V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in Pravda No. 169, July 27, 1924. Sent from Zurich to Christiania (Oslo). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 297-299.
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.README

March 17, 1917

Dear A.M.,

I have just had your telegram, worded so that it sounds almost ironical (just imagine thinking about “directives” from here, when news is exceptionally meagre, while in Petersburg there are probably not only effectively leading comrades of our Party, but also formally commissioned representatives of the Central Committee!).

Only just this minute I have read the telegram of the Peters burg Telegraph Agency of the 17th giving the programme of the new government, and the news about Bonar Law’s statement that the tsar has not yet abdicated and that no one knows where he is.

Yesterday it seemed that the Guchkov-Milyukov government was already completely victorious and had already come to an agreement with the dynasty. Today the situation is that the dynasty does not exist and the tsar has fled, clearly preparing for a counter-revolution!...

We have begun working out theses which we shall perhaps finish this evening and then, naturally, will immediately forward to you. If possible, wait for these theses, which correct (resp. cancel) what I am writing now in my own name only, so far.

Zinoviev and I have just managed to draw up a first draft of the theses, a rough one, very unsatisfactory in the editorial sense (of course, we shall not print it in this form) but giving, I hope, an idea of the main point.

We earnestly ask you to acquaint Yuri and Eug. B. with it, and also Lyudmila, and likewise to drop us at least a   line or two before you leave[1] —and also make certain to arrange with someone who is staying in Norway to forward our material to Russia and Russian material to us. Please do this, and ask this comrade remaining behind (or a Norwegian comrade who knows German, French or English) to be exceptionally efficient. We shall send money for the expenses.

In my opinion, the main thing now is not to let oneself get entangled in stupid “unification” attempts with the social-patriots (or, what is still more dangerous, with the wobblers like the Organising Committee, Trotsky and Co.) and to continue the work of our Party in a consistently internationalist spirit.

What is now on the agenda is expansion of the work, organisation of the masses, awakening of new sections—the backward, the rural, domestic servants—Party cells in the forces for systematic and detailed Entlarvung[2] of the new government, and preparation for the conquest of power by the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies. Only such a power can give bread, peace and liberty.

What is needed today is to finish off the reactionaries, not a shadow of confidence or support for the new government (not a shadow of confidence in Kerensky, Gvozdyov,[3] Chkhenkeli, Chkheidze[4] and Co.) and armed temporising, armed preparation of a wider base for a higher stage.

If there is freedom of the press, republish (as material for the history of the recent past) our writings here, and inform us by cable whether we can help by writing from here through Scandinavia. We are afraid that it will be some time before we succeed in leaving accursed Switzerland.

All the best.

Yours, Lenin

I wish you every kind of success!

P.S. I am afraid that there will now be an epidemic in Petersburg “simply” of excitement, without systematic work on a party of a new type. It must not be à la “Second International”. Wider! Raise up new elements! Awaken a new initiative, new organisations in all sections, and prove to them that peace will be brought only by an armed Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, if it takes power.


[1] Alexandra Kollontai and other Bolsheviks were leaving for Russia.—Ed.

[2] Exposure.—Ed.

[3] Gvozdyov, K. A. (b. 1883)—Menshevik liquidator. Social-chauvinist during the imperialist world war. After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917 he became successively a member of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, Deputy Minister, and Minister of Labour in the bourgeois Provisional Government.

[4] Chkheidze, N. S. (1864–1926)—one of the Menshevik leaders. During the imperialist world war, a Centrist. After the October Socialist Revolution he became Chairman of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia, a counter-revolutionary, Menshevik government. When Soviet power was established in Georgia in 1921, he emigrated to Paris.

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