Bolshevism: An International Danger

Bolshevism: An International Danger

Bolshevism: An International Danger

Bolshevism: An International Danger


First published in 1920, Paul Miliukov's book concerns the international nature of Bolshevism, both in terms of its ideologically internationalist doctrine of World Revolution and in terms of the attempts to spread Bolshevism in the period immediately preceding and following the First World War and the Russian revolution of October 1917. This reissue is a must for anyone interested in the rise of Bolshevism as an international force.


Some time ago people who tried to prove to European public opinion that Russian Bolshevism was an imminent danger to the whole of the world’s civilization invariably met with the ready objection, that Bolshevism belonged entirely and exclusively to Russia, and that it was no concern of any other country. Since then reflection and experience have taught people better, and we now often find that the word “Bolshevism” is applied to purely European phenomena which have little to do with Russian Bolshevism.

The truth is that Bolshevism has two aspects. One is international; the other is genuinely Russian. The international aspect of Bolshevism is due to its origin in a very advanced European theory. Its purely Russian aspect is chiefly concerned with its practice, which is deeply rooted in Russian reality and, far from breaking with the “ancient regime,” reasserts Russia’s past in the present. As geological upheavals bring the lower strata of the earth to the surface as evidence of the early ages of our planet, so Russian Bolshevism, by discarding the thin upper social layer, has laid bare the uncultured and unorganized substratum of Russian historical life. That is why Mr. Lenin may be considered both as a supporter of the Revolutionary Syndicalism of Georges Sorel, so far as his international face is concerned, and as an inheritor of the old tradition of the Russian Pugachevs, Razins, and Bolotnikovs—the great social rebels of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

My object in this book is to study the international aspect of Bolshevism. A few months ago I planned a larger book, in which this subject was to enter as a first chapter, to be closely followed by the study of Russian Bolshevism from within, i.e. in its national aspect. Three more chapters were to be devoted to the study of anti-Bolshevist Russia, of the Russian borderlands, and of the relations between dismembered Russia and her former Allies. But now I see that it will take much more time and space than I expected to cover the whole ground. The first chapter has grown into a small book, while I was writing it, and I decided to publish it separately. The international aspect of Bolshevism has been, up to now, far less often treated as a whole than its purely Russian internal aspect. That is why this little work may fill a gap in the literature on Bolshevism until the appearance of a better and more elaborate exposition.

It also proved not so difficult and inconvenient as it might seem to detach the international side of Bolshevism from the Russian. In the first place, so far as its theory is concerned, Bolshevism is not Russian, but European, and international. This may not be universally known, and the first part of the book is written in order to trace Bolshevism to its European source.

Secondly, the Russian practice of Bolshevism did not enrich the European theory with any valuable positive data. Mr. Lenin’s renowned “Decrees,” as applied to Russian reality, were nothing but “scraps of paper,” and the purely political triumph of Bolshevism in Russia is no proof that its social teachings can be applied at all. The apparent progress of Bolshevism can be only explained by the extraordinary favourable conditions created, first by war, and then by the Revolution. But these conditions are common to Russia with all . . .

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