V. I.   Lenin


Published: First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany VIII. Sent from Munich to London. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 41-42.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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.
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November 2, 1900

Please forgive me, dear Novosyolov, that I am so disgracefully late with my reply to your letter of October  17. I was constantly distracted by “petty” matters and chores here, and was also waiting for a reply from Alexei. It was essential to wait for a reply, in order to clear up the question of our editorial statement. Alexei has decided not to circulate it at present. Therefore, in sending you a copy, I beg you to keep it secret for the time being, and not to show it to anyone (apart perhaps from that close friend of yours who has authority from the St. Petersburg group, and about whom you write[1]) and, in any,case, not let it pass into anyone else’s hands. In general, we have decided not to circulate this thing abroad until it has been distributed in Russia, and since Alexei is holding it back over there, it is particularly important for us to see that it does not spread out here. Counting on your close participation in our undertaking, I decided to make an exception and to acquaint you with the statement. When reading it please bear in mind that the intention is to publish both a paper and a journal (or a miscellany); but the statement says nothing about the latter for certain special reasons connected with the plan for publishing the journal.[2] Therefore, some passages of the statement should be read as applying not only to the paper.

Please write and tell me what impression the statement has made on you and your friend.

What type of “agitation journal” do the members of the Rabocheye Znamya group propose to publish (it was about them you wrote, wasn’t it?)? What kind of journal is it to be, and who is to work on it?

As regards shipment across the frontier into Russia, I think this will always be easily done: we have connections with several groups who carry on such transport, and in addition a member of our group was recently given a promise (a solid one, judging by everything) that they would be able to take anyone across the frontier into Russia without a passport. This, I think, is easily arranged.

The Russian passport business is much worse. So far there is nothing, and the “prospects” are still very indefinite. Perhaps this too will be arranged by the spring.

I shall probably be staying on here for a fairly long time, and our correspondence can therefore continue without inconvenience.

You ask what work we should like to request you to take on. I think that (by the spring or by the autumn, whenever you intend to move) the following work will be of especial importance for us: (1) transport of literature across the frontier; (2) delivery throughout Russia; (3) organisation of workers’ groups to circulate the paper and collect information, etc., i.e., in general, organisation of the circulation of the paper and of close and proper connections between it and individual committees and groups. We pin great hopes on your co-operation, particularly in the business of direct contacts with the workers in various places. Does such work appeal to you? Have you anything against travelling? It would probably require constant travels.

Is the St. Petersburg group, from which your friend has authority, still in existence? If so, could he provide addresses for contacts in St. Petersburg and a password, in order to transmit our statement to them? Have they any connections with the workers in general, and the St.  Petersburg Workers’ Organisation in particular[3]?

All the best, and I wish you the speediest and easiest emergence from quarantine abroad.


P.S. Have I written the address correctly?

Please confirm receipt of this letter.


[1] St. Petersburg group—the Rabocheye Znamya group emerged in the second half of 1897. It took a negative attitude to Economism. It set itself the aim of conducting political propaganda among the workers and published the newspaper Rabocheye Znamya (Workers’ Banner), of which three issues appeared. It also published several pamphlets and proclamations. Among its leaders were S. V. Andropov, V. P. Nogin and M. B. Smirnov. In January 1901, the St. Petersburg Rabocheye Znamya group merged with the Sotsialist group, but from January to April those leaders of the united group who were in Russia were arrested. Most of the members of the St. Petersburg Rabocheye Znamya group joined the Iskra organisation.

Lenin refers to S. V. Andropov, a Social-Democrat and an active member of the Rabocheye Znamya group, subsequently one of Iskra’s first agents.

[2] The “special reasons” meaning the need for secrecy. J. H. W. Dietz, at whose printing press in Stuttgart the journal Zarya was printed, feared harassment by the police in the event they found out that the journal was in some way connected with the illegal Iskra. Iskra was then printed in Leipzig.

[3] St. Petersburg Workers’ Organisation—an Economist organisation set up in the summer of 1900. Its appeal “To the Workers of All Factories”, published in its newspaper Rabochaya Mysl (Workers’ Thought) No. 9, September 1900, called on the workers to organise circles for the working out of a programme of struggle and for mutual assistance. In the autumn of 1900, the Workers’ Organisation merged with the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. The programme and charter of this united organisation were carried in Rabochaya Mysl No. 11 in April 1901.

Following the victory of the Iskra trend within the St.  Petersburg Committee and its recognition of the newspaper Iskra and the journal Zarya as the leading Social-Democratic organs, a section of the St. Petersburg organisation under the influence and leadership of the proponents of Economism split off from the St. Petersburg Committee in September 1902 and once again formed a separate organisation called the Committee for Workers’   Organisation, which rejoined the Party organisation after the Second Congress of the Party in early 1904.

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