Titbits for the “Newborn” Government

Published in Pravda No. 50, May 19 (6), 1917.

From a Rech editorial, penned with an air of heavy gravity:

“Let us hope that no great shocks to our relations with the Allies will ho needed to prove to the supporters of the formula ‘without annexations or indemnities’ [read: to the new government] that it is impracticable.”

They are right, the capitalists for whom Rech speaks. The formula is indeed “impracticable” ... unless a revolution against capital is put into practice!


From a speech by Milyukov, who didn’t resign, but got the sack:

“Whatever noble formulas of friendship for the Allies we may devise, once our army remains inactive, we shall merely be shirking our obligations. And vice versa, whatever terrible formulas betraying our loyalties we may devise once our army is actually fighting, then that, of course, will be actual fulfilment of our obligations towards the Allies.”

Correct! He knows what he is talking about sometimes, does Citizen Milyukov! Citizens Chernov and Tsereteli, don’t you realise what inference is to be drawn from this as regards your actual attitude towards the imperialist war?


From a speech by Shulgin at a meeting of the rallying counter-revolution:

“we prefer to be beggars, but beggars in our own country. If you ran preserve that country and keep it safe for us, then take our last shirt from us. we shall shed no tear.”

Don’t try to frighten us, Mr. Shulgin. Even when we are in power we shall not take your “last shirt” from you, but shall see that you are provided with good clothes and good food, on condition that you do the job you are fit for and used to! You can frighten the Chernovs and the Tseretelis, but you can t frighten us.


From a speech by Maklakov at the same meeting (of “members of the Duma”):

“Russia has proved unworthy of the freedom she has won.”

Read: the workers and peasants have failed to satisfy the Maklakovs. These gentlemen want the Chernovs and Tseretelis to “reconcile” the masses with the Maklakovs. It won’t work!


From the same speech:

“Many people can be blamed, but we, in Russia, can’t do without the bourgeoisie or the proletariat, without the various currents or the various individuals.”

We beg your pardon, Citizen Maklakov, but “we” (the party of the proletariat) “can do without the bourgeoisie” “in Russia”. Time will show you and make you admit that there was no other way out of the imperialist war,


From the same speech:

“We see a mass of evil instincts which have risen to the surface: we see a reluctance to work, reluctance to recognise one’s duty to one’s country. We see that at a time of cruel warfare this country has become a land of festivities, meetings and talk, a country that does not recognise authority and refuses to obey it.”

Correct! A mass of “evil instincts”, especially among the landowners and the capitalists. The petty bourgeois has evil instincts, too: for instance, the instinct that drives him into a coalition cabinet with capitalists. The proletarians and semi-proletarians have evil instincts, too: for example, they are slow in discarding petty-bourgeois illusions, slow in coming to the conclusion that all “power” must be taken over by this class, and this class alone.


From the same speech:

“The government will move steadily leftward, while the country will move farther and farther to the right.”

By “the country” Maklakov means the capitalists. In this sense he is right. But “the country” of the workers and the poor peasants. I assure you, Citizen Maklakov, is a thousand times more leftward than the Chernovs and the Tseretelis, and a hundred times more leftward than we are. The future will prove this to you.


With the exception of the Rech editorial, this article was written on the basis of speeches made at a private meeting of the Fourth Duma members in Petrograd, reported in newspapers for May 5 (18), 1917.

After the February revolution the Provisional Government did not, in spite of the public demand, officially dissolve the Fourth Duma, the members of which (from the violent monarchists to the Cadets) regularly gathered at private meetings held at the residence of M. V. Rodzyanko, the Chairman of the Duma, to discuss and adopt resolutions on important issues of foreign and domestic policy. These meetings were widely reported in the bourgeois press. Lenin called these meetings of the Fourth Duma deputies “the headquarters of counter-revolution”.

The particular meeting referred to in this article was held on May 4 (17), 1917, and was attended by representatives of all the Duma parties except the Social-Democrats. Speeches were made by the Octobrist and Cadet leaders A. I. Guchkov, V. A. Maklakov, P. N. Milyukov N. V. Savich, V. V. Shulgin and others, the fundamentals of which was summed up in two demands: first, that the Russian army resume offensive operations at the front, and second, that “order” be restored in the army and in the country at large, i.e. reaction. The aim of the meeting was to bring pressure to bear on the new, coalition, government.

In June-July the counter-revolutionary activities of the Fourth Duma deputies increased still further. On June 2 (15) Rodzyanko addressed a letter to the deputies of the Fourth Duma calling upon them not to leave Petrograd. since “current political events required that the members of the Duma should be ready on the spot”.

On the demand of the Bolsheviks, the Fourth Duma was officially dissolved by the Provisional Government on October 6 (19), 1917.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive