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A Career

V. I. Lenin

The life story of the millionaire A. S. Suvorin, the publisher of Novoye Vremya, who died not long ago, reflected and expressed a very interesting period in the history of Russia's bourgeois society as a whole.

At the start of his career he was a poor man, a liberal and even a democrat; towards the end of his career, he was a millionaire, a self-satisfied and brazen extoller of the bourgeoisie, who grovelled before every turn in the policies of the powers that be. Is this not typical of the bulk of the "educated" and "intellectual" members of so-called society? It is true, of course, that not all practise renegacy with such furious success as to become millionaires, but nine-tenths, or perhaps ninety-nine out of a hundred, practise the very same renegacy, beginning as radical students and ending up as holders of "cushy jobs" in some office or other, in some swindle or other.

A penniless student who could not enter university for lack of money; a teacher in an uyezd school, who also held the office of secretary to the Marshal of the Nobility or gave private lessons in the homes of aristocratic and wealthy serf-owners; a budding liberal and even democratic journalist sympathising with Belinsky and Chernyshevsky and hostile to reaction—this is how Suvorin began in the fifties and sixties of the last century.

The landlord Katkov, a liberal who sympathised with the British bourgeoisie and the British Constitution, turned during the first upsurge of the democratic movement in Russia (in the early sixties of the nineteenth century) to nationalism, chauvinism and rabid Black-Hundredism.

The liberal journalist Suvorin turned during the second upsurge of the democratic movement in Russia (in the late seventies of the nineteenth century) to nationalism, to chauvinism, to shameless fawning upon the powers that be. The Russo-Turkish War helped this careerist to "find himself", and to find his path of a flunkey rewarded by the huge profits of his newspaper At Your Service, Sir.

Suvorin's Novoye Vremya earned that nickname, At Your Service, Sir, for many decades to come. The newspaper became in Russia model example of the venal press. Novoye Vremya became an expression synonymous with the concepts of apostasy, renegacy and sycophancy. Suvorin's Novoye Vremya is a specimen of brisk trade, of how to sell stuff "for consumption off or on the premises". It deals in everything, from political convictions to pornographic advertisements.

And now, after the third upsurge of the democratic movement in Russia (in the early twentieth century), how many more liberals have taken the Vekhi path, turning to nationalism, to chauvinism, to the defamation of democracy, to sycophancy to the reaction!

Katkov—Suvorin—the Vekhi group are all historical stages of the turn taken by the Russian liberal bourgeoisie from democracy to the defence of reaction, to chauvinism and anti-Semitism.

The class-conscious workers become steeled in their convictions, realising the inevitability of this turn of the bourgeoisie, as well as of the turn of the working masses to the ideas of working-class democracy.

Published: Pravda No. 94, August 18, 1912.
Signed: I. V..
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 274-275.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan

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