Liberty to Brest-Litovsk


Difficulties of the Socialist Centre—Theory and practice—
The allurements of Bolshevism—The Congress of Soviets as a review of the forces of Revolutionary Democracy.

THE leniency displayed by the Soviet Centre to the Bolsheviks is to be explained by a great variety of reasons, but principally by the ties that united all Socialistic groups, woven of the imposing theories they shared in common, and also by the common memory of secret work and conspiracy together, of punishment and exile.  But there was also a certain amount of involuntary subjugation of the Moderates by the Bolsheviks, for the latter were candid and unblushing demagogues, and were well skilled in the art of swaying crowds.

Bolshevist agitators and propagandists could make a far more telling appeal to the masses than could the Socialist Centre.  The former enunciated the most extreme views that could be deduced from the general doctrines of Socialism, and preached them without let or hindrance in what was now the freest country in the world.  The basis of the Marxist point of view is class warfare.  According to this view it is an immutable law of society that secret and indirect conflict is all in favour of privilege, and must give place to open and direct attack.  Then the bourgeoisie will be overthrown, and the dictatorship of the proletariat, that first stage of victory, will be established.  As “ proletarians have no fatherland,” the interests of this latter entity have to make way for those of the labouring classes.

Hence the war-cry, “ Proletarians of the whole world, unite ! ”  The view in short is that proclaimed in 1848 by Marx in his Communistic Manifesto.

The Russian Socialists of the Centre, both Social-Democrats and Social — Revolutionaries, whose programme contained all the principal points of the Marxian Manifesto, were greatly embarrassed when they suddenly found themselves masters of the situation, leaders of the democracy of their dreams.  All their theories must now be put into practice, but how ?  By overthrowing the bourgeoisie ?  But the bourgeoisie itself rejoiced at the Revolution and the dawn of political liberty, and no logical grounds for conflict existed.  And even if the bourgeoisie were hostile they were helpless, since under the old regime they had been unable to organise openly and were unwilling to do so in secret.  When the Revolution broke out it was found that there was no strong bourgeois party in Russia at all.  There was only the Cadet party which did not defend the interests of any one particular class.  It displeased the landowners by advocating the obligatory expropriation of land, and its transference to the actual tillers of the soil ;  it repelled the manufacturers by endorsing the minimum Labour programme of the Social-Democrats, down to the eight-hours’ day inclusive.  From the Socialists themselves, however, it diverged even more radically.  It strove for a government superior to class distinctions, for the preservation of the principle of property in national economics, and for continuing the war to a finish.  This was enough to raise a sharply defined barrier between the Cadets and the Socialist politicians, who were suspiciously on the look-out for counter-revolution around them.  But still to the moderate Centre a rupture with the bourgeoisie was a thing to be avoided.  From time to time warnings were heard in Soviet circles (which were still dominated by Socialists of the Centre), not to yield to the extreme Bolshevist demands for a social revolution, but to be content as yet with a political revolution.

But the glittering theories of their Marxian programme dominated them against their will, even if they could not act on them.  Social-Revolutionaries preached the immediate expropriation of land (the same demand was made in the Marxian Communistic Manifesto), and Social-Democratic Ministers like Skobelev made speeches which increased the unrest among labour.  The wildest demands of the workmen, who had themselves raised their wages to an amount which no industry could stand, were instantly acceded to.  The Socialist members of town corporations and Zemstvos were ruining public institutions in their eagerness to please the workmen.  As a specimen of such demands I need only mention that in Petrograd the scullery-maids in the municipal hospitals, who had hitherto received board and lodging and 15 roubles a month wages, now began to get 175 roubles, while a boarding-school mistress got 120 roubles and had to keep herself.  Coal-heavers received up to 80 roubles a day.  When a Social-Democratic member of the Petrograd City Council, from the Plekhanov group, proposed to replace them by soldiers, as the municipal treasury could not stand such expenditure, the Socialist majority on the City Council voted against his proposal and only passed a motion to the effect that the Executive Committee of the Soviet should be informed that the demands of the workmen were ruinous to the town.

In the beginning of May the manufacturers came to Prince Lvov with a declaration regarding the condition of the industries, which were being ruined by the laziness of the workmen, by the absence of all discipline in factories, by the mad increase in wages, and by the fact that engineers, directors, and all the educated managing staff in general were in constant fear of coercion on the part of the operatives.  The elective principle had been introduced in the works, and frequently some clever adventurer, quite unfitted for the task, was placed at the head of affairs.  The declaration of the manufacturers produced no impression.  The Government could do nothing, having no organised force at its back.  And the Left parties, including the Bolsheviks, openly declared that this was as it should be, that the workmen ought to expel the owners and engineers, and take everything into their own hands.  The Soviet and the Socialists connected with it did not know what to do, first urging the workmen on, then calling on them to keep themselves in hand.  At the very beginning of the Revolution, on the 20th March, the Izvestia said that “ If any owner of an undertaking, who was dissatisfied with the demands made by the workmen, refused to carry on the business, then the workmen must resolutely insist on the management of the work being given over into their hands, under the supervision of a commissary of the Soviet ” (see No. 8).  This was the “ control ” which was afterwards so fully utilised by the Bolsheviks.  A little later, frightened at the anarchy which had broken out at the works, the Izvestia began to speak of the thoughtlessness of such reconstruction, of disorganisation, of everything having its limits, and of the impossibility of satisfying all demands (see No. 81).

But if there was any criticism, or any one pointed out that both the soldiers and workmen were losing their heads, that discipline was as necessary in the industrial army as in the military, then the Soviet orators grew angry.  Tsereteli, with his usual impetuosity, speaking at the meeting of the Soviets held on the 11th April, said :  “They say that the workmen are not standing at their lathes and are not working.  All the democratic authorities declare this to be a foul slander and the first Congress of Soviets must conform this.”  The Congress of course declared it to be a libel, but the workmen did not work any the better for that.

When they entered the Government the Socialists found themselves in a still more difficult position.  The principles of the programme did not work out in practice.  Skobelev, the Minister of Labour, at first promised to put all capitalists under a hydraulic press.  Later, however, he issued a circular addressed to the workmen, in which he said :  “ The seizure of factories makes workmen without any experience in management and without working capital temporarily masters of such undertakings, but soon leads to their being closed down, or to the subjugation of the workmen to a still harder taskmaster” (Izvestia, No. 103).

These are not the words simply of a Minister but of a Socialist Minister.  But whom were the workmen to obey, if at the same time the Bolshevist members of the same united Social-Democratic party to which Skobelev belonged were urging them to make haste and seize everything before the bourgeoisie had time to organise a counter-revolution ? Why should they not disarm the bourgeoisie by means of such seizures, if the Soviet itself were constantly dinning it into their ears that the chief foes were the “ property-owning classes,” if even Ministers loudly proclaimed that they had entered the Cabinet for the purpose of exacerbating class warfare ?  Such contradictions were constantly to be met with, and were clearly seen at the Congress of Soviets held in Petrograd (16th June to 6th July).  The Congress was composed of 1090 delegates.  Of these 285 were Social-Revolutionaries, 248 Mensheviks, 105 Bolsheviks, and 32 Internationalists.  The other Socialistic groups had very few representatives.  The Populist Socialists numbered only eleven.

At this Congress the new democracy reviewed its forces and ideals.  As yet the Soviets had neither legislative nor executive powers, but their influence on State affairs was already predominant.  The motions passed at these wordy sittings were no mere verbal exercises, but practically affected the life of Russia.  And yet the speeches still reflected the same old hazy dogmatism of the irresponsible party Congresses, though some orators, especially the Socialist Ministers, were already making desperate efforts to find a more practical way.  They struggled with the extreme wing.  They tried to find a position where their Socialistic ideology would not be at variance with the interests of the Russian State.  The boldest opponent of the Bolsheviks was Kerensky, then Minister of War.  A regular duel took place between him and Lenin.  At that time Kerensky was preparing for the summer advance against the Germans, that last desperate attempt of Revolutionary Democracy to solve the insoluble problem — to make the soldiers fight after having freed them from all bonds of discipline.

Kerensky had already visited the front.  Clothed now with authority he had got a nearer view of what went on in the barracks, at the rear and at the front.  He said, turning to the Bolsheviks :  “ The policy of fraternisation coincides with that of the German General Staff, which hides itself behind Zimmerwald watchwords.  We must show more caution towards Zimmerwald, lest we play into the hands of Germany.”1

Tsereteli exerted all his southern eloquence in support of his fellow-Minister.  He even ventured to defend the right of the Russian Army to advance.  He put the question to the Congress as to whether it were necessary to advance, and from various benches came the answer, “ It is ! ”  Only the Bolsheviks laughed in reply.  Perhaps it was because even then they knew better than their less extreme associates to what a state the army had been reduced by the incoherent and criminal propaganda of Socialist agitators.

Lenin determinedly opposed the advance which would only prolong the war.  Another Bolshevik, Riazanov, demanded that no punitive measures should be taken against deserters, as that would be interference with the liberty of citizens.  And a member of the same party, Ensign Krylenko, a half-insane young man later raised by the Bolsheviks to the high rank of Commander-in-Chief, reproached Kerensky in his report on the army with doing nothing for its democratisation.  He said that the soldiers were murmuring, “ The combing out of Generals has been done from below, while now we are being ordered from above to obey unconditionally.”

The Congress listened to these Bolshevist speeches.  It did not approve, neither did it protest against their mad criminality in fomenting mischief in the whole army.  The degree of political intelligence at the Congress was quite indefinite.  First, it riotously applauded Plekhanov’s passionate appeals to fight the Germans, and then immediately passed the following motion on the war :

“ The termination of the war by the defeat of one group of belligerents would be the source of new wars, making the breach between nations still wider.”  The idea of a separate peace was rejected by the Congress, for the reason that it would “ increase the tendency of the dominant classes towards annexation, would not free Russia from the grip of world imperialism, and would make the international union of the labouring classes more difficult.”  In short, there was a complete confusion of ideas.

No attempt was to be made to gain a victory over Germany, but neither was a separate peace to be concluded.  This formula, enunciated by the Soviet State in July 1917, was very similar to Trotsky’s later famous “ Neither peace nor war.”

In the motion passed by the Congress of Soviets on the war, there was not one word to encourage the army to military activity.  All hopes were centred on the “ earthly establishment of revolutionary internationalism,” on an appeal to democracies to join in the cry of “ peace without annexation and indemnities. . . . The war can only be ended by the united efforts of the democracies of all countries. . . . This is not a unity in warfare, but solidarity of labour.”

Lenin put the matter more simply.  He demanded that an ultimatum should be sent to the Allies ;  did they or did they not agree to reconsider the aims of the war in accordance with the programme of the Petrograd Soviet ?

The Minister Tsereteli and his colleagues likewise tried to get the Allied Governments to agree to such a revision, but they did not see the possibility of presenting such an ultimatum, and wished to carry on negotiations with the Allied Democracies.  In this, as in many other questions, they differed from the Bolsheviks not as regards objects but in tactics.

The Congress was more occupied with disputes about the war and about government than with social problems.  Nevertheless, an agrarian resolution was passed, the first clause being :  “ The land with its mineral wealth, water and timber rights, must be withdrawn from the market.  The sovereign right to dispose of land must belong to the whole people, who must administer it through the democratic institutions of self-government.”  Thus the Congress acknowledged the principle of the nationalisation of land and a complete rupture of all existing agrarian relations.  They took no account whatever of the impossibility of carrying out such a reform at a time when disorganisation of foodsupplies and national economy was so complete that the description given by the Food Minister, Peshekhonov, and the Minister of Labour, Skobelev, gave a sobering shock to their listeners.  But the Bolsheviks, in Lenin’s person, at once turned this impression to advantage by suggesting a simple way out of all difficulties.  Let them take the power into their own hands by arresting the capitalists and all would be well.  The Congress could neither agree to this nor find any other issue.

The majority of the members of the Congress professed economic materialism, but even the stern voice of economic reality could not bring them to their senses, and make them cast away revolutionary romanticism.  For they could not be guided by the practical necessities of storm-tossed Russia, when, according to their exponent Lieber, “ the Russian Revolution had to settle social questions involving the interests of every worker in the world.”

These beginners in statecraft were far more concerned about the Stockholm Conference, and the creation of a “ coalition of the Labouring Democracies of the world,” than about the defence and organisation of Russia.

Now Russian affairs were very much on the decline.  During the first three months after the Revolution both the military and the economic situation had grown still worse than under the Tsar.  The people, freed from the stifling prison of Tsarism, were drunk with unwonted liberty as with wine.  They understood liberty as the possibility of throwing aside all forms of obligation, all discipline, and with it all ideas of duty.  This is a painful process, an inevitable fermentation accompanying every revolution.  In Russia it was intensified by war-weariness, the ignorance of the masses, and the dogmatic narrowness and blindness of those who had undertaken to lead them.  Little by little, not hearing any words of real denunciation and stern rebuke, not meeting with any serious rebuff either from the Government or the Soviet, the masses became unbridled in their actions, they grew accustomed only to demand and to give nothing in return.  They had not yet attained either to an idea of a State or of any real feeling of responsibility and duty, and, nevertheless, at all the meetings it was dinned into them, “ All is now yours, take it and reign.”  Political liberty, which to the educated classes and to the more thoughtful representatives of the people was in itself something of absolute value, did not bring any real change into the life of millions of poorer Russian citizens of either sex.

What is the good of liberty when one has, as heretofore, to sit in the trenches, work at the factory, perform dreary, toilsome labour, and to plough the land-often another man’s ?  And inevitably a wave of economic social demands arose.  These were the same demands which all the Socialistic programmes promised to satisfy, and therefore the majority of the leaders not only lacked the courage to raise obstacles to the unrealisable desires of the masses, but frequently prompted and incited them.  In questions of State authority, the Soviets, holding the class and not the democratic point of view, could likewise do nothing to instill ideas of discipline and order.

Already in April 1917 all kinds of independent republics began to be formed all over Russia.  Some country town, led by an enterprising Soviet, and some times by a lunatic or a “ black-gang ” Tsarist, would declare itself independent.  At first such news merely raised a laugh.  At the beginning of the Revolution every one was in a good humour, and was prepared to regard the wildest escapades as innocent child’s play.  But already in June it became clear that this was no chance game of local politicians, but a sign of an insidious disease of the State.  Tsaritsin, Kherson, Kirsanov, Kostroma, Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Helsingfors, Cronstadt—all declared themselves autonomous.  Nevertheless, they still demanded money from the Provisional Government.  And the Government gave it, partly from weakness, partly on the old theory of non-resistance.  Thus the resources of the Russian State Treasury endowed all these independent new republics.

At the same time numerous races inhabiting Russia attempted to apply the principle of self-determination to their own case.  The old autocratic regime was dead.  The new had not yet been born.  What it would be like, what it ought to be, no one as yet knew.  Some said that Russia must be a federal republic, others considered that wide powers of local government in an undivided State would be sufficient.  The Soviet took the first point of view, and accordingly supported the claims of the different nationalities.  Lenin went still further and maintained that Finland, Poland, Esthonia, Courland, the Ukraine, and Transcaucasia were all annexed provinces which had the right to secede from Russia.

Finland wanted complete secession from Russia, thereby creating a military menace to the whole north of Russia and the Baltic Fleet.  In the south a group of the intelligentsia, supported from Vienna, had begun agitating in favour of the foundation first of an autonomous and then of an independent Ukraine.  This gave the first impulse to that ruinous civil war between the south and the north of Russia, owing to which so much blood has been and is still being spilt.

But at that time, in July 1917, few people clearly understood all the destructiveness of these local separatist demands.  On the other hand every one saw the military danger of the situation in Finland at the two naval ports of Helsingfors and Cronstadt, where almost the whole of the Baltic Fleet was concentrated.  Into these places, almost from the very first days of the Revolution, German agents had wormed their way, and a successful Bolshevist propaganda had been carried on with the inevitable accompaniment of a systematic massacre of officers.  Notwithstanding the enormous strategic importance of these ports, Prince Lvov’s Cabinet did not even attempt to struggle with the secessionists or to save these naval bases from criminal agitators, both German and Russian.

When, on the 1st July, Cronstadt declared itself an independent republic, and made Roshal, a student twenty years of age, President, the Government supinely carried on negotiations with this boy, and let him indicate whom they were to appoint as Government Commissary.  But when the naval officers, who had been arrested during the first few days of the Revolution, were imprisoned in the Cronstadt torture house, even the Soviet found it necessary to interfere and to issue an appeal containing the following words :

It depends on the inhabitants of Cronstadt whether the black spot on the revolutionary horizon will disappear for ever, or grow larger and larger, until it obscures the rising sun of Liberty.

Fortunately, besides this appeal, they also sent delegates, who succeeded in having the officers brought to trial.  The trial disclosed revolting particulars of mob-law and insults inflicted in most cases on totally innocent men.  The majority of the persons arrested were set free.  But the fleet was rapidly rotting in the same way as the army.

As early as the end of May, Kirpichnikov—the famous private of the Volhynsky Regiment, who could hardly be accused of being counter-revolutionary since in March he was the first to lead the soldiers against the old Government—wrote an open letter to Prince Lvov, in which he called upon the Government to fight against anarchy, saying, “ The fraternisation with Germans at the front and criminal leniency in the rear are crimes of equal magnitude against our country. . . The Revolutionary Army cannot remain inactive before the enemy, or the Revolutionary Government before sedition.”

This was one of many appeals made from all sides.  The officers, insulted, constantly subjected to degradation, given over to the control of the soldiery by Order No. 1, lived in an atmosphere of suspicion and insults.  But nevertheless they tried to organise, although the Soviets and then the Committees looked very much askance at officers’ organisations.  In consequence of perpetual threats there grew up among the officers a tendency to display subserviency to their new masters, the soldiers.  The position of honest patriots in the army became more and more difficult.  Later, at the Moscow Congress, General Alexeiev defined the position of the officers in the following bitter words :  “ The best officers are perishing, the worst are becoming thorough scoundrels.”

In the summer of 1917 preparations were already being made for the coming wholesale massacre of officers.  They were systematically discredited in the eyes of the masses ;  counter-revolutionaries were most diligently sought for among their number, although it was well known that the regular officers, who had more of the spirit of caste, had been killed off during the first years of the war, and that by the time the Revolution broke out the army was officered by men of all classes—sons of the clergy, petty employees, peasants.

As has already been mentioned, the very first Officers’ Congress, at which Alexeiev made his prophetic speech, drew down upon itself the acute displeasure of the Soviet.  But still the Officers’ League was organised.  In June another Officers’ Congress was held in Petrograd, with an attendance of five hundred.  Now there was already a certain rift in their ranks, part of the officers going with the Soviet, more anxious to impregnate the army with the political opinions of Revolutionary Democracy than to make it efficient.  The other party demanded that the Provisional Government should be fully supported and trusted, since with divided authority there could be no powerful army.

After a hot discussion, a motion was passed demanding the enactment of a law punishing “ the non-fulfilment of military orders at the front.”  The following clause in the motion is of special importance :

The work of the Army Committees shall be restricted, within clearly defined limits, to economic, social, cultural, and educational questions, and a decided struggle should be carried on against the tendency to put into practice the election of commanders, and the corporate direction of military operations.

The question as to how far the principle of election might be carried out in the army, and the limits of the jurisdiction of the Committees, was one of the sorest points of the revolutionary period.  Subsequently, the first serious conflict between General Kornilov, Commander-in-Chief, and the Premier, Kerensky, arose on this very subject.

Already by the middle of the summer of 1917 we see the melancholy results of the Committee muddling, which converted the army from a disciplined body, united by the will of the commanders, into a mob of meeting-attending and (alas !) thieving tattlers.

The most tragic news came from all parts of the army.  During the first half of June there was a regular mutiny in Shcherbatchev’s army.  Four regiments were cashiered for refusing to obey military orders.  The cavalry surrounded and disarmed them.  But the ringleaders were not shot.  The Government merely published an appeal, and Kerensky spoke of the shamefulness of fraternising with the German soldiers and selling them Russian bread.

This was at the very time when Kerensky, as War Minister, went to the front, trying to arouse the spirit of the Russian soldiers by his eloquence.

In one of his speeches the Socialist Minister announced to the regiments gathered round him that, as they had managed to fight so courageously under the yoke of Tsardom, they had even more cause to perform miracles of bravery now, when fighting for liberty and land.  One of the soldiers asked with a grin :  “ And if I am killed, what land shall I get then ? ”

In these simple words we see the psychology of millions of peasants in soldiers’ tunics.  One after another they left the front, deserting to hurry home, for fear that the land would be re-allotted without them, and that they would get nothing.

Kerensky was a great success at the front, especially among the young soldiers of revolutionary but not Bolshevist tendencies.  But his desire was chiefly for popularity among the soldiers ;  he did not seem to understand the importance of the officers, and during his stay at the front did nothing whatever either to support their authority or improve the discipline of the army.

And, indeed, what conception of discipline could be left in the mind of a soldier who for three years had served as a private in the Tsar’s army, with its severities and brutal subordination, when the Minister of War himself appeared before him, and in answer to his address of “ General,” he was answered by Kerensky, “ I am not a General, but a comrade ” ?

At this time the Okopnaia Pravda (Trench Truth) and other Bolshevist and non-Bolshevist papers were carrying on an anti-war propaganda, undermining all confidence in the commanders and the whole Government.  The Bolsheviks knew that the front was preparing for an advance, and tried to prevent it by making an advance in the rear—on the Government.  The other Socialists became agitated.  Soviet orators went the round of the factories and works, proving that the Bolsheviks wanted to “ stab the Revolution in the back.”  And the Bolsheviks kept declaring that the Congress of Soviets—where their motion had been rejected—was composed of Imperialists and landed gentry, and that the whole Coalition Government had sold itself to the bourgeoisie.

The offended comrades of the Bolsheviks openly called them “ traitors and betrayers of the Revolution ” (Workmen’s Gazette—a Menshevist organ).  Nevertheless, the Soviet appointed a demonstration for the 1st July, to show democratic solidarity and to intimidate counter-revolutionists, who were more and more feared in Soviet circles.

On the day fixed for this demonstration, Petrograd discovered that our army had made an advance near Brzezany, captured part of the German trenches, and taken 10,000 prisoners.  It would seem that the whole capital ought to have celebrated this first victory of the revolutionary army.2  But only the intelligentsia, officers, women, and disabled soldiers took part in the demonstration hastily got up by the Cadets and Plekhanov.  The soldiers sneered.  In Peterhof the famous machine-gunners thrashed the military cadets who took part in the demonstration.  The workmen in the town took no part whatever in the manifestations.  Kerensky had already lost his popularity among the Social-Revolutionaries.  At the Congress of this party, he was not elected to the Central Committee.  But the Executive Committee of the Soviet still supported him, as well as its other representatives in the Government.

The furious pacifist propaganda, which for three months had been so madly carried on by extreme Socialists, now bore fruit, although the same Congress, which had passed the motion on the “ danger of the defeat of any of the belligerents,” was obliged, in answer to Kerensky’s triumphant telegram, to send a fraternal greeting “ to the democratic organisation of soldiers and officers tempered in the fire of the Revolution, who are shedding their blood on the field of battle.”  But the Soviet added a rider to the effect that “ it is not our fault that the war is still going on.”  They emphasised their opinion that the result of the successful advance did not lie in the victory over the Germans, but in the fact that “ Your organised strength, as proved by this advance, gives weight to the voice of revolutionary Russia in speaking to the belligerent, Neutral and Allied countries, and will help to end the war.”

Thus, even when military operations were resumed, the Soviet placed both the Allies and the Central Powers on the same footing, not once using the word “ enemy.”  But it was perhaps for the first time that the word “ Motherland ” had been used in an official document.  “ No one in these days dare evade doing his duty to his Motherland.”  Hitherto they had only spoken of duty to the Revolution.

Possibly this divergence from international phraseology may have been due to the influence of the more moderate, sober, and patriotic Soviet of Peasants’ Delegates, whose signatures stand at the bottom of the Manifesto.

This document (printed on the 3rd July) is a typical example of the ambiguous position of the Soviet in fundamental problems of State.

When the particulars of the advance began to arrive, the joy of the patriots was rapidly damped.  It turned out that the principal part had been played by the officers.  It was they who advanced, often alone, without their soldiers.  Whole units did not wish to obey orders, and held sittings and meetings, disputing and discussing whether to advance or not.  The same soldiers who in the Tsar’s time advanced without a murmur, and though almost unarmed, and without the support of artillery, performed the most difficult operations—now, with unheard-of quantities of munitions, under undreamt-of conditions of liberty, proved they had lost the spirit of an army.

Such was the ruin wrought in the army by revolutionary seasoning and democratic organisation, which, however, should be more justly termed anarchistic disorganisation.3  And day by day its fruits became more evident.

1 The day before this Milyukov made a long speech about Zimmerwald in the Duma Committee.  “ Working on parallel lines with the ideologists of Zimmerwald, the German agents attain objects which please, on the one hand, our extreme parties, and on the other, the German Government.... Lenin and Trotsky, who advocate perpetual revolution, and their comrades, who have sinned against all the articles of the penal code, are proceeding unhindered to carry infection into society and into the army.”  Milyukov demanded that the Government should arrest Lenin.  But though his estimate was practically the same as Milyukov’s, Kerensky did not go so far as his political opponent demanded.  Trotsky called Milyukov “a dishonourable slanderer” for the expressions quoted above.  No voice on the Soviet was raised to protest against this attack, for Milyukov was an Imperialist, and Lenin—a comrade.

2 Even the dethroned and imprisoned Tsar marked this as a day of gladness, as may be seen in his diary, published by the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1918.

3 It must be pointed out that when Trotsky (who of course was loudest in his demands for the sovereign rights of Soldiers’ Committees) was organising the Red Army, he abolished the Committees, and replaced them by the old discipline of sole command.