V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written in October, prior to 5th, 1902
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 46. Sent from London to Paris. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 91b-93a.
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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Dear Leiteisen,

Y.[1] passed on to me your resolution for the conference on the formulation. I was quite satisfied with the “Confidential Communication”, but the verdict should in my opinion be more emphatic, more categorical. In particular, I would suggest:

Run par. 3 into par. 4, since in itself par. 3 is unfinished and pointless.

Add to par. 1: “A thorough examination of all the data relating to Gurovich’s character has convinced the commission that as regards his moral qualities he has nothing in common with a sincere and honest revolutionary.”

To par. 2. “Consequently, Gurovich did not tell the truth or had to conceal much about his means of livelihood.”

Par. 3. See above (and par. 4).

Par. 5. The commission finds that even if in any one of these instances it could be assumed that the gendarmes learned the facts in some other, chance, and unknown manner, a comparison of all these instances absolutely rules out such an assumption and allows of no doubt as to Gurovich’s treachery.

Par. 6 should precede par. 5.

Par. 7. Insert “unanimously and insistently”. Add: “The commission finds that this opinion is fully borne out by many of the particulars communicated to it which cannot be made public for reasons of secrecy. However, the commission   is informing the revolutionary organisations of some of these facts in a confidential circular letter.”

Taking into account” should be shifted from the introduction to the conclusion, for many of the points are not connected and, taken separately, not too weighty.

Taking into account the aforegoing, the commission holds that the accused Gurovich’s plea that there is no absolutely definite evidence and unquestionable proof in no way can serve to exonerate him. A crime such as secret service in the political police, generally speaking, with the exception of a few isolated cases, cannot be proved by absolutely definite evidence and facts concrete enough to be verified by outsiders. Having examined all the evidence in its entirety and thoroughly verified numerous depositions by revolutionaries, the commission has arrived at the firm conviction that (in detail) Mikhail Ivanovich Gurovich (calling,[2] etc., in detail) was an agent of the secret political police and operated in St. Petersburg revolutionary organisations as a provocateur.

The commission therefore urges all honest Russian citizens strictly to boycott Gurovich and to treat him consistently as a traitor and spy.

Those are my comments, dear L. Please bear in mind that I did not have time to give much thought to the formulation (for Y. wants the manuscript back at once) and that I have only given a rough idea of the lines along which I think it should be amended. It should make as formidable an impression as possible[3] ; I would then be in favour of publishing the sentence as a separate leaflet, with a photograph and an introduction from Iskra on the need to wage a systematic struggle against provocateurs and spies, to set up groups to expose, shadow and harass them, and so on.

If the “fighter”[4] tries to wriggle out of it, try to get him to enter his dissenting opinion, or something of the   sort, in the minutes, so that a record should remain of his shilly-shallying.

Best regards,


[1] Code name for the St. Petersburg Workers’ Organisation.—Ed.

[2] Here could be added age, distinguishing features, etc., and the suggestion made to publish his photograph. —Lenin

[3] Like a court decision, the sentence should be drawn up in great detail without any fear of repetition. —Lenin

[4] Identity not established.—Ed.

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