For Lack of a Clean Principled Weapon They Snatch at a Dirty One

Published in Pravda No. 68, June 10 (May 28), 1917.

Rabochaya Gazeta, the organ of the Menshevik ministerialists, takes a shot at us by recalling the fact that the secret police arrested the Bolshevik conciliator Rykov in 1911 in order to give the Bolsheviks of our Party “freedom” of action “on the eve of the elections to the Fourth Duma” (Rabochaya Gazeta rubs this in).

But what does this fact prove? It proves that the secret police were clearing the way to the Duma for Malinovsky, who turned out to be an agent provocateur. Naturally, the secret police looked after their undercover agents.

Is our Party to be blamed for this? It is not, no more than any honest man would think of blaming Chernov and Co. for mistakenly vindicating Azef, or blaming Yonov and Co. (member of the Bund and colleague of Rabochaya Gazeta) for exonerating the agent provocateur Zhitomirsky (“Otsov”) in 1910 in the name of the united Central Committee, or blaming those Mensheviks who, in 1904, tried for a time to defend the agent provocateur Dobroskokov, or blaming those Cadets who also had agent provocateurs in their midst, whose names have now been made public.

All parties without exception have made mistakes in failing to detect agent provocateurs. This is a fact. Rabochaya Gazeta, which has entered into a bloc with Minister Chernov, chooses to ignore his old mistakes and mentions only those of its present opponents. Such a method is clearly dishonest, clearly unscrupulous. The blow which Rabochaya Gazeta aimed at us has fallen upon itself, for it will never dare to admit to the world that it is honest to keep silent about Azef while shouting about a similar agent provocateur, Malinovsky, for selfish factional motives.

Source: Marxist Internet Archive.