V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1925 in Lenin Miscellany III. Sent from Munich to Zurich. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 66b-67.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2005). 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.

4/VIII. 01

Dear P. B.,

We received your letter of the 30th and, today, your letter from Niedelbad informing us that the meeting can be arranged at your place. I am very glad. I hope we shall see each other this week and have a good talk, and therefore shall confine myself to a brief note on “business”.

I wrote today via Stuttgart to a man named Finn in Zurich—it was a letter of recommendation to you. My wife and sister knew this Finn (slightly) in Russia (before his arrest). He created the impression of a superficial person, but there were no grounds to doubt his honesty. He was picked up in the Moscow affair[2] together with the notorious traitor Ruma and was exiled to Astrakhan. Other Astrakhan exiles (well known to us) likewise did not question his honesty, all the more so since Finn was one of the first to identify Ruma as a traitor.

Going abroad after exile, Finn stayed for a time in Berlin where our representatives evidently were friendly with him at first, but then parted company with him, and yesterday I got an unexpected letter from a Berliner saying that Finn “does not observe Party ethics”, that “he makes a repulsive impression”, that he “knew of Ruma’s relations with Zubatov”, that although they do not think Finn is a spy they recommend caution.

Astounded by this letter, we carried caution so far that   I did not even see Finn[1] (Alexei, without revealing that he was in on things, merely told him where the rendezvous was to take place), instead my wife saw him and told him that I was living in Stuttgart and was there at the moment.

Because of this I wrote to him through Stuttgart, and would ask you to keep up the fiction.

Finn is a writer of sorts. I believe that Alexei and I made a mistake in not seeing him and going into the affair personally. Apparently Finn parted company with the Berliners because he would not agree to their demand: to give Iskra the full story of the Ruma affair. This aroused their suspicion. Finn told my wife that he could not do it be cause Ruma would then have direct evidence of his, Finn’s, connections with the illegal press. Instead Finn gave my wife a note of a few lines saying that there is no doubt about Ruma’s dealings with Zubatov.

To get to the bottom of all this, I shall write at once to my sister, who knew Finn before his arrest and met him in Moscow. I shall ask her to reply both to me and directly to you. You, on your part, please talk to Finn and sound him out, and besides, if it is not inconvenient, detain him in Zurich for a couple of extra days so that I could also see him (it will be much more convenient there than here) and try to correct the mistake I made because of the shocking letter from Berlin.

Finn proposes to go on to G. V. Give him a brief note to G. V. and at the same time send this letter to G. V. so that he should be informed.

Once again au revoir,


[1] (I never knew Finn and never even saw him). —Lenin

[2] A reference to the wholesale arrests of members of the Social-Democratic organisation in Moscow. A. Y. Finn-Yenotayevsky was arrested on November 11, 1896. The provocateur Ruma was instrumental in setting the police on the organisation.

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