V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on December 18, 1916
Published: First published in 1949 in Bolshevik No. 1. Sent from Zurich to Clarens (Switzerland). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 259-261.
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 Friend,

Another letter has arrived today from St. Petersburg—they have been attentive in their writing lately.

Apart from the letter from Guchkov,[2] which is going into No. 57 of the Central Organ (being set), and which probably Grigory showed you in Berne, letters from Lvov and Chelnokov[3] have been received, all on the same subject, the country’s bitter indignation (against the traitors carrying on negotiations for a separate peace), etc.

The mood, they write, is supremely revolutionary.

My manuscript about imperialism has reached Petersburg, and now they write today that the publisher (and this is Gorky! oh the calf!) is dissatisfied with the sharp passages against ... who do you think? ... Kautsky! He wants to get in touch with me about it!!! Both laughable and disappointing.

There it is, my fate. One fighting campaign after another—against political stupidities, philistinism, opportunism and so forth.

It has been going on since 1893. And so has the hatred of the philistines on account of it. But still, I would not exchange this fate for “peace” with the philistines.

Now there is Radek as well. No. 6 of Jugend-Internationale (have you seen it?) contains the article by Nota Bene. We (Grigory and I) at once recognised Bukharin. I replied to his exceptional stupidities in No. 2 of Sbornik.[1] (You haven’t seen it? It was ready a few days ago.)

Today Grigory sends me No. 25 of Arbeiterpolitik. There is the same article in it (with cuts, obviously made by the censors), signed by Bukharin. (We have received one more number of, Novy Mir, from New York, containing a criticism—alas, alas! A correct one: that is the tragedy, that a Menshevik is right against Bukharin!!—a criticism evidently of the same article (in a number which we haven’t got) by Bukharin in Novy Mir.)

And Radek—“Tyszka’s methods”, Grigory writes to me today—publishes in No. 25 of Arbeiterpolitik praise of Bukharin (“a young force”) and a little note, in passing, about the “three editors of Kommunist”!

He squeezes into the crack of the differences between us: the time-honoured policy of riffraff and scoundrels, incapable of arguing with us straightforwardly and resorting to intrigues, double-dealing, baseness.

There is a picture for you of what is, and of what Radek does (a man is judged not by what he says or thinks about himself, but by what he does—do you remember that Marxist truth?).


This is the kind of “environment” one has to fight with!!

And what theoretical disgrace and nonsense in Radek’s “theses”....

I have been reading the Plaidoirie[4] by Humbert-Droz. My God, what a philistine of Tolstoyism!! I have written again to Abramovich. Is he really hopeless after all? I am wondering whether there are not in Switzerland bacilli of petty-bourgeois (and petty-state) thick-wittedness, Tolstoyism, and pacifism, which destroy the best people? I am sure there must be!

I have read the second pamphlet by P. Golay (L’Anti-militarisme)—what a gigantic step back in comparison with the first (Le Socialisme qui meurt), and into the same swamp....

All the very best,

P.S. Do you ski? You really should! Learn the trick, get yourself skis and go off to the mountains—you must. It’s good in the mountains in winter! It’s delightful, and smells of Russia.


[1] The reply was in the article “The Youth International” (see present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 163–66).—Ed.

[2] On August 15 (28), 1916 Guchkov wrote a letter to General Alexeyev, Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Commander-in Chief. The letter expressed the Russian bourgeoisie’s fear of the mounting revolution and its dissatisfaction with the tsarist government, which was proving incapable of checking it. Guchkov’s letter was published in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 57 for December 30, 1916.

[3] Lvov, G. Y. (1861–1925)—prince, owner of large estates, Constitutional-Democrat, Chairman of the All-Russia Zemstvo Association   during the First World War, subsequently one of the chairmen of the United Association of Zemstvos and Towns; both organisations represented the imperialist bourgeoisie and landowners.

Chelnokov, M. V. (b. 1863)—big industrialist and house-holder, one of the founders of the Constitutional-Democratic Party (Cadets). Deputy to the Second, Third and Fourth Dumas. Mayor of Moscow, 1914–17.

[4] Reference is to Humbert-Droz’s pamphlet Guerre à la Guerre. A bas L’Armée. Plaidoirie complète devant le Tribunal Militaire à Neuch&ahat;tel le 26 ao&uhat;t 1916 (War on War. Down with the Army. Full text of Counsel’s Speech before the; Military Tribunal at Neuch&ahat;tel on August 26, 1916). Humbert-Droz had been arrested for refusing to answer the call-up.

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