V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 2-3. Sent from Shushenskoye to Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 106-110.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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.

May 18, 1897

This week, Mother dearest, I received two letters from you (dated April 20 and 24) and am answering the latter by the first post from here, which leaves this evening. Write and tell me when you get the letter from here, on which day, that is. Your letters took so long to reach me because they were forwarded from Krasnoyarsk and a lot of time was wasted sending them on. About finance—I do not remember your asking me twice (as you write in your letter of April 24), or perhaps I have forgotten it. As long as my finances were good I did not write. But before I left Krasnoyarsk (about the 26th or 28th), I sent a registered letter with a request for some money, which is probably now on its way here from Krasnoyarsk[4]. Later, I also wrote from here saying that I should have enough for about a fortnight.

As far as concerns your idea of coming here only to beg a change of residence for me—it is really not worth while. First, I could probably obtain permission to move myself, if I were to set about it. Secondly, the village of Tesinskoye is hardly likely to be any better than Shusha. According to the preliminary information we gathered earlier, Tesinskoye is much worse than Shusha as a place, for the shooting, etc. Thirdly, the journey here is not so simple—I have already written about this and will write again today in greater detail to Manyasha; she accuses me (I am joking, of course) of “being horribly inhospitable”. So far I have had no letters from Tesinskoye[5], but as I know nothing about them I shall not do anything; it is possible they will ask to be sent   somewhere else if Tes turns out in reality to be as bad as we have heard.

Shu-shu-shu is not a bad village. It is true it is in a rather bare locality, but not far away (one and a half to two versts) there is a forest, although much of it has been felled. There is no road to the Yenisei but the River Shush flows right past the village and there is a fairly big tributary of the Yenisei not far away (one or one and a half versts), where you can bathe. The Sayan Mountains or spurs from them are visible on the horizon; some of them are quite white, the snow on them probably never melts. And so we have something artistic here, too; it was not for nothing that when I was in Krasnoyarsk I tried writing verses “In Shusha at Sayan’s foot...” but, unfortunately, I got no further than the first line!

I am surprised that you do not write a word about sending me the remainder of the books. It would be a pity if they have not yet been sent (I wrote about this a long time ago from Krasnoyarsk[1] ). Now the steamers will be going as far as Minusinsk (the water is rising rapidly), so a bale can easily be sent here. Later it will be difficult again, for the Yenisei has lots of shallows, and high water will not last long. Perhaps, however, the books have been sent?

As for my complaints that you do not write very often, that is all a matter of the past and was due to the amazing (for us, who are unaccustomed to such things) delay in receiving answers to our letters. I remember I wrote about it a month or six weeks ago, so it must have referred to the letters you wrote at the end of March! I now receive letters more often than before and I do not think that they get lost because the loss of some would be revealed when the next were received. Apparently not a single letter has gone astray, except the first one that Anyuta sent to the station. Here in the village I shall have to work still harder at my correspondence, so it will be better if letters come more frequently from “Russia”.

You say that “Anya says the reply to the editors has been read”. I do not quite understand this. Did she read the reply herself or have the editors already had time to   read it? Does Anya know any details about the dispute with the editors, about the war against them by gold-prospector and company? Has she heard the “other side”, i.e., somebody from the editorial office?[6] I am waiting for a letter from her. Have you subscribed to a paper for me? I have no papers at all here. They are also needed in Minusinsk since there is no reading-room there.

Regards to Mark. He never lets me know how he is. I can inform him and Mitya that the shooting here, apparently, is not at all bad. Yesterday I travelled about 12 versts to shoot duck and great snipe. There is a lot of game, but without a dog the shooting is difficult, especially for such a poor shot as I. There are even wild goats, and in the mountains and in the taiga (30-40 versts from here, where the local peasants sometimes go shooting) there are squirrel, sable, bear and deer.

I am sorry I did not take a waterproof. It is indispensable here. Could you send me one in a small parcel? I do not know when I shall next be in town or whether I should find anything suitable in such a town-cum-village as Minusinsk. Perhaps I shall also ask Mark (if there is any money) to buy me a good revolver; but so far, I do not see the need for it.

V. U.

What news is there of Columbus?[2] I have heard that he is married and is ill. Do you know anything about him?

Anatoly and Yuly have again been put in prison; they did not want to leave before navigation begins and so the Governor-General ordered them to wait in gaol! The steamer for Yeniseisk is supposed to leave Krasnoyarsk some time after May 20.

May 18, 1897


I have received the extracts you made. A big merci for them. I shall probably not be able to study them in detail   until autumn, for at the moment I am mostly loafing around doing nothing. I cannot yet say whether I shall need anything else or what it might be.

As for my being “horribly inhospitable”, I shall dispute that with you. Before one can be hospitable, i.e., receive guests, must one not first know where one is going to live? That is something I did not know when I was in Krasnoyarsk. The “Shu-shu-shu” that I hear and repeat cannot be called knowledge when I have no idea of how to get to that Shu-shu-shu, of what the place is like or how I shall live there, etc. And before being hospitable one must know for certain that the guests can reach you and be lodged, I will not say comfortably, but at least reasonably well. I have not been able to say this until very recently, that is, until the middle of May. You will most likely read my letter in June. This means that it will take the better half of the summer to pass on information and make preparations. Does this make sense? You have, of course, already learnt from my letter describing the journey by road that a trip here is quite a troublesome affair and rather unpleasant. It was a good thing that the weather was excellent— but what if there had been rain! The weather here is changeable in the extreme. Yesterday I went shooting. In the morning the weather was wonderful and it was hot, a real summer’s day. In the evening a terribly cold wind sprang up with rain into the bargain. We came home plastered with mud and if we had not had fur coats would have frozen on the way. The local folk say that such happenings are not infrequent in summer and so they take fur coats with them even in summer when they travel.[3] Until I have settled down and looked the place over I ought not to invite people here.

In any case, if ever you do come here, I shall have to send a telegram from Minusinsk in advance to tell you whether steamers are going as far as the town and whether navigation is reliable. If not, it may happen that the steamer will take you only half way. The Yenisei forms numerous bars and shallows, so navigation as far as Minusinsk is very   short-lived and you have to “catch” it. Even now I don’t know for certain whether steamers are going as far as Minusinsk—I think they are, because the water is rising very fast.

Incidentally, about telegrams. Our “postman” (the one who serves our volost) is in Minusinsk on Thursdays and Mondays (the days the post arrives in Minusinsk). If you have to send telegrams, therefore, the best time is on Wednesday or Sunday, i.e., so that they arrive in Minusinsk on Thursday or Monday morning. Then I get them on Tuesday or Friday morning. Of course they can be sent for delivery by messenger on another day, but that is much more expensive and is only for emergencies.

In general I am very surprised that you are unwilling to go abroad. Can it possibly be more interesting to stay in some village near Moscow? If you travel to Moscow to take music lessons, can you not also travel to the nearest town from there? Incidentally, I think you will be reading this letter somewhere abroad.

All the best,
V. U.

Send me all sorts of catalogues, especially of second-hand books, and especially of foreign books.


[1] See Letter No. 20—Ed.

[2] I. Kh. Lalayants is referred to.—Ed.

[3] I am thinking of acquiring a half-length sheepskin coat for when I go shooting.—Lenin

[4] This letter has been lost. It was apparently a request to the Novoye Slovo editors to forward the fee for the first part of his article “A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism”.

[5] Lenin had not received any letters from Krzhizhanovsky and Starkov, who were sent to the village of Tesinskoye.

[6] The “dispute” and “war” were started by P. P. Maslov (“GoldProspector”) and the editors of the newspaper Samarsky Vestnik (Samara Herald) against the editors of Novoye Slovo headed by P. B. Struve; the latter were accused of feelings of sympathy for the bourgeoisie and of liberalism. In this dispute Lenin took the side of Novoye Slovo (see pp. 48–49 )

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