V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1924 in Lenin Miscellany I. Sent to Capri. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 50-51.
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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Cracow, August 1, 1912

Krakau, Oesterreich.
Zwierzyniec. 218.
Wl. Ulijanow

Dear A. M.,

I have received your letter and a letter from the Siberians. My address now is not Paris, but Cracow—see above.

I haven’t quite understood what party you have decided to expel me from. From the Socialist-Revolutionary perhaps?

No, joking apart, it’s a bad, philistine, bourgeois style you have adopted, to wave us away with a “you’re all squabblers”. Just have a look at the latest S.R. literature —Pochin, Izvestia zagranichnoi oblastnoi organizatsii— compare it with Revolutsionnaya Mysl and with Revolutsionnaya Rossiya[2]—and then again with Ropshin,[3] etc. Remember Vekhi[4] and the polemics (quasi-polemics) conducted against it by Milyukov, Gredeskul[5] (who has now discovered that a second revolution in Russia is not necessary), etc., etc.

Compare all this as a whole, the sum total of ideological trends from 1908 to 1912 among the S.R.s,[6] Trudoviks,[7] Bezzaglavtsi[8] and Cadets,[9] with what existed and exists among the Social-Democrats (somebody, some day— probably a historian—will certainly do this work). You will see that everyone, literally everyone outside the Social-Democrats was discussing the same questions, literally the very same, on account of which little groups have broken   away from our Party in the direction of liquidationism and otzovism.

The bourgeois, the liberals, the S.R.s like to shout about “squabbles” among the Social-Democrats, because they themselves do not take “painful questions” seriously, tag along behind others, play the diplomat, and make do with eclecticism. The difference between the Social-Democrats and all of them is that among the Social-Democrats squabbles are the externals of a struggle of groups with profound and clear ideological roots, while among them squabbles are externally smoothed over, internally empty, petty, trivial. Never and not for anything would I exchange the sharp struggle of currents of opinion among the Social-Democrats for the nicely smoothed emptiness and intellectual poverty of the S.R.s and Co.

All the very best.


P.S. Greetings to M. F.!

P.S. And in Russia there is a revolutionary revival, not just a revival, but a revolutionary one. And we have managed at last to set up a daily Pravda—incidentally, thanks precisely to that (January) Conference[1] which the fools are yapping at.


[1] The Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. —Ed.

[2] The publications mentioned here—Pochin (Beginning), Izvestia zagranichnoi oblastnoi organizatsii (Journal of the Regional Organisation Abroad), Revolutsionnaya Mysl (Revolutionary Thought) and Revolutsionnaya Rossiya (Revolutionary Russia)—were run by various groups and|trends in the Socialist-Revolutionary Party.

[3] Reference is to the novels by V. Ropshin (B. Savinkov), one of the leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party: Kon bledny (The Pale Horse), published in the magazine Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought) No. 1 for 1909, and To chego ne bylo (What Never Happened), published in the magazine Zavety (Behests) Nos. 1–8, April–November 1912, and in No. 1 for January 1913.

[4] Vekhi (Landmarks)—a symposium published by the Constitutional-Democrats in Moscow in the spring of 1909. Its articles devoted to the Russian intelligentsia cast a slur on the revolutionary-democratic traditions of the liberation movement in Russia, and the views and activities of the outstanding revolutionary democrats^of the nineteenth century V. G. Belinsky, N. A. Dobrolyubov, N. G. Chernyshevsky and D. I. Pisarev. The contributors to the   symposium vilified the revolutionary movement of 1905 and thanked the tsarist government for protecting the privileged classes “with its bayonets and jails” from “fury of the people”.

[5] Milyukov, P. N. (1859–1948)—leader of the Constitutional– Democratic (Cadet) Party, prominent ideologist of the Russian imperialist bourgeoisie. One of the men who in October 1905 founded the Cadet Party, he became chairman of its Central Committee and editor of its central organ, the newspaper Rech (Speech). He was a member of the Third and Fourth Dumas. After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917 he became Minister for Foreign Affairs in the bourgeois Provisional Government and after the October Socialist Revolution helped to organise the foreign military intervention against Soviet Russia. Later ho was active among the White émigrés.

Gredeskul, N. A. (b. 1864)—professor of law, publicist, Constitutional-Democrat; deputy to the First Duma. Worked on Cadet Rech and a number of other bourgeois-liberal papers. In 1916 he left the Constitutional-Democratic Party. After the October Socialist Revolution taught as a professor in Leningrad.

[6] Socialist-Revolutionary Party (S.R.s)—a petty-bourgeois party in Russia; emerged at the end of 1901 and the beginning of 1902 as a result of the union of various Narodnik groups and circles. The S.R.s did not recognise the class differences between the proletariat and the small owners. They glossed over the class differentiation and contradictions within the peasantry and denied the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution. The tactics of individual terrorism which the S.R.s advocated as the main form of struggle against the autocracy did great harm to the revolutionary movement and made it more difficult to organise the masses for revolutionary struggle.

The Bolshevik Party exposed the S.R.s’ attempts to masquerade as socialists, waged a determined struggle against them for influence over the peasantry, and exposed the harm caused to the working-class movement by their tactics of individual terrorism. At the same time the Bolsheviks, under certain conditions, made temporary agreements with the S.R.s in the struggle against tsarism.

The heterogeneity of the peasantry as a class determined the political and ideological instability and organisational disunity of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and their constant wavering between the liberal bourgeoisie and the proletariat. In the period of reaction (1907–10) the S.R.s suffered complete ideological and organisational collapse. During the first world war the majority of them became social-chauvinists.

After the victory of the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in 1917, the S.R.s together with the Mensheviks and the Cadets were the mainstay of the counter-revolutionary bourgeois-landowner Provisional Government, and their leaders (Kerensky, Avksentyev, Chernov) were members of it. The S.R. Party refused   to support the peasant demand for abolition of the landed estates and came out in favour of landed proprietorship. The S.R. ministers in the Provisional Government sent punitive expeditions against peasants who had seized the landowners’ estates.

At the end of November 1917, the Left wing of the party formed the independent party of Left S.R.s. In an attempt to preserve their influence over the mass of the peasants, the Left S.R.s formally recognised Soviet power and came to an agreement with the Bolsheviks, but soon joined the struggle against Soviet power.

During the years of foreign intervention and civil war, the S.R.s engaged in counter-revolutionary subversion, actively supported the interventionists and whiteguards, participated in counter-revolutionary conspiracies, and organised terrorist acts against leaders of the Soviet state and the Communist Party. After the Civil War the S.R.s continued their hostile activities against the Soviet state.

[7] Trudovik group (Trudoviks)—group of petty-bourgeois democrats in the Duma, consisting of peasants and intellectuals with a Narodnik orientation.

Their politics were the class politics of the small peasant farmer and the Trudoviks in the Duma wavered between the Cadets and Social-Democrats. Since the Trudoviks did to some extent represent the peasant masses, the Bolsheviks in the Duma adopted tactics of co-operating with them, in certain fields, for the sake of the common struggle against tsarist autocracy and the Cadets.

[8] Bezzaglavtsi—semi-Cadet, semi-Menshevik group of the Russian bourgeois intelligentsia, formed when the revolution of 1905–07 was on the wane. It took its name from the political weekly Bez Zaglaviya (Without a Title) published in St. Petersburg between January and May 1906. Under cover of their formal non– attachment to any party, the Bezzaglavtsi advocated bourgeois-liberal and opportunist ideas, and supported the revisionists in the Russian and international Social-Democratic movement.

[9] Witte, S. Y. (1849–1915)—statesman of tsarist Russia, a convinced supporter of the autocracy, who sought to preserve the monarchy by means of small concessions and promises to the liberal   bourgeoisie and harsh repressive measures against the people. He was Prime Minister (1905–06).

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