V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1930. Sent from Geneva to London. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 375-376.
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

January 29, 1908

Dear Comrade,

About two-and-a-half to three months ago in Finland I received your letter with the reminder about the debt, which I handed over to the C.C.[2] Now the “Finnish smash-up” has compelled me to move to Geneva, involving consider able time and trouble. Today one of the comrades here has told me that you are insistently reminding about the debt and that the Englishman is even threatening publication in the press (!), etc.

I shall immediately write again to Russia to say that the debt must be repaid. But, you know, it is extremely difficult to do this now! The Finnish smash-up, the arrests of many comrades, the seizure of papers, the need to remove printing-presses and to send many comrades abroad—all this has entailed heavy and unforeseen expenditure. The Party’s financial plight is all the more unfortunate because during two years everyone has grown out of the habit of working illegally and has been “spoilt” by legal or semi-legal activities. Secret organisations have had to be organised almost afresh. This is costing a mint of money. And all the intellectualist, philistine elements are abandoning the Party; the exodus of the intelligentsia is enormous. Those remaining are pure proletarians who have no opportunity of making open collections.

It should be explained to the Englishman and brought home to him that the conditions at the time of the Second Duma when the loan was made were quite different, that the Party will, of course, pay its debts, but it is impossible, inconceivable to demand this just now, that it would be usury, and so on.

We must convince the Englishman. It is hardly likely he will be able to get the money. And making a row will lead him nowhere.

If I am not mistaken, the members of the factions signed separately and the responsibility is by factions too.

All the best.
N. Lenin

P.S. Not knowing your address, I have written to Quelch, asking him to obtain some literature. I am extremely grateful to him; I’m afraid he can’t always make out my terrible English!

My address is: VI. Oulianoff, 17, Rue des deux Ponts, Genève.


[1] Rothstein, Theodore Aronovich (1871–1953)—a Social-Democrat. In 1890 he was compelled to emigrate from Russia. Settled in England joined the English Social-Democratic Federation where he adhered to its Left wing. Joined the R.S.D.L.P. in 1901. Contributed to the Russian and foreign socialist press. Took part in founding the Communist Party of Great Britain. Returned home in 1920. From 1921 to 1930 engaged in diplomatic work, afterwards Director of the Institute of World Economy and World Politics. From 1939 an Academician.

[2] During the Fifth (London) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (April 30–May 19 [May 13–June I], 1907), owing to the Party’s extremely difficult financial position, a loan was raised with the help of Maxim Gorky and George Lansbury, the money being advanced by an English soap manufacturer and was to be repaid by January 1, 1908. The loan not being repaid in time, the lender wrote to Theodore Rothstein, reminding him about it,   and the latter, then a member of the English Social-Democratic Party, wrote to Lenin about it.

After the October Revolution the Soviet Government, through L. B. Krasin, repaid the debt to the lender’s heirs who returned the letter acknowledging the debt signed by all the participants of the Congress.

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