V. I.   Lenin

Strange Misquotations

Published: First published in Pravda No. 84, June 30 (17), 1917. Signed: N. Lenin. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, page 104.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The newspapers Dyen[2] and Novaya Zhizn, which yesterday published a more detailed report of the findings of the committee of inquiry,[3] have quoted a passage from my testimony that is missing in Birzhevka,[4] which in certain respects has published an even more complete report of the findings.

Both of the first-mentioned papers printed a quotation from my testimony that begins with the words: “I do not believe there are any agents provocateurs involved here.” There are no dots before the quotation, and the perfectly absurd inference is that now “I do not believe”.

Only an extremely strange misquotation by both papers could result in such nonsense. What I did testify was this: “I personally have often had to (before Malinovsky was found to be an agent provocateur) reason as follows: after the Azef[5] case nothing can surprise me. But I do not believe there are any agents provocateurs involved here, not only because I see neither proof nor evidence, but also because” (and so on, as quoted by Dyen: had Malinovsky been an agent provocateur, the secret police would not have gained as much as they had expected, for we have been doing everything through two legal posts, etc.).

And so, my testimony concerned the past. Dyen and Novaya Zhizn[1] have by a strange misquotation attributed to me an absurdity implying that I spoke of the present.

The result is the direct opposite of what I actually said.


[1] Both newspapers contain another misprint: “The Bolsheviks will not organise an armed rising.” The word not should be taken out. —Lenin

[2] Dyen (The Day)—a liberal bourgeois daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg from 1912. Among its contributors were Menshevik liquidators, who took it over completely after the February revolution. Dyen was closed down by the Military Revolutionary Committee under the Petrograd Soviet on October 26 (November 8), 1917.

[3] On June 16 (29), 1917, Dyen, Novaya Zhizn and Birzheviye Vedomosti published the findings of the extraordinary committee of inquiry appointed by the Provisional Government to investigate the crimes of the tsarist regime. The committee published evidence against the agent provocateur Malinovsky.

[4] Birzhevka, short for Birzheviye Vedomosti (Stock-Exchange Recorder)—a bourgeois newspaper founded in 1880. It was published in St. Petersburg, first three and then four times a week, and in the end daily. From 1902 onwards it was brought out twice a day. Time-serving, venality and lack of principle made its title a byword. After the February revolution the paper conducted riot-raising propaganda against the Bolshevik Party and Lenin. It was closed down by the Military Revolutionary Committee under the Petrograd Soviet at the end of October 1917.

[5] Reference is to the treachery of Azef, member of the S.R. Party’s Central Committee, who for a number of years was a secret police agent. In 1908 he was exposed, and fled from the country.

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