V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on August 1, 1912
Published: First published in 1930 in the second and third editions of Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. XVI. Sent from Cracow to St. Petersburg. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 47-49.
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 your letter, and the letter from Vitimsky. I was very glad to get a word from him. But the contents of his letter gave me great concern.

You write, and as secretary,[1] evidently, on behalf of the editorial board, that “the editorial board in principle considers my article fully acceptable including the attitude to the liquidators”. If that is so, why then does Pravda stubbornly and systematically cut out any mention of the liquidators, both in my articles and in the articles of other colleagues?? Don’t you really know that they already have their candidates? We know this for certain. We have had official communications about this from a city in the south,[2] where there is a deputy from the worker curia. Undoubtedly the same applies to other places.

The silence of Pravda is more than strange. You write: “The editorial board considers it an obvious misunderstanding” that it is being “suspected of striving to legalise the demands contained in the platform”. But surely you will agree that this is a fundamental question, one which determines the whole spirit of the publication, and moreover one which is inseparably bound up with the question of the liquidators. I have not the slightest inclination for “ suspecting”; you know from experience that I show tremendous patience with your corrections for reasons of censorship as well. But a fundamental question requires a straight answer.   One must not leave a contributor uninformed as to whether the editorial board intends to direct the section of the paper dealing with the elections against the liquidators, naming them clearly and precisely, or not against them. There is not and cannot be any middle course.

If the article “must be printed anyway” (as the secretary to the editorial board writes), then how am I to understand Vitimsky’s “the angry tone is harmful”? Since when has an angry tone against what is bad, harmful, untrue (and the editorial board is “in principle” in agreement!) harmed a daily newspaper?? On the contrary, colleagues, really and truly on the contrary. To write without “anger” of what is harmful means to write boringly. And you yourselves refer, and justly so, to monotony!

Furthermore, I have not had any reply for a long time concerning the article about November 9 (the reply of a correspondent).[4] I repeat my request: return what cannot pass the censorship or what you unquestionably reject.

We receive Pravda irregularly (yesterday we didn’t get it at all!!). We have not seen Zvezda, either No. 14 or No. 17, at all. A scandal! Can’t you send us the page proofs by wrapper, rather than throw them away? That costs two kopeks. It would save time. To send proofs to a contributor is perfectly legitimate. When leaving at night, the night editor would put the wrapper into a post-box—that would be all. (But the wrappers often tear, they should be made larger, the same size as the newspapers. It would be best of all to use long narrow envelopes: in such envelopes— unsealed—press material is more likely to arrive, and the envelopes don’t cost much.) It is particularly essential to have Zvezda No. 17. Today is Thursday: two days’ delay!!

Finally, please let me know whether it would not be possible to publish in one form or another (like Nevsky Golos, which has more than once printed information about the Social-Democrats abroad) the following news. The German Vorstand[3] has made an appeal to the 11 (sic!) Social-Democratic groups, factions and centres, suggesting a joint conference on the subject of “unity”. The so-called “Lenin trend” has replied with the most categorical refusal: what   can be more ridiculous and unworthy than this playing at an agreement abroad with “centres and factions” which have demonstrated their absolute impotence in Russia? No negotiations with them, no agreements with the liquidators—such was the reply of the so-called “Lenin trend”. Whether anything has come of this arch-stupid idea of Trotsky’s, and whether anything will come of it, is not known.

And so I ask you to reply: can a report describing these “Paris novelties”, and giving an assessment of them, be published, in one form or another, in the newspaper you edit? Do censorship conditions make this possible, or is it quite impossible?[5] (I ask only about the censorship aspect of the case, since in principle—I venture to think on the basis of the previous letter—the editorial board is not in favour of unity with the liquidators, isn’t that so?)

With comradely greetings,
V. Ulyanov


[1] Reference is to V. M. Molotov.—Ed.

[2] The city referred to is Kharkov.—-Ed.

[3] Party Executive.—Ed.

[4] Lenin’s article about November 9 (the reply of a correspondent) has never been found.

[5] No report on the subject suggested by Lenin was published in Pravda.

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