V. I.   Lenin



To Pyatnitsa. To “Pyatnitsa”, private, from Lenin

Written: Written in November, prior to 18th, 1901
Published: First published in 1934 in Lenin Miscellany XXVI. Sent from Geneva to Odessa. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 135b-137a.
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.README

Dear Comrade,

Our mutual friend[1] has told me about the letters you have at your disposal[5] (letters from a C.C. member abroad to C.C. members in Russia where it is stated that the Minority abroad has become high-handed and that the resolution of the 22[2] unquestionably reflects the real will of the Party). I think you ought to send these letters to me here at once.

In the first place, I am a member of the C.C. and there fore have every right to be informed of the correspondence between a C.C. member abroad and members in Russia, all the more since this correspondence deals with the stand taken by the Minority, a question which concerns the whole Party. Surely you will not help C.C. members who have defected to the Minority to conceal from the Party (and even from other C.C. members) the real state of affairs?

Secondly, the letters show that some members of the C.C. (Glebov, Konyagin and Nikitich) are simply not telling the truth when they speak in their letter to the Russian committees of the conciliatory attitude of the Minority abroad. Once we have declared open war on this Bonapartism, this deception of the Party (Galyorka in his pamphlet declared this war on behalf of all of us), it is our direct duty to expose before the Party any deception on the part of C.C. members. If, having in our possession proof of such deception, we failed to bring this proof to the attention of the Party, we would not be doing our duty to the Party. If we speak of Bonapartism in the press and from the public platform and at the same time miss the opportunity to offer documentary proof of that Bonapartism, we will be simply windbags. After all, we use the word Bonapartism not as invective, as Martov and Plekhanov have used it.

It is sometimes said that private letters should not be used in political struggle. This is not so. When private letters reveal abuses by Party functionaries, such letters should by all means be used. Plekhanov used private letters in his Vademecum[3] not even in relation to functionaries. Besides, the letters in question are not private letters at all, they are the correspondence of C.C. members on C.C. business. And I, as a member of the C.C., and you, as an agent of the C.C., are in duty bound to foil this attempt to conceal the truth from the Party.

For all these reasons I consider it imperative that you at once send me these letters or, at any rate, complete copies of them. Of course, parts of them are confidential, and we shall never make these public. But that which concerns   the interests of the entire Party and contains nothing confidential must be divulged. How to do this and when, is something we shall think about here.

Reply to this letter without fail and as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter how badly you write Russian. You can even write in Yiddish if you wish. But let it be immediately.

If you do not agree with me about sending the letters, we shall all have to ask you to come here as soon as possible, within a few days. This is such an important matter that it must be discussed and decided at all costs.

Best regards,
N. Lenin

P.S. Be sure to tell Nih. I—ch,[4] the “Jacobin” and Zhitomirsky that they should send me their addresses at once. It is a downright disgrace that everyone should drift around on his own without keeping in touch with one another.


[1] Meaning Rozalia Zemlyachka.—Ed.

[2] See present edition, Vol. 7, pp. 454–61.—Ed.

[3] Handbook.—Ed.

[4] Identity not established.—Ed.

[5] A reference to letters from V. A. Noskov and V. N. Rozanov, a Menshevik co-opted to the C.C., which I. A. Pyatnitsky promptly forwarded to Lenin in Geneva. Lenin quotes these letters in his pamphlet Statement and Documents on the Break of the Central Institutions with the Party (see present edition, Vol. 7, pp. 529–35).

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