V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written not earlier than May 25, 1913
Published: First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXV. Sent to St. Petersburg. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 99-100.
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 Colleagues,

Today at last I have received the file of Pravda for the last few days or, more precisely, for the last week. My best thanks and best congratulations on your success: in my opinion the paper has now undoubtedly found its feet. The improvement is a tremendous one and a serious one, and, let us hope, firm and for good. The length of Plekhanov’s articles and the abundance of anti-liquidationism (about which one of the workers’ deputies writes to me) are now questions of detail; it won’t be difficult to correct matters in Ibis respect, now that the paper has taken a firm stand, and I think that the workers on the spot will see at once bow to make the necessary correction. We have also received the detailed letter of a member of the staff (who unfortunately has not the pleasant “deputy” quality), and we were very glad of it, congratulating him on every kind of success. It seems as though now (and only now, after the St—v[1] adventure) the period of wavering has ended ... touch wood!...

I don’t advise you to present Plekhanov with ultimatums: it is too early, it may do harm!! If you do write to him, write as kindly and mildly as possible, He is valuable now because he is fighting the enemies of the working-class movement.

As regards Demyan Bedny, I continue to be for. Don’t find fault, friends, with human failings! Talent is rare. It should be systematically and carefully supported. It will be a sin on your conscience, a great sin (a hundred   times bigger than various personal “sins”, if such occur...) against the democratic working-class movement, if you don’t draw in this talented contributor and don’t help him. The disputes were petty, the cause is a serious one. Think over this!

As regards expansion, I have recently written in detail to one of the Prosveshcheniye people; I hope you also have seen the letter. I, too, am in favour of financial caution: to provide the same six pages (the present extra sheets) in another form, with a different sauce and title and content: 4 pages of Sunday supplement for the advanced workers + 2 pages of a “workers’ kopek” for 1 kopek, for the masses, to win a hundred thousand readers, with an especially popular content. You shouldn’t imitate Luch but go your own road, the proletarian road: 4 pages for the advanced workers and 2pages (and later even 4) for the masses, for a long and stubborn battle for 100,000 readers. We must go wide and deep, into the masses, and not follow intellectual patterns like Luch.

Once again greetings, congratulations and best wishes.

V. I.

Another special greeting to Vitimsky: his article about the workers’ press and workers’ democracy against the liberals[2] was very successful!! And the Bogdanov “Ideology” is certain to heresy: I promise you that I will prove this exactly!![3]

Marxists are glad of an increase in circulation when it is increased by Marxist articles, and not by articles against Marxism. We want a principled paper—all the contributors and readers of Pravda want it—a Marxist, not Machist paper? Isn’t that so?

P.S. The address is not Paronen, but Poronin (Galizien), and be sure to add on the wrapper: via Warsaw-Frontier– Zakopane.


[1] Who this refers to has not been established.—Ed.

[2] Lenin refers to the article by M. S. Olminsky (A. Vitimsky) “Kto s kem?” (“Who Is on Whose Side?”), published in Pravda No. 106, May 10, 1913. The article was part of the polemic with Luch concerning the conference between the editors of bourgeois publications and representatives of the workers’ press. The conference was called for the purpose of protesting at the introduction of harsher laws against the press. The chairman of the conference did not allow a vote on the draft resolution submitted by the Pravda representatives. They and representatives of a number of trade union papers refused to sign the liberal editors’ resolution. Besides the representatives of Rech, Russkaya Molva, Sovremennoye Slovo and Dyen, etc., = only the representatives of Luch and Nasha Zarya signed the resolution, thus acting against the workers’ papers represented at the conference.

[3] On Lenin’s insistence A. A. Bogdanov’s article “Ideology” (from the “Dictionary of Foreign Words” series) was rejected by Pravda as anti-Marxist. Concerning the statement which Bogdanov then sent to Pravda announcing his resignation from the paper, Lenin wrote a “Letter to the Editor” which was published in the newspaper Put Pravdy No. 9, January 31, 1914 = (see present edition, Vol.  20, pp. 93–94).

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