V. I.   Lenin

Letter to M. S. Olminsky (Vitimsky)

Written: Written June 3 (16), 1913
Published: First published in 1930 in the second and third editions of V. I. Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. XVI. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 170-172.
Translated: The Late George Hanna
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

Dear Colleague,

First let me congratulate you on your two articles that, in my opinion, were particularly well done—one about the liberals and the conference of Pravda and Luch with liberal editors, and the other in No. 123, about Pravda.[2]

In respect of the question of An and Vlasov that you have raised, I cannot agree with you. I think you have taken the superficial, external aspect that is immediately visible, and are prepared to forget what is more important, what is basic. And that is dangerous in the highest degree.

You say that An and Vlasov “attack the Luch editors” and that “this has not been used”.

You are wrong. An and Vlasov accept what is basic in Luch, i.e., the slogan of “the struggle for an open party”, or the slogan of peace (or unity) with the liquidators. That is basic. That is what Luch wants. The very thing Luch wants is to represent itself, not as an organ of the liquidators, but as an organ of both liquidators and Party people. This is a deception that cannot be allowed, it is more dangerous than anything. And it is the deception Trotsky and Semkovsky are gambling on.

To continue—it is not quite true to say “this has not been used”. How should it be used? To say that An and Vlasov “attack the Luch editors and vindicate the Pravda line”? That would be untrue. An and Vlasov do not vindicate the fundamental line of Pravda, they either reject it (An) or do not understand it (Vlasov).

Or should it be used in this way—the fact of Sedov’s liquidationism is admitted not only by the enemies but also   by the supporters of Luch? That would be true. And that is what has been done, incidentally, in my article (“Controversial Issues” No. 3, in Pravda No. 11O).[1]

You should divide and not unite your enemies”, you write reproachfully to the tactless V. I., who, you say, “unites” them.

Permit me a few words in my defence.

One should divide and not unite one’s enemies—that is indisputable. Suppose, however, it is to the advantage of one’s enemies to pretend that they are “divided”, that they have on their side not only liquidators but “also” the Letts, “and” Trotsky, “and” the Bund, “and” An? It is this essence of liquidationist tactics that you have not noticed—perhaps because you have not read or have not heard everything about the August Conference. This, indeed, is the essence and the substance of the entire tactics of “saving” the liquidators, i.e., saving the freedom of liquidationist lies and liberalism to operate from inside the Party.

This is the only way a further attempt at saving the liquidators can be made. And that adroit diplomat An (with the year-old babe Vlasov toddling after him) is engaged in a very subtle game. You don’t know An! I have studied his diplomacy for years and know how he hoodwinks the whole of the Caucasus with it! An has a real talent for diplomacy (I have known him since 1903)—it is, unfortunately, badly employed. He wants to pretend he is against Luch and in this way save Luch! This is quite obvious to anyone who has a good knowledge of the history of the Party, especially during January 1910 and August 1912! An chided Dan over petty issues and gave in to him on the main thing (the slogan of the struggle for an open party), because he wanted to show “his side” that he too is against the liquidators. No mistake could be more disastrous than to take An’s bait. You do not know (and that is understandable) all the ins and outs of the relations between Trotsky, An, the Bund, Braun, etc., and Luch—but I do. There is nothing that could help the liquidators more than to recognise An as an anti-liquidator. This is a fact. An is their one “reliable” support. That   is also a fact. Warmest regards. My best wishes for your health, keep in good spirits. Write to me, I shall always be glad to chew things over with you.


V. I.

P.S. I hear there are many rumours in St. Petersburg to the effect that An (Chkheidze as well) “wanted to take” Luchaway from Dan ... but did not. I believe this “wanting to take” was for show and it ended in an apparent compromise that was actually surrender to Dan! Dan is an enemy battery poorly masked. An is another battery of the same enemy, but skilfully masked. I assure you that I know this from my own experience in the matter.


[1] See pp. 156–59 of this volume.—Ed.

[2] The articles referred to were published by M. S. Olminsky (Vitimsky) in Pravda No. 106 and No. 123 on May 10 and May 30, 1913 under the heading “Who Is on Whose Side?” and “The Truth”.

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