V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on December 1, 1921
Published: First published in 1924 in the journal Bolshevik No. 7–8. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 552-554.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README



Comrade Bukharin,

I enclose my notes in connection with the theme assigned to you by the Central Committee today. I have been thinking about this theme, and planned:

(α) setting out the subjects of dispute, difference and split;

(β) alternation of periods of split and periods of unity;

(γ) alternation of periods of a majority for the Mensheviks and for the Bolsheviks (maybe it could be represented in a diagram?).

Drop me a line about your opinion.


December 1

Should not this be taken as a canvas for your article? Or something of this kind?


1903. Oct. The question of organisation: § 1 of the Rules.

1904. “The Zemstvo campaign.”

1905. May. Attitude to the revolution, to the strike struggle, to the armed uprising.

1905. Aug. Boycott of the Duma, or participation?

1905. Oct.

1905. Dec. Insurrection.

1906. Jan.–Mar. Boycott of the Duma, or participation?

1906. April–May. Attitude to the First Duma.

1906. July. Attitude to the armed uprising.

Sept. ” ” the underground struggle.

1907. Jan.–Feb. Elections to the Second Duma: Left Bloc, or with the Cadets?

1907. April. Second Duma.

1909–10. Liquidationism.

1911. Plenum of the Central Committee.
Unity or split?

1912. The split (liquidationism).

1913. “Strike fever”, etc.

1913. Attitude to the Third Duma.[2]

1914. Attitude to the imperialist war.

1917. Feb.–Mar. Attitude to the February revolution.

1917. May. The Coalition Ministry.

1917. July. The First Congress of Soviets.[3]

1917. Sept. The Kornilov revolt and the Democratic Conference.

1917. Oct.
Soviet power;
Brest Peace Treaty;
conspiracies and civil war.

1918. Civil war. Attitude of the Mensheviks.

1919. ” ” ” ” ” ”




1903. The Congress 20 ——— 24 44 votes[4] (one party).

1905. Two congresses. Za (Zirka=approximately) (two parties).[5]

1906. Stockholm Congress. Exactly (number of votes) one party.

1907. London Congress. Exactly (number of votes)[6] one party.

(Groups in the Dumas.)

1911–12. Collections by workers (from the miscellany on liquidationism)[7] (one and two parties).

1917. June. First All-Russia Congress of Soviets.

1917 Nov. {{ 1.5(?) millions. 9 millions.[8] Elections to the Constituent Assembly.

1.5 millions _ _ _ 9 millions


[1] Written in connection with the discussion of the tactics of a united working-class front. Initially the question was discussed by the Party’s Central Committee on December 1, 1921, which approved the line of joint action with workers in the Second, the Two-and-a-Half and the Amsterdam Internationals. It was dealt within a special (19th) paragraph of the theses “On the United Working-Class Front and the Attitude to Workers in the Second, the Two-and-a-Half, and the Amsterdam Internationals, and also to Workers Supporting Anarcho-Syndicalist Organisations”. = The theses were adopted by the Executive Committee of the Comintern, and the Eleventh All-Russia Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) (December 19–22, 1921) acceded to them. A more detailed discussion of the theses was held by the first enlarged Plenary Meeting of the Comintern Executive Committee (February 21–March 4), which adopted them. They were endorsed by the Fourth Congress of the Comintern.

For the above-mentioned Paragraph 19, see KPSS v resolyutsiyakh..., Part One, 1954, pp. 585–86.

[2] The reference is evidently to the Fourth Duma.

[3] First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies was held from June 3 to 24 (June 16 to July 7), 1917.

[4] The numerical proportion of the votes of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., where 20  Bolshevik delegates had 24 votes, and the Mensheviks—following the withdrawal of 2 Rabocheye Dyelo delegates and 5 Bundists, who supported them—20 votes, a total of 44.

[5] A reference to the Bolshevik Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. held in London in April and May 1905, and the parallel conference of Mensheviks in Geneva.

[6] A reference to the distribution of votes at the Fourth (Stockholm, “Unity”) Congress and the Fifth (London) Congress of the Party, that is, the period when the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks were formally members of the same party, with a single Central Committee and regular conferences, etc.

Of the 112 delegates with vote at the Fourth Congress, the Bolsheviks had 46, the Mensheviks, 62, and the rest belonged to non-factional Social-Democrats. The Mensheviks had a small edge and so the Congress adopted Menshevik resolutions on some questions. In his Appeal to the Party on the question of this Congress Lenin wrote:

We must and shall fight ideologically against those decisions of the Congress which we regard as erroneous. But at the same time we declare to the whole Party that we are opposed to a split of any kind. We stand for submission to the decisions of the Congress....

We call upon all our fellow-thinkers to accept such submission and such ideological struggle.” (See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 314). However, the Congress decision on Party unity remained on paper, for the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks kept to their respective views and retained their separate organisations.

Of the 336 delegates with vote at the Fifth Congress, the Bolsheviks had 105, the Mensheviks 97, the Bundists 57, the Polish Social-Democrats 44, the Lettish Social-Democrats 29, and “ non-Party” delegates 4. The Bolsheviks had the Poles and the Latvians with them, and so commanded a stable majority. On all questions of principle the Congress passed Bolshevik resolutions. The Congress elected a Central Committee consisting of five Bolsheviks, 4 Mensheviks, 2 Polish and 1 Lettish Social-Democrats. Candidate members included 10 Bolsheviks, 7 Mensheviks, 3 Poles and 2 Latvians.

The Congress marked a major victory for Bolshevism over the Party’s opportunist wing, the Mensheviks. For details on the Fifth Congress, see Lenin’s article “The Attitude towards Bourgeois Parties”, present edition, Vol. 12, pp. 489–509.

[7] The miscellany Marxism and Liquidationism, published in 1914, gave figures on the workers’ collections for various purposes by supporters of the Bolsheviks and of the liquidators. These figures proved that the majority of workers rallied round the Bolsheviks. Collections in aid of strikers at various factories and in various industries, for persons who had been victimised, and for various other needs of the working-class movement, carried through the Duma groups of the Bolsheviks and the liquidators, reached the following figures for the period from October 1913 to June 6, 1914 (according to reports in Bolshevik and liquidators’ papers): through the Bolshevik group, 12,891.24 rubles (number of __PRINTERS_P_707_COMMENT__ 45*   workers’ groups, 1,295); through the liquidators’ group, 6,114.87 rubles (number of workers’ groups, 215); the Bolsheviks received only 6 per cent from non-workers, and the liquidators, 46 per  cent. The number of group collections by workers for the working-class press was distributed as follows (by May 1914): for the Bolshevik papers (Pravda and Rabochy Put) roughly 6,000 and for the liquidators’ newspaper (Luch) a total of 1,500 (see present edition, Vol. 20, pp. 381–87).

[8] A reference to the proportion of votes polled by the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks during the election to the Constituent Assembly in November 1917. For details, see Lenin’s article “The Constituent Assembly Elections and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” (present edition, Vol. 30, p. 254).

< backward   forward >
Works Index   |   Volume 36 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index