V. I.   Lenin


To:   S. I. GUSEV

To Nation from Lenin

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 302-303.
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.README

March 11, 1905

Dear friend,

I have just received Nos. 10 and 11. [1] Many thanks, particularly for the scolding in No. 10. I love to hear people scold—it means they know what they are doing and have a line to follow. You’ve given the “old wolf” a proper trimming; the mere perusal of it made him scratch himself. No. 11, though, showed that you are far too optimistic if you hope so easily to come to terms with the St. Petersburg Mensheviks. Oh, I fear the Danaans[2] and advise you to do the same! Have you noticed that everything that is not to their advantage remains a matter of words, undocumented—for example, the C.C.’s agreeing to a congress. Issue No. 89 of Iskra appeared today with the Council’s decision of March 8, 1905, against a congress—a lying, raging decision (“by acting the way they do, the participants in a congress place themselves outside the Party”), which gives the number of “qualified Party organisations, apart from the central bodies”, as of January 1, 1905, as thirty-three (a shameless lie, non-existent committees, like that of the Kuban and the unendorsed Kazan Committee, have been invented, while in the case of two others, those of Polesye and the North-West, the date has been mixed up, January 1,1905, being stated instead of April 1, 1905). Clearly there can be no question of the Council’s participation in the congress, nor, consequently, of the League and the Central Organ. I’m very glad of this, and I don’t believe that the   Mensheviks in Russia will go; I don’t believe it. So far not one of you has sent us a single written statement of a single Menshevik committee agreeing to a congress. Be under no illusion! If the St. Petersburg Mensheviks agree to make concessions, demand from them, as a conditio sine qua non, recognition of the congress to be convened by the Bureau, and recognition of the St. Petersburg Committee as the only legal committee connected with the working-class movement—to be given in writing, and copies to be sent to Vperyod without fail (over their own signatures) and on behalf of all the members, specified by name, of the St. Petersburg Minority group. Even then do not allow them any contacts at all—otherwise you will win yourselves internal enemies, mark my words!

Inform Rakhmetov immediately by express telegram that around March 20, 1905, there will be a most important conference here with the Socialist-Revolutionary Party and a host of other parties about an agreement for an uprising[3] —Rakhmetov’s presence is essential, let him come post haste and lose no time.

In conclusion I tell you once again: you do not know the Minority forces throughout Russia and are under an illusion. This is a mistake. The Mensheviks at present are stronger than we are; it’s going to be a long and hard fight. The icons abroad[4] raise a heap of money. I consider it simply indecent for us to raise the question of an agreement with the Bund, etc., after their (and the Lettish) conference with the C.C.[5] (minutes in Posledniye Izvestia[6] and in Iskra No. 89). It would be idiocy; it would look as if we were thrusting ourselves upon them. We shall be told: we don’t know you, we have already reached agreement with the C.C. It will end in disgrace, believe me!

All the very best. Lenin


[1] Gusev’s letters to Lenin.—Ed.

[2] A quotation from Virgil’s Aeneid “I fear the Danaans, though their hands proffer gifts”.

[3] In regard to the conference of socialist organizations of Russia see Lenin’s article “A Militant Agreement for the Uprising” and “Speech on an Agreement with the Socialist-Revolutionaries” delivered on April 23 (May 6), 1905, at the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

[4] Icons abroad—an ironical name for the Menshevik leaders.

[5] This refers to a conference of representatives of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P., the Bund, the Lettish S.D.L.P., and the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party held abroad in January 1905. It was convened on the initiative of the Bund with the object of uniting all the Social-Democratic organisations. The conference adopted a resolution on agreements with the liberal and democratic parties and on a “bloc” of the revolutionary and opposition organisations in Russia.

[6] Posledniya Izvestia—the bulletin of the Bund Committee Abroad, published in London and Geneva in 1901-06.

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