V. I. Lenin

On the “Jubilee of the Russian Intelligentsia”

Published: Za Pravdu No. 10, October 15, 1933. Printed from the Za Pravdu text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 294.2-296.1.
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 50th anniversary of Moscow’s liberal newspaper has evoked torrents of laudatory speeches from Russian liberals of every stripe. That is natural, legitimate and consistent. Liberals can be expected to celebrate the jubilee of the liberal newspaper. Russkiye Vedomosti{1} has been no worse than other liberal newspapers, and in some respects (as in   the abundance of scientific material) it has certainly been above the liberal average.

But when the rhetoricians of liberalism, Messrs. Kovalevsky, Milyukov, Manuilov, Bunin and their like, praise “Russkiye Vedomosti” on behalf of democracy and from an ostensibly democratic standpoint, that is a flagrant lie and it cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

Distinguished and notable liberals! You all swear that you stand for political freedom. But you refuse to understand one simple fact, namely, that a liberal society in Russia which allows counter-revolutionary statements by liberals to go unchallenged, does not deserve political freedom and will never get it.

You are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Russkiye Vedomosti, aren’t you? That’s fine. In that case, do not hide the truth, do not forget that Russkiye Vedomosti was one of the first liberal newspapers to trip up the first serious and deep-going mass movement in Russia, whose aim was to attain political freedom.

That was in the summer of 1905. The leading light of liberal science and liberal publicism, Mr. Professor Vinogradov the historian, then contributed to Russkiye Vedomosti a remarkable, unforgettable, and memorable “historic” article. His main idea was as follows: let’s hope our movement does not go beyond the German one of 1848–49, otherwise the Prussian watchman will have to restore order over here.

That’s the kind of thing Russkiye Vedomosti, organ of the liberals, printed in the summer of 1905!!

Let everyone in Russia who wants to gain a reputation for being a democrat ponder this historical fact. History has proved—and its proof is irrefutable—that the movement in the autumn of 1905 was weak and inadequate, while a famous liberal found it much too strong in the summer of 1905, and put spokes in its wheels.

The fact is there. It is incontrovertible. This liberal and all his fellows, all his—you will pardon me the expression—fellow-politicians among the liberals bear the moral and political blame for the Jewish pogroms in the autumn of 1905. For, incidentally, the pogromists drew for strength and impudence on precisely this “Vinogradov”-type mood of liberal society.

The “Vinogradov”-type liberals have the government they fully deserve. The “Vinogradov” liberal writing in Russkiye Vedomosti, and Purishkevich, the collective Purishkevich, are only two sides of the same medal, they are interconnected and interdependent phenomena.

There can be no political freedom in Russia until she has (or because she lacks) mass democracy with a clear understanding of the total short-sightedness, absurdity and vileness of the “Vinogradov”-type liberalism of Russkiye Vedomosti.


{1} Russkiye Vedomosti (Russian Recorder)—a newspaper published in Moscow from 1863, expressing the views of the moderate liberal intelligentsia. In the 1880s and 1890s, contributors to the paper included writers from the democratic camp (V. G. Korolenko, M. Y. Saltykov-Shchedrin and G. I. Uspensky, among others); it also carried the works of the liberal Narodniks. From 1905, the paper was the organ of the Right wing of the Cadet Party. Lenin said that the paper was a unique combination of “Right Cadetism and Narodnik overtones” (see present edition, Vol. 19, p. 135). In 1918, the newspaper was closed down along with the other counter revolutionary newspapers. p. 294

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