V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 4. Sent from Shushenskoye to Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 150-154.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
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February 7, 1898

Yesterday, Mother dearest, I received letters from you and from all the family dated January 22 and 23 and was very glad to get them; I send you my thanks for all the good wishes, I guessed, of course, that you would write to Nadezhda Konstantinovna and invite her to visit you; it is to be hoped she will be allowed to. I still know nothing about her transfer to Shu-shu; she keeps writing that it will be settled “in a day or two”, but it is still dragging on. Now, however, we probably shall not have to wait long for a final decision.

As to what you should send with N.K.—I think you should give her a real load of books since we do not know whether there will be an opportunity in summer. Manyasha intends going abroad (and that, of course, is a bit more interesting than Shu-shu and the Siberian mosquitoes), and you will probably go off to Kokushkino with Mitya.... It’s bad that in two and a half months he has already begun to look puffy. First—does he stick to a diet in prison? I suppose not. In my opinion that is essential. Second—does he do physical jerks? Probably not, either. Also essential. I can at least say from my own experience that every day, with great pleasure and profit I did my gymnastics before going to bed. You loosen up so well at times that it makes you warm even in the worst cold, when the cell is like an ice-well, and after it you sleep better, I can recommend to him an exercise that is very convenient (even if funny)—bow to the ground 50 times. I set myself that stint and was not embarrassed when the warder watched me through the peephole and was   amazed that a prisoner who had never expressed a desire to attend the prison church should suddenly have become so pious! He must bow not less than fifty times without bending his legs and must touch the floor with his fingers each time. Tell him that. Most of these doctors, you know, only talk about hygiene.

I have already written something about clothes. I do not need any underclothes except socks. As for the local tailors, I do not place much hope in them. It is very inconvenient to get clothes made in Minusinsk; one has to go there. There is a tailor here who makes clothes for everybody (he told me so today), including former political exiles, even for all the priests (he boasted to me of that). Although it all sounds very impressive, you had better buy ready-made clothes in Moscow and give the material you have to Mitya or Mark. One thing I do ask you for in particular—a pair of moleskins, because I tear my clothes terribly when I am out shooting. If my straw hat is still in good shape (it’s a Paris hat, after all, the devil take it!) she should bring it. Prominsky, as a matter of fact, has begun making hats (sometimes they look like felt boots!) but they are suitable only for spring and autumn and not for summer. The only other thing is—kid gloves, if they can be bought without knowing the size (which I doubt). I have never worn them, either in St. Petersburg or Paris, but I want to try them in Shu-shu-shu in summer as a protection against mosquitoes. I can wear a net over my head but my hands get badly bitten. Gleb assures me that the local mosquitoes bite through gloves but I do not believe him. The gloves have to be suitably chosen, of course, not for dances but for mosquitoes. Then I need some paper, ruled in squares; I do not suppose there is any in Minusinsk—anyway I do not need much, about four quires with squares of different sizes from the smallest to the largest.

Anyuta asks when the wedding is to be and who we are “inviting”! Isn’t she in a hurry! First of all Nadezhda Konstantinovna has to get here, and then we have to get permission from the authorities to marry—we are people without any rights at all. So how can I do any “inviting”?

As far as concerns verbalisme and phraséologie it seems to me that they should be translated as verbalism (with an   explanation) and phraseology.... That, of course, is not really translation but simply transcription, but what else can you do? “Dilettantism” is quite wrong for verbalism— almost the opposite, in fact. Verbalism is probably closer to scholasticism, i.e., to superfluous (pseudo) learnedness, than to dilettantism. But I don’t remember exactly how Labriola uses these words.

Merci for Bogdanov. I have read half of it. Very interesting and to the point. I am thinking of writing a review.[2]

In reply to Manyasha’s questions: what sort of voice has Gleb? Hm, hm! I suppose it must be baritone. He sings the things that Mark and I used to “bawl” (as Nanny[3] used to say).

The next question—will Paris go to her head? Very like- ly. She has now seen for herself what it is like abroad and can, judge. I lived only one month in Paris, did very little work and spent most of the time running round to see the “sights”. It is not clear to me either whether Manyasha wants to go to study or for the summer only.

Thanks to Mark for his letter. He must not, however, forget Gogol’s “Ivan Andreiches”.[4] I do not know what progress has been made in Russia, but here in Siberia they are doubtlessly flourishing, and they are interested in other things besides knowing whether a government official is arriving and whether the young ladies are on the way.

I am surprised that you have not even heard about Syn Otechestva. I saw in Russkaya Mysl[5] today (the issue of November or December 1897) that the newspaper declares itself a Narodnik organ pur sang.[1]

Till next time.
V. U.

The real cold has now arrived, so we have given up shooting and only go for walks—in the forest, though. My lodgings are warm, however, and my clothes still warmer.

Manyasha should send Nadezhda Konstantinovna the list of books I should like to have—she will look for them in St. Petersburg, if, of course, it is not too late by now.

If we have any other children’s picture books let N.K. bring them for Prominsky’s children.

A. Semyonov. Obzor istoricheskikh svedenii o promyshlennosti i torgovle. Three volumes. An old book, published in the fifties or sixties, or even earlier.

Sbornik svedenii i materialov po vedomstvu Ministerstva finansov. St. Petersburg, 1865, No. 6.

1866, No. 4 and No. 5.

1867, No. 6 (June) especially.

Materialy po opisaniyu promyslov Vyatskoi gubernii. Five issues. Vyatka, 1880 (Manyasha already has the second issue).

Vasilenko. Promysly selskogo naseleniya Poltavskoi gubernii.

Svod svedenii ob ekonomicheskom polozhenii selskogo naseleniya Yevropeiskoi Rossii. St. Petersburg, 1894. Published by the Office of the Committee of Ministers.

Shcherbina. Ekonomicheskiye otnosheniya v raione Vladikavkazskoi zheleznoi dorogi.

Bezobrazov. Narodnoye khozyaistvo Rossii.

Trudy obshchestva selskikh khozyayev yuzhnoi Rossii (those issues for 1895 that carried articles by Mr?? Perhaps Borinevich?... on suburban farms near Odessa).

Ragozin. Zhelezo i ugol na yuge Rossii.

Mendeleyev. Tolkovy tarif.

Yuridichesky Vestnik, 1887, Nos. 11 and 12.

Lyudogovsky.... (? Osnovy selskokhozyaistvennoi ekonomii? or something like it. I do not remember the exact title. A book published in the 70s.)

Statistical tables compiled in the Statistical Division of the Council of the Ministry of the Interior according to the data of 1849-52.

Statistichesky vremennik Rossiiskoi imperii. Series I, Issue 1, St. Petersburg, 1866.

Vremennik Tsentralnogo statisticheskogo komiteta. 1894, No. 34 (average grain and potato harvest for 1882-92).

Vremennik Tsentralnogo statisticheskogo komiteta. 1889, Nos. 10 and 12.

Vremennik Tsentralnogo statisticheskogo komiteta. The issue for 1897 (one of the last issues) which carried the processed data of the army-horse census of 1893-94.

(See the catalogue or the list of publications of the Central Statistical Committee.)


[1] Genuine (Fr.).—Ed.

[2] Lenin’s review of A. Bogdanov’s book Kratky kurs ekonomicheskoi nauki, 1897, was written in February 1898 and published in the April number of Mir Bozhy (The Wide World). (See Collected Works, Vol. 4, pp. 46–54.)

[3] The Nanny referred to was Varvara Grigoryevna Sarbatova, a peasant woman from Penza Gubernia who was Nanny in the Ulyanov family for almost twenty years.

[4] By Ivan Andreich (as in Letter No. 29) Lenin means Ivan Kuzmich, the postmaster in Gogol’s comedy The Inspector-General who was fond of opening other people’s letters. Lenin apparently wanted to warn Mark Yelizarov of the need for greater caution in his correspondence.

[5] Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought)—a literary and political monthly published in Moscow from 1880 to 1918; up to 1905 it held liberal Narodnik views. In the nineties it sometimes published articles by Marxists. After the 1905 Revolution it became an organ of the Right wing of the Cadet Party.

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