V. I. Lenin
A Shameless Lie of the Capitalists
Written April 11 (24), 1917
Published April 12, 1917 in Pravda No. 30.
Lenin Collected Works, Volume 24, pages 110-111.
It is not enough that the capitalist newspapers lie and carry on a riot-mongering campaign against Pravda, that Rech vies in this respect with Russkaya Volya—a paper which it cannot but despise.
Now the ministers of the capitalist government, too, have begun to speak in the language of Russkaya Volya. Rech quotes today Minister Nekrasov’s statement made before a meeting of the Cadet Party in Moscow on April 9:
“The preaching of violence that comes from the Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt is a terrible thing.”
Re-echoing Russkaya Volga, the worthy Minister lies shamelessly, deceives the people, and aids the riot-mongers while hiding behind their backs. He dares not name directly a single person, a single newspaper, a single orator, or a single party.
The worthy Minister prefers dark hints—hoping that someone will fall for it!
But all politically minded people will understand that the worthy Minister is referring to the organ of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., Pravda, and its followers.
You are lying, Mr. Minister, worthy member of the “people’s freedom” party. It is Mr. Guchkov who is preaching violence when be threatens to punish the soldiers for dismissing the authorities. It is Russkaya Volya, the riot mongering newspaper of the riot-mongering "republicans”, a paper that is friendly to you, that preaches violence.
Pravda and its followers do not preach violence. On the contrary, they declare most clearly, precisely, and definitely that our main efforts should now be concentrated on explaining to the proletarian masses their proletarian problems, as distinguished from the petty bourgeoisie which has succumbed to chauvinist intoxication.
So long as you, capitalist gentlemen, Guchkov and Co., confine yourselves only to threats of violence, so long as you have not yet resorted to violence, so long as the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies exist, so long as you have not yet carried out your threats against the Soviets (such threats, for example, have actually been printed by Mr. Milyukov’s associate, Mr. Wilson, the Times correspondent), so long as you have not yet perpetrated violence upon the masses, we Pravdists declare and reiterate that we regard the Soviets as the only possible form of government.
So long as you, capitalist gentlemen, who are in control of the army command, have not yet begun to use violence, it is our tactics, the tactics of all Pravdists and of all our Party, to fight for influence among the proletarian masses, to fight for influence among tile Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, to show up the errors in their tactics, to show up all the falsity of the chauvinist (revolutionary-defencist) intoxication.
The worthy Minister Nekrasov knows this perfectly well, if only from the quotations which Rech itself was forced to print. The worthy Minister re-echoes Russkaya Volya; he is bent on preventing a calm demonstration of the truth by resorting to lies, slander, baiting, and threats.
It won’t work, Messrs. Nekrasovs!
The workers and soldiers want to know the truth, they want to clear up for themselves the questions of war and peace, and state systems, and they will certainly do so.