V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 47. Sent from Geneva to Berlin. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 187-188.
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.
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18.III. 08

Dear Comrade,

Yesterday Kon paid me a visit and showed me your telegram to him, and complained angrily, irritably about its impermissibly sharp, “police” tone, which he said he could least of all forgive you who are well versed in the nuances of the German language. I believe I should give you an account of this characteristic talk with Kon. I replied of course that I did not know what the neue Wendung[1] was, but that I was certain that you would not have sent such a telegram without good reason, and that to accuse Alexinsky, and the more so yourself, of wishing to entgegenarbeiten[2] the investigation was more than ludicrous.[5]

Kon told me—in confidence (not from you, of course)—that there is serious evidence against Litvinov, that he, Kon knows Litvinov well and would not wish to make life hell for him or to take steps that would have very serious consequences for him; no, but that he, Kon, merely considers it absolutely necessary to show Europe (and especially the German Social-Democrats) that trial by the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party is not a fiction and that the Party can vindicate itself. “Surely a way can be found to do this without making life hell for anyone!” Kon exclaimed. I, of course, said that in my opinion this could be done and that there was no need for him to worry. There would be a hearing under all circumstances, the Party would see to that, so why worry? It would be a scandal, said Kon, if Alexinsky were to prevent a hearing. Nonsense, I said. Alexinsky does not want to prevent a hearing nor can he. There already is a scandal, and it is the Mensheviks who are making it: see the article “Time To Stop” in Golos Sotsial-Demokrata No. 1–2, I said.[6] Kon hadn’t read it!! Think of it: while the investigation is still going on, while Litvinov’s lips are sealed, while the documents of the   investigation cannot yet be published, the newspaper pours out abuse anonymously! Think of Litvinov’s position!! Yet this newspaper is actually the organ of the Central Bureau Abroad,[7] nourished by it. And these are the judges??! That is how I explained Alexinsky’s behaviour to Kon. To avoid any misunderstanding and false rumours I consider it necessary to pass this on to you. For however surprised I was that Kon should have come to me, the fact remains that he did. And I am afraid that as a representative of the German party in the Central Bureau Abroad he might misquote me. I do not think we can rely on this sort of a reporter to speak on Russian affairs before the Vorstand[3] of the German party. It is essential that you personally as a member of the supreme collegium should speak with the Vorstand and without fail translate them the article in No. 1–2 of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata. Other wise such absurdities offensive to me as Kon’s coming to “complain” to me that Alexinsky is working against the hearing are bound to occur. There is a limit to every thing....

Best regards,
V. Ulyanov

P.S. Be sure to reply at once as to whether you will permit the article[4] I sent you to be printed in Russian in Proletary (with the reservation that it was written for Przegl&awhatthe;d Socjaldemokratyczny) and when. We are frightfully short of copy for Proletary, and I am impatiently awaiting your reply.[8]

P.P.S. After coming to me, Kon saw Ryadovoi, and, I believe; hinted to him that he had after all privately shown his friends the Mensheviks the record which you forbade to be shown.[9] What the devil is this!


[1] New turn.—Ed.

[2] To work against.—Ed.

[3] Executive Committee.—Ed.

[4] A reference to the article “The Assessment of the Russian Revolution” (see present edition, Vol. 15, pp. 50–62).—Ed.

[5] A reference to the inquiry undertaken by the Party into the slanderous accusations levelled by the Mensheviks against M. M. Litvinov in connection with the changing abroad of banknotes seized in the Tiflis expropriation organised by Kamo (see Note 127). Leon Tyszka was a member of the investigation commission at the initial stage of the inquiry. Later the investigation was conducted by the Central Bureau Abroad, but owing to the indiscreet behaviour of Bureau members, the matter was taken out of its hands by decision of the August 1908 plenary meeting of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P., and handed over to a special C.C. commission of five members, one each from the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and the national organisations.

[6] An editorial article containing slanderous accusations against the Bolsheviks in connection with the Tiflis expropriation.

Golos Sotsial-Demokrata (Voice of the Social-Democrat)—a Menshevik organ published abroad from February 1908 to December 1911, first in Geneva, then in Paris. In May 1909 it finally crystallised as the ideological centre of the liquidators.

[7] Central Bureau Abroad, the centre of all R.S.D.L.P. promotion groups abroad, was at the time in the hands of the Mensheviks. In August 1908 a plenary meeting of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P., adopt ed a general decision on the promotion groups and the functions and organisational status of the Central Bureau Abroad. The Bureau consisted of 10 members appointed by the C.C. (including one C.C. member with veto right), and its activities were confined to attending to the needs of the promotion groups abroad and carrying out general Party assignments given it by the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee Bureau Abroad.

[8] The article “The Assessment of the Russian Revolution” was print ed in Proletary No. 30, May 23 (10), 1908.

Przeglqd Socjaldemokratyczny (Social-Democratic Review)—a journal published by the Polish Social-Democrats in Cracow in 1902–04 and 1908–10.

[9] Evidently a reference to the record of M. M. Litvinov’s testimony. Litvinov lodged a protest with the C.C., R.S.D.L.P., on March 10, 1908, against the banding of his testimony over to the Central Bureau Abroad. Leon Tyszka, assuming that the C.C. would discuss the protest, had warned F. Kon that the matter was to be kept confidential.

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