V. I. Lenin

Speech Delivered At A Public Meeting In Lefortovo District[1]

July 19, 1918

Delivered: 21 July, 1918
First Published: Pravda No. 151, July 21, 1918; Published according to the Pravda text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 542-543
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

The critical position of the Soviet Republic has two causes, home and foreign. We have never attempted to conceal from the workers and peasants how great was the burden of the shameful peace. Burdensome though it was, the Fourth Congress of Soviets deemed it essential to make this peace in order to afford the Russian workers and peasants a breathing-space and an opportunity to consolidate their position. The responsibility for the assassination of Mirbach lies at the door of the Left Socialist-Revolutionary party, which has brought Russia within an ace of doom.

There are signs that the German Government is prepared to come to terms and may renounce the dispatch of a battalion of German soldiers to Moscow. The Soviet Government has categorically rejected this request of the German Government, even if it leads to war.

The folly of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries has severely affected the position of Soviet power, but, on the other hand, one result has been that the best of them, the working people, are repudiating the Left Socialist-Revolutionary party.

The aggravation of relations with Germany has been accompanied by an aggravation of relations with the other coalition. The Czechoslovak revolt is its work. This is borne out in the case of the officers, who are being supported by French money and are assisting the Czechoslovaks.

Lenin went on to speak of the war, which is engendering revolution, and the longer it lasts, the more hopeless it makes the position of the belligerent countries and the nearer it brings them to revolution. Germany and Austria have again been swept by a strike wave. All the imperialist sharks are hurling themselves on Russia and are bent on tearing her to pieces, for they know that every month of socialist Russia's existence brings them nearer to their own doom. To us has fallen the supreme honour and supreme difficulty of being the first socialist detachment in the fight against world imperialism. Our task is to hold on.

Lenin then went on to speak of the famine, which the whiteguards are banking on in order to overthrow the Soviet government. The monarchists, the kulaks, the moneybags are playing up the famine for all they are worth. They are not confining themselves to propaganda, but are corrupting the poor peasants, egging them on to profiteer and to fight the workers. Two classes are in conflict: the proletariat and the kulaks, the capitalists. One of these classes must win, and the other will be smashed. Our socialist revolution calls for an alliance of the class-conscious workers with the majority of the peasantry, the poor and middle peasants, to combat the kulaks and to establish the strictest order in the interests of the workers. We have one means of salvation from famine at our disposal, and that is a fighting alliance between the workers and the poor peasants to take away the grain from the kulaks and profiteers. Look the danger in the face! The enemy is everywhere, but we have new allies too-the proletariat of the countries where war is still being waged. We also have allies at home-the vast mass of the poor peasants, who will march shoulder to shoulder with the urban proletariat.


[1] On July 19, 1918 the meetings arranged every Friday by the Moscow Committee of the R.C.P.(B.) went off very well in all districts of Moscow. The meeting in Lefortovo District, at which Lenin spoke on the international and internal situation, was attended by 5 out 2,000 people.