V. I. Lenin

The Latest News Report

Published: Proletary No. 7, July 10 (June 27), 1905. Printed from the Proletary text verified with the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 169.2-170.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.  

The Potemkin has appeared off Feodosia.{1} It has restocked its food supply and has sailed for an unknown destination having seized a Russian merchant ship with a cargo of   cattle. It is reported that it has also obtained some coal from a British merchant ship. There is no question at all of surrender. The Potemkin has set itself the task of sparking off an uprising in all the coastal cities. Here is the text of a manifesto which the Potemkin is circulating (according to a report by a German newspaper from Bucharest).

“To all civilised citizens and to the working people! The crimes of the autocratic government have exhausted all patience. The whole of Russia, burning with indignation, exclaims: Down with the chains of bondage! The government wants to drown the country in blood, forgetting that the troops consist of sons of the oppressed people. The crew of the Potemkin has taken the first decisive step. We refuse to go on acting as the people’s hangman. Our slogan is: freedom for the whole Russian people or death! We demand an end to the war and the immediate convocation of a constituent assembly on the basis of universal suffrage. That is the aim for which we shall fight to the end: victory or death! All free men, all workers will be on our side in the struggle for liberty and peace. Down with the autocracy! Long live the constituent assembly!”


{1} A reference to the mutiny on the battleship Potemkin, which broke out on June 14 (27), 1905. The ship entered Odessa, just then in the grip of a general strike, but no use was made of the favourable conditions for joint action by the workers and sailors. The Bolshevik organisation in Odessa had been weakened by arrests, and was not united. The Mensheviks were opposed to an armed uprising and tried to restrain the workers and sailors from offensive operations. The tsarist government sent the whole of its Black Sea Fleet to crush the Potemkin mutiny, but the sailors refused to fire at the insurgent ship, and their commanders were forced to withdraw the fleet. After sailing the seas for eleven days, the Potemkin, short of food and coal, made for Rumania and there surrendered to the Rumanian authorities. Most of its sailors remained abroad. Those of them who returned were arrested and committed for trial.

The Potemkin mutiny failed but the fact that the crew of a major warship had gone over to the revolution was an important advance in the struggle against the autocracy. Lenin said the uprising was an “attempt to form the nucleus of a revolutionary army” (see present edition, Vol. 8, p. 562). p. 169

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