V. I.   Lenin


To:   V. P. NOGIN

Published: First published in 1958 in the journal Voprosy Istorii KPSS No. 3. Sent from Munich to London. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 51b-53a.
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.
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5/II. 01

Thanks for the letter and the detailed analysis of Iskra. Thorough and well-argumented appraisals pointing out slips (inevitable in such a difficult job as this) are so rare that one appreciates them doubly. Your interest in Iskra reinforces my hope that we shall work together for it.

I fully agree with you that the review of home develop ments is skimpy. In the second issue it is better, but skimpy nonetheless. It is one of the most difficult sections, and only gradually can it be put on a satisfactory footing.

As regards contributions from correspondents, you are not quite right, in my opinion. The coincidence with Rabochaga Mysl[3] No. 10 incidentally, I have not seen the issue; please send it to me does not bother me.

It shows that we too have contacts with the St. Petersburg League,ie and that is a very good thing.

Your interpretation of the advice “to be careful” con tained in the item about the crisis[4] is in my view erro neous and far-fetched. It is clear from the context that the warning is only against strikes, and since next to this it is pointed out that strikes are not the only means of strug gle, that it is necessary in these difficult times to use other methods of struggle: propaganda (“to explain”) and agita tion (“to prepare for more resolute—N.B.—struggle”), I categorically protest against comparing the call “to be careful” with the Rabochaya Mysi kind of thinking. The advice “to be careful” when it comes to strikes and to   prepare for more resolute struggle is the exact opposite of the Rabochaya Mysl position. Your point about demonstrations is fully justified, but, first, this enters precisely into the broader concept of “more resolute struggle”; second, it would be out of place to make this call more concrete and definite since there is no direct occasion for such action and it is impossible to assess the overall situation in detail. In issue No. 2, in a commentary on one particular strike and an item in Yuzhny Rabochy,[5] an attempt is made to be more definite on this score.

I cannot agree that the demand for state unemployment insurance could serve to stir the workers into action. I doubt whether this is right in principle: in a class state unemployment insurance can hardly amount to more than a deception. From the standpoint of tactics, it is especially out of place in Russia, since our state is fond of experiments in “etatisation”, loves to advertise them as being for the “common good”, and we should resolutely oppose any extension of the functions of the present state and work for more freedom for public initiative. Aid and benefits for the unemployed are all right, but “state insurance”—?

Your point that the article about Zubatov is not quite rounded out is perhaps justified.[6]

As for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Decembrists—this really was an omission.[7]

If you wish, I can get you a Bulgarian passport. Write me if you need it, and if so, let me have the particulars for Identification.

The transport situation has improved and we may be able to manage without the help of new people.

Please send meRabochaya Mysl”, and also Byloye[8] and other London publications. I would also like to have a catalogue of publications put out by the Fabian Society and other socialist firms. Which British newspaper would you recommend? Can you send me a couple of issues as samples? I subscribed to Justice[9] but was not satisfied with it.

I haven’t got four copies of Iskra at the moment. We shall get them soon. Why, incidentally, must you have   them? Do not forget that under no circumstances can it be circulated abroad. The copy sent you is only for you and your friend[1] ; in general, for the time being, it must remain strictly a secret.

With best regards,

I am sending you our pamphlet as well.[2] So far also only for you, confidentially.

Please let us know your opinion.

When are you planning to go to Russia? Before you go, we must see each other. Couldn’t you come over for a week or so?[10] How are you off for earnings and finances in general?

Once more, best regards,


[1] The reference evidently is to S. V. Andropov.—Ed.

[2] Probably the pamphlet May Days in Kharkov, with a preface by Lenin (see present edition. Vol. 4, pp. 357–65).—Ed.

[3] Rabochaya Mysl (Workers’ Thought)—a newspaper published by the Economists from October 1897 to December 1902. It was edited by K. M. Takhtarev and others.

[4] An unsigned item printed in Iskra No. 1 in the “Our Public Life” column. It cautioned workers against unorganised strikes in the crisis conditions then prevailing, for the employers seized upon them as a pretext for wholesale dismissals.

[5] Yuzhny Rabochy (Southern Worker)—an illegal Social-Democratic newspaper published by a group of the same name from January 1900 to April 1903. At the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. the delegates from this group took a Centrist position.

The Second Congress dissolved the Yuzhny Rabochy group along with all other Social-Democratic groups and organisations Which had functioned independently.

The reference is to reports on a strike at the Prokhorov mines (on the Donets) carried by Iskra No. 2 (February 1901) and Yuzhny Rabochy No. 3 (November 1900).

[6] V. P. Nogin had suggested that L. Martov’s article “New Friends of the Russian Proletariat” should end in a more pointed analogy between the preachments of S. V. Zubatov and the treatment of economic struggle in the programme of Rabochaya Mysl.

[7] V. P. Nogin had pointed out that although Iskra had chosen as its motto words first used by the Decembrists, it made no mention of the uprising of December 14, 1825.

[8] Byloye (The Past)—-an historical journal devoted mostly to the history of Narodism and earlier social movements, published in 1900–04 and 1906–07, first abroad, them in St. Petersburg.

[9] Justice—a weekly published in London from January 1884 to the beginning of 1925; organ of the Social—Democratic Federation and, from 1911, of the British Socialist Party. From February 1925 to December 1933 it was published under the name of Social-Democrat.

[10] On his way to Russia in May 1901, V. P. Nogin spent a week in Munich where he discussed with Lenin the work to be conducted in Russia.

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