V. I.   Lenin

Reply to the Article in Leipziger Volkszeitung[2]

Published: Leipziger Volkszeitung No. 165, for July 21, 1914. Translated from the German. Signed: Editors of Pravda. Published according to the text in Leipziger Volkszeitung.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 558-560.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs and The Late Joe Fineberg
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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Leipziger Volkszeitung, issue No. 157 for July 11, 1914, published an article over the signature of Z. L. entitled “On the Question of Unity in Russia”. The writer’s lack of objectivity compels us to draw the attention of the German comrades to certain facts. For the sake of graphic illustration, we quote the following table which was published in Pravda.[1]

Collections for Marxist (Pravdist) and liquidationist newspapers in St. Petersburg from January 1 to May 13, 1914
  Pravdists Liquidators
Workers’ groups 2,873 18,934.10 671 5,296.12
Total from non-
workers . . . .
713 2,650.01 453 6,759.77
Student and youth groups 54 650.92 45 630.22
Groups of “adher-
ents”, “friends”, etc.
42 458.82 54 2.sic450.60
Other groups 33 125.29 30 186.12
Individuals 531 1,046.62 266 1,608.32
Unspecified 43 318.57 24 175.34
From abroad 10 49.79 34 1,709.17
  Total . . 3,586 21,584.11 1,124 12,055.89

1. We gave the exact dates for which these figures were calculated (from January 1 to May 13, 1914). The liquidators gave no dates. Would it be honest, in such a case, to compare facts that are incomparable and unauthentic?

2. The liquidators themselves stated and published in the press (Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta No. 34) that all their groups, i. e., not the workers’ groups alone, totalled 948. Our statistics, on the other hand, specified that the figures 2,873 and 671 referred to workers’ groups alone. The total number of groups is given in our table, and that number does not coincide with the number of workers’ groups. Is it honest to pass this over in silence?

3. Our newspaper reported that we gave the contributions made by the workers’ groups for both newspapers and that we had no information about recurrent contributions by the same groups. The information was the same for both news papers. It is absolutely incomprehensible how any honest critic could discover an “error” here!

4. We quoted parallel figures, that is, figures covering the same period for both newspapers, and the information for both papers was tabulated by the same method.

The liquidators quoted no parallel figures at all, thus violating the most elementary and well-known rules of statistical work. Anyone who is interested in this question can easily get both newspapers and verify our information.

We are sure that no open-minded person can call the methods used by the “critic” Z. L. honest.


[1] See pp. 364–65 of this volume.—Ed.

[2] Leipziger Volkszeitung—a German Social-Democratic daily, published from 1894 to 1933. Until World War I it was the organ of the Left-wing German Social-Democrats. For a number of years it was edited by F. Mehring. Among contributors to the paper were Rosa Luxemburg, and J. Marchlewski.

Lenin’s article was published in the newspaper under the editorial heading: “An objection. Letters to the Editors”.

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