V. I. Lenin


Proletary, No. 32
July 2 (15), 1908

Published according
to the text in Proletary

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1963

Vol. 15, pp. 148-57.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Andrew Rothstein and Bernard Isaacs

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (November 2001)

page 496


  [73] This refers to the uprisings in Sveaborg (see present edition, Note 42[*]) and Kronstadt. The uprising of sailors and soldiers in Kronstadt started on July 19 (August 1), 1906, after news had been received of the uprising in Sveaborg. In the spring and summer of 1906, under the leadership of the Bolsheviks, preparations had gone forward for an armed uprising of workers, soldiers and sailors in Kronstadt. These preparations, however, were considerably complicated by the arrest on July 9 (22) of most of the members of the military and workers' organisation of the R.S.D.L.P. Nevertheless, with the support of the St. Petersburg Committee and its representative, D. Z. Manuilsky, the Bolsheviks went forward with their preparations for an armed uprising, while at the same time rebuffing the Socialist-Revolutionaries, who had been provoking a premature uprising. When the spontaneous Sveaborg rising broke out the preparations for an armed uprising in Kronstadt had not been completed, but in view of the events in Sveaborg the uprising in Kronstadt had to be begun prematurely. The Bolsheviks took the lead in order to make the action as organised as possible. At a pre-arranged signal the struggle was started almost simultaneously by minemen, sappers, soldiers of the electric-mine company, and sailors of the First and Second Naval Divisions, who were joined by some of the armed workers. The government, however, had received information from agents provocateurs of the time fixed for the uprising, and had prepared in advance for the fight. Another factor that worked against the uprising was the disruptive activities of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. By the morning of July 20 (August 2) the uprising was suppressed.
    The St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. passed a decision on July 20 (August 2) to carry out a political general strike in support of the Kronstadt and Sveaborg risings, but on news being received the next day that the uprising had been suppressed this decision was revoked.
    The tsarist Government took savage reprisals against the insurgents. More than 2,500 participants in the Kronstadt uprising were arrested. Sentenced by courts martial, 36 men were executed, 130 were sent to penal servitude, 316 were imprisoned and 935 transferred to corrective battalions.

    [* Note 42: The rising in the Sveaborg fortress (near Helsingfors), which started during the night of July 17-18 (30-31),1906 broke out spontaneously and prematurely, being largely provoked by the Socialist-Revolutionaries. On receiving information about the situation in Sveaborg and the possibility of an armed uprising, the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. decided on the urgent dispatch of a delegation to Sveaborg authorised to secure a postponement of the action or, if this could not be achieved, to take the most active part in leading the uprising. The text of the decision was written by V. I. Lenin. Finding it impossible to prevent spontaneous action, the Bolsheviks headed the uprising. Its leaders were lieutenants A. P. Yemelyanov and Y. L. Kohansky, members of the military organisation of the R.S.D.L.P. Seven of the ten artillery companies took an active part in the uprising. The insurgents put forward the slogans of overthrow of the autocracy, freedom for the people, and the transfer of the land to the peasants. The working class in Finland gave active support to the insurgents. On July 18 (31) a general strike was declared in Helsingfors, which eventually spread to other towns. The uprising lasted three days, but the general lack of preparation had its effect, and on July 20 (August 2), after the fortress had been subjected to a naval bombardment, the Sveaborg rising was crushed. Its participants were court-martialled, forty-three men being executed and some hundreds sentenced to penal servitude or imprisonment.]

[Transcriber's Note: There is a discrepancy in the two "notes" with respect to the number of participants ("36" or "forty-three") who were "executed". -- DJR]

   [p. 148]

  [74] Revolutsionnaya Mysl (Revolutionary Thought ) -- the organ of a group of S.R.s, published abroad from April 1908 to December 1909. Six issues appeared.    [p. 149]

  [75] Znamya Truda (Banner of Labour ) -- central organ of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, published in Paris from July 1907 to April. 1914.    [p. 149]

page 497

  [76] Iskra (Spark ) -- the first all-Russian illegal Marxist newspaper founded by Lenin in 1900. After the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. the Mensheviks seized control of Iskra. From November 1903, beginning with issue No. 52, Iskra became the mouthpiece of the Mensheviks. From then on the "old" Iskra was referred to in the Party as the Lenin, Bolshevik Iskra, and the "new" Iskra as the Menshevik, opportunist Iskra.    [p. 153]

  [77] January 9, 1905 -- the day on which, by order of the tsar, the troops fired on a peaceful procession of St. Petersburg workers headed by the priest Gapon, who marched to the Winter Palace to present a petition to the tsar. This massacre of unarmed workers started a wave of mass political strikes and demonstrations all over Russia under the slogan "Down with the autocracy!" The events of January the Ninth marked the beginning of the 1905-07 Revolution.    [p. 153]

  [78] The Plehve regime -- the harsh political regime introduced in Russia in 1902 by the Minister of the Interior, V. K. Plehve, with the object of combating the revolutionary movement.    [p. 154]