V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on January 28, 1903
Published: First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany VIII. Sent from London to St. Petersburg. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, page 127.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Why don’t you reply to No. 16 of Rabochaya Mysl, published in Geneva, apparently by Nadezhdin? Are you really going to let this pass too without a protest? What a scandal that leaflet No. 1 of Rabochaya Mysl was burned[1]: of course, there were some things in it that needed correcting, and drastically at that. But then why wasn’t it done? It’s quite incomprehensible what is going on at your end! Why has the printed leaflet on the 200th anniversary of the press been delayed[2]? Send us immediately every leaflet, your own and other people’s, workers’ and students’, all without exception, with a note saying whether they may be quoted and whether they were distributed—two copies of each to two addresses, either simply in envelopes or wrapped up inside a legal newspaper sent by book-post, only with a strong wrapper crosswise.

Why don’t you send to Iskra the St. Petersburg Committee reports of the money you collect? Be sure to do this. There is great need of workers’ letters from St.  Petersburg; please do your best to get some, especially about unemployment, and then about the impression created by our literature.

Correct leaflet No. 1 of Rabochaya Mysl, rewriting it in a more restrained and more business-like tone, and be sure to publish the story of the split within the Committee. Nadezhdin’s Rabochaya Mysl cannot, I emphasise, cannot be let off without a public protest.


[1] Rabochaya Mysl (Worker’s Thought) No. 16, November– December 1902, carried a “Protest of the Workers’ Organisation Committee” against the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. which had acknowledged Iskra and Zarya as the Party’s leading organs. The same issue had a letter from the Workers’ Organisation Committee to the Svoboda (Freedom) group and the editorial board of the magazine Otkliki (Comment), expressing gratitude for their sympathy and offering support. The pro-Iskra St. Petersburg Committee issued, in place of Rabochaya Mysl, its Listok Rabochei Mysli (Rabochaya Mysl Leaflet) in December 1902 and January 1903. Listok No. 1 was destroyed by a committee decision in view of its poor wording.

[2] The first Russian newspaper, Vedomosti o voyennykh i inykh delakh, dostoinykh znaniya i pamyati, sluchivshikhsya v Moskovskom gosudarstve i vo inykh okrestnykh stranakh (Recorder of Military and Other Affairs in the Moscow State and Neighbouring Countries Worthy of Knowledge and Memory), was published on January 2, 1703. = To mark its bicentenary, the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. issued a leaflet, “Two Centuries of a Press in Bondage”, on January 3, 1903, branding Russia’s disgraceful censorship, and describing the struggle for freedom of the press (from Radishchev to Herzen). It also noted the wide spread of illegal revolutionary publications in late 19th and early 20th centuries, and called for a struggle against the tsarist government.

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