Petrograd: Izdanie Partii Narodnoi Svobody; Leshtukovskaia Parovaia Skoropechatnia "Svoboda" 1917. Octavo (20.5 × 14 cm). Original printed staple-stitched wrappers; 44 pp. Stamp of Hoover Institution to front wrapper. Wrappers lightly discolored; lower spine extremity frayed; text toned due to stock; else about very good. Item #6687
Expressing support for Russia’s continued participation in World War I largely on nationalist grounds, this pamphlet contains two speeches by Pavel Nikolaevich Miliukov (1859-1943), historian and leader of a liberal centrist party Partiia Narodnoi Svobody (Party of People’s Freedom), more commonly known as Constitutional Democratic Party (1905-1917). The Party was founded in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution, and consisted of the educated elite such as lawyers and professors. Despite the presence of revolutionary factions early on, by 1906 more moderate voices dominated the Party, which eventually endorsed the constitutional monarchy. This pamphlet was published sometime between the February and October Revolutions of 1917, when the Provisional Government (installed after the abdication of Nicholas II) was struggling to steer the country engaged in a conflict that lacked popular backing. Miliukov was a Foreign Minister in the Provisional Government a role that allowed him to successfully advocate for Russia’s continued war participation.
The war was largely opposed by the Socialists, although both the Russian Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries (SRs) wavered in this position. The first International Socialist Conference, convened to discuss strategy promoting an anti-war stance, was held in Zimmerwald, Switzerland in September 1915. Pavel Axelrod of the Menshevks and Vladimir Lenin of the Bolsheviks took part in the conference, with Lenin especially supporting the end of the war. In his speeches, Miliukov condemns the German influence on Russian Socialists as it was manifest in Zimmerwald and dicusses collaboration as treasonous. The Bolshevik stance on immediate exit from WWI would later give the party the upper hand and allow it to take over after the February Revolution.
With the stamp of the “B. I. Nicolaevsky Collection” to front wrapper and title page; later deaccessioned. Boris Nicolaevsky (1887-1966) was a Russian revolutionary (Menshevik) who lived in exile starting in 1922. He amassed an important collection on the history of the revolutionary movement in Russia and sold the collection to the Hoover institution in 1963. KVK, OCLC show copies at Geneva, the National Library of Israel, Houghton, Stanford (Hoover), and Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.