“The “revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry” is at best a difficult concept. let us see whether Lenin adequately clarified what he meant by this formula. A leading Menshevik Martynov, published in January 1905 a work entitled ‘Two Dictatorships’ (‘Dve Diktatury’). In this work Martynov insisted that Russian Social Democracy could not play the role of a Jacobin party in the coming revolution. He further emphasized that no part in a revolutionary government should be taken by the proletariat, i.e., by the Russian Marxists. In Martynov’s view, governmental power in the hands of the proletariat could only cause an abnormal situation in which the proletariat would seek to use power for its own aims and would therefore incorrectly attempt to introduce socialism during a bourgeois revolution (1). Lenin proceeded to criticize severely these opinions of a leading Menshevik adversary and advanced the opposing idea of Social-Democratic participation in a temporary revolutionary government, which he came to designate as the “revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”. He attacked as essentially contradictory and self-defeating Martynov’s  view that the Russian Social Democrats should abstain from such a government but at the same time could remain the party  of “extreme revolutionary opposition”, seeking to win the maximum benefit  from the revolution. In ‘Two Tactics’ Lenin accused the Mensheviks of gross inconsistency. How, he asked, could the party carry out the role of extreme revolutionary opposition without joining in the temporary revolutionary government? (2). The Mensheviks were doubly inconsistent in their belief that the Social-Democratic party could usefully participate in revolutionary governments at the local level. The Mensheviks, Lenin wrote in ‘Two Tactics’, openly recognized as appropriate “episodical” seizures of power and the formation of revolutionary communes at the local level, with the exclusive aim of spreading the revolution and disorganizing further the Tsar’s government (3). Lenin seemed to explode in fury. “What distinguishes”, he asked, “the ‘appropriateness’ of a partial ‘seizure of power’ in a town o region from participation in a temporary revolutionary government of the entire country? (4). In ‘Two Tactics’, Lenin also dealt with another Menshevik objection, namely, that his “democratic dictatorship” presupposed a “united will” of the proletariat and the (petty-bourgeois) peasantry. According to the Mensheviks, a “united will” of proletariat and peasantry was impossible, since the proletariat aimed for socialism and the peasant was essentially a petty capitalist. Lenin’s answer envisaged indeed a “united will” of the “democratic dictatorship”, but united only in its opposition to the Russian past-autocracy, serfdom, monarchy, privileges – and not united in its plans for the Russian future – the struggle against private property and for socialism. The alliance with the peasantry in the “democratic dictatorship” was to be only temporary, Lenin declared (5)” [Kermit E. McKenzie, ‘Lenin’s “Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry”‘][(in) ‘Essays in Russian and Soviet History. In Honor of Geroid Tanquary Robinson’, a cura di J.S. Curtiss, Leiden, 1963] [(1) See the editors’ notes in ‘Sochineniia’, VII, 455-57; (2) ‘Dve taktiki’, ibid, VIII, 77-79; (3) Ibid. p. 79; (4) Ibid, p. 80; (5) Ibid. 84-85] [Lenin-Bibliographical-Materials]  [LBM*]