Cadets on the Question of the Ukraine

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 16 July 1913


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Rabochaya Pravda No. 3, July 16, 1913. Signed: M.. Published according to the Rabochaya Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 266-267.
Collection(s): Rabochaya Pravda

For a long time mention has been made in the press and from the Duma rostrum (in the speech of the Social-Democrat Petrovsky, for instance[1]) of the absolute indecency, the reactionary character and the impudence of statements made by certain influential Cadets (headed by Mr. Struve) on the Ukrainian question.

A few days ago we came across an article in Rech, the official organ of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, written by one of its regular contributors, Mr. Mikhail Mogilyansky, an article that must not be ignored.

This article is real chauvinist badgering of the Ukrainians for “separatism”. “Reckless adventurism”, “political delirium”, “a political adventure”—are some of the expressions which fill the article of Mr. Mikhail Mogilyansky, a Novoye Vremya adherent of the purest water who hides under a mantle of “democracy”! Yet the Constitutional-“Democratic” Party shamelessly provides cover for this article, publishes it with sympathy and by its silence approves such naked chauvinism.

Mr. Mikhail Mogilyansky himself points out that at the All-Ukraine Student Congress in Lvov some Ukrainian Social-Democrats, Ukrainian émigrés from Russia, also spoke against the slogan of political independence for the Ukraine; they spoke against the Social-Democrat Dontsov, who proposed the resolution on “an independent Ukraine” that was adopted at the congress by a majority of all present against two.

It follows, therefore, that there is no question of all Social-Democrats agreeing with Dontsov. But the Social-Democrats disputed the matter with Dontsov, put forward their own arguments, discussed the matter from the same platform and attempted to convince the same audience.

Mr. Mikhail Mogilyansky lost all sense of elementary political decency when he hurled his coarse invective drawn from the lexicon of the Black Hundreds against Dontsov and against the entire congress of Ukrainian students, knowing full well that it was impossible for his opponents to refute the views of Rech, that it was impossible for them to speak to the Russian audience from the same platform and just as resolutely, openly and freely.

They are pitiful democrats, our Cadets! And those who tolerate, without a violent protest, such sallies by the Cadets are pitiful democrats, too. Marxists will never allow their heads to be turned by nationalist slogans whether they are Great-Russian, Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian or any other. Nor do Marxists ever forget the elementary duty of any democrat to struggle against any persecution of any nation for “separatism”, the duty to fight for the recognition of the full and unqualified equality of nations, and their right to self-determination.

Views may differ on what this self-determination should be, from the point of view of the proletariat, in each individual case. One can and must dispute with social-nationalists of the Dontsov type, but base persecution for “separatism”, the persecution of people who are unable to defend themselves, is the very limit of shamelessness on the part of our Cadets.

  1. The Bolshevik Deputy, G. I. Petrovsky, spoke at the session of the State Duma on May 20 (June 2), 1913, during the debate on the estimates of the Ministry of the Interior. The speech was draft ed by Lenin. In a letter dated April 18 (May 1), 1913, sent by Nadezhda Krupskaya from Cracow to St. Petersburg on Lenin’s instructions, she said that every effort must be made to deliver the speech in full on account of its outstanding importance. The manuscript of the draft has not been found.