V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in part in 1957 in the book: Istoria grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR. 1917–1922 (The History of the Civil War in the U.S.S.R. 1917–1922), Vol. 3. Published in full in 1960 in the book: Iz istorii grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR, Vol. 1. Printed from the text in Stalin’s hand with an addition by Lenin.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, pages 70b-71a.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Comrade Sergo,

I beg you to pay serious attention to the Crimea and the Donets Basin with a view to creating a united fighting front against invasion from the West. Impress upon the Crimean comrades that the course of events makes defence imperative for them and that they must defend themselves irrespective of ratification of the peace treaty. Make them realise that the position of the north is substantially different from that of the south, and in view of the war, the actual war of the Germans against the Ukraine, help on the part of the Crimea, which (the Crimea) the Germans can gobble up in passing, is not only an act of neighbourly duty, but a requirement for self-defence and self– preservation. It is possible that Slutsky, failing to grasp the complexity of the present situation, has taken some other, simplified line of his own—in which case he must be put in his place in my name. Immediate evacuation of grain and metals to the east, organisation of demolition groups, the creation of a united front of defence from the Crimea to Great Russia, drawing in the peasants, a decisive and unqualified transformation Ukrainian-wise of our units in the Ukraine—these are the present tasks. Antonov should be forbidden to call himself Antonov-Ovseyenko—he must call himself simply Ovseyenko. The same applies to Muravyov (if he remains in his post) and others. As regards the Donets Republic, tell Comrades   Vasilchenko, Zhakov and others that however much they may contrive to keep their region apart from the Ukraine, it—judging from the geography of Vinnichenko—will all the same he included in the Ukraine and the Germans will proceed to conquer it. In view of this, it is quite absurd for the Donets Republic to refuse a united defence front with the rest of the Ukraine. Mezhlauk was in Petrograd and he agreed to recognise the Donets Basin as an autonomous part of the Ukraine; Artyom has also agreed to this; therefore the obstinacy of some comrades from the Donets Basin takes on the appearance of an entirely inexplicable and harmful whim which is absolutely impermissible in our Party midst.

Bring this home to the comrades of the Crimea and Donbas, Comrade Sergo, and get a united defence front set up.

Lenin 14 (1).III.1918

As regards money, arrange to issue what is essential for defence, but be extremely cautious; give it only into the most reliable hands and under the strictest control, as there are lots of people these days who are eager to grab or to throw money away.[1]


[1] The signature, date and last sentence are in Lenin’s handwriting.—Ed.

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