V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written earlier than August 1, 1912
Published: Sent from Cracow to St. Petersburg. Printed from the original. Published for the first time in the Fourth (Russian) Edition of the Collected Works.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 45-46.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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 Colleague,

I have received your letter about the “pressing matter” and, I confess, read it with a sorrowful feeling. It shows quite clearly that there is between us not enough of the mutual understanding that in a “pressing matter”, as in any serious matter, is most essential.

And the matter is really serious and—I agree with you— pressing (not in the sense of a few days, of course). In order to get mutual understanding on this, we ought to meet: this would cost four or five days and 11 + 11 + 15 + 10 = 47 rubles all in all....

All that I can do at present to meet your request, I am doing. I am sending you an article “On the Election Platform”.[1] You will see clearly, I hope, what my views are from this article.

As regards altering it, I must lay down special conditions (usually I don’t make any, as you know, relying entirely on a comradely, collective and not pettifogging attitude). But on this occasion these special conditions are essential for me, because the question is one of vast importance, a radical question of principle.

I can agree only to (1) eliminating the subhead and (2) minimum corrections for the censorship (only!!) in three or four places, correction of individual words, and nothing more at all. If even then you can’t print it either in Pravda or in Nevskaya Zvezda, return the article, I need it. To eliminating mention of the liquidators I cannot agree.

The essence of the whole question is that the liquidators are setting a trap: “let’s have an open platform” (while privately the liquidator thinks: I will sign anything in   an open platform). And that is true, the liquidator will sign anything in an open platform!! And it will be not a platform, not a serious affair, but philistine chatter, a list of “reforms”, a competition with the liberals on their own ground, because every liberal (up to and including Trubetskoi) will at present, six or eight weeks before the elections, put his name to anything!! The liberals and the liquidators will sign anything, if only they can get elected to the Fourth Duma.

One must grasp the essence of the question, the principle involved, and not be afraid of somewhat “unusual”, “ unsuitable” (for Pravda) expressions, polemics, etc. The workers in their mass will understand very well the spirit of the thing (“no cutting up”)—and that is the whole point. All will understand why inventing open platforms in Third-of-June Russia, six or eight weeks before the elections, is ridiculous, stupid, philistine, even scoundrelly. And that is the essence.

Such an article printed as a feature in Pravda, even in small type, will at once take up a position, and kill the adventurism of the inventors of open platforms. It will kill the demagogy of their “say openly what you believe in”. Used not Katkov in just the same way to ask: “Say openly that you recognise the autocracy”?

Much has devolved on Pravda in the elections, and much will be required of it. It would be a scandal if Pravda were ridiculed from the left for drawing up open platforms. Pravda has in practice the position of leader. That position must be defended honourably. It should say clearly, calmly and firmly: against the liquidators. And at once the whole gang of these petty liberals will be killed. Let them put forward their own list: they won’t dare, because they will be completely disgraced!! I await a speedy reply.

With greetings,
V. Ulyanov


[1] This article, which Lenin sent to Pravda in July 1912, was not published and has never been discovered.

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