V. I.   Lenin

To Five Members of the Central Committee


Published: First published in 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XV. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, publisher??, pubdate??, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 462-463.
Translated: Fineberg Abraham
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2002). 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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August 18, 1904

To Members of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P., Glebov, Konyagin,[1] Traviusky, Loshad, and Osipov.

I was informed today, through the Central Committee’s Berlin agent, of the decisions taken by four (?) members of the Central Committee at their meeting in Russia.[2] I cannot acknowledge these decisions lawfully adopted, for the following reasons:

1) The statement at the beginning of the resolution that the meeting was attended by all Central Committee members but one (that is, myself) is not true. After the arrest of Vasilyev and Zverev and the resignation of Mitrofanov,[3] the Central Committee still has another member—Comrade Osipov. The rumours of his resignation have proved false: Comrade Osipov himself considers that he is a member of the Central Committee. That was also the view of Vasilyev (who wrote to me about it), Zverev, and myself. In any case, the four Central Committee members had no right to declare Osipov no longer a member without first clarifying the matter of his alleged resignation. It has to be added that neither I nor the Central Organ nor any of the Central Committee’s foreign agents was ever formally notified of Osipov’s resignation. Yet Osipov was not invited to the meeting.

2) I too, so far from being invited to the meeting, was not even informed of it or notified of the matters to be discussed. The Central Committee has of course the right to decide matters by a majority vote, but its decisions cannot be lawful unless all members have been given the opportunity to share   in the proceedings and, if necessary, enter a dissenting opinion. I was denied that opportunity altogether unlawfully.

3) The four Central Committee members have not stated their attitude to the agreement of May 26, 1904, between Glebov and myself, although that agreement and my accompanying letter were, with Glebov and Zverev’s consent, sent to all members of the Central Committee with the request to give me a direct answer. The majority on the Central Committee are fully entitled to overrule the minority, but certainly not to evade official inquiries by the minority and issues expressly raised by the minority for discussion.

4) In view of the above I demand an immediate answer from the four Central Committee members to the following: a) on what grounds was Comrade Osipov, a member of the Central Committee, not invited to the meeting? b) ditto as regards myself; c) do they recognise that the majority of a body has the right to adopt decisions in the name of the body as a whole only if the minority has been invited to the proceedings and given the opportunity to state its views and enter a dissenting opinion? d) do they recognise their obligation to give an answer on the substance of all the issues raised in the agreement of May 26, 1904?

5) Since the four Central Committee members have communicated their unlawfully adopted decisions (as supposed decisions of the whole Central Committee) to the Central Organ, I am obliged to address a letter regarding their mode of procedure to Party workers whom this matter rather closely concerns.

Central Committee member N. Lenin


[1] Konyagin—pseudonym of L. Y. Galperin.

[2] Lenin is speaking of the “July Declaration”—a resolution adopted in the name of the Central Committee in July 1904 by the concilia tor members Krasin, Noskov (Glebov), and Galperin; it was pub lished in Iskra, No. 72 (August 25, 1904) under the title “Statement by the Central Committee”. In this resolution the conciliators rec ognised as legitimate the Plekhanov-co-opted Menshevik editorial board of Iskra and defended the opportunism of the Mensheviks; they co-opted to the Central Committee three other concil iators—Lyubimov, Karpov, and Dubrovinsky; they came out against convening the Third Party Congress and dissolved the Central Committee’s Southern Bureau, which had been agitating for a congress. They deprived Lenin of the powers of foreign represent ative of the Central Committee and forbade his writings to be published without their sanction.

The adoption of the “July Declaration” meant total betrayal of the Second Party Congress decisions and the open defection of the conciliators on the Central Committee to the side of the Mensheviks.

[3] Mitrofanov—pseudonym of F. V. Gusarov.

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