V. I.   Lenin

The Present Situation in the R.S.D.L.P.[5]

Written: Written between July 17 (30) and August 20 (September 2) 1912, the postscript September 2 (15), 1912
Published: First published in Russian in 1924 in Volume XII, Part One of the Collected Works of N. Lenin (V. Ulyanov). Published as a pamphlet in German, Leipzig, 1912.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 203-220.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). 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.README

The German comrades often have occasion to read re ports of bitter struggles and fundamental divergencies inside the R.S.D.L.P. Unfortunately, such reports originate from particular groups of political exiles. In most cases they come from people who are either absolutely unfamiliar with the actual state of affairs in Russia at the present time or deliberately seek to mislead the German comrades by a one-sided presentation of party politics. Every such group of exiles has its own special “trend”, but in reality it consists of people who have lost all living contact with the fighting Russian workers’ Party or have never had such contact. Unfortunately, one of this kind of “informants” succeeded in winning the confidence of Vorwärts. The Central Organ of the German Social-Democratic Party in a series of articles opened its columns to a torrent of unheard-of slander against the Russian Party, poured out from the pen of that informant and supposed to be derived from “objective” sources.

Actually, those sources were “subjective” and false through and through. Since Vorwärts did not insert our factual correction, we had to issue a separate pamphlet entitled The Anonymous Writer in Vorwärts and the State of Affairs in the R.S.D.L.P.,[1] which was issued in several hundred copies and was sent to the executive committees of all the German Party organisations of any importance and to the editors of the major organs of the Party press.

As far as the factual evidence of the pamphlet is concerned, Vorwärts was unable to raise a single objection, and thereby tacitly accepted it.

To enable our German Party comrades to appraise the authenticity of certain reports reaching them, we quote here a letter which the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. sent to the Executive Committee of the German Social-Democratic Party. The Letts had suggested that the Executive should arrange a joint meeting of eleven “centres” on the question of material support for the election campaign, whereupon the Executive asked those centres about their attitude to the matter. The letter is the answer given by the Central Committee, and it reads as follows:

July 30, 1912[2]

To the Executive Committee of the German Social-Democratic Party

Dear Comrades,

Recently we received a copy of the letter sent to you by the Committee of the Lettish Social-Democracy Abroad on June 24. We saw no point in explaining the queer plan of these Letts to you, as we did not think any well-informed person would take that plan seriously. But we were surprised to learn from your letter to us of July 22 that you intend to adopt that plan. This compels us to express our emphatic protest, which we hereby send you. Objectively, the intention of the Executive Committee is nothing short of an attempt to contribute to the split in our Party (the R.S.D.L.P.) and to the formation of a new party hostile to us. This is unprecedented in the history of the whole Inter national. We shall furnish the German comrades with accurate data to bear out our assertion.

The Situation in the R.S.D.L.P. Since January 1912

In January 1912 the R.S.D.L.P. held its All-Russia Conference which was attended by delegates from the organisations of St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Moscow district,   Kazan, Saratov, Tiflis, Baku, Nikolayev, Kiev, Yekaterinoslav, Vilna and Dvinsk. This Conference restored the Party and elected a new Central Committee in place of the one destroyed by the liquidators; furthermore, the Conference was compelled to declare these liquidators to be outside the Party. (See pamphlet The Anonymous Writer in Vorwärts and the State of Affairs in the R.S.D.L.P., which was sent to the Executive Committee; it mentioned the protest of the liquidators and of the national organisations—the Poles, the Letts, the Bund and the groups abroad.)

In January also a meeting took place with the aim of setting up an Organising Committee to convene a new conference—a “general Party conference”, as the liquidators and their friends called it.

In their letter to the Executive Committee of June 24, the Letts affirmed that this “Organising Committee” involved the following organisations and trends: the Bund, the Lettish Social-Democrats, the Caucasian Regional Committee, the Menshevik Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, the Vienna Pravda and the Vperyod group.

And so, on one side there is the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. elected at the Conference by Russian organisations, i.e., organisations working in Russia (the opponents call it the Leninist trend); on the other side there is the so-called Organising Committee, which promises to convene a “general” Party conference.

What Is the Relation of the Hitherto Neutral Russian Social-Democrats to the So-Called Organising Committee?

Plekhanov, the best known of the Mensheviks, who had been waging a determined fight against the destruction of the Party by the liquidators, did not attend the January Party Conference, although he was invited. In April 1912 he published his correspondence with the representative of the Organising Committee (see his Dnevnik Sotsial-Demokrata No. 16).

Plekhanov refused to take part in the so-called Organising Committee because, he said, the Bund was convening not a conference of the existing Party organisations, but an   “inauguralconference, i.e., one that was to found a new party. The so-called initiating groups, which in reality are the only groups backing the Organising Committee, are, according to Plekhanov, liquidationist groups, which do not belong to the Party and want to form a new party. In April 1912 Plekhanov wrote: “The new conference is being called by the liquidators.”

In July this Organising Committee published its Listok No. 3, which contains not a word, not a hint, of a reply to Plekhanov. One can judge from this how the Executive Committee is kept informed by the Letts, those very same Letts who complain that the “Leninist” Central Committee does not answer the letters of the Organising Committee.

Is it really so very strange that the Central Committee of the Party—of the old Party—should not reply to those who, according to the hitherto neutral Plekhanov, are founding a new party?

The Organising Committee must first of all prove to the neutral Plekhanov that it is not forming a new party and not liquidating the old one.

The Letts who are taking part in the Organising Committee and who appealed to the Executive Committee on June 24 should—after six months’ struggle of this Organising Committee of the liquidators against the Party—have shown by facts and documents the results of this struggle; instead, they show the Executive Committee the Potemkin villages[6] of the liquidators.

The Letts proposed that the Executive should convene eleven “organisational” centres, organisations and factions of the Russian Social-Democrats. That is literally what they stated (see p. 4 of the Letts’ letter to the Executive of June 24).

All over the world, parties have so far been formed of local organisations united by a single central body. But in 1912 the Russian and Lettish liquidators made a great discovery. From now on, a party may be formed of “centres, organisations and factions”.

According to the Letts’ latest liquidationist electoral geometry, the eleven organisational centres, organisations and factions include, firstly, the Organising Committee and, secondly, six factions, or organisations, or centres, which   form that Organising Committee. The Letts’ letter says in so many words: “Points 2 to 7 inclusive form the Organising Committee.”

Thus the intellectualist groups that are liquidating the Party obtain a treble vote, like the aristocracy in the “rotten boroughs”:

(1) The Caucasian Regional Committee, a fictitious organisation

(2) Ditto, as represented by the Paris Golos, although Golos has no permanent mandate from the Caucasus,

(3) Ditto, as represented by the Organising Committee. We maintain that the Russian workers will indignantly and contemptuously reject the idea of discussing the question of duplicate candidates, i.e., the attempt of the liquidators jointly with the insignificant groups abroad to cause a split, the more so since these groups represent only intellectualist disorganisers.

We wish to point out the fact that not a single one of the groups abroad that are fighting against the Party has during the past six months received a mandate from any organisation in Russia to publish its newspaper or issue leaflets. If the Letts are trying to prove the contrary to the Executive Committee, let them name in the Russian press at least one such mandate prior to July 22.

Golos Sotsial-Demokrata is not the organ of any Russian organisation.

Nor is Trotsky’s Vienna Pravda the organ of any Russian organisation. Three years ago Pravda was the organ of the Ukrainian Spilka[7] (Southern Russia), but the Spilka can celled its mandate long ago.

Neither Vperyod, nor Plekhanov, nor the “pro-Party Bolsheviks”, publish any organs that are Party organs of any organisation in Russia.

It is very easy to refer to groups which do not exist in reality. Nor is it difficult to print reports expressing “sympathy”. But to bring out, even for six months, the organ of an organisation operating in Russia, it is necessary to have regular contacts, the unqualified confidence of the mass of the workers in the localities, and unity of views on tactics, which can be achieved only through joint work over a long period. The tiny groups abroad which the Lettish   and Bundist disorganisers are mobilising against the Party lack all this.

As regards the Polish Socialist Party, we shall say briefly: it is no Social-Democratic organisation. It has never been part of the Social-Democratic Labour Party. There is only one reason for inviting it, namely, it “promises” to become Social-Democratic and join the liquidators! For the disorganisers and lovers of splits, this, of course, is sufficient! If the Polish Socialist Party is to be invited to take part in meetings, why not also invite the Socialist-Revolutionaries, who take part in the Duma elections, the Zionist-Socialists, the Lettish Union of Socialist-Revolutionaries, and other similar “trends”?

The Social-Democratic Group in the Third Duma

Among the organisational centres the Executive Commit tee has included the little groups abroad; on the other hand, it has not invited the Social-Democratic group in the Duma. This is incredible, yet it is a fact. It will be useful for the Russian workers to know how Trotsky and Co. are misleading our foreign comrades.

In their letter to the Executive Committee of June 24, the Letts wrote:

As regards the Social-Democratic Puma group, there can be no question of its good offices in the matter of financial assistance to the election campaign, for the Duma session is drawing to a close and simultaneously the Puma group is thereby dissolving itself” (p. 2 of the repeatedly quoted letter).

This is either deliberate deception, or boundless political ignorance, indicating clearly enough how far the Letts in Brussels are informed about the elections in Russia.

The letter is dated June 24. On June 9, i.e., June 22, new style, the Third Duma was officially dissolved for an indefinite period, all the deputies, the Social-Democrats among them, retaining their mandates. The latter are there fore still Duma deputies, which is known to every literate worker in Russia. But this is unknown to the slanderers of the Party abroad.

The only legally existing Social-Democrats in Russia, who are the only official organisation in whatever part of the country they may be, are precisely the members of the Social-Democratic group in the Third Duma.

All the liquidators hate the group. The sheets of the liquidators (Nasha Zarya) heap abuse and insinuations upon it, and all the disorganisers abroad spread tittle-tattle about it. Why? Because the majority of the group, in which pro-Party Mensheviks have always predominated, have always fought with determination against the liquidators and helped to make them quite harmless in St. Petersburg.

In the pamphlet The Anonymous Writer, etc., we published an important fact. No one could say a word to refute it. Only two members of the group regularly contribute to the liquidationist papers. Eight members of the group regularly contribute to the anti-liquidationist papers.[3]

Both the Letts and Trotsky propose that the Executive Committee should exclude from the meeting this body, the only all-Russia body to have preserved unity! Even if the Letts were mistaken and on June 24 did not know what was known to all the workers in Russia, why did they not take the trouble prior to July 22, i.e., in the course of a whole month, to correct their mistake? Some mistakes are very useful to those who make them.

The intention of the Letts and the liquidators who have misled the Executive Committee is to impose liquidationist candidates on us, against the majority of the Party in Russia, of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma, by means of a bloc of fictitious little groups abroad and to obtain money by fraud from the German workers. Such is the gist of the long speeches (of the Letts, Bundists, Trotsky and Co.).

But this deception will not go unpunished.

Officially Verifiable Data on the Influence of the Liquidators Compared with That of the Party

Every sensible person knows that the empty phrases about what is alleged to be secret “organisations” sympathising with the liquidators are not to be trusted at all.

We maintain that all the liquidationist organisations in Russia are fictitious.

It is difficult for those who lack accurate information on the state of affairs in Russian Social-Democratic circles to establish the truth. But even they can ascertain it if they search the written records and examine their meaning, refusing to take anything on trust. We have already given the first commonly known and verifiable fact, namely, the division of the forces in the Social-Democratic Duma group between the liquidators and anti-liquidators.

But now, after six months’ struggle between the liquidators and the Party, there are further entirely objective, and still more convincing, facts.

In the letter of June 24 (pp. 5 and 6), the Letts mentioned the legal Marxist papers in St. Petersburg. They named Zhivoye Dyelo and Nevsky Golos, which advocate a Menshevik trend (that of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata), and contrasted them with Zvezda and the St. Petersburg Pravda (not to be confused with Trotsky’s liquidationist Vienna Pravda), which, according to the Letts, “are owned and led by Lenins group” alone.

Even though this assertion is unfortunate, the Letts have in spite of themselves cited a valid fact against the liquidators.

While the term “open party” is no more than an empty, liberal phrase of the liquidators, open activity in the Duma and in the press is the principal activity of Marxist propaganda. It is here, and only here, that facts are to be found which objectively show the relative strength of the liquidators and the anti-liquidators.

There are no other all-Russia political organs except those named by the Letts. The liquidators have Zhivoye Dyelo and Nevsky Golos; the anti-liquidators, Zvezda, subsequently named Nevskaya Zvezda, and Pravda (St. Petersburg). There are no other trends or factions in Russia, either in the press or in the public mass arena; all the groups abroad named by the Letts are mere ciphers.

We now have the results of the six months’ activities of both trends.

During these six months (January–June 1912) all the Russian parties began, and completed, their preparations   for the elections. Only six or eight weeks now remain till the elections. Most of the electoral lists have been drawn up. The outcome of the elections is virtually predetermined by these six months’ preparations.

Points” 1–7 in the Letts’ list declared for the liquidators (the Organising Committee, the Bund, the Lettish Social-Democracy, Golos, the Vienna Pravda, the Caucasian Regional Committee, Vperyod). The anti-liquidators were sup ported by the Central Committee, which unites the Russian organisations, i.e., those functioning in Russia (only the “Leninist trend”, as the liquidators assert).

Now let us see what each of the two has done.

From January 1 to June 30 (old style), 1912, the liquidators published in St. Petersburg sixteen issues of Zhivoye Dyelo and five issues of Nevsky Golos, or twenty-one issues in all.

During the same six months, the anti-liquidators published thirty-three issues of Zvezda, fourteen issues of Nevskaya Zvezda and fifty-three issues of Pravda, or one hundred issues in all.

Twenty-one to one hundred.

Such is the balance of forces between the liquidators and the Party in Russia. The data on the newspapers are open data; anyone can check and substantiate them.

How do matters stand with the circulation of the papers? The Letts affirm that the liquidators have distributed 30,000 copies. Let us assume that this is not an overstatement. With regard to the anti-liquidationist papers, a person whom Comrade Haase and other members have seen gave the Executive Committee the figure of 60,000 copies. This ratio reduces the influence of the liquidators, as compared with that of the Party, to 1 : 10.

While information on circulation has not been published and may therefore seem exaggerated, other data have been published that are more important, and more convincing.

They are the information concerning the connection of the liquidators and of the Party with the mass of the workers in Russia.

Open and Verifiable Data on the Links of the Liquidators and the Party with the Mass of the Workers in Russia

The data on the number of newspaper issues and copies published do not fully prove the superiority of the Party over the liquidators. Even small groups of liberal intellectuals can publish newspapers. Any newspaper which is “friendly to the workers”, or even a liberal newspaper of a radical shade, will always find many readers in Russia. It will be read not only by workers, but by liberals and also by petty-bourgeois democrats.

There are facts, however, which reveal much more simply and clearly the links of the liquidators and the Party with the mass of the workers in Russia.

They are the data on the funds collected for a workers’ press.

For a long time agitation has been carried on among the workers in Russia for the collection of funds to publish a workers’ daily newspaper. Everyone realised that without such a newspaper, participation in the elections would almost be a fiction. A newspaper is the chief weapon in an election campaign, the chief means of Marxist agitation among the masses.

But where is the money for a newspaper to come from?

It is necessary to organise collections among the workers. These collections form a fund and show the strength of the links of this or that group. They are an indication of the prestige of the groups, the confidence placed in them by the workers, and their actual influence on the proletarian masses.

Such collections for a workers’ newspaper were begun in St. Petersburg early in 1912. Six months—from January Ito June 30—is a long enough period. Data on the collections are published in all the newspapers listed above, the liquidationist as well as the anti-liquidationist ones.

The conclusions which may be drawn from these data for six months are best evidence, an open, complete, objective and final answer to the question concerning the balance of the forces of the liquidators and the Party in Russia. Therefore we have given in the appendix a full translation of all the accounts of money collections for a daily workers’   newspaper, taken from all the five above-mentioned news papers for six months.

Here we give only the totals.

During the six months, the anti-liquidationist newspapers published accounts of 504 money collections among groups of workers, i.e., those giving the name of the workers’ groups which made the collections. These collections were made in fifty Russian towns and factory settlements.

During the same six months—from January 1 to June 30, 1912—the liquidationist newspapers published accounts of fifteen money collections among groups of workers. These collections were made in five Russian towns.[4]

Here are the precise accounts:

Money collections by groups of workers for a workers’ daily newspaper January 1 to June 30, 1912
  In liquida-
In anti-
January . . . . . . . . . . . 0 14
February . . . . . . . . . . . 0 18
March . . . . . . . . . . . 7 76
April . . . . . . . . . . . 8 227
May . . . . . . . . . . . 0 135
June . . . . . . . . . . . 0 34
  15 504
Ditto: According to the Main Areas of Russia
St. Petersburg . . . . . . . . . 10 415
South Russia . . . . . . . . . . 1 51
Moscow . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 13
North and West Russia . . . . . . 1 12
Urals and Volga . . . . . . . . . 0 6
Caucasus, Siberia and Finland . . 1 7
  15 504

After six months’ struggle against the Party, the liquidators were completely routed.

The liquidators do not count at all in the Russian Social-Democratic labour movement. This is proved by the above-quoted data, which anyone can verify. Such are the facts published in Russia for a whole half-year, despite the bragging of Trotsky and the liquidators.

It should be noted that Trotsky is a contributor to Zhivoye Dyelo. Furthermore, the Letts themselves, in their letter of June 24, admit that all the six groups, including Trotsky, the Menshevik Golos, and the leaders of Zhivoye Dyelo and Nevsky Golos, form the so-called Organising Committee. Therefore, our data prove that not only the liquidators, but all their pretentious friends abroad are of no account in the Social-Democratic labour movement in Russia.

On the average, only one group of workers in Russia out of thirty sides with them.

We give here the addresses and the dates of publication of all the Social-Democratic papers in St. Petersburg.


1. Zhivoye Dyelo. St. Petersburg, Bolshaya Moskovskaya, 16. No. 1—January 20, 1912; No. 16 (last issue)—April 28, 1912 (suppressed).

2. Nevsky Golos. St.Petersburg, Kolokolnaya, 3. No. 1—May 20, 1912; No. 5—June 28, 1,912 (still exists—up to July 29, 1912).


3. Zvezda. St. Petersburg, Razyezzhaya, 10, Apt. 14. No. 1 (37)—January 6, 1912; No. 33 (69)—April 22, 1912 (suppressed).

4. Nevskaya Zvezda. St. Petersburg, Nikolayevskaya, 33, Apt. 57. No. 1—February 26, 1912; No. 2—May 3, 1912; No. 14—June 24, 1912 (still exists).

5. Pravda. St. Petersburg. Nikolayevskaya, 37, Apt. 18. No. 1—April 22, 1912; No. 53—June 30, 1912 (still exists).


The candidates of the R.S.D.L.P. in the forthcoming Duma elections will be nominated by the local Party organisations without distinction of views and trends. The minority of the worker Social-Democrats will everywhere have to submit to the majority.

The notorious duplication of candidates is simply non sense, serving merely to frighten the foreign comrades and extort money.

All that is wanting is for the notorious ten “trends” to raise the bogey of ten candidates and for money to be begged from foreigners for each of them.

There will be no duplicate candidates. The liquidators are so weak that they cannot put up duplicate candidates. We do not negotiate with a handful of liquidators who have betrayed the Party. Neither the Central Commit tee in Russia nor the local organisations take the liquidators seriously. Note, for example, the latest events in St. Petersburg. The liquidators reported in Nevsky Golos (No. 6) that meetings were held with them (the liquidators) in St. Petersburg in connection with carrying out the election campaign. Both Nevskaya Zvezda (No. 16) and Pravda (No. 61) of July 21 and 23 reported that they had not sent representatives to the meetings; moreover, one participant in the meetings announced in Nevskaya Zvezda that the workers all over Russia would carry out the decisions of the January Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.

Union of the various trends,” he said, referring to the liquidators, “is quite inconceivable in the Social-Democratic election campaign.” (Nevskaya Zvezda No. 16, July 8 [21], 1912.)

No financial assistance in the world can win the sympathies of the Russian workers for the liquidators. But, of course, it is possible to put up fictitious duplicate candidates in various places with the money of the Executive Committee. In that case the responsibility for such candidates, who will virtually be candidates of the German Executive   Committee, will also fall on the Executive Committee. The money handed out to the liquidators, who have no daily newspaper, will help them to found a competing organ. That money will be used to bring about a split by those who during long years of struggle have proved their insignificance; the money will be used for trips, etc., with the aim of founding a new party.

If the Executive Committee now wants to help the liquidators in one way or another, then, much as we respect the fraternal German Party, we shall have to appeal to the International. Then we shall prove to the Vienna International Congress[8] by documents that the Executive Committee has expressed its readiness by means of financial support to help in bringing about a split in our Party, putting up duplicate candidates and galvanising that corpse—the defeated liquidators. If the German comrades want to help the R.S.D.L.P., they must transfer the money to the Central Committee of the old Party, not to those who are organising a new party.

Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.


After the Executive Committee had called off the proposed meeting, it informed us that it “cannot give money to any of the Party groups in Russia for the election campaign until all of them jointly indicate to us [the Executive Committee] a body enjoying universal confidence and authorised to receive and distribute funds”.

This pretended neutrality of the Executive Committee amounts in reality to a refusal to support the workers’ Party in Russia because of the calumny heaped upon it by the little groups abroad and by the “conference” of the liquidators.

Besides the comments made above, we regard it as our duty to add the following.

The Russian newspapers legally existing and published in a Marxist spirit are at the present time the most important legal mouthpiece of the mass of the Russian Social-Democratic workers in connection with the Party’s agitation work.

The newspapers appearing abroad, which are illegal in Russia, cannot really claim to be as important as those   mentioned above, although their fundamental importance for theoretically elucidating the movement is undoubtedly very great. For everyone knows how easily, and sometimes frivolously, such papers are founded by smell groups of Russian exiles scattered abroad. Those newspapers have a precarious existence among the groups concerned, and hardly ever reach the Russian members of the Party. That is why they cannot really be said to exert any appreciable influence on Party life in Russia.

After six months’ struggle of the anti-liquidationist newspapers (from January to June 1912) there is only one liquidationist paper—Nevsky Golos. This paper has almost ceased to exist as a political organ. During a month and a half (from June to mid-August), only two issues appeared (Nos. 6 and 7). Obviously, no such newspaper can withstand the police persecution that is raging in Russia against all workers’ newspapers, and even against many quite moderate liberal ones, unless it draws its vital energy from close contact with the mass of the workers.

The weekly Nevskaya Zvezda and the daily Pravda are now workers’ newspapers of this kind; they carry great political weight and are of immediate and topical importance. Both appear in St. Petersburg; our political opponents among the Lettish Social-Democrats have contemptuously dismissed them as organs of “Lenin’s group”. From the objective data cited above, which can be openly verified at any time. it should become obvious to our German comrades that this “Lenin’s group” comprises, in fact, the overwhelming majority of the Russian worker Social-Democrats.

Hence it is quite understandable why the information coming from the liquidators and groups, or tiny groups, sympathising with them, is not to be trusted in the least. All the rumours spread by those little groups together with the Jewish (Bund) and Lettish Social-Democrats, who have no direct contact with the Russian movement, about the joint conference of all “trends”[9] that has been convened, or allegedly is about to be convened, turn out to be pure inventions. No such conference, even if it were to take place, could play any serious part in the struggle of the Russian proletariat. Basically, therefore, it is, if we reluctantly are to use a harsh word, a question of a swindle.

To make the relevant facts, which are undoubtedly of great political importance, still clearer to our German Party comrades, we shall quote in conclusion some extracts from an article by Axelrod, one of the liquidationist leaders, which appeared in the last issue of the monthly Nasha Zarya.

Axelrod wrote:

The idea of a ‘non-factional’ Social-Democratic organ is utopian at present and, moreover, a utopia that ... runs counter to the interests of the Party’s political development.... We may be said to have no factions that have taken shape organisationally. Instead, we have various circles and small groups, of which some hold more or less definite political, tactical and organisational views, while the others waver in various directions, getting in the way of the former.... The focal point and main source of internal Party discord is, on the one hand, the difference in the attitude of the various Party circles to the new, open Social-Democratic and labour movement and, on the other hand, substantial differences over the immediate political tasks and the political tactics of the Russian Social-Democratic movement. The questions of both these categories ... are becoming particularly burning and topical issues just now.... And it is over them that the Russian Social-Democrats have split into two main camps.... The question arises whether the projected labour newspaper [proposed by some workers in St. Petersburg and by many intellectuals abroad) will be able to take a neutral position between these two opposed camps, and whether such a position is permissible on principle. Obviously not.... Such being the situation in the Party, to talk about ‘non-factionalism’ as a panacea means ... deceiving oneself and others as to the real state of affairs in the Social-Democratic movement.... Factional organisation and consolidation are a direct duty and urgent task of the advocates of a Party reform, or rather revolution” (in the Party).

Axelrod’s last words obviously refer to the liquidators. We can only advise our German Party comrades, if they hear from various quarters about “non-factionalism”, or about a non-factional conference with the liquidators participating, to demand, for better orientation, a full translation of Axelrod’s above-quoted article for the German Social-Democratic press. Then they will see certain fables for what they are, and will be able to judge them.

Editorial Board of Sotsial-Demokrat, Central Organ of the R.S.D.L.P.

Confidential! Only for the organised members of Social-Democratic parties!


To the Pamphlet The Present Situation in the R.S.D.L.P.

Today, September 15, 1912, we have received via Paris the following letter from the Executive Committee, a letter which should make it particularly clear to the German comrades how right we were in protesting against the irresponsible private “informants” of the Executive who are afraid to act openly.

On the 10th inst., the Party Executive wrote:

Berlin, September 10, 1912

Dear Comrade Kuznetsov,

Will you be so kind as to inform us whether it is true that the constituencies in which all the Social-Democratic groups reached agreement during the elections to the State Duma include the following:

Yekaterinoslav, Kharkov, the city of Moscow and Moscow Gubernia, the Don region and Odessa. Kindly send your information as early as possible to H. M\"uller, Chemnitz.

If we have no news from you by September 17, we shall consider the above statement to be true.

With Party greetings, H. M¨ller

We answered the letter as follows:

Executive Committee of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany.

Dear Comrades, it goes without saying that all that has been re ported to the Executive Committee is based on an untruth and is an invention pure and simple of the liquidators. We can affirm with confidence that that fable could have been told to the Executive only by the Letts, the Bundists, or even by Trotsky’s adherents, who only a short time ago closed “their” conference, which they would have liked to call a “party conference”, but which was in fact a liquidationist conference. In order not to state anything that could not be confirmed and not to quote our organisational correspondence, we shall limit ourselves here to pointing to a document published in St. Petersburg.

On August 28 (September 10, new style), 1912, the St. Petersburg Marxist daily, Pravda No. 102, carried a letter received from one of Kharkov’s biggest factories and devoted especially to the Duma elections. The letter said openly and plain that the names of the liquidators’ candidates have so far not been announced” and that the liquidators “deny the necessity for a workers’ party” (Pravda No. 102, p. 4, col. 1).

From this alone the German comrades can see how shamelessly the Letts, the Bundists, Trotsky’s adherents and all such private informants are deceiving them. The point is, evidently, that all of them, probably including the Caucasians, wanted to obtain money on behalf of pretended “organisations”, whose existence cannot be confirmed or verified either by the Party Executive or by anyone else.

Is it possible that the German Party, which has ninety Social-Democratic dailies, cannot—that is, if it does not want to compromise itself by misinterpreting the state of affairs in the Russian Party—open a discussion on the R.S.D.L.P., and openly compel all the informants who are hiding from the light of day to present statements over their signatures and produce documents?

After all, Russia is not as far away as Central Africa, and it would not take much effort on the part of the German worker Social-Democrats to establish the truth and thereby also relieve the German members of the Executive Committee of the need to hear unverifiable private stories.

On behalf of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.

N. Lenin


[1] See present edition, Vol. 17, pp. 533–46.—Ed.

[2] The letter is quoted here with minor stylistic changes. —Lenin

[3] See present edition, Vol. 17, p. 545.—Ed.

[4] In spite of the gossip spread by the liquidators, it was these collections, which exceeded 12,000 marks, and the aid rendered earlier by the German comrades, that formed the basic fund of our Social-Democratic press in Russia. The full translation, mentioned in the text, of all the accounts of money collections published by the various Social-Democratic newspapers over the six months was sent to the Executive Committee, the Auditing Committee and Bebel. —Lenin

[5] The pamphlet The Present Situation in the R.S.D.L.P., written by Lenin in Cracow, was first published in the German language in Leipzig in September 1912. Its main point is the letter of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. written on July 16-17 (29-30). The letter was a reply to the appeal of the Executive of the German Social-Democratic Party on the convening of the R.S.D.L.P. “centres” and “groups” abroad to distribute the funds which the leadership of the German Social-Democratic Party had allotted for the Fourth Duma election campaign. The C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. refused to participate in the meeting, and the meeting did not take place. The Executive of the German Social-Democrats assigned part of the funds to the liquidators’ Organising Committee and Caucasian Regional Committee, to the Bund and to the Central Committee of the Lettish Social-Democratic Party, thereby backing the liquidators against the Bolsheviks. The pamphlet Concerning the Present Situation in the R.S.D.L.P. was circulated by the editors of Sotsial-Demokrat to the regional and district centres of the German Social-Democratic Party, the delegates of the Party Congress held in Chemnitz in September 1912, and the editors of the major Social-Democratic newspapers of Germany.

[6] The phrase “Potemkin villages” was coined in the first quarter of the nineteenth century to denote a sham fa\c{c}ade of prosperity. During Catherine II’s journey to the South in 1878 G. A. Potemkin, Governor-General of the Yekaterinoslav Vicegerency, created an impression of exceptional prosperity by having decorative villages, arches, etc., built and parks laid out along the route of the Empress.

[7] The Spilka (Ukrainian Social-Democratic Union) arose late in 1904 having broken away from the petty-bourgeois, nationalist Revolutionary-Ukrainian Party. It entered the R.S.D.L.P. as an autonomous regional organisation. In the inner-Party struggle of the R.S.D.L.P. it sided with the Mensheviks. It broke up in the period of reaction. In 1912 there were only small disconnected groups of the Spilka and by then most of its members had become bourgeois nationalists. Trotsky’s liquidationist Pravda (Vienna) was published as an organ of the Spilka only in October and December 1908 (the first two issues).

[8] The Ninth International Socialist Congress of the Second Inter national was to meet in Vienna in the autumn of 1913, but the war which broke out in the Balkans in 1912 and the threat of a world war prompted the International Socialist Bureau to convene an extraordinary congress in Basle on November 24–25, 1912.

[9] This refers to the August conference of the liquidators, which met in Vienna in August 1912 and formed the anti-Party August bloc.   The bloc was organised by Trotsky. The conference was attended by delegates from the Bund, the Caucasian Regional Committee, the Social-Democratic Party of the Lettish Territory and small liquidationist groups abroad: the editors of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, Trotsky’s Vienna Pravda and the Vperyod group. Delegates from Russia were sent by the St. Petersburg and Moscow “initiating groups” of the liquidators and the editorial boards of the liquidationist Nasha Zarya and Nevsky Golos. A representative of the Spilka Committee Abroad was present too. The overwhelming majority of the delegates were People who lived abroad and were out of touch with the working class of Russia.

The conference adopted anti-Party liquidationist decisions on all the questions of Social-Democratic tactics and declared against the existence of the illegal Party.

Being composed of heterogeneous elements, the August bloc began to fall apart even while the conference was meeting. The liquidators were unable to elect a Central Committee and limited themselves to-setting up an Organising Committee. The blows delivered by the Bolsheviks soon resulted in the final disintegration of the bloc.

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