"The law on libel in the press has virtually been suspended in Russia. Slanderers, especially those contributing to the bourgeois papers, have been granted complete freedom."
The August 20 issue of Rech, and Russkaya Volya, a newspaper founded with notoriously questionable money and recommending “socialist-minded” voters to vote for Yedinstvo and for the Popular Socialists, have again published slanderous statements against me.
The information comes, according to both papers, from the “War Ministry”, and “Rech” even asserts that it is backed by “documentary evidence and numerous testimonies by individuals”.
The law on libel in the press has virtually been suspended in Russia. Slanderers, especially those contributing to the bourgeois papers, have been granted complete freedom. They can come out in the papers anonymously, lie and slander as much as they please, and hide behind allegedly official reports not signed by any official—they can get away with anything! Those infamous slanderers, headed by Mr. Milyukov and his like, enjoy the privilege of immunity.
The slanderers assert that I had certain relations with the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine. Milyukov’s newspaper writes: “The German Government instructed Lenin to advocate peace.” “In Berlin,” it says, “there were two socialist meetings in which Lenin and Yoltukhovsky took part.” Rasskaya Volya adds to the latter phrase: “Lenin stopped at Yoltukhovsky’s.”
Since Mr. Milyukov and other scoundrels like him—knights of the foul slander—are allowed to slander with impunity, all I can do is repeat that it is slander and again confront the knights of blackmail, who refer to witnesses, with a reference to a witness known to the masses.
I have known Basok, one of those active in the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine, since 1906, when he was a Menshevik and attended the Stockholm Congress together with me. In the autumn of 1914, or early 1915, when I was living in Berne, I received a visit at my home from the well-known Caucasian Menshevik Tria, who had come from Constantinople. He told me about Basok’s activity in the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine, and of the connection between that Union and the German government. He handed me a letter from Basok, who expressed sympathy with me and said he hoped our views would become closer. I was so angry that I wrote an answer to Basok there and then, in the presence of Tria, and gave the letter to Tria asking him to pass it on since he was about to make another trip to Constantinople.
In my letter to Basok, I declared that since he was entering into relations with one of the imperialists, our ways parted for good and we had nothing in common.
That is all the “relations” I have ever had with the Union for the Liberation of the Ukraine.
Source: Marxist Internet Archive.