V. I.   Lenin


To:   M. P. TOMSKY

Written: Written in September, prior to 20th, 1909
Published: First published in 1964, in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 47. Sent from Paris to Moscow. Printed from a handwritten copy found in police records.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 221b-222.
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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Dear Comrade,

Just got back to our capital here and read your letter on how things are coming along. As regards the school, you are mistaken if you think “we are in a bad way”. Nothing of the kind. That workers, once they are given the money, should agree to go down to the glorious South is natural—there is nothing to complain about in this. Only it is necessary to have resolutions adopted that on the way back these workers are to come here[1] for a month—this is the crux of the matter. Unless they drop in here all talk about “supervision”, “direction”, etc., is sheer “blague”[2] or hypocrisy. To come here means to learn something more than Alexinsky’s whining and Lunacharsky’s “socialism”. And believe me, this way[3] —by bamboozling 20–50 workers with their learning—they will not get very far. Oh no, it’s good enough for making a noise, for bragging about   Kautsky’s letter,[4] for putting on a show abroad, but there is nothing serious about this underhand indoctrination. Make no mistake, this is not a “school”, but a new Yerogin hostel[5] abroad for surreptitiously filling the heads of dozens of workers with otzovist nonsense. Maximov and Co. will merely make a noise for a while and end up with a fiasco.

The Trotsky business, regrettably, will not work out. We offered him ideal conditions, sincerely wishing to enter into a bloc with him: a salary, payment of the Pravda deficit, equal rights on the Editorial Board, transfer here; he does not agree, but wants a majority on the Editorial Board (two Trotskyites and one Bolshevik!). Clearly we cannot maintain in another city a Trotskyite, not a Party, paper. What Trotsky wants is not to build the Party together with the Bolsheviks, but to create his own faction. Very well, let him try! By means of “his” faction he will win over some people from the Mensheviks, a few from us, and in the long run will inevitably lead the workers to Bolshevism.

As for the “slight revision of the agrarian question”, as you ironically put it, in the given case, if it is a matter of the role of the peasantry in the revolution, it is necessary to be more cautious. The beginning should be made with a discussion in the general Party or general Bolshevik press. I especially wish to warn against hasty rejection of Bolshevism and exaggerated faith in the success of the Stolypin agrarian policy. It unquestionably posed new problems which must be studied and studied again; it opened the possibility of a non-revolutionary way out, but this is still as remote from complete success as the stars in the heavens.



[1] That is, to Paris, where the Bolshevik Centre was located.—Ed.

[2] Humbug.—Ed.

[3] A reference to the factional, splitting activities of the organisers of the Capri school—Ed.

[4] Karl Kautsky’s reply of August 20, 1909, to an invitation to lecture at the Capri school was printed as a separate leaflet and later in the Supplement to issue No. 5 of the Vienna Pravda of September 20 (October 3), 1909. Kautsky declined to lecture but welcomed the organisation of the school. Observing that “it would he gratifying if the R.S.D. could at last overcome factional division which weakens it so much”, Kautsky urged that philosophical differences should not be brought to the fore in either propaganda or the organisational sphere.

[5] Yerogin hostel—a hostel for peasant deputies to the First Duma in St. Petersburg sponsored by Duma deputy Yerogin, a wealthy landowner, where the peasant deputies were indoctrinated in the spirit of loyalty to the autocracy (see present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 45–46).

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