on the main thing: the establishment of a dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie in the form of the "collective dictatorship" of a Directory, cloaked by a "democratic" Pre-parliament as a bait for simpletons.
What is the distinguishing feature of a dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie?
First of all, such a dictatorship means the rule of a bellicose and exploiting minority over the majority, the working people, who long for peace. Read Kornilov's "memorandum," glance through the "negotiations" with the members of the government, and you will find references there to measures for suppressing the revolution, to means of strengthening the bourgeois system and of prolonging the imperialist war, but you will not find a single word about the peasants, who are demanding land, about the workers, who are demanding bread, about the majority of the citizens, who are longing for peace. More, the whole "memorandum" is based on the assumption that the masses must be held in an iron vice, while the reins of government must be in the hands of a small group of dictators.
Secondly, a dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie is a clandestine, secret, disguised dictatorship designed to deceive the masses. Read the "memorandum," and you will realize how zealously the conspirators endeavoured to conceal their sinister plans and underhand machinations not only from the masses, but even from their official colleagues and party "friends." It was in order to hoodwink the masses that the plan for a "democratic" Pre-parliament was concocted; for what democracy can there be with the death penalty in operation in the rear and at the front? It was in order to hoodwink the masses that the "Russian Republic" was preserved; for what republic can there be when a little group of five dictators are the omnipotent power?
Lastly, a dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie is a dictatorship based on coercion of the masses. Such a dictatorship can have no "reliable" support other than systematic coercion of the masses. The death penalty in the rear and at the front, militarization of the factories and railways, firing squads—these are the weapons that form the arsenal of such a dictatorship. "Democratic" deception reinforced by coercion; coercion concealed by "democratic" deception—such is the alpha and omega of the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie.
It was precisely such a dictatorship that the conspirators wanted to establish in Russia.
We are by no means inclined to seek the reasons for the conspiracy in the evil intent of individual heroes. Equally little are we inclined to attribute the conspiracy to a lust for power on the part of its initiators. The reasons for the counter-revolutionary conspiracy lie deeper. They must be sought for in the conditions of the imperialist war. They must be sought for in the requirements of this war. It is in the policy of launching an offensive at the front espoused by the Provisional Government in June that we must seek the soil from which the counter-revolutionary conspiracy sprang. Everywhere, in all belligerent countries, a policy of offensive in the atmosphere of imperialist war has given rise to the necessity of abolishing liberties, introducing military law, establishing "iron discipline"; for when maximum liberty prevails it is impossible with impunity to drive the masses to the shambles engineered by the vampires that prey on the world. Russia could not be an exception in this respect.
In June, under the pressure of the imperialist cliques, home and Allied, an offensive at the front was proclaimed. The soldiers refused to go into action without protest. Regiments were disbanded, but this measure proved ineffective. The army was thereupon declared to be "unfit to fight." For the sake of "improving the fighting efficiency" of the army, Kornilov (and not only Kornilov!) demanded the introduction of the death penalty at the front, and as a preliminary measure prohibited soldiers' meetings and assemblies. The soldiers and workers in the rear protested against this, and thereby intensified the indignation of the soldiers at the front. In retaliation, the generals at the front, supported by the bourgeoisie, demanded the extension of the death penalty to the rear and the militarization of the factories and railways. The plan for a dictatorship and the conspiracy were merely a logical development of these measures. Such is the brief history of the "restoration of iron discipline" and the development of the counterrevolution so picturesquely described in Kornilov's "memorandum." The counter-revolution came from the front, having arisen out of the requirements of an offensive in the conditions of imperialist war. The aim of the conspiracy was to organize and legalize the already existing counter-revolution and to extend it to the whole of Russia.
The June the Third die-hards of the tsarist Duma knew what they were up to when already in the beginning of June they demanded an "immediate" offensive in close coordination with the Allies. These old hands at counter-revolution knew that a policy of offensive must inevitably lead to counter-revolution.
Our Party was right when in its declaration at the Congress of Soviets it warned that an offensive at the front would be a mortal threat to the revolution.
In rejecting our Party's declaration the defencist leaders once again proved their political immaturity and ideological dependence on the imperialist bourgeoisie.
What follows from this?
There can be only one conclusion. The conspiracy was a continuation of the counter-revolution which arose out of the requirements of the imperialist war and the policy of offensive. So long as this war and this policy continue there will always be the danger of counterrevolutionary plots. In order to safeguard the revolution from this danger, the imperialist war must be stopped, the possibility of a policy of offensive must be eliminated, and a democratic peace must be won.
Kornilov and his "accomplices" have been arrested. The investigating committee set up by the government is working at "top speed." The Provisional Government is posing as the supreme judge. Kornilov and his "accomplices" have been assigned the role of "rebels," and the Rech and Novoye Vremya gentry the role of Kornilov's defence counsel. "It will be an interesting trial," say the news-fans. "The trial will result in many important revelations," remarks Delo Naroda with an air of profundity.
Revolt against whom? Against the revolution, of course! But where is the revolution? In the Provisional Government, of course; for the revolt was raised against the Provisional Government. And of whom does this revolution consist? Of the "everlasting" Kerensky, representatives of the Cadet Party, representatives of the "public men" of Moscow, and a certain Sir, who is behind these gentlemen. First voice: "But Kornilov has been left out!" Second voice : "Kornilov doesn't come into it. He's been ordered into the dock." . . .
But let us drop the curtain. Kornilov did indeed hatch a conspiracy against the revolution. But he was not alone. He had instigators — Milyukov and Rod-zyanko, Lvov and Maklakov, Filonenko and Nabokov. He had collaborators — Kerensky and Savinkov, Alexeyev and Kaledin. Does it not sound like a fairy tale that these gentlemen and their ilk are now serenely going about at large, and not only going about at large, but "ruling" the country, and under a constitution framed by Kornilov "himself"? And, lastly, Kornilov had the support of the Russian and the British and French imperialist bourgeoisie, in whose interests all these Kornilovite collaborators are now "ruling" the country. Is it not clear that to try Kornilov alone is a wretched and ridiculous farce? On the other hand, how can the imperialist bourgeoisie, the principal culprit in the plot against the revolution, be brought to trial? There's a problem for the sapient craftsmen in the Ministry of Justice!
Obviously, the point is not the farcical trial. The point is that, after the Kornilov revolt, after the sensational arrests and the "strict" inquiry, it "turns out" that the power is again wholly and solely in the hands of the Kornilovites. That which Kornilov tried to achieve by force of arms is now being gradually but persistently achieved by the Kornilovites in power, although by other means. Even Kornilov's "Pre-parliament" has been brought into being.
The point is that, after the successful "liquidation" of the plot against the revolution, it "turns out" that we are again in the power of the plotters' general staff, of this same Kerensky and this same Tereshchenko, of these same representatives of the Cadet Party and the "public men," of these same Sirs and Sir-like generals. Only Kornilov is missing. But, then, is Sir M. V. Alex-eyev, who has his finger in every important government affair, and who, it transpires, is about to represent Russia—or is it England?—at the Entente conference, any worse than Kornilov?
The point is that this "government" of conspirators cannot be tolerated any longer.
The point is that this "government" of conspirators cannot be trusted without the risk of exposing the revolution to the mortal danger of fresh conspiracies.
Yes, the plotters against the revolution must be brought to trial. But it must not be a travesty, nor a mock trial, it must be a genuine trial, before a people's court. And the object of the trial must be to take the power out of the hands of the imperialist bourgeoisie, in whose interest the present "government" of conspirators is operating. The object of the trial must be thoroughly to purge the administration of Kornilovite elements, from top to bottom.
We have said that unless the imperialist war is stopped and a democratic peace achieved it will be impossible to safeguard the revolution from counter-revolutionary conspiracies. But so long as the present "government" is in power it is useless to dream of a democratic peace. In order to achieve such a peace this government must be "removed" and another one "installed."
This requires transferring the power to other, the revolutionary-classes, the proletariat and the revolutionary peasantry. It requires concentrating the power in the revolutionary mass organizations, the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies.
It was these classes and organizations, and they alone, that saved the revolution from the Kornilov conspiracy. And it is they that will ensure its victory.
It is in this that the trial of the imperialist bourgeoisie and its agents, the conspirators, will consist.
First question. A few weeks ago, when the scandalous revelations about the government's (not Kornilov's, but the government's!) plot against the revolution first began to appear in the papers, the Bolshevik group submitted a question in the Central Executive Committee addressed to Avksentyev and Skobelev, who were members of the Provisional Government at the time of tbe "Kornilov epic." It concerned the evidence which Avksentyev and Skobelev, as a matter of honour and of duty to the democracy, should have given on the revelations accusing the Provisional Government. Our group's question was seconded by the Bureau of the Central Executive Committee that very same day, and thus became the question of "the whole revolutionary democracy." Since then a month has passed, revelation follows revelation, each more scandalous than the other, but Avksentyev and Skobelev continue to remain tongue-tied and say nothing, as though the matter did not concern them. Do not our readers think that it is time these "responsible" citizens heeded the elementary rules of decency and replied at last to a question addressed to them by "the whole revolutionary democracy?"
Second question. At the very height of the new revelations about the Kerensky government, Delo Naroda urged its readers to "be patient" with this government and "wait" until the Constituent Assembly was convened. Of course, it is amusing to hear appeals to "be patient" coming from people who with their own hands created this government for the purpose of "saving the country." Is this why they created this government—only to grit their teeth and "be patient" with it for a "short while"? . . . But what does "being patient" with the Kerensky government mean? It means making plotters against the revolution the arbiters of the destiny of a nation of many millions. It means making agents of the imperialist bourgeoisie the arbiters of war and peace. It means making tireless counter-revolutionaries the arbiters of the Constituent Assembly. What name should we give to a "socialist" party which links its political destiny with that of a "government" of plotters against the revolution? It is said that the leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party are "naive." It is said that Delo Naroda is "shortsighted." There is no doubt that the "responsible" leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionaries do not lack these "virtues." But . . . do not our readers think that naivete in politics is a crime bordering on treason?
Rabochy Put Nos. 27, 28 and 30, October 4, 5 and 7, 1917