V. I. Lenin

An Unfinished Autobiography{2}

Written: Written not earlier than May 4 (17), 1917
Published: First published on April 16, 1927 in Pravda No. 86. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, page 430.2.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Comrades! The Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies has transmitted to me your letter of April 24, 1917. In it you ask about my origin, where I had been, whether I had been exiled and what for. In what manner I returned to Russia and what is my activity at the present time, i.e., whether it (this activity) is doing you good or harm.

I reply to all these questions, except the last one, because it is for you to judge whether or not my activity is doing you any good.

My name is Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.

I was born in Simbirsk on April 10, 1870. In the spring of 1887, my elder brother Alexander was executed by Alexander III for an attempt on his life (March 1, 1887). In December 1887, I was arrested for the first time and expelled from Kazan University for students’ disturbances; I was then banished from Kazan.

In December 1895, I was arrested for the second time for Social-Democratic propaganda among the workers of St. Petersburg....{1}


{1} Here the MS. breaks off.—Ed.

{2} This is an unfinished reply to the letter of the soldiers’ committee of the 8th Horse Artillery Battery (army in the field) sent to the Petrograd Soviet. It was dated April 24 (May 7), 1917, that is, the period when the bourgeois and after it the petty-bourgeois press   started a slander campaign against Lenin and the other members of the Bolshevik Party who had returned to Russia from Switzerland via Germany.

The soldiers’ letter said: “In view of the fact that there is much friction over Lenin among the soldiers of the battery, please let us have the earliest possible reply. What is his origin? Where had he been? If he had been in exile, what for? How did he return to Russia and what is he doing at present, that is, are his acts doing us good or harm? In short, we should like to be convinced by your letter, so as to stop our arguments, lose no more time and be able to prove our point to other comrades as well” (Pravda No. 86 of April 16, 1927).

The letter was passed on to Lenin. p. 430

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