V. I. Lenin

What the “Friends of the People” Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats

(A Reply to Articles in Russkoye Bogatstvo Opposing the Marxists[1])

Written: Written in the spring and summer of 1894
Published: First published in 1894. Published according to the hectographed edition, 1894.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 1, pages 129-332.
Translated: ... ...
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2001). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


Part I  131
Before passing to the second part of ...  187
Let us now see how Mr. Mikhailovsky fights ...  191
Part III  203
Let us now pass to the political programme of ...  237
In conclusion it will perhaps be worth ...  271
Appendix I  301
Appendix II  308
Appendix III  326



[1] V. I. Lenin’s book What the “Friends of the People Are” and How They Fight the Social-Democrats (Reply to Articles in Russkoye Bogatstvo Opposing the Marxists) was written in 1894 (the first part was finished in April, and the second and the third in the summer). Lenin started working on this book in Samara in 1892-93. In the Samara Marxist circle he delivered lectures in which he severely criticised the anti-Marxist liberal Narodniks V. V. (Vorontsov), Mikhailovsky, Yuzhakov, and Krivenko. These lectures served as preparatory material for the book.

In the autumn of 1894 Lenin read his work, What the “Friends of the People” Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats, to members of the St. Petersburg Marxist circle. “I remember,” wrote N. K. Krupskaya in her reminiscences, “how it thrilled us all. The aims of the struggle were set forth in the pamphlet with admirable clarity. Hectographed copies of it circulated afterwards from hand to hand under the name of “The Yellow Copy-Books.” They were unsigned. Fairly widely read, they undoubtedly had a strong influence on the Marxist youth at the time.” (N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences of Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p. 15)

Lenin’s book was published in separate parts. The first part was hectographed in June 1894 in St. Petersburg, and was illegally circulated there and in other cities. A second edition of this first part, printed the same way, appeared in July 1894. About 100 copies of the first and second parts were printed by A. A. Ganshin in August in Gorki (Vladimir Gubernia) and in September in Moscow. In September of the same year A. A. Vaneyev, in St. Petersburg, hectographed 50 more copies of the first part (that was the fourth edition), and approximately the same number of copies of the third part. This edition of the book had the following note on the cover: “Published by a provincial group of Social-Democrats.” This was made necessary by the illegal conditions under which the book was produced. Local organisations made copies of Lenin’s work by various means, some parts being handwritten, others typewritten, etc. A group of Social-Democrats in Borzna Uyezd of Chernigov Gubernia hectographed copies of the book in 1894; copies of this edition were circulated in Chernigov, Kiev, and St. Petersburg. At the end of 1894 the book was being read in Vilno; in 1895 in Penza; and at about the same time in Vladimir. In 1895-1896 it circulated among Marxist students in Tomsk. At the same time it was being read in Rostov-on-Don; in 1896, in Poltava and other towns.

Lenin’s book was well known to the Emancipation of Labour group, and also to other Russian Social Democratic organisations abroad.

Copies of the hectographed edition of the first and the third parts of the book were discovered in the early part of 1923 in the archives of the Berlin Social-Democratic organisation, and almost simultaneously in the State Saltykov-Shchedrin Public Library in Leningrad.

In the first, second and third editions of V. I. Lenin’s Collected Works, it was printed according to the hectographed editions of 1894 discovered in 1923.

In 1936, the Institute of Marxism-Leninism acquired a further copy of the hectographed edition of 1894. This copy contains numerous editorial corrections, apparently made by Lenin when preparing to have the book published abroad.

The text of What the “Friends of the People Are” published in the present edition conforms to the text of the hectographed copy acquired by the Institute in 1936, account being taken of the corrections made. According to the authorised copy, inverted commas have been replaced in some passages by italics, while a number of interpolations that were in brackets in the text have been given as footnotes. Lenin’s explanation to the table (Appendix I), omitted from previous editions, is also given.

The second part of the book has still not been found.—MIA Ed.

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