V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written July 26, 1914
Published: First published in 1935 in Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 5. Sent from Poronin to Berlin. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 428b-429.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2005). 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 Comrade Rudis,

I recently met a highly respected and valuable Lettish Social-Democrat,[1] who told me about the “Left opposition” in the Lettish party. He said you belonged to it.

I do not know to what extent the opposition which you and your friends are raising to the Lettish C.C. is a really “Left opposition”. I am sure, at any rate, that if you are doing so, you are acting in good faith.

In any case, the leftward shift on the part of the Lettish C.C. is an obvious fact. Proof of this is provided by the resolution in No. 32 of Trudovaya Pravda and the refusal to vote in Brussels for the tainted, absurd resolution covering up the liquidators. The Polish opposition voted for; in my opinion this is either treachery or a dirty “game” or diplomacy of the worst kind.

The 4th District in Riga is said to stand for closer relations with our C.C.?

Is that true?

Are the majority of Lettish workers for it or not?

I think it would be important to acquaint the Lettish workers with our “14 conditions”. I sent them to Herman. I don’t think he would refuse to let you have them for a short time to read.

Further, it would be important to make clear our attitude in principle towards federation. We are against it in principle. We are for democratic centralism. In that case, why preserve the old rotten “agreement” of 1906 with the Lettish Social-Democrats, which retains the federative clauses, such as that providing for a delegation from the Lettish C.C. to the general C.C.?? Even the Poles in Stockholm (1906) rejected this federalist clause in principle.

I do not believe that the class-conscious Lettish workers stand for this clause—it facilitates manoeuvring, diplomacy, clannishness. It is harmful to the work.

Further. Is it true that there is vacillation among the class-conscious Lettish workers on the question of the need for combating the separatism of the Bund and cultural-national autonomy?? It would be very deplorable!

Has the resolution of our summer (1913) meeting on the national question been translated into Lettish and published?[3]

The Polish opposition in Brussels adopted the liquidators’ stand and “Tyszka’s” play at diplomacy: a backheel for the Pravdists, a blow at them from behind, and separation from them “in the face of Europe”. They now want, in the Tyszka way, to uphold the federalist clauses in agreements and “cover up” the nationalism of the Bund (cultural-national autonomy), defend the rotten (for the liquidators useful) “lawfulness” of the Party up to 1912 (i.e., prior to the Party’s re-establishment against the liquidators).

I hope the Letts will not follow this path. I would like to know your opinion and that of your Riga friends, of the 4th District and others.

All the best. My regards,


[1] A reference to E. Zvirbulis.—Ed.

[2] Replying to Lenin’s questions, I. Rudis-Gipslis wrote on July 29, 1914, that the Letts did have a “Left opposition” to the Lettish C.C.; that he, Gipslis, belonged to it; that in criticising the C.C. the opposition was acting in good faith, and that the Lettish C.C. was shifting to the left. Gipslis wrote that not only Riga’s largest 4th District but all class-conscious Lettish workers considered it necessary to establish closer contacts with the Russian C.C., that the Bund had a very negligible influence among the Lettish workers, the majority of whom “will always support the vigorous and implacable struggle of the Russian comrades against the separatists, nationalists and opportunists, no matter who they are”. Gipslis wrote that he had received the “14 conditions” formulated by Lenin for the Brussels “Unity” Conference.

[3] A reference to the “Resolution on the National Question” adopted in the summer of 1913 at the meeting of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P. with Party functionaries (see present edition, Vol. 19, pp. 427–29).

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