V. I. Lenin

Direct-Line Conversation With Helsingfors

October 27 (November 9), 1917

Conversation: 27 of October 1917
First Published: 1922 in the magazine Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 10. Published according to the telegraph tape.
Source:Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 267-269, from the manuscript.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna, Edited by George Hanna
Transcription & HTML Markup: Charles Farrell and David Walters
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive November, 2000



Conversation With A. L. Sheinman, Chairman Of The Executive Committee Of The Helsingfors Soviet Of Deputies Of The Army, Navy And Workers Of Finland

Lenin: Are you authorised to speak on behalf of the Regional Army and Navy Committee?

Sheinman: Of course, I am.

Lenin: Can you move the greatest possible number of destroyers and other warships to Petrograd at once?

Sheinman: Let me call the Tsentrobalt [the Central Committee of the Baltic Fleet.--Ed.] Chairman, because this is a purely naval matter. What's new in Petrograd?

Lenin: There is a report that Kerensky's troops have moved up and have taken Gatchina, and since a part of the Petrograd troops are tired, it is imperative that we have the strongest reinforcements as soon as possible.

Sheinman: Anything else?

Lenin: Instead of the "anything else" I expected you to say you were ready to set out and fight.

Sheinman: That goes without saying: we have announced our decision and will, consequently, act up to it.

Lenin: Have you any stocks of rifles and machine-guns, and in what quantities?

Sheinman: Here is Mikhailov, Chairman of the Regional Committee's Military Department. He will tell you about the army in Finland.


Conversation With Mikhailov, Chairman Of The Military Department Of The Regional Committee Of The Army, Navy And Workers Op Finland

Mikhailov: How many men do you need?

Lenin: As many as possible, but only loyal men who are ready to fight. How many such men have you?

Mikhailov: All of 5,000. Those who will fight can be sent urgently.

Lenin: If sent with all possible dispatch, how many hours will it take them to reach Petrograd for sure?

Mikhailov: Twenty-four hours, from now, at the outside.

Lenin: By the overland route?

Mikhailov: By rail.

Lenin: Can you supply them with rations?

Mikhailov: Yes. There are plenty of rations. There are also about 35 machine-guns; we could also send a few field guns with their detachments without worsening the situation here.

Lenin: On behalf of the Government of the Republic I insistently request you to start such dispatch at once, and also to tell me whether you are aware of the formation of the new government, and how the news has been met by your Soviets?

Mikhailov: We heard about the government only from the papers. People over here are enthusiastic about power passing into the hands of the Soviets.

Lenin: So, you say, the troops will set out at once, and will be supplied with rations?

Mikhailov: That's right. We'll set about their dispatch right away and will supply them with rations. Here's the Tsentrobalt Deputy Chairman, because Dybenko himself went to Petrograd at 10.00 pin, today.


Conversation With N. F. Izmailov. Deputy Chairman Of Tsentrobalt

Lenin: How many destroyers and other warships can you send?

Izmailov: We can send the battleship Republic and two destroyers.

Lenin: Will they also be supplied with rations from your end?

Izmailov: Our fleet has enough rations, and they will be supplied. I want to say I am sure the Republic and all the destroyers we send will do their duty in defending the revolution. Have no doubt about the dispatch of the armed forces. This will be fulfilled without fail.

Lenin: In how many hours?

Izmailov: Eighteen, at the most. Is there any need to send them out now?

Lenin: Yes. The government is absolutely convinced that there is need for their immediate dispatch so that the battleship could enter the Ship Canal as close to the shore as possible.

Izmailov: The battleship is a large vessel with 12-inch guns, and cannot anchor offshore: if it did it could be easily boarded and captured. This can be done by the destroyers, with their small-calibre guns and machine-guns; as for the battleship, it should be in the roads or close by, or near the cruiser Aurora, because its guns have a range of 25 versts [25 versts= 16.5 miles.-Ed.]; in short let the sailors and their command handle this.

Lenin: The destroyers must enter the Neva near the Rybatskoye village, in order to protect the Nikolayevskaya railway line and all the approaches to it.

Izmailov: Right, all this will be done. What else is there?

Lenin: Is there a wireless telegraph on the Republic and can it communicate with Petrograd while on its way?

Izmailov: Not only on the Republic, but also on the destroyers, they can all communicate with the Eiflel Tower. Let me assure you that everything will be done well.

Lenin: May we expect that the ships will set out immediately?

Izmailov: Yes, that is so. We shall issue urgent orders right away so that these ships will get to Petrograd in time.

Lenin: Have you stocks of rifles and ammunition? Let's have everything you can spare.

Izmailov: There are some on the ships, but we shall let you have everything there is.

Lenin: Good-bye. Good luck.

Izmailov: Good-bye. Was that you speaking? Will you tell me your name?

Lenin: Lenin.

Izmailov: Good-bye. We're setting everything in motion.