V. I. Lenin
An Honest Voice in a Chorus of Slanderers
Written April 15, 1917 in Pravda No. 33
Lenin Collected Works, Volume 24, pages 135-136.
Today’s Malenkaya Gazeta publishes an appeal by a group of soldiers of the Fourth Motor Ambulance Unit to all comrades in the army, demanding an investigation into the circumstances connected with the passage through Germany of Lenin and others.
Here we have an honest voice standing out from the torrent of filthy lies, foul slander, and riot-mongering agitation [See Against the Riot Mongers]. Indeed, it is the right and duty of every citizen to demand an investigation into any fact that is of social importance.
Here we have an honest method of honest people, not of riot-mongers.
And it is this method that Lenin and all the adherents of various parties who had come with him adopted immediately upon their arrival. They made a report [See: How We Arrived] of their passage to the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, giving the names of the socialists from two neutral countries, Switzerland and Sweden, who had signed the official protocol of the journey, and had examined all the documents. The Executive Committee had Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Skobelev, Steklov, and others on it. They decided to publish in Izvestia both the report and the resolution of the Executive Committee.
Following the consideration of the report it was resolved: “Having heard the report of Comrades Zurabov and Zinoviev, the Executive Committee decided to take the matter up immediately with the Provisional Government and to take steps towards securing the immediate return to Russia of all emigrants, irrespective of their political views and their attitude towards the war.”
Both documents were published in Izvestia No. 32, for April, 1917.
Is it fair, is it sensible not to reprint the report and the resolution, and to conduct a riot-mongering agitation?
Have the comrades of the Fourth Motor Ambulance Unit acted rightly in hastening to “brand” and denounce the newly arrived comrades as “traitors”, to heap “curses” upon them, and to revile them without having discussed the documents printed in Izvestia?
What is this if not anarchism, if not an appeal to defy the members of the Executive Committee elected by the workers and soldiers?