V. I.   Lenin


To:   S. I. GUSEV

To Nation

Written: Written at the beginning of March 1905
Published: First published in 1925. Sent from Geneva to St. Petersburg. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 299-301.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
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 friend,

Thanks tremendously for the letters. You are simply rescuing us from the effects of our foreign environment. Be sure to keep it up. For heaven’s sake, obtain correspondence from the workers themselves. Why don’t they write? It’s a downright disgrace! Your detailed account of the Committee’s agitation at the elections to the Shidlovsky Commission [2]is magnificent. We shall print it.

One more question: did you accept on the Committee the six workers mentioned? Reply without fail. We advise you by all means to accept workers on the Committee, to the extent of one-half at least. Unless you do this you will not be fortified against the Mensheviks, who will send strong reinforcements from here.

No one from the Bureau writes about the congress. This worries us, for Mermaid’s optimism (and partly yours) that the C.C.’s consent to the congress is a gain, inspires grave misgivings. To us it is as clear as daylight that the C.C. wanted to fool you. You should be a pessimist as far as the C.C. is concerned. Don’t believe it, for Christ’s sake! Make the most of the moment to induce the Minority committees, especially those of the “Marsh”, to turn up. It’s tremendously important to give special attention to Kiev, Rostov and Kharkov; we know that there are Vperyod sup porters, workers and intellectuals, in all these three centres. At all costs delegates from these committees should be brought to the congress with a consultative voice.[1] The   same applies to the Moscow print-workers. Altogether it is most deplorable that the Bureau did not publish our decision to have the workers’ organisations invited to the congress: this Is a tremendous mistake. Rectify it quickly and without fail.

I strongly advise carrying out agitation among all the 300 organised workers in St. Petersburg for sending one or two delegates to the congress with a consultative voice at their own expense. The idea will no doubt appeal to the workers, and they will set to work with a will. Don’t forget that the Mensheviks will try their damnedest to discredit the congress in the eyes of the workers by saying: there were no workers present. This has to be taken into consideration and special attention must be paid to workers’ representation. The workers of St. Petersburg will certainly collect three hundred rubles for two workers’ delegates (or some Maecenas will make a special donation for it)—agitation among the workers for sending the cap round will have a tremendous effect, everyone will know of it. This would be of enormous importance. Be sure to read this in the Committee and at meetings of organisers and agitators. Do all our organisers and agitators speak to the workers about direct connections with Vperyod?

All the very best.

P.S. Both bureau leaflets (No. 1. on an uprising and No. 2 on the attitude towards the liberals) are excellent and we are reprinting them in full in Vperyod.[3] If only they were to keep this up! By the way: why has the writers’ group declared that it belongs to the organisation of the St. Petersburg Committee? The reason this is not advisable is this. A writers’ group attached to the Committee would have no mandate to the congress. If it was a special group, not belonging to any committee, but an all-Russia “writers’ group belonging to the Russian S.D.L.P.”, it would have the right (with the Bureau’s permission) to send a delegate with a consultative voice. Arrange this, please! We shall not publish the fact that it is a group attached to the St. Petersburg Committee. Let   1) the S.P.C. part with it; 2) let it become a separate and special group at least for a time; 3) let it “submit a request” (there’s bureaucracy for you!) for its delegate to he admitted to the congress with a consultative voice; 4) let the Bureau give permission. I can’t believe that a dozen writers will be unable to raise 200 rubles for a delegate! I’m sure it would be useful to have their delegate at the congress (for example, Rumyantsev or someone else). Inform the Bureau of this or, better still, do all this yourself without any reports at all.


[1] Write all this to Mermaid and Demon. —Lenin

[2] The Shidlovsky Commission—special government commission set up by royal Ukase of January 29 (February 11), 1905, “to enquire into the causes of the discontent among the workers of the city of St. Petersburg and its environs” in connection with the mounting strike movement following the events of Bloody Sunday (January 9). The Commission, headed by Senator Shidlovsky, was made up of government officials, managers of state factories and manufacturers. The Commission was to include representatives of the workers elected by two-stage elections. The Bolsheviks launched a campaign in connection with these elections, exposing the true designs of tsarism, which had organised this Commission in order to draw the workers away from the revolutionary struggle. When the electors presented their demands to the government, namely, freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, etc., Shidlovsky stated on February 18 (March 8), 1905 that these demands could not be granted. After this the majority of the electors withdrew from the elections and appealed to the workers of St. Petersburg, who supported them by going on strike. The Commission was dismissed on February 20 (March 5), 1905, without having started work.

[3] The leaflets of the Bureau of the Majority Committees: the first, “Vital Issues” (concerning the uprising), was published in the newspaper Vperyod No. 9, for March 8 (February 23), 1905; the second, “The Attitude of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party to the Liberals”, in Issue No. 10 for March 15 (2), 1905.

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