V. I. Lenin

The Fight Against Kolchak

Speech At A Conference Of Moscow Factory Committees And Trade Unions

April 17, 1919

Newspaper Report

Delivered: 23 June, 1919
First Published: Izvestia No, 84, April 18, 1919; Published according to the Izvestia text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 29, pages 320-323
Translated: George Hanna
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Lenin, in a vigorous speech, called upon the Moscow proletariat to take a direct part in the fight against Kolchak. Kolchak’s latest offensive, he said, was undoubtedly instigated by the imperialist powers of the Entente. The fact that the Entente was directing all the movements of the whiteguards in the border regions was proved by the telegram received from Comrade Stuka the day before to the effect that the Germans in Courland had stopped their offensive, but the Soviet Government in Latvia could not conclude peace with them because France, Britain and America were demanding that the Germans remain in Courland and continue the war. The German generals were willing to obey the victors, but the German soldiers emphatically refused to fight. The Allies’ last card had been beaten. The victories in the South had shown that the Allies lack the forces with which to wage war against the Soviet Republic, or rather, they had lost control over their forces. The Allies’ gamble in the South had ended in a shameful act of plunder when they fled from Odessa. The “enlightened” Allies accused the Soviets of committing acts of robbery and violence, but themselves robbed the Soviets of their merchant fleet which they took from Odessa without any right or justification, thereby downing the civil population to starvation. This was an act of revenge for the collapse of their imperialist plans. The Republic had wound up the Southern and Crimean fronts and was on the verge of winding up the Don Front. According to the latest information received, the Red Army was forty versts from Novocherkassk and victory was assured.

Kolchak’s offensive had been instigated by the Allies in order to divert Soviet forces from the Southern Front and give the remnants of the whiteguard forces and Petlyura’s gangs in the South an opportunity to recuperate, but the plan would fail. The Soviets would not withdraw a single regiment, or a single company, from the Southern Front.

A new army would be organised for the Eastern Front, and for this purpose mobilisation had been ordered. This mobilisation would be the last. It would enable the Soviets to put an end to Kolcliak, i.e., to put an end to the war, and this time for good.

The mobilisation had been ordered solely for the nonagricultural, industrial gubernias. In drawing up the plan for this mobilisation attention had been paid not only to the interests of the war, but also to the interests of agriculture and food supplies. People were being transferred from the starving gubernias to the grain-producing regions. To a large extent this mobilisation would relieve the food situation in the metropolitan cities and the northern gubernias. All mobilised men would be allowed to send their families at home two food parcels a month, and in this way the working population would be able to obtain bread from their relatives at the front. According to the report of the Commissar for Posts and Telegraphs, food parcels played an important part in supplying food for the towns; in one day 37 carloads of food parcels had arrived. This measure would undoubtedly be more effective and more palpable than the pood-and-a-half experiment made last year.

The mobilisation had been properly conceived and planned, but to he successful it would have to be carried out in an unbureaucratic way. It had to be borne in mind that the mobilisation would be of decisive importance, and every effort had to be made to carry it out. Every class-conscious working man and every class-conscious working woman would have to take a direct part in it. Conferences and mass meetings were not enough. What was needed was individual agitation. Every man liable to mobilisation should be personally visited. Every one of them should be convinced individually that the ending of the war depended on his courage, his determination and his devotion.

The proletarian revolution was spreading to all countries of the world, continued Lenin. The fact that the Allies had practically abandoned open military intervention in Russia’s affairs was due to their inability to control their own armies, which had instinctively felt the effects of the Russian revolution. They were afraid of their own soldiers and workers, whom they were trying to shield from the influence of the Russian revolution. Lately, even newspaper reports of the successes of Bolshevism had been prohibited in the Allied countries. In Italy, a barrier had been set up to keep out even private letters from Russia. Lenin said that the other day he had received a letter from the well-known Italian socialist, Morgan, who had been very moderate at the Zimmerwald Conference. This letter had been sent through secret channels and was written on tiny scraps of paper, like Party correspondence in tsarist times.

In this secret letter, Morgan wrote: “On behalf of the Italian Party I send most hearty greetings to the Russian comrades and to the Soviet government..” (Stormy applause.)

Everybody knew that the bourgeois government had voluntarily resigned in Hungary, voluntarily released Béla Kun from prison; he was a Hungarian army officer, a Communist, who had been a prisoner of war in Russia, had fought actively in the ranks of the Russian Communists, and had taken part in the suppression of the Left SocialistRevolutionary insurrection in July last year. This formerly persecuted, slandered and tormented Hungarian Bolshevik had become practically the leader of the Hungarian Soviet Government. Compared with Russia, Hungary was a small country; but the Hungarian revolution would, perhaps, play a more important role in history than the Russian revolution. The people in that cultured country were taking into account the entire experience of the Russian revolution. They were firmly applying the principle of socialisation, and owing to the ground having been better prepared there, the edifice of socialism was being built more systematically and successfully.

And at that very moment when it could be said with certainty that the cause of international imperialism was lost for ever, danger was looming in the East in the shape of Kolchak’s brutal and desperate whiteguard hordes. This had got to be stopped. By putting an end to Koichak they would put an end to the war for good. All efforts must be exerted. Every class-conscious proletarian would have to take part in the mobilisation. Every class-conscious working man and working woman would have to devote every spare moment to the work of individual agitation. They would not have to submit to this strain for long; a few months, or a few weeks, perhaps; but it would be the last and final effort, for victory was certain.