V. I.   Lenin

For the Attention of Luch and Pravda Readers

Published: Pravda No. 102, May 5, 1913. Signed: Reader of Pravda and Luch. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 76-78.
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

Both Luch and Pravda have on a number of occasions published letters from workers demanding that the editors of these newspapers give them a calm and clear exposition of the substance of their differences. This is a legitimate and natural demand, and it is worth while seeing how the two editorial boards have complied with it.

Under the heading “Controversial Issues”[1] Pravda published the explanatory articles that had been asked for. What were they about? Those articles outlined and explained Party decisions on disputed questions. Through the author of those articles Pravda stated that to decide who is right in the dispute, where the truth lies, one must examine the facts and documents of Party history, try to put aside every thing personal, everything extraneous and understand the social roots of the dispute. The dispute with the liquidators, said Pravda, “is not a matter of the evil will of certain individuals, but of the historical situation of the working-class movement”.[2] Those who seriously want to get at the bottom of the dispute must take the trouble to understand that historical situation.

It is necessary to understand,” says Pravda, “the class origin of the discord and disintegration, to understand what class interests emanating from a non-proletarian environment foster confusion among the friends of the proletariat.”[3]

This is a serious presentation of the question. It is a direct response to the workers’ demand that they be helped to   understand the serious dispute between Pravda and Luch. In this way the workers will get to know the facts of Party life and will learn to distinguish what in this dispute is true and a matter of principle, and what is shallow and fortuitous they will seek the class roots of the discord.

It is possible that a worker, having learned the facts, having read through the documents, etc., will in the end not agree with Pravda—that is a matter of his own convictions and his experience. But in any case, if he follows Pravda’s advice he will learn a lot and will realise what the whole dispute is about.

Such is Pravda’s reply to the workers’ demand to make them familiar with the existing differences. How did Luch act?

At the same time as Pravda published its articles on “controversial issues”, Luch printed a lengthy article on the same subject. Not a single fact is cited in the article, the author does not attach any social significance at all to the dispute and does not call the reader’s attention to a single document.

This enormous article, spread over two issues of the paper, is packed with gossip and allusions to personalities. The working-class reader is informed of the “touchiness” and “charming witticisms” of one Marxist, the “superman” pretensions of a second and the “cynicism” of a third. All disputes are attributed to “the settling of personal accounts”, to “discontent over matters of seniority” and to the “struggle for power” in the Party. And an underhand rumour, worthy of the official press, is slipped in to suggest that certain “master-hands at revolution” are to blame for it all be cause they are afraid of losing their influence if the broad masses of the workers enter into the dispute.

What the author and the newspaper that published his article are aiming at is to pack people’s heads with gossip, squabbles and personalities, and thus avoid the necessity of explaining their point of view. It would not be half as bad if it were merely gossip. But this is the gossip of an embittered renegade, that is the trouble. Read what he writes at the beginning of the second part of his article about “provoked and provoking acts”, about “the dictatorship in the Party of supermen with a cynical attitude to the masses”; read how he abuses the devoted people of 1905 by   calling them “master-hands at revolution” who have behaved in a way that would be quite “impermissible in an environment with any degree of culture”. All that,, of course, is lifted straight from Zemshchina,[4] or from Vekhi!

This appeared not in Novoye Vremya[5] but in a paper that calls itself a workers’ newspaper, it is offered as a reply to working men’s demands for a serious explanation of the paper’s point of view! And even after that Luch dares protest against sharper forms of polemic and set itself up as a model of decorum that wants to put Pravda to shame.

We most insistently advise those workers who still believe that Luch, unlike Pravda, is a newspaper that stands for unification and the cessation of internal squabbles, to read the above-mentioned article and compare it with the way Pravda discusses the same questions.


[1] See pp. 147–56 of this volume.—Ed.

[2] ** [sic.] See p. 154 of this volume.—Ed.

[3] ** [sic.—shared footnote] See p. 154 of this volume.—Ed.

[4] Zemshchina (Land Affairs)—a Black-Hundred daily published in St. Petersburg from July 1909 to February 1917. It was subsidised by the tsarist government and the Council of the United Nobility.

[5] Novoye Vremya (New Times)—a daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg from 1868 to October 1917. It was at first a moderately liberal paper but towards the end of the 1870s it became an organ of reactionary nobility and bureaucratic circles. The paper conducted a struggle not only against the revolutionary movement, but also against the liberal-bourgeois movement; from 1905 onwards it was one of the organs of the Black Hundreds. Lenin referred to Novoye Vremya as an example of the venal press.

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