The Petrograd Soviet
on the War Danger

To the Workers of all Countries and the Workers of England in particular

(7 June 1923)

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 41 [23], 7 June 1923, pp. 386–387.
On-line Publication: Zinoviev Internet Archive, October 2021.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The Petrograd Soviet has discussed the question of the ultimatum sent by Lord Curzon to the Soviet government, and declares:

The workers of Petrograd, and – we are convinced – the working masses of all other peoples as well – have read the ultimatum of the English imperialists with indignation. For five hard years we have been lighting to protect the existence of Soviet Russia from the numerous attacks of internal and external counter-revolution. Neither famine nor deprivations have able to shake the determined resolution of our working masses. Hundreds and thousands of our brothers have laid down their lives in this holy war for the liberty and independence of the Soviet state. And now, just as we are in the midst of the work of reconstructing the economy ruined by war and intervention, now that we have overcome the famine, now that the wounds dealt us in the attacks of the imperialists, among whom the imperialists of England have invariably played a leading part, are at last about to heal – now, like a bolt from the blue, appears a fresh ultimatum. The ruling circles of English imperialism have forgotten that Soviet Russia does not permit herself to be addressed, in the language of ultimatums, that the Federation of Soviet Republics is no Ruhr area, that our workers’ and peasants’ government is not at the mercy of the foreign governments which have done their best to ruin it, but is founded solely on the united endeavors and the determined will of the working masses of the great Soviet federation.

Of what does Lord Curzon accuse our country? In the eyes of the imperialists the blackest crime is the friendship between the first victorious workers’ and peasants’ government and the oppressed peoples of the East. Stricken blind, they cannot see that just as no one can prevent plants from turning to the sun, so it is impossible to prevent the oppressed millions of the Orient, exploited by world imperialism and degraded by financial capital, from striving towards alliance and friendship with the the only Soviet country, and which in turn approaches the peoples of the East not treacherously but fraternally, not with egoistic aims, but in a spirit of equality.

Lord Curzon further accuses our country of not refraining from determined measures of self-defence against spies, even when these hide their real calling under priestly vestments. In Lord Curzon’s words, this is not persecution of spies, but persecution of religion. The insignificant occurrence of the holding up of fishing vessels, which had penetrated illegally into our waters, has been shamefully exaggerated into a hostile act. The real import of the ultimatum is clear. It is either an attempt to institute a fresh blockade of Soviet Russia, just as she is beginning to recover from the injuries caused by the first, or it is the precursor of an open declaration of war. Our mere existence is a crime in the eyes of this irreconcilable representative of imperialism. And our greatest culpability lies In the fact that we are mastering all our difficulties, that we have begun to improve our economy, that we have not permitted Russia to be converted into a colony or a semi-colony and that we have offered successful resistance to the excessive appetite of Urquhart and other “concessionaries”.

The shots fired at comrade Vorovsky light up the situation. That which the most irreconcilable sections of international imperialism are now planning is nothing less than the beginning of a fresh campaign against the Russian revolution. The campaign against the Ruhr area, the ultimatum sent by Curzon, the murder of Comrade Vorovsky, the triumphal entry of General Foch into Poland, the provocatory preparations of the Polish government, the ceremonious visit of an English commission to Roumania, the inexorable determination of world capitalism to deprive the workers of all countries of economic rights and liberties already won – all these are links in one and the same chain.

Let the English imperialists, and the imperialists of the whole world, learn that there is no power capable of overcoming our Soviet Russia. We fear the threats of no imperialist governments whatever. We can afford to laugh at attempts to frighten a country which has been the object of so many attacks during the past 5 years, and which has repulsed them all successfully. We declare that any attempt to threaten us with war or intervention will be the signal for 10 millions of our adult population to spring to arms ready to fight to the last drop of Hood against the foreign invader. Woe to those who dare to attack a great people like ours, after all the sufferings it has gone through, and force it to abandon its peaceful work again.

From the Council of People’s Commissaries we categorically demand, that it rejects Lord Curzon’s ultimatum absolutely.

We appeal to the workers of all countries: A fresh campaign is being opened against Soviet Russia. In this campaign the victim or even the semi-victory, of world imperialism would signify the annihilation of the labor movement for many years, and the prevalence of blackest reaction.

We appeal to the English workers, upon whose shoulders an immense historical responsibility rests. We are confident that the English workers will do their utmost to prevent the present rulers of England from unchaining the dogs of war in Europe again.

The workers peasants, and toilers of every description in Russia will do their duty to the full. This we guarantee to the English workers. We call upon them to fulfil their duty too. Down with the instigators of new imperialist wars! Long live the struggle of the International Proletariat for peace and the workers’ government.

The Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies: Zinoviev.

Last updated on 3 May 2021