V. I.   Lenin

A Letter to J. V. Stalin[1] (December 11, 1912)

Written: Written December 11, 1912
Published: Published for the first time. Sent from Cracow to St. Petersburg. Published according to a copy found in Police Department archives.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 427-429.
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.
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Dear friend, local Polish papers report that Jagiello has been admitted into the group, and has been granted a voice but no vote.[2] If that is true, it is a definite victory for the Party principle. In view of the agitation carried on by Luch, it is necessary: (1) To publish an article in Dyen[3] (I am sending a draft today), ... in the Collegium[4] (we must by all means teach them—doing so while they are with us here—to respond to everything with resolutions and immediately send copies of them here). Here is a tentative draft of such a resolution: “Having examined all the circumstances of Jagiello’s admission into the Social-Democratic group, having studied the articles about it in the Marxist organ, Pravda, and in the newspaper of the liquidators, Luch, and taken into account So-and-So’s report on the debate about it in the Social-Democratic Duma group and on the opinions of the various Social-Democratic organisations of Russia, the Collegium resolves: to recognise that the refusal to admit Jagiello with the right to vote was the only proper way out from the point of view of Party principle, since Jagiello is not a member of the Social-Democratic Party and was elected to the Fourth Duma against the will of the majority of the electors in the worker curia of the city of Warsaw. The Collegium condemns the anti-Party agitation carried on by the Bund and the liquidators in favour of admitting Jagiello into the group and expresses the hope that the granting of a consultative voice to Deputy Jagiello may help in rallying all the class-conscious Polish workers closer around the Polish Social-Democrats and in merging them completely with the workers of all nationalities into integral organisations of the R.S.D.L.P.”

If, contrary to expectations, the liquidators have won and Jagiello has been admitted, it is still necessary, and doubly so, to have a resolution similar in content, expressing regret and appealing to the Party as a whole.

It is highly important, furthermore, for the Collegium to “correct itself” on the well-known resolution of November 13 and adopt a new one. Something like this: “Having examined all the circumstances of the strike of November 15, the Collegium finds that the warnings against the strike both from the Social-Democratic group and from the St. Petersburg Committee were prompted solely by the fact that part of the organisation was not ready to go into action on that day. However, events showed that nonetheless the movement of the revolutionary proletariat assumed a large scale and developed into street demonstrations in the name of a republic, an eight-hour working day, and confiscation of the landed estates, thus raising the entire working-class movement in Russia to a higher plane. There fore the Collegium emphatically condemns the propaganda against revolutionary strikes which the liquidators, their ... group and Luch are carrying on, and recommends the workers to devote all their efforts to more extensive, thorough and concerted preparations for street demonstrations and political protest strikes, which should be made as short as possible (one-day) and concerted. The Collegium will try to develop a campaign for a strike and demonstration on January 9, 1913, with a special protest against the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov, which enslaves Russia and drenches her in blood.”

Next, it is highly important and essential for the five (curia) deputies to draft a well-grounded resolution on the Badayev case. Something like this: “The five deputies from the worker curia, having considered the baiting of Comrade Badayev by the liquidators in Luch and among the St. Petersburg workers, have resolved: (1) not to submit this matter to the Duma group, since the latter has admitted Badayev and no objection was raised in the group to his admission; (2) to investigate the conditions of Badayev’s election, provided he abstains from voting on this matter; (3) the fact, established and verified by the five deputies, that (a) the anti-liquidationist mandate was printed beforehand,   and was adopted unanimously by the delegates’ meeting, all the electors and delegates who backed Badayev acting in concert and unity and as staunch fellow-thinkers, at the request of the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.; (b) that at the meeting of the Social-Democratic delegates fifteen persons voted for the St. Petersburg Committee’s list and nine for the liquidators and that not all of the delegates and electors of Luch behaved as fellow-thinkers of the liquidators, some of them (Sudakov and others) vacillating; (c) that when three electors had been elected from each side, Badayev’s supporters did their duty by moving that the matter be settled by drawing lots to prevent the dispute from being revealed to the bourgeoisie; (d) that the very fact that Badayev’s supporters tabled this motion and the fact that the liquidators refused ... the question of P. and M.[5] (a liquidator)—therefore we have resolved: to recognise that Badayev is undoubtedly the elected representative of the majority of the worker Social-Democrats of St. Petersburg and is in fact a candidate at the request of the St. Petersburg Committee; that the entire responsibility for the disorganisation of the Social-Democratic Party elections in the St. Petersburg worker curia falls on the liquidators, who sought to frustrate the will of the majority, knowing themselves to be in a minority; and that the liquidators’ refusal to draw lots was an outrageous violation of what is the duty of every Social-Democrat,[6] a violation unheard of in the working-class movement. We have resolved to publish this resolution in the press and to take concerted action among the workers for Badayev and against liquidationist agitation.”

This resolution is essential. The Badayev case has already got into the world press. Steklov has printed evasive but foul things in Die Neue Zeit. And what is contained in the pamphlet which the liquidators have published in the German language for the International Congress is simply preposterous. We cannot keep silent. It is for the curia deputies to check the facts and exonerate Badayev, with Badayev himself abstaining, of course.


[1] Lenin’s letter was sent from Cracow to Stalin in St. Petersburg on November 28 (December 11), 1912. It had been copied by N. K. Krupskaya in invisible ink. On the way the letter was intercepted, decoded and copied on a typewriter by the police. The copy of the letter was found in the Police Department archives. Some of the words could not be decoded and there are omissions in the text.

[2] Jagiello, J. I.—a member of the Polish Socialist Party (P.S.P.), was elected deputy for Warsaw to the Fourth Duma. The Bolsheviks strongly objected to Jagiello’s admission into the Social-Democratic group because he had been elected to the Duma thanks to the support of the bourgeoisie and the bloc of the P.S.P. and the Bund. When the issue was first put to the vote, the group split, six Menshevik deputies voting for and six Bolshevik deputies against Jagiello. With the arrival of the Right Menshevik Mankov, deputy for Irkutsk, the Mensheviks gained a majority and Jagiello was admitted into the group. But under pressure from the Bolshevik deputies his rights within the group were restricted: he was granted a voice but no vote on all inner-Party questions.

[3] Dyen (The Day)—a name given to the newspaper Pravda to evade the censor.

[4] There is an omission in the text of the document. The Collegium was the Bolshevik section of the Social-Democratic group in the Fourth Duma.

[5] Several words are missing in the letter. “P.”—N. G. Poletayev, a Bolshevik member of the Third Duma. The liquidationist “M.”—apparently Y. Mayevsky (a pseudonym of V. A. Gutovsky), one of the contributors to the liquidationist Luch.

[6] The delegates from the worker curia of St. Petersburg Gubernia for the Fourth Duma met on October 5 (18), 1912, with 50 delegates present. Of the six electors elected by the delegates, four were Bolsheviks.

The tsarist government was afraid that the Social-Democrats might win in the worker curia and therefore it cancelled the election of delegates in twenty-one St. Petersburg factories. In reply, the St. Petersburg Committee of the Bolsheviks called on the workers for a one-day political strike. The strike involved about 100,000 workers. The government had to give in and announced supplementary elections. At all the factories where these elections were held the workers adopted a “Mandate of the St. Petersburg Workers to Their Workers’ Deputy”. On October 17 (30) the Mandate was passed by a new gubernia meeting. But during the second election of electors the vote was not taken by platforms, with the result that three Bolsheviks and three liquidators were elected. The Bolsheviks proposed to the liquidators that lots should be cast to decide who was to be nominated for election to the Duma for the worker curia. The liquidators rejected the proposal. The gubernia meeting of electors elected A. Y. Badayev, a Bolshevik, for the worker curia of St. Petersburg Gubernia.

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