V. I.   Lenin


Published: First published in 1923 in the Journal Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 9 (21). Sent from Petrograd to Stockholm. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 444-445.
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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Comrades Hanecki and Radek: Herrn Fürstenberg
8. Birgerjarlsgatan. 8. Stockholm

April 12, 1917

Dear Friends,

Up to now we have received nothing, absolutely nothing from you—no letters, no packets, no money.[1] Only two telegrams from Hanecki. We are sending you two files of Pravda: one for you, the other for Karpinsky (Mr.  Karpinsky. Bibliothèque russe. 7. rue Hugo de Senger. 7. Genève. (Genf) Suisse), and two sets of cuttings: one for you, the other for Karpinsky.

Notify us by postcard (M. T. Yelizarov for V. I. Shirokaya Ul., 48, kv. 24. Petrograd) or by telegram that you have received this letter and the papers.

Steinberg[2] has arrived, and promises to get hold of the packets which were sent. We shall see whether he succeeds.

If you get the newspapers, they will give you an idea of the whole situation.

In case the papers don’t reach you, let me describe it in brief.

The bourgeoisie (+Plekhanov) are furiously attacking us for travelling through Germany. They are trying to incite the soldiers against us. So far it isn’t coming off: there are supporters, and loyal ones, among them. Among the S.R.s and the Social-Democrats there is the most desperate chauvinist excitement, which has taken the form of “revolutionary defencism ” (now, they allege, there is something to defend, namely, the republic against Wilhelm).   We are being furiously attacked for opposing “unity”, while the masses are for the unity of all Social-Democrats. We are against.

Chkheidze has sunk completely into “revolutionary defencism”. In a bloc with Potresov. All are for the Liberty Loan.[3] It is opposed only by us+the Nashe Slovo group+ Larin and a handful of Martov’s friends.

We are calling an all-Russia conference of Bolsheviks on April 22, 1917.[4]

We hope completely to straighten out the line of Pravda, which has wobbled towards “Kautskyism”.[5]

Write articles for Pravda on foreign affairs—very short and in the Pravda spirit (it’s so small! There is so little space! We are working to enlarge it). Also, most briefly, about the German revolutionary movement and the Leftist press.

Write us a letter about the doings among the Swedish Left.[6] We have heard that the chauvinist Branting is attacking Radek.

At the beginning of the revolution, the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies concluded an agreement with the Provisional Government for support of the latter.[7] There is a “Contact Commission”: the Soviet “supervises” the Provisional Government.

The position is extremely complex and exceptionally interesting. We are publishing pamphlets on tactics.[8] The Soviet wants a general, international socialist congress. We want only a congress of the Left, against the social-chauvinists and against the “Centre”.

I shake your hands, and wish you all the best. Write as often as you can and be very regular and careful in your contacts.

V. Ulyanov


[1] A reference to the money belonging to the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee which had been left abroad.

[2] Steinberg—a Russian engineer resident in Stockholm, a go-between in the correspondence.

[3] The “Liberty Loan” issued by the Provisional Government on April 6 (19), 1917 to finance the war.

[4] The Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) was held in Petrograd from April 24 to 29 (May 7–12), 1917.

[5] A reference to the altitude taken by Pravda in March 1917 before Lenin’s arrival in Russia.

From mid-March, the paper carried articles by L. Kamenev, whom the C.C. Bureau of the R.S.D.L.P. gave permission to insert articles without signature. In these articles, the question of supporting the Provisional Government was presented in the light of the Menshevik formula “insofar as...”, “until the Provisional Government is played out”. They guaranteed support for all its steps designed to “eradicate all the relics of the tsarist and landowner regime ”; the government was invited to renounce annexations, etc.—all of which tended to sow illusions. Kamenev’s editorial, “Without Secret Diplomacy”, called for a continuation of the war, a stand which clashed with the Bolshevik attitude to the imperialist war.

Pravda’s criticism of the conciliators was half-hearted. The editors sharply cut down Lenin’s criticism of the conciliatory leadership of the Petrograd Soviet and his exposure of the monarchist aspirations of the Provisional Government in his first “Letter from Afar” carried by Pravda on March 21 and 22 (April  3 and 4). J. V. Stalin took the erroneous position of exerting pressure on the Provisional Government for an immediate opening of peace talks.

Upon his arrival in Petrograd, Lenin became a member of the editorial board, and Pravda started its struggle for his plan to transform the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one.

[6] A trend among Swedish Social-Democrats. During the First World War, they took an internationalist stand and supported the   Zimmerwald Left. In May 1917 they formed the Left Social-Democratic Party of Sweden whose congress in 1919 decided to join the Communist International. In 1921, the party’s revolutionary wing took the name of the Communist Party of Sweden.

[7] A reference to the agreement to form the bourgeois Provisional Government concluded on March 1 (14), 1917 by the Duma Provisional Committee and the S.R. and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. Under the agreement the S.R.s and the Mensheviks handed over state power to the bourgeoisie, giving the Duma Provisional Committee a free hand in forming the Provisional Government, which was set up on March 2 (15), 1917. It included Prince Lvov, the Cadet leader Milyukov, the Octobrist leader Guchkov and other representatives of the bourgeoisie and the landowners. The S.R. Kerensky was taken into the government as a representative of “democracy”.

The “contact commission” referred to below was formed under a decision of the conciliatory Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of March 8 (21), 1917, to “influence” and supervise the activity of the Provisional Government. On it were M. I. Skobelev, Y. M. Steklov, N. N. Sukhanov, V. N. Filippovsky and N. S. Chkheidze (later also V. M. Chernov and I. G. Tsereteli). It helped the Provisional Government use the Petrograd Soviet prestige to veil its counter-revolutionary policy. The Mensheviks and S.R.s hoped it would help them keep the masses from active revolutionary struggle for transfer of power to the Soviets. The commission was dissolved in mid-April 1917 and its functions transferred to the Executive Committee Bureau.

[8] A reference to Lenin’s pamphlet Letters on Tactics. First Letter, published in 1917 (see present edition, Vol. 24, pp. 43–54).

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