V. I. Lenin

Speech at a Meeting of
Soldiers of an Armoured Battalion in Mikhailovsky Manège

April 15 (28), 1917


Published: Soldatskaya Pravda No. 2, April 18 (May 1), 1917. Printed from the Soldatskaya Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 402.2-404.1.
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.  

We Social-Democrats who take the standpoint of inter national socialism, are being accused of having returned to Russia via Germany, of having been bribed by the Germans and of being traitors to the national cause, the cause of freedom.

Who is saying all this? Who is spreading these lies and slander?

Soldiers and workers who read the working-class news papers are aware that a decision of the Soviet which was taken after a hearing of the report by Comrade Zinoviev   and Comrade Zurabov on how we managed to make our way across Germany, was published in Izvestia Sovieta Rabochikh i Soldatskikh Deputatov{1} No. 32, of April 5, 1917.

Did the Soviet reprimand us? No. What did the Soviet say? It replied that it wanted the Provisional Government to take urgent measures for the unhampered passage to Russia of all Russian political exiles living abroad.

Comrade Lenin then stated that until now the Provisional Government has failed to take any measures and that our socialist comrades living abroad could not return to Russia. Why? Simply because Britain, who has a stake in this fratricidal slaughter, has refused to allow passage for our socialist comrades, socialists who have declared war against war and demand peace. The British are keeping in prison one of their own British socialists,{2} and have also arrested and imprisoned our Comrade Trotsky, who was Chairman of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies in 1905.

But that is precisely what has been done by all the capitalist and landowner governments favouring this war: the French, the German and the Italian governments have thrown all anti-war socialists into prison and are keeping them there.

Was it possible in the circumstances to travel via Britain? No. That is why we had to apply to the Swiss socialist Platten, who also favours peace.

What was the upshot of this?

Lenin and those who travelled with him were let through, but our witness, Comrade Platten, who could testify that we had had no contacts with the Germans, was not allowed to come to Russia.

What is the point of all this?

It is that this war, which is now taking hundreds of thousands of lives a month, is being waged by the capitalists—they stand to gain from the war, they are profiting from it, and that is why all those who want peace and work for it are being imprisoned by the capitalists of all countries, including the brigand and plunderer Wilhelm, who spread lies and slander about the socialists.

Comrade Lenin then went on to give a detailed explanation of the causes of the war and its aims. He showed that   the working class and the poor peasants have never wanted and do not want this or any other war. He also spoke in detail about the nature of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and of the Provisional Government, on which the industrialist Guchkov and the landowners have seats.

Support and help should not go to the Provisional Government, but to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, which is the only legitimate government and which alone expresses the people’s interests.


{1} Izvestia Petrogradskogo Sovieta Rabochikh i Soldatskikh Deputatov (Bulletin of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies)—a daily; the first issue appeared on February 28 (March 13), 1917, under the title Izvestia Petrogradskogo Sovieta Rabochikh Deputatov (Bulletin of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies); from No. 3 of March 2 (15) the paper became the organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.

With the formation, at the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets, of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, the paper became its organ and from August 1 (14) (No. 132) was published under the name Izvestia Tsentralnogo Ispolnitelnogo Komiteta i Petrogradskogo Sovieta Rabochikh i Soldatskikh Deputatov (Bulletin of the Central Executive   Committee and of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies). The paper’s political line was determined by the representatives of the S.R.-Menshevik bloc who conducted the conciliatory policy of supporting the bourgeois Provisional Government and who opposed the revolutionary action of the proletariat.

After the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, its Editorial Board was changed and the newspaper became the official organ of the Soviet Government. It carried the first important documents of the Soviet Government and Lenin’s articles and speeches. In March 1918, its publication was transferred to Moscow.

After the formation of the U.S.S.R. in December 1922, the paper became the organ of the Central Executive Committee of the U.S.S.R. and the All-Russia Central Executive Committee. Under a decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. on January 24, 1938, the paper was reorganised and since January 26, 1938, until the present day it has been published under the name of Izvestia Sovietov Deputatov Trudyashchikhsya (Bulletin of the Soviets of Working People’s Deputies). p. 403

{2} A reference to J. Maclean. p. 403

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