V. I.   Lenin


To:   A. RYKOV

Published: First published in 1931. Sent from Paris to Berlin. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 441-445.
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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Saturday, February 25, 1911

Dear Vlasov,

I have just received your letter and I hasten to reply at once without waiting for Grigory, who forwarded Samovarov’s letter on to you today.

Nadya is writing today to Lyubich. What a pity you didn’t think of it before. Now you must write to him not about preparing to leave, but about immediate departure. Write to him again, insisting emphatically on immediate departure, otherwise the enemy will have four (the Bundist+the Lett+two Mensheviks) and we’ll have no more than that (three, of whom one is doubtful,+one Pole).

Your letter concerning the declaration grieves me very much, for I see from it how inadequate our agreement still is and hence (to my extreme regret) how “precarious” it is.

Among the changes proposed by you, there are some to which no objections can be made. These include: dealing with the question of affairs abroad in a special resolution; adding to the declaration a special paragraph on the significance of the. Duma and on the fact that those not assisting in the elections to the Fourth Duma are traitors; separating the question of renewing the primary Party cells (although I do not understand why it should be separated and where it should be put. It must be dealt with, however! But where?).

But you propose many more changes that are unacceptable and harmful.

(“To recognise that the conference is urgent”? Why try to be cunning? You don’t believe in it yourself! To breed hypocrisy and self-deception—there is nothing more harmful than that just now!)

To express satisfaction that otzovism-ultimatumism has in effect disappeared from the political horizon”....

That is untrue. I have seen workers who support Vperyod, and even Yevgeny in his speeches refutes this untruth.

To welcome the decision of the Vperyod group to take part in the elections”....

There has been no such decision so far. And if it does appear tomorrow, it is scandalous “to welcome” the splitters for doing their duty and to keep silent about the expro funds.[2]

You write: “I know of no otzovist or ultimatumist statements of Vperyod after the plenum”....

You ought to know better. Just look: (1) The leaflet of the Vperyod group after the plenum: sheer abuse of the central bodies—not a word about renouncing the otzovist ultimatumist platform. (2) The symposium No. 1[3]—ditto. Not a single guiding article on the Duma and Duma activities. (3) Lunacharsky in Le Peuple (it is quoted in the C.O.—Lunacharsky was officially delegated by the Vperyod group to the Copenhagen Congress). (4) The leaflet of the Geneva Vperyod group (it is quoted in part in Golos S.-D.), which lines up with Lunacharsky.

Vperyod, after the plenum, was in duty bound to issue a new platform, since the old one (it came out on December 27, 1909, i.e., on the eve of the plenum) is an otzovist-ultimatumist platform. Vperyod has not done this!

Your basic mistake is that you believe words and close your eyes to deeds. A lot of “good words” have been told you by various people like Domov or Alexinsky and I don’t know who else, and you believe them. You write: Vperyod “is on the eve of dissolution or is a possible ally of ours”, it “is freeing itself from the otzovist-ultimatumist platform”.

This is untrue. They are the lying words of swindlers who are ready to promise anything so long as they can disguise the facts, namely, their own special school, their 85,000 rubles of expro money.

What if Domov does move away from Vperyod—Domov is a high school teacher, a philistine, an ignorant old woman, and not a politician. What if Alexinsky has “quarrelled” with Bogdanov and Co.—now, after returning from   Bologna, he has quite made it up again and yesterday delivered a lecture on behalf of the Vperyod group!

You put your trust in words and leave yourself helpless in deeds—which means repeating the fatal error of the plenum, an error which has weakened the Party for a year at least. If you now, a year after the idiotic conciliatory errors of the plenum, repeat these errors, you will completely ruin all prospects of “unity”. I say this with the fullest conviction, for I know it thoroughly from experience. Leave it to Samovarov to shout about my having wrecked “unity” (this is the catch-phrase of Trotsky and Yonov. Samovarov has to shout this nonsense (which he dares not utter in print and which I have publicly dealt with and refuted in No. 2 of Diskussionny Listok[1] , for he is ashamed to admit the mistake the conciliators made at the plenum. Their mistake was that they almost ruined the prospect of unity with the pro-Party Mensheviks, by believing the words of the anti-Party Golosists and allowing them to consolidate themselves in deeds.

Mind you don’t repeat this mistake!

The Vperyodists are very strong. They have a school=a conference=agents. We (and the C.C.) have not. They have money—some 80,000 rubles. You think they will give it to you? Are you really so naïve?

And if not, how can you regard as “allies” factionalists who are keeping a factional fund against you!

It is the height of naïvetá to write: “I do not want to make it difficult for the Vperyod splinter elements to achieve a rapprochement.”

They have achieved a rapprochement with the liquidators, they have organised a school against you, they are pulling the wool over your eyes, saying: we are all right, we are not otzovists, and you believe their words and do not combat their deeds. It’s the limit, really!

You write: “I should not like to have the Vperyodists expelled from the general Party (not factional) organisation abroad.”

Either the one or the other: either you encourage a special   faction and let it keep its money, in which case we shall publish our statement to the C.C. (demanding a committee of enquiry) and say: let the Vperyodists help such a C.C., we shall not do so.

Or you condemn the factionalism of the Vperyodists, in which case you have to he consistent. By condemning in words only, you make yourself ridiculous.

In that case it must be said: so long as the Vperyodists (1) do not publish a new platform, (2) do not make pro-Party statements, (3) do not dissolve their factional school, (4) do not hand over their factional funds to the Party—they remain an anti-Party faction.

If you do not say this, you will lose our co-operation without gaining that of the Vperyodists. Is that good policy?

As for the splinter elements (future ones!), do not worry about that. If we are strong, they will all come to us. If we are weak, if we believe in words, we shall be laughed at, that’s all. To find the right form is not so difficult: for example, after condemning the Vperyod faction, to say that part of the Vperyodist workers stand for elections, for legal opportunities, for the Party principle, and that you call on such workers, such Vperyodists, to come away from the faction and to the Party, etc., etc.

In the resolution on unity abroad it should be clearly specified who the disrupters are: the Golosists and Vperyodists must be named, and it must be explained wherein lies their “disruption and anti-Partyism”: not in ideas (argue and write about this in Diskussionny Listok, etc.) but in the special school, in the special school funds, in the special organ (Golos), in the special collections for Golos, and in the special factional groups (which maintain contacts with Russia against the C.C.).

If the Golosists and Vperyodists are not precisely and clearly named, the whole resolution=0. In that case you will compel us to come out against this playing at unity.

If you name them precisely and say clearly what their factionalism is, you will immediately and definitely win over the majority of our people abroad (the Bolsheviks+ the Plekhanovites+pro-Party workers+the bulk of the groups in the “provinces” and in America, where there are no leaders of Golosism).

If the C.C.’s “struggle” against factions consists in its paying court to the anti-Party factions of Golos and Vperyod, in hampering our work (in a Party spirit) by multi-storey formalities (the Pole, a committee, a collegium of people who are not acquainted with the matter, “invitation” of Vperyodists, quarrel with Alexinsky, etc., etc.), then you can count us out.

We have just received a letter from St. Petersburg. Samovarov has proposed to the Social-Democratic Duma group that it issue an electoral platform!

This—to a majority of Mensheviks! (and not a word to us). If Samovarov wants to carry on in this fashion, I promise you that I shall begin a series of leaflets directly against Samovarov.

If an agreement among us is possible, the Bolsheviks must rally into a trend and work harmoniously (on the basis of the agreement), and not carry on intrigues, nor go over to the Mensheviks.

Write and let me know your opinion as soon as possible.

All the best.

P.S. Have you seen Nikitich? Has he tried to sell the story of Vperyod’s peace-loving nature? He’s a great hand at making promises and throwing dust in people’s eyes.



[1] The reference is to “Notes of a Publicist” (see present edition, Vol. 16).—Ed.

[2] Meaning the funds on which the second Vperyodist school existed; these funds were received mainly from the Ural Party people, who carried out the Miass expropriation.

[3] This refers to the symposium Vperyod, organ of the anti-Party Vperyod group, published in Geneva in 1910–11.

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