V. I.   Lenin

Statement and Documents on the Break of the Central Institutions with the Party

Written: Written December 9 (22), 1904
Published: Published in pamphlet form in January 1905, in Geneva. Published according to the leaflet text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, publisher??, pubdate??, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 529-539.
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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In No. 77 of Iskra, three members of the Central Committee, claiming to act on behalf of that body as a whole, summon Comrade N[1] to a court of arbitration on the charge of “making a false statement designed to disrupt the Party”. The allegedly false statement in question was made “through a member of the Central Committee who took no part in drawing up the declaration”, that is, through me. In view of my close connection with the affair, and acting on the authority of Comrade N, I consider it my right and duty to participate in the arbitration proceedings, and I bring the following charges against Central Committee members Glebov, Valentin, and Nikitich.

I charge them with unlawful, improper, formally and morally impermissible behaviour towards their fellow-members of the Central Committee and towards the Party as a whole.

Inasmuch as this improper behaviour is greatly protracting and aggravating the Party crisis, and as it moreover directly affects the mass of the Party workers, I consider publicity of the proceedings absolutely essential in regard to everything that does not affect the secrecy of the organisation, and I shall therefore set forth my charges in detail.

I. I charge the three Central Committee members, Glebov, Valentin, and Nikitich, with systematically deceiving the Party.

1) I charge them with having used the powers conferred on them by the Second Party Congress to suppress the public opinion of the Party as expressed in the agitation for a Third Congress. They had no right to suppress this agitation, which is an inalienable right of every Party member. In particular, they had no right to dissolve the Southern   Bureau for agitating on behalf of a congress. They had neither the formal nor the moral right to censure me, a member of the Party Council, for having voted in the Council in favour of a congress.

2) I charge them with having concealed from the Party the committee resolutions in favour of a congress, and with taking advantage of the confidence they enjoy as members of one of the Party’s highest institutions to mislead the committees by a deliberately false account of the state of affairs in the Party. They have obstructed the elucidation of the truth by refusing to meet the Riga Committee’s request to have the resolution of the twenty-two printed and distributed and to have majority literature delivered to Russia, on the pretext that it is not Party literature.

3) I charge them with not having hesitated, in their agitation against a congress, even to disrupt the work on the spot by appealing against the pro-congress commit tees to their peripheral organisations, doing everything to discredit these committees in the eyes of the local workers, and thus tending to destroy that confidence between the committees and their periphery without which all work is impossible.

4) I charge them with having, through the Central Committee delegate on the Council, shared in devising the Council rulings as to the conditions for summoning the Third Congress—rulings which made a congress impossible and thus deprived the Party of the opportunity of settling the conflict within it in a normal way.

5) I charge them with having told the committees that they agreed in principle with the position of the majority and that any agreement with the minority was only possible if the latter gave up its secret separate organisation and its demand for co-optation to the Central Committee, yet having at the same time, in secret from the Party and in deliberate defiance of its will, made a deal with the minority on the following terms: 1) preservation of the autonomy of the minority’s technical enterprises, and 2) co-optation to the Central Committee of three of the most inveterate minority adherents.

6) I charge them with having taken advantage of their authority as members of one of the Party’s highest institutions   to cast aspersions on their political opponents. They have behaved dishonourably towards Comrade P.[2] in resolving last July on an investigation into his alleged false statement to the Northern Committee and to this day (December 22) not even presenting him with the charges made against him, although Glebov has met P. several times, and although this same Glebov, in his capacity of member of the Party Council, allowed himself to apply the term “deceit” in Iskra to the action of this comrade, who had no opportunity to defend himself. They told a deliberate untruth when they declared that Lidin[3] was not a representative (Vertrauensmann) of the Central Committee. They deceived the Party members, with the object of discrediting in their eyes Comrade Bonch-Bruyevich and his associates in the Distribution Centre, by publishing a statement in Iskra (No. 77) in which only the liabilities of the Distribution Centre were shown (and that inaccurately)—and this after they had, through their representatives, issued Comrade Bonch-Bruyevich a written certificate to the effect that he had conducted the business properly and that the accounts were in good order.

7) I charge them with having taken advantage of the absence of Comrade Vasilyev and Comrade Zverev, the former foreign representatives of the Central Committee, to discredit Party institutions (the library and archives of the R.S.D.L.P. in Geneva). They published a statement in Iskra, signed by a Central Committee “representative” unknown to me, in which the history and true character of these institutions was absolutely distorted.

II. In addition, I charge the three members of the Central Committee, Glebov, Valentin, and Nikitich, with a number of morally and formally impermissible actions towards fellow-members of that body.

1) They violated every principle of Party organisation and discipline by presenting me (through Comrade Glebov) with an ultimatum to resign from the Central Committee or cease agitating for a congress.

2) They broke the agreement concluded in their name by Central Committee member Glebov, when, as a result of the altered composition of the Central Committee, it was no longer to their advantage to observe this agreement.

3) They had no right, at their meeting in July, to declare Comrade N as having resigned from the Central Committee without hearing either his statement or mine, particularly as these three members of the Central Committee were aware of our demand (the demand of four Central Committee members[4]) to have this disputed matter examined at a general meeting of the Central Committee. To declare Comrade N no longer a member of the Central Committee was also impermissible in itself, for in doing so the three Central Committee members took improper advantage of a statement which Comrade N had made conditionally (and of which not all the comrades had been informed).

4) The three Central Committee members had no right to conceal from me the change in their views and intentions. Comrade Glebov assured me at the end of May that their views were expressed in the declaration they had drawn up in March.[5] Thus the July declaration, which conflicts basically with the March declaration, was adopted in secret from me, and Glebov’s statements were a piece of deception.

5) Glebov broke the agreement he had made with me that in the report to the Amsterdam Congress,[6] which was to be written by Dan (as delegate from the Central Organ) and himself, Glebov (as delegate from the Central Committee), there would be no reference to the differences in the Party. The report, which was written by Dan alone, proved to be full of veiled controversy and permeated through and through with the views of the “minority”. Glebov did not protest against Dan’s report, and thus indirectly shared in this attempt to deceive the international Social-Democratic movement.

6) The three Central Committee members had no right to deny me the opportunity to announce and publish my dissenting opinion on an important issue of Party life. The July declaration was sent to the Central Organ for publication before I had been given a chance to express an opinion about it. On August 24, I sent the Central Organ a protest against this declaration. The Central Organ declared that it would print it only if so desired by the three Central Committee members who had written the declaration. They did not so desire, and thus they concealed my protest from the Party.

7) They had no right to withhold from me the minutes )f the Council and to deprive me, without formally expeling me from the Central Committee, of all information about what was happening in the Central Committee, about the appointment of new agents in Russia and abroad, the negotiations with the “minority”, the state of the Party funds, etc., etc.

8) They had no right to co-opt three new comrades (con iliators) to the Central Committee without taking the matter to the Council, as required by the Party Rules in he absence of unanimity; and there was no unanimity, since I had lodged a protest against the co-optation.



In view of the importance attaching to the position of the Central Committee in the conflict within the Party, I deem it necessary to publish the following documents.

I. Letters from Comrade Glebov to members of the “collegium”.[7]

a) September.

“Relations with the Central Organ and the League have not been settled yet. I must say that since our declaration they have become impudent and their appetites have been growing. Our position here is very difficult: control of things abroad is in the hands of the League, private sources are in the hands of the Central Organ, and so we are up to our ears in debt. In these straits (with a debt of 9,000 round our necks), I have to think about finding some solution. I have therefore asked the minority to let me have an outline of their desired reforms.”

b) September 7.

“Last night I had a business meeting, in the presence of S., with three spokesmen of the minority: Popov, Blumenfeld, and Martov.”

Of the questions discussed at this meeting, which, in Glebov’s words, turned into “a preliminary meeting for the arrangement of peace”, let me mention the following:

1) Organisational relations abroad.

“Responsibility for the movement in Russia to be assumed by the Central Committee, the Central Organ, and the League. With a view to removing mutual friction and creating a greater interest in the work and complete confidence, the general direction of affairs to be entrusted to a commission of representatives of the Central Committee, the Central Organ, and the League. The Central Committee to have two votes and the right of veto....”

2) Transport.

“The Central Organ to come under the Central Committee’s control, with a certain amount of autonomy, as follows: There must only be one distribution centre abroad, the Central Committee’s. But the Central Organ is to keep charge of its own part of the border. Literature distribution in Russia to be in the Central Committee’s hands. To give it greater autonomy, however, the Central Organ is to have charge of the South. Let me explain. The Central Organ has its own transport arrangements. It fears that in the event of a change of administration it might be deprived of its routes. It therefore requests to be guaranteed them by organisational means.”

c) September 7.

“Dan and possibly others here too are furious over yesterday’s agreement as to the management of affairs. What a greedy lot! What they would like is to set up abroad a committee of representatives of the Central Organ, the Central Committee, and the League, which would decide everything abroad; each only to have one vote, of course. Not bad, eh?”

d) September.

“I want to draw your attention to the desire the Council has expressed for replenishment [this refers to replenishment of the Central Committee representation on the Council]. Somebody will have to he elected in place of Lenin, who will, of course, proclaim it unlawful. I would suggest Dan or Deutsch—with the express proviso that they are being appointed only for the purpose of representation on the Council. There is nobody else we can elect, it seems to me.”

II. Letter from a Central Committee agent (now officially co-opted to the Central Committee) to Comrade Glebov:

September 4.

“Over the declaration there’s such a to-do that it’s hard to sort things out. The one thing that’s clear is that all the committees except the Kharkov, Crimea, Mining Area, and Don are majority commit tees. The Don Committee is neutral, I think, but I don’t know for certain. Of the ’majority’ committees, the Riga, Moscow, St. Peters burg, and Northern have, as I informed you before, expressed lack of confidence in the Central Committee on account of the declaration. Full confidence in it has been expressed by only a very few committees. The rest have expressed confidence in it as regards attempts at reconciliation—with the proviso that if these should fail a special congress is to be called immediately. Of these last-named committees, some make it a condition of reconciliation that the minority should cease to regard themselves as a ’contracting party’ and abandon their demand   for co-optation as a ’contracting party’ (?). That is the picture. If the reconciliation doesn’t come off, the Central Committee forfeits the confidence of the majority of the committees and will, consequently, itself be obliged to agitate for a congress in order to surrender its mandate. And the committees’ frame of mind makes it quite clear that a congress would pass decisions along the lines proposed by the twenty-two, viz., to dismiss the editors and hand over the editorship to the majority, to reform the party Council, etc. But, as I have already told you, if the reconciliation is to satisfy the committees, the minority must accept the declaration and cease to regard themselves as a ’contracting party’. If they do that, I think Lenin will lose all support in Russia and it will be possible to restore peace. Your remark that matters with Martov are straightening out ’little by little’ surprised me. The editors’ obstinacy is becoming positively exasperating, and in spite of my sympathies for them ideologically and otherwise, I am beginning to lose confidence in them as political ’leaders’. They now have the organisational question cleared up, and if they persist in their obstinacy in the absence of support from Russia (the minority are powerless here), it will show that they are only fighting for posts.”

That was the beginning of the bargain; and here is the finale.

The Central Committee circulated a letter to the commit tees informing them that

“The negotiations will be completed very shortly (in a couple of weeks at the outside), and meanwhile we can inform you that (1) the Central Committee has not co-opted any minority members (somebody is circulating a slander to that effect); ... (3) the negotiations with the minority are being conducted precisely along the lines that Valentin reported to you, namely, that if there are to be any concessions, they can only be on the part of the minority and must consist in the Central Organ abandoning factional controversy and in the minority dissolving their secret organisation, renouncing their demand for co-optation to the Central Committee, and turning over all their enterprises (technical equipment, transport arrangements, contacts) to the Central Committee. Only on these conditions can peace be restored in the Party. And there is reason to hope that that is how it will be. At all events, if the minority should now evince a desire to continue their old policy, the Central Committee will immediately break off the negotiations and proceed to summon a special congress.”

That is how the Central Committee tried to soothe the committees, which expressed lack of confidence in it; and here are some letters of “prominent” members of the minority. The letters were received in the middle of December 1904, Old Style.

“At last we have had a meeting with the riffraff. Their reply was as follows: they agree to autonomy for our technical enterprises; but as regards the agitation commission, they object, considering that to be a direct function of the Central Committee (direction of agitation), and prefer reform of the Central Committee to this plan; however, they cannot co-opt officially just now, and propose instead the de facto (unofficial) co-optation of three members of the minority (Popov, Fomin, and Fischer). Naturally, X. and I at once agreed, and hence forth the Menshevik opposition is officially dissolved. It is a veritable load off our minds. The entire Central Committee is to have a meeting with us in a day or two, after which we shall arrange a conference of the committees closest to us....

“We are, of course, quite certain that we shall gain control of the Central Committee and direct it along the lines we want. That will be all the easier since many of them already admit the correctness of the minority’s criticism on points of principle.... In all the consistent firm-liner committees (Baku, Odessa, Nizhni-Novgorod, and St. Petersburg) the workers are demanding the system of office by election. That is a clear symptom that the firm-liners are in their death-agony.”

Simultaneously with this another letter was received:

“An agreement has been reached between ’minority’ representatives and the Central Committee. The representatives signed an under taking. But as there had been no canvass of the ’minority’ first, the undertaking, not unnaturally, turned out not altogether satisfactory: it expresses ’confidence’ in the Central Committee, instead of in its unity policy; it speaks both of absorption in the Party and of terminating our separate existence, whereas the latter alone would be sufficient. Lastly, the undertaking does not contain the ’credo’ of the ’minority’. In view of this, it has been decided to have all the ’minority’ organisations pass a resolution containing the ’credo’ and the amendments indicated, while of course recognising our representatives’ agreement with the Central Committee as valid.”

*     *

It is very likely that the individuals caught red-handed and exi osed by these documents will, with their usual “moral sensitivity”, do their best to divert the Party’s attention from the contents of the documents to the moral issue of the right to publish them. I am certain that the Party will not allow itself to be fooled by this sleight-of-hand. I declare that I take upon myself full moral responsibility for this exposure, and will give all necessary explanations to the court of arbitration that investigates the matter as a whole.


[1] By N is meant Central Committee member Rosalia Zemlyachka.

[2] By P. is meant P. A. Krasikov.

[3] Lidin—pseudonym of M. N. Lyadov.

[4] These four Central Committee members were Lenin, Lengnik, Essen, and Zemlyachka.

[5] Concerning the contents of this declaration see pp. 430-31 of this volume.

[6] The reference is to the Amsterdam Congress of the Second Inter national, held on August 14-20, 1904. The report presented to it in the name of the R.S.D.L.P. delegation was a Menshevik docu ment; to counterbalance it the Bolsheviks presented a report of their own, in the form of a pamphlet entitled Material for an Understanding of the Party Crisis in the Social-Democratic Labour Party of Russia, which Lenin helped to compile and edit.

[7] For the “collegium” see Note 142.

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