V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1959 in Istorichesky Arkhiv No. 2. Sent from Cracow to Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 394b-396a.
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.

24/III. 1914

Dear Colleague,

I think you overdid the secrecy line a bit, and for a long time you had me guessing who you were.

I thank you very much for your communication.[1] It is very important. I believe that on the terms you mention, your participation was quite correct and useful for the cause. Your request (to state in case of need that you played no game behind the backs of like-minded comrades) I shall gladly comply with, in the expectation, naturally, of receiving detailed information from you. I repeat, this is a very important matter, regarded as a symptom; your remarks concerning “the great interest of observing the process of a new stir-up” are perfectly correct. It is vitally essential that we be informed about this process.

The only mistake on your part is, to my mind, the invitation of “a big man”, etc., “with strong leanings towards the Mensheviks and punctiliously correct”, etc. “In case of need,” you write, “he will state how I bore myself at the meetings.” I believe these gentlemen’s idea of correctness differs essentially from our own. That’s one thing. They are incapable of understanding what it means to betray the workers to the bourgeoisie. Further, you will never need a defence by such a fellow. The very assumption of the idea of such a defence is a confession (a needless confession) of the weakness and instability of your position, etc. It perverts the purpose and meaning of your participation in the meetings. A person capable of directly informing the centre of the organised force gathers information as to the attitude of mind of the vacillating elements and even of the enemies. There’s nothing wrong in this at all. But to invite (thus turning into a “force”!!) a trashy intellectual, who is incapable of distinguishing the bourgeoisie from its antipode, was a mistake. It is this that will probably lead to idle talk, gossip and squabbles.

But this mistake is unimportant. The business itself (your and our information) is far more important.

Please write more often and establish proper contacts for this purpose. Answer as quickly as possible. Couldn’t we get some money from the “type”?[2] It’s badly needed. It’s not worth taking less than 10,000 rubles. Answer. Also   let me know how frankly you can talk: a) with the “type”, b) with his various friends, acquaintances, etc., c) with all the participants of the “meetings”. I think you should single out those one can talk with openly and openly put to them questions such as: aa) We are going to the limit of such-and-such methods of struggle; can we know what your limits are? Unofficially, privately!! bb) We are contributing so-and-so in the way of forces, means and so on; can we know what your contribution to the struggle “outside the Duma” is likely to be? You say that the “type” considers that “the liberals changed front too early in 1905”—well then, get to know whether everybody thinks this and for what length of time approximately they intend to put off the change of front (this, of course, can be expressed not in terms of time, but in terms of political changes).

cc) Are they capable of giving money?

dd) ” ” ” creating an illegal organ?

and so on.

Our aim is to inform ourselves and spur them on to give every possible active assistance to the revolution, with the question concerning the revolution being put as frankly and bluntly as possible (to a or to b or even to c as you know best). If possible, it would be a good idea for you to deliver a report, on the theses of which I would gladly give my opinion, if need be.


[1] See Skvortsov-Stepanov’s letter to Lenin (Istorichesky Arkhiv, No. 2, 1959, pp. 14–17).—Ed.

[2] This apparently refers to A. I. Konovalov.—Ed.

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