By Ekaterina Nikolaevna Vinogradskaya
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To what extent would a worker-peasant regime be capable of inaugurating this phase themselves? More specifically, to what extent would the worker representatives possess the sufficient will to enact changes of a liberal-capitalist mode? Lenin had never hidden the fact that just as a potential alliance with the liberal-capitalists was designed to be temporary, so the alliance with the agrarian petty-bourgeoisie was also going to be temporary; the difference being, however, that in the former case it was expected that the liberals would possess power against the proletariat.
At the same time, however, while fulfilling this task of keeping the state and the masses directly connected with each other, Lenin was not prepared to go any further than this by granting the trade unions an autonomous prerogative of exercising leadership functions. He was not prepared to 48 The Dialogue of Negation forfeit the very essence of the dictatorship of the proletariat being carried out by the vanguard force that he had so scrupulously created since 1902.
By the measures of the Act, the old authority of the landowners was considerably reduced as the peasants were now granted new entitlements over the land they cultivated. Attempts to compensate the landowners – by means of monetary incentives, as well as by the introduction of new organs of self-administration (the zemstvo) – did little to offset such grievances. If anything, they exacerbated them. As for the former serfs themselves, they too inevitably felt cheated by the new economic burdens which were imposed on them, and now that the ‘mystique’ of the old order was showing the first signs of decomposition, their new sense of pent-up grievances were clearly ripe for a whole range of possible articulations.
A woman behind the German lines, by Ekaterina Nikolaevna Vinogradskaya