Vyborg Manifesto Signers Go on Trial

From the San Francisco Call ():

Men Who Signed Appeal to People to Refuse Taxes on Trial Today

ST. PETERSBURG, . — The trial of 169 members of the first duma who signed the Viborg manifesto , calling upon the citizens of Russia to stand up for their rights, for popular representation and for an imperial parliament, will begin tomorrow before the court of appeals. The former duma members are charged with high treason and with the promulgation of an appeal to the people to refuse to pay taxes or serve in the army or navy.

The verdict of guilty is anticipated, as the gist of the accusation is established by the text of the manifesto, and only a technical defense can be interposed. But there is no reason to anticipate the infliction of the maximum penalty, which is death. The majority of the defendants have abandoned all hope of acquittal, but are looking forward to a light sentence, such as a year’s imprisonment or some similar punishment.

The prominence of the accused, however, among whom are Professor Serge Mourmtseff, former president of the lower house; Petrankevitch and many other liberal leaders, and the total ineffectiveness of the Viborg appeal may induce the government to further leniency.

Seven of the leading lawyers of Russia, headed by Vassili Maklakoff, leader of the constitutional democrats in the second duma, and M. Talako, will appear for the defense. The trial is expected to last 10 days.

And this comes from the edition of the New York Sun:


Circulating Fictitious Viborg Manifesto About Duma Dissolution.

St. Petersburg, . — The priests of the Orthodox Church are enthusiastically following the Government’s behest to suppress “political error” among the masses. A message from Niegin in the province of Tchernigoff announces that a new ikon has been placed in the Glinfkaia hermitage, representing pictorially the great day of judgment. In the foreground are sinners burning in hell fire, the central figure being easily recognized as a likeness of Count Tolstoi.

Many priests are also helping to circulate a fictitious Viborg manifesto dated , when the former members of the Duma really met. It has 181 signatures, which is the exact number who signed the genuine Viborg manifesto; but instead of its contents being a summons to refuse to pay taxation for recruits, the bogus manifesto declares that the Jews and false masters (that is, the educated people who agitate radical politics) broke up the Duma and defeated the peasants’ hope for land. For this reason, says the manifesto, they must be slaughtered.