To keep the people in spiritual bondage, there must be the closest possible alliance of the Church and the Black Hundreds, said the "wild landlord" and the old Derzhimordat through their spokesman Purishkevich. You are wrong gentlemen, retorts the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie through their spokesman Karaulov: with such methods you will only make the people turn away from religion for good. Now let us go about it in a more clever, more artful more ingenious way: let us remove the too stupid and crude agent of the Black Hundreds, declare war on "denationalisation of the Church", and inscribe on our banner Bishop Eulogius's "words of gold" to the effect that the Church is above politics. Only in this way shall we be able to fool at least some of the backward workers, and especially of the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry, and be able to help the renovated Church to fulfil its "grand and holy mission of retaining the masses of the people in spiritual bondage.
Our liberal press, not excluding the newspaper Rech, has concentrated of late on censuring Struve and Co. for their
authorship of the symposium Vekhi. But Karaulov, the official spokesman of the Cadets in the Duma, has done a superlative job of exposing all the vile hypocrisy of these remonstrances, and these repudiations of Struve and Co. What Karaulov and Milyukov conceal, Struve reveals. The liberals blame Struve only for having imprudently blurted out the truth, for showing his hand too openly. The liberals, who censure Vekhi and go on supporting the Cadet Party, are most shamelessly deceiving the people -- condemning imprudently outspoken words, and going on doing the very things that go with those words.
There is little to say about the conduct of the Trudoviks in the Duma during the debate on the questions under review. As always, a noticeable difference was revealed between the peasant Trudoviks and the intellectual Trudoviks to the disadvantage of the latter, because of their excessive readiness to follow the Cadets. True, Rozhkov, a peasant, revealed in his speech his complete lack of political consciousness; he, too, repeated the Cadet platitudes about the Union of the Russian People helping not to reinforce but to destroy faith. He was unable to suggest any programme. On the other hand, when he began in his artless manner to tell the naked, unvarnished truth about the levies collected by the clergy, about the extortions of the priests, about how, in addition to charging money for conducting a marriage ceremony, they demand "a bottle of vodka, snacks, and a pound of tea, and sometimes things that I am even afraid to talk about from this rostrum " (April 16, verbatim report, p. 2259) -- this was more than the Black-Hundred Duma could stand. A wild howl arose from the benches of the right. "This is scandalous, this is outrageous!" shouted the Black Hundreds, realising that this simple peasant's speech about extortions, listing the scale of "fees" charged for religious rites, was more likely to revolutionise the masses than any amount of theoretical or tactical anti-religious and anti-Church declarations. Thereupon the band of diehard defenders of autocracy in the Third Duma intimidated their flunkey -- the Duma Chairman Meyendorff -- and compelled him to rule that Rozhkov must sit down (the Social-Democrats, joined by some Trudoviks, Cadets and others, handed in a protest against this action of the Chairman).
Although the speech delivered by the peasant Trudovik Rozhkov was extremely unsophisticated, it provided an excellent demonstration of the abyss dividing the hypocritical, deliberately reactionary defence of religion by the Cadets, and the primitive, unconscious, matter-of-fact religiousness of the peasant, whose living conditions give rise -- against his will and unconsciously -- to a truly revolutionary resentment against extortions, and to readiness for a resolute fight against medievalism. The Cadets are the representatives of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, which is intent on renovating and strengthening religion against the people. The Rozhkovs are the representatives of revolutionary bourgeois democracy, a democracy that is undeveloped, lacking political consciousness, downtrodden, lacking independence, disunited -- yet frought with an all but inexhaustible reservoir of revolutionary energy in the fight against the landlords, the priests, and the autocracy.
Rozanov, a Trudovik intellectual, came close to the Cadets far less unconsciously than Rozhkov. Rozanov could mention disestablishment of the Church as a demand of the "Left", but could not refrain from reactionary, petty-bourgeois phrases about "amending the electoral law in the sense that the clergy should be excluded from participation in the political struggle". The revolutionary spirit, which finds a spontaneous outlet in a typical, average peasant when he begins to tell the truth about how he lives, vanishes in the case of a Trudovik intellectual, to be replaced by hazy and sometimes actually vile phrases. For the hundredth and thousandth time we see the truth confirmed that only if they follow the proletariat's lead will the Russian peasant masses be able to overthrow the oppressive and killing yoke of the feudal-minded landlords, the feudalists in cassocks, the feudal-minded supporters of the autocracy.
The Social-Democrat Surkov, representing the workers' party and the working class, was the only person in the Duma to raise the debates to the truly high level of principle, and said without beating about the bush what the attitude of the proletariat is towards the Church and religion, and what should be the attitude in this matter of all consistent and vigorous democrats. "Religion is the opium of the people. . . . Not a farthing of the people's money to these mur-
derous enemies of the people who are drugging the people's minds" -- this straightforward, bold and outspoken battle-cry of a socialist resounded like a challenge to the Black-Hundred Duma, and met with the response of millions of proletarians, who will spread it among the masses and who will know how to translate it into revolutionary action when the time comes.