Introduction to the Leaflet of the Don Committee of the RSDLP “To the Citizens of Russia”
|Written||9 May 1902|
Published: First published in 1931 in. V. Pleskov’s book V gody boyevoi yunouti. Molodyozh nakanune pervoi revolutsii (Fighting Days of Youth. Young People on the Eve of the First Revolution), Molodaya Gvardia Publishers. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 69.2-70.1.
The leaflet of the Don Committee of the RSDLP “To the Citizens of Russia”, issued on May 9 (22), 1902, was circulated among workers in a total of 2,000 copies. It said that the blood of Balmashev, who had been sentenced to death by a military tribunal for the assassination of Minister Sipyagin, “will wash the eyes of the blinded philistines and make them see the indescribable horror of the autocracy in Russia. Let them see that our struggle against it is growing and spreading. Masses of peasants are already coming to the assistance of the workers and a handful of unhypocritical intellectuals. The first signs are already in evidence: in Tula the soldiers have refused to shoot at the strikers; a peasant uprising has broken out in Poltava and Kharkov gubernias. For centuries the muzhik there had been working for the benefit of his lord, for centuries he had suffered oppression and privation, and his patience has finally come to an end.” The tsarist government hastened to the rescue of the landowners and started fierce reprisals. The leaflet went on: “We have had enough of this slavish and ignominious forbearance, we have had enough of sacrifice.... Citizens! Stem the endless tide of this horrible blood letting! Overthrow the autocracy!” p. 69
We give in full the splendid proclamation issued by the Don Committee of our Party. It shows that the Social-Democrats know hoxv to appreciate the heroic behavipur of men like Balmashev, without, however, falling into the error of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. The Social-Democrats bring to the fore the workers’ (and peasants’) movement. They make their demands on the government on behalf of the Working class and the whole people, but without issuing any threats of further attempts and assassinations. They regard terrorism as one of the possible ancillary means, and not as a special tactical method justifying separation from revolutionary Social-Democracy.
- Socialist-Revolutionaries (S.R.s)—a petty-bourgeois party in Russia which originated at the end of 1901 and the beginning of 1902 from the merger of various Narodnik groups and circles (the Union of Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries, etc.). The views of the S.R.s were a jumble of Narodnik and revisionist ideas; they tried, as Lenin put it, to “patch up the rents in the Narodnik ideas with bits of fashionable opportunist ‘criticism’ of Marxism” (see present edition, Vol. 9, p. 310). During the First World War, most of the S.R.s took a social-chauvinist stand.
After the bourgeois-democratic revolution in February 1917, the S.R.s and the Mensheviks were the mainstay of the counter revolutionary bourgeois and landowner Provisional Government, while the party’s leaders (Avksentyev, Kerensky and Chernov) were in the government.
At the end of November 1917, the Left wing of the S.R.s formed an independent party of Left S.R.s. In an effort to retain their influence among the peasants, the Left S.R.s gave nominal recognition to the Soviet power and entered into an agreement with the Bolsheviks, but soon began to fight against the Soviets.
During the foreign armed intervention and the Civil War, the S.R.s were engaged in counter-revolutionary subversive activity, giving active support to the interventionists and whiteguards, taking part in counter-revolutionary plots and organising terroristic acts against the leaders of the Soviet state and the Communist Party. After the Civil War, the S.R.s continued their hostile activity inside the country and among the whiteguard émigré. p. 69