V. I. Lenin

Letter to Workers of Red Presnya District of Moscow[1]

December 25, 1920

Written: December 25, 1920
First Published: Daily Bulletin of the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets No. 5, December 25, 1920; Published according to the Bulletin text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 31, page 535
Translated: Julius Katzer
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. 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

Fifteen years ago the proletariat of Moscow raised the banner of revolt against tsarism. 180 This was the culmination in the development of the first working-class revolution against tsarism. The workers suffered defeat and workers' blood was shed in Presnya District. The unmatched heroism of the Moscow workers provided the toiling masses of Russia with a model in the struggle. However, the masses were then as yet too unprepared and too divided, and did not give support to the heroes of Presnya District and Moscow, who had risen up in an armed struggle against the tsarist monarchy af landowners.

The defeat of the Moscow workers was followed by the defeat of the first revolution. For twelve long years the most ferocious reaction maintained by the landowners tormented all the workers and peasants, all the peoples of Russia.

The exploit of the Presnya workers was not useless. Their sacrifices were not in vain. The first breach was made in the edifice of the tsarist monarchy, a breach that slowly but steadily grew wider and undermined the old and medieval order.

The exploit of the Moscow workers deeply agitated the urban and rural working masses, a frame of mind whose impress has persisted despite all persecution.

Prior to the armed uprising of December 1905, the people of Russia had proved incapable of a mass armed struggle against the exploiters.

The December events brought about profound changes in the people. It became transformed. It had gone through its baptism of fire. It had become steeled in the insurrection, and brought forth numerous fighters who triumphed in 1917 and today—despite immense difficulties, the torments of famine, and the destruction caused by the imperialist war—are defending the cause of socialism's world-wide victory.

Long live the workers of Red Presnya District, a detachment in the vanguard of the world working-class revolution!

N. Lenin


[1]The reference is to the armed uprising in Moscow in December 1905, during the first Russian revolution. In December 1905 and January 1906 the uprising spread to Nizhni-Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Novorossisk, the Donets coal basin, Ekaterinoslav, Perm (Motovilikha Plant), Ufa, Krasnoyarsk, and Chita. Large-scale armed uprisings took place in the Trans-Caucasus, Poland, the Baltic provinces and Finland, which were ruthlessly suppressed by the tsarist government. For a full accounting of the socialist revolution of 1905 see Leon Trotsky’s 1905

The December armed uprising was the peak of the first Russian revolution. Lenin wrote about the uprising in his article “Lessons of the Moscow Uprising” (see present edition, Vol. 11, pp. 171-78).