V. I. Lenin

The International and Domestic Situation

Of The Soviet Republic

Speech Delivered To A Meeting
Of The Communist Group At The All-Russia Congress
Of Metalworkers, March 6, 1922[1]

Delivered: 6 March, 1922
First Published: Published in Pravda No. 54, March 8, 1922; Published according to the Pravda text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 212-226
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
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

(Stormy applause.) Comrades, permit me to depart somewhat from your usual procedure and speak today not of the subjects on the agenda of your meeting and Congress, but of my conclusions and opinions on the principal political problems. It has now become the custom to address those who, while not being official representatives of state departments, actually perform an enormous part of the work of the state. You all know that really business-like work is being done in most of our state departments by representatives of the working class, and this, of course, includes the metalworkers, who are in the front ranks.

That is why I think in this case it will not be out of place to depart from the usual procedure and to speak not so much on trade union and Party issues as on political issues, on our international and domestic situation. In my opinion there is something in our international and domestic situation that resembles some change of policy to which every Party member, and, of course, every class-conscious worker, should pay special attention in order that he may fully understand the significance of this change of policy, and be able properly to assimilate it and apply it in his Soviet, Party, trade union or other work.

Of course, comrades, you all know that Genoa remains in the forefront of the problems of our international politics. I am not very sure that it does so legitimately, for when we say “Genoa” we mean the Conference that everybody long ago heard about, the Conference that was to have taken place in Genoa, Italy. The preparations for it had been almost completed; but now, unfortunately, the situation is so indefinite that nobody knows (and I am afraid that even the initiators and organisers themselves do not know) whether there is much chance of its taking place or not. At all events, we must say to ourselves, and to all those who have any interest in the destiny of the workers’ and peasants’ republic, that our position on this question, that is, on the question of the Genoa Conference, has been absolutely firm from the very beginning, and remains so. It is not our fault if certain people lack not only firmness but even the most elementary determination, the most elementary ability to carry out their own plans. From the very beginning we declared that we welcomed Genoa and would attend it. We understood perfectly well and did not in the least conceal the fact that we were going there as merchants, because trade with capitalist countries (as long as they have not entirely collapsed) is absolutely essential to us; we realised that we were going to Genoa to bargain for the most proper and most advantageous and politically suitable terms for this trade, and nothing more. This is by no means a secret to those capitalist countries whose governments drew up the first plan for the Genoa Conference and got it going. Those countries know perfectly well that the list of commercial agreements linking us with different capitalist states is growing longer and longer, that the number of practical transactions is increasing, and that we are now discussing in the greatest detail a huge number of joint Russian and foreign commercial projects between the most diverse combinations of foreign countries and various branches of our industry. Thus, the capitalist states are well aware of the practical basis of what is mainly to be discussed at Genoa. And this basis has a superstructure consisting of all sorts of political talk, assumptions and projects, but we must realise that it is only a little one, largely artificial, designed and erected by those who are interested in it.

It goes without saying that during the more than four years’ existence of Soviet power we have acquired sufficient practical experience (apart from the fact that we are already quite familiar with it in theory) to enable us to appraise correctly the diplomatic game the gentlemen who represent the bourgeois countries are today playing according to all the rules of the obsolete art of bourgeois diplomacy. We know perfectly well what lies at the bottom of this game; we know that it is trade. The bourgeois countries must trade with Russia; they know that unless they establish some form of economic relations their disintegration will continue in the way it has done up to now. Notwithstanding all their magnificent victories, notwithstanding the endless boasting with which they fill the newspapers and telegraph services of the whole world, their economy is falling to pieces. And after more than three years of effort, after their great victories, they cannot cope with the very simple task of restoring the old, let alone building anything new, and are still racking their brains over the problem of how to get together and form some combination of three, four, or five (the number is so large, you see, that it is frightfully difficult to reach an agreement) so as to be able to trade.

I can understand that Communists need time to learn to trade, and I know that those who are learning will be making the crudest of mistakes for several years; but history will forgive them because they are entirely new to the business. For this purpose we must make our thinking more flexible, and must discard all communist, or rather Russian, Oblomovism,[2] and much more besides. But it is strange for representatives of bourgeois countries to have to learn the trading business all over again, after they have been engaged in it for hundreds of years, and when the whole of their social life is based upon it. Incidentally, it should not seem so strange to us. For a long time we have been saying, and we always knew, that their appraisal of the imperialist war was less correct than ours. They appraised it from what they could see directly in front of them, and three years after their tremendous victories they still cannot find a way out of the situation.

We Communists said that our appraisal of the war was more profound and correct; that its contradictions and its disasters would have a far broader impact than the capitalist countries imagined. And, looking at the bourgeois victor countries from outside, we said: they will recall our forecast and our appraisal of the war and its consequences more than once. The fact that they do not understand the simplest things does not surprise us. But we nevertheless say, “We must trade with the capitalist countries as long as they exist.” We shall negotiate with them as merchants; and the fact we can do so is proved by the increasing number of trade agreements we are signing and negotiating with them. But we cannot publish them until they are signed. From the commercial point of view we, of course, have to agree when a capitalist merchant comes to us and says, “This deal must remain between ourselves until the negotiations are completed.” We, however, know how many agreements are in course of preparation—the list alone fills several pages, and it includes scores of practical proposals that have been discussed in detail with important financial groups. Of course, the gentlemen representing the bourgeois countries gathering at Genoa are as well aware of this as we are; whatever the position may be as regards other matters, contacts between these governments and their capitalist firms have, of course, been maintained. Even they are not so terribly lax as not to know of this.

Since in foreign telegrams we are continually reading statements which create the impression that they do not know exactly what will take place at Genoa, that they have something new up their sleeve, that they want to astonish the world by submitting new terms to Russia, permit me to say to them (and I hope I shall have the opportunity of saying it to Lloyd George personally, at Genoa): “You will not surprise anyone by this, gentlemen. You are businessmen, and you know your job well. We are only just learning to trade and are still clumsy at it. But we have tens and hundreds of agreements and draft agreements, which show how we trade and what transactions we conduct or shall conduct, and on what terms.” And we smile quietly to ourselves when we read in the newspapers all sorts of reports—published for the purpose of searing someone—to the effect that they intend to put us to some sort of test. We have been threatened often enough, and with much more serious threats than those uttered by the merchant who intends to slam the door after making his last offer. We have been threatened with the guns of the Allied powers that rule almost the whole world. We were not frightened by those threats. Please, gentlemen, European diplomats, do not forget that.

We are not in the least concerned about maintaining our diplomatic prestige, the good name to which the bourgeois states attach so much importance. Officially, we shall not even talk about it. But we have not forgotten it. Not one of our workers, not one of our peasants has forgotten, can forget, or ever will forget that he fought in defence of the workers’ and peasants’ government against the alliance of all those very powerful states that supported the intervention. We have a whole collection of treaties which those countries concluded with Koichak and Denikin over a number of years. They have been published; we are familiar with them and the whole world is familiar with them. What is the use of playing hide—and—seek and pretending that we have all become Simple Simons? Every peasant and every worker knows that he fought against those countries, and that they failed to vanquish him. And if you gentlemen, who represent the bourgeois governments, care to amuse yourselves, to waste your paper (of which you have ever so much more than you need) and your ink, and to overload your cables and radio stations with messages announcing to the whole world: “We shall put Russia to the test", we shall see who comes off best. We have already been put to the test, not the test of words, not the test of trade, not the test of money, but the test of the bludgeon. And in view of the severe, bleeding and painful wounds inflicted on us, we have earned that it be said of us—not by ourselves, but by our enemies— “A man who has been beaten is worth two who have not.”

We have earned this on the field of battle. As far as trade is concerned, it is a pity that we Communists are not being thrashed enough, but I trust that this defect will be made good in the near future with equal success.

I said that I hope to discuss these subjects with Lloyd George personally, in Genoa, and to tell him that it is no use trying to frighten us with such trivialities because it will only damage the prestige of those who try it. I hope that I shall not be prevented from doing this by ill health, which during the past few months has prevented me from taking a direct part in political affairs, and which totally incapacitates me for the Soviet duties which I have been appointed to perform. I have reason to believe that I shall be able to return to my duties within a few weeks. But will three or four of them succeed within the next few weeks in reaching an agreement on what they have informed the world they are already agreed upon? I am not sure about that. I even dare assert that nobody in the world is sure about it, and what is more, that they themselves are not sure, because when these victorious powers, which rule the whole world, gathered at Cannes after numerous preliminary conferences—the number of these conferences is infinite, and even the European bourgeois press is jeering—they could not say definitely what they wanted.

From the point of view of practical tasks and not that of a game of diplomatic leap-frog, therefore, Comrade Trotsky has defined the position more correctly than anybody else. The day after the news was received that all the arrangements for Genoa had been made, that everything had been settled, that complete agreement had been reached about Genoa and that it was only the instability of one of the bourgeois governments (they seem to have become suspiciously unstable these days) that necessitated the temporary postponement of the Conference, he issued the following order: “Let every man of the Red Army get a clear understanding of the international situation. We know definitely that there is a permanent group over there who want to try their hand at intervention. We shall be on the alert. Let every man of the Red Army know all about the diplomatic game and what is meant by force of arms, which, up to now, has decided all class conflicts.”

Let every man of the Red Army know all about this game and what is meant by force of arms, and then we shall see what happens. No matter how shaky capitalism may have become in all capitalist countries, many quite influential parties may still try their hand at this game. Arid if the governments are so unstable that they cannot convene a conference at the date set for it, who knows whose hands they will fall into? We know that in those countries there are influential parties and influential persons and business magnates who want war. We are perfectly well aware of this, and we are well informed of what really lies at the bottom of economic treaties. We have endured exceptional hardship, and we know what misfortune and suffering a fresh attempt at war must entail for us. But we say we shall be able to stand it again—just try and do it! When Comrade Trotsky issued his definite order instead of publishing opinions about the game of diplomatic leap-frog, he had drawn the conclusion that we must again explain the international situation to every man of the Red Army, and tell him that the postponement of, the Genoa Conference, owing to the instability of the Italian Cabinet, is a danger signal of war. We shall see to it that every man of the Red Army understands this. It. will be easy for us to do this because there is hardly a family, hardly a man of the Red Army in Russia who does not know this, not only from newspapers, circulars and orders, but from his own village, where he has seen cripples, and knows families that have gone through this war, where he sees crop failures, appalling hunger and ruin, hellish poverty, and knows what causes them—even though he does not read the Paris publications of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries which attribute all this to the malignant nature of the Bolsheviks. There can scarcely be a desire so deeply ingrained in him as the desire to repel (to say the least) those who forced upon us the war waged by Koichak and Denikin and supported it. There is no need for us to appoint new agitation and propaganda commissions for this purpose.

In respect of the Genoa Conference we must distinguish exactk between its real nature and the newspaper canards circulasd by the bourgeoisie. They think that these canards are frightful bombs, but they do not frighten us, because we have seen so many of them; and sometimes they do not deserve answering even with a smile. Every attempt to impose terms upon us as if we were vanquished is so very foolish that it is not worthy of a reply. We are establishing relations as merchants; we know what you owe us and what we owe you; and we know what your legitimate profit and even your super-profit may be. We get many proposals, and the number of agreements we are concluding is growing and will continue to grow, no matter how three or four of the victor powers combine. You will lose by this postponement of the Conference, because you will show your own people that you do not know what you want, and that the disease you are suffering from is lack of will power, and a failure to understand economics and politics, which we have appraised more profoundly than you. It will soon be ten years since we made this appraisal, and all the ruin and disorder that has occurred since then is still not understood by the bourgeois countries.

We already see clearly the position that has taken shape in our country, and we can say with full conviction that we can now stop the retreat we began, we are already stopping it. Enough! We clearly realise that the New Economic Policy is a retreat, and we do not conceal it. We grasped more than we could hold, but such is the logic of the struggle. Those of you who remember what the position was in October 1917, or those of you who were politically immature at the time and have learned since what the position was in 1917, know what a large number of compromise proposals we Bolsheviks made to the bourgeoisie at that time. “Gentlemen, your affairs are in a bad way,” we said, “we shall be in power, however, and will remain in power. Wouldn’t you like to consider how you could settle things without a rumpus, as the muzhik would say?” We know that there was not only a rumpus, but attempts at rebellion, which the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries instigated and supported. Formerly they said: “We are prepared to surrender power to the. Soviets right now.” A few days ago I read an article by Kerensky, who opposed Chernov in a Paris journal (there’s lots of that stuff there). ’Did we cling to power?” asked Kerensky. “Even at the time of the Democratic. Conference[3] I said that if anyone could be found to form a homogeneous government, power would be transferred to the new government without the slightest upheaval.”

We have never refused to take power alone. We said that as early as June 1917,[4] and took power at the Congress of Soviets in October 1917. We Bolsheviks obtained a majority at that Congress of Soviets. Then Kerensky appealed to the officer cadets,[5] rushed off to Krasnov and wanted to muster an army to march on Petrograd. We knocked them about a bit, and now they say in an offended tone, “You are insolent, you are usurpers, butchers!” And we say in reply, “You have only yourselves to blame, friends! Do not imagine that the Russian peasants and workers have forgotten what you did. In October you challenged us to the most desperate fight, and we retaliated with terror and redoubled terror; and we shall adopt terror again if necessary,if you try it again.” Not a single worker, not a single peasant doubts the need for it. No one doubts it but whimpering intellectuals.

Under conditions of unheard-of economic hardship we were compelled to wage war against an enemy whose forces were a hundred times superior to ours. It goes without saying that under these circumstances we were obliged to go to greater lengths in our urgent communist measures than would otherwise have been the case; we were forced to do it. Our enemies thought they could finish us off; they thought they could bring us to our knees, not in words, but in deeds. They said they would not make any concessions. We replied that if they thought we dared not resort to the most extreme communist measures they were mistaken. And we did dare; we did it, and we won. Now we say we cannot hold these positions, we are retreating, because we have won enough to be able to hold essential positions. All the whiteguards, headed by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, wax jubilant and say, “Aha, you are retreating!” We say, ’Rejoice, since it puts you in good humour.” We stand to gain if our enemy pats himself on the back instead of engaging in practical work. Rejoice, you are only putting us in a more favourable position by deceiving yourselves with illusions. We have captured vast positions, and had we not captured them in the period from 1917 to 1921 we would have had no room to retreat, geographically, economically or politically. We are maintaining power in alliance with the peasantry, and if you reject terms offered you before a war, you get worse terms after the war. This is definitely recorded in the diplomatic, economic and political history of the period 1917-21, so that we are not boasting at all. It is a plain statement of fact, a simple reminder. Had the capitalist gentlemen accepted the proposals we made to them in October 1917, they would have had five times as much as they have now. You fought for three years. What have you gained 1y it? Do you want to fight again? We know perfectly well that by no means all of you want to fight. On the other hand, we know that in view of the desperate famine and the present state of industry, we cannot hold all the positions we won in the period 1917-21. We have surrendered a number of them. But we can now say that, so far as making concessions to the capitalists is concerned, the retreat is at an end. We have weighed up our own forces and those of the capitalists. We have done some reconnoitring by way of concluding agreements with Russian and foreign capitalists, and we say—and I hope, I am sure, that the Party Congress will say the same, officially, on behalf of the ruling party of Russia—“We can now stop our economic retreat. Enough! We shall not retreat any further; we shall set about deploying and regrouping our forces properly.”

When I say that we are halting our economic retreat I do not want to suggest that I have for a moment forgotten the hellishly difficult conditions in which we find ourselves; nor do I want to soothe or console you on that score. The question of the limits of the retreat, and of whether we are stopping the retreat or not, is not one of the difficulties that confront us. We are aware of these difficulties. We know what famine in a peasant country like Russia means. We know that we have not yet succeeded in alleviating the sufferings caused by the famine. We know what a financial crisis means in a country which is compelled to trade and where paper currency has been issued on a scale such as the world has never seen before. We are well aware of these difficulties and fully appreciate their immensity. I am not afraid to say that they are tremendous. This does not frighten us in the least. On the contrary, we gain strength from saying openly to the workers and peasants that these are the difficulties that confront us; this is the danger with which the Western powers threaten us. Let us work and weigh up our tasks soberly. The fact that we are stopping our retreat does not mean that we are not aware of the dangers. We look them straight in the face. “This,” we say, “is where the main danger lies; we must alleviate the sufferings caused by the famine. We have not done so yet. We have not yet overcome the financial crisis.” Hence, you must not interpret what I say about halting the retreat to mean that we think that we have already laid the foundation (of our new economy) and that we can now calmly advance. No, the foundation has not yet been laid. We still cannot look calmly to the future. We are surrounded by threats of war, about which I have said enough, and by still greater internal dangers, economic dangers within the country; these are the frightful state of ruin of the peasantry, the famine, and our disrupted finances. These dangers are very great. They call for tremendous effort on our part. But if we are forced to go to war, we shall be able to fight. It will not be easy for them to fight, either. It was easy for them to start war in 1918 and as easy to continue it in 1919. But much water, and blood, and many other things have flowed under the bridge since then. The Western workers and peasants have changed since 1919. And it is impossible to fool them by saying, “We are fighting the Germans; the Bolsheviks are nothing more than German agents.” We do not become panic-stricken over our economic situation. Today we have scores of agreements concluded with Russian and foreign capitalists. We know what difficulties lay and still lie before its. We know why the Russian capitalists consented to conclude these agreements. We know on what terms these agreements were concluded. The majority of the capitalists concluded the agreements as practical men, as merchants. We, too, are acting as merchants. But every merchant takes some account of politics. If he is a merchant from a not altogether barbarous country, he will not enter into transactions with a government unless it shows considerable signs of stability, unless it is very reliable. The merchant who did such a thing would not be a merchant, but a fool. Most merchants are not fools, for the logic of the commercial struggle eliminates the fools. If, formerly, the test was, “Denikin has beaten you, now show that you can beat Denikin", today the test is, “If the merchant has beaten you, prove that you can compel him to do business". We have proved it. We have already concluded a number of agreements with very big capitalist firms, both Russian and West-European. We know what they are after, they know what we are after.

Today the object of our activities has changed somewhat. That is exactly what I want to say a few words about, to supplement my already somewhat lengthy report.

In view of the fact that the Genoa situation is precarious and the end of the wavering is not in sight, and because we have made so many concessions in our domestic policy, we must now say: “Enough! No more concessions!” The capitalist gentlemen think that they can daily, and the longer they daily the more concessions they will get, but we must say, ’Enough! Tomorrow you will get nothing.” If they have not learned anything from the history of Soviet power and its victories, they can do as they please. For our part we have done all we could and have informed the whole world about it. I hope the Congress will confirm the fact that we shall not retreat any further. The retreat has come to an end, and, in consequence of that, the nature of our work is changing.

It must be stated that considerable nervousness, almost morbidness, is still observed in our ranks when this question is discussed. All sorts of plans are drawn up, and all sorts of decisions are adopted. In this connection I want to mention the following. Yesterday I happened to read in Izvestia a political poem by Mayakovsky.[6] I am not an admirer of his poetical talent, although I admit that I am not a competent judge. But I have not for a long time read anything on politics and administration with so much pleasure as I read this. In his poem he derides this meeting habit, and taunts the Communists with incessantly sitting at meetings. I am not sure about the poetry; but as for the politics, I vouch for their absolute correctness. We are indeed in the position, and it must be said that it is a very absurd position, of people sitting endlessly at meetings, setting up commissions and drawing up plans without end. There was a character who typified Russian life—Oblomov. He was always lolling on his bed and mentally drawing up schemes. That was a long time ago. Russia has experienced three revolutions, but the Oblomovs have survived, for there were Oblomovs not only among the landowners but also among the peasants; not only among the peasants, but among the intellectuals too; and not only among the intellectuals, but also among the workers and Communists. It is enough to watch us at our meetings, at our work on commissions, to be able to say that old Oblonovstill lives; and it will be necessary to give him a good washing and cleaning, a good rubbing and scouring to make a man of him. In this respect we must have no illusions about our position. We have not imitated any of those who write the word “revolution” with a capital R, as the Socialist-Revolutionaries do. But we can quote the words of Marx that many foolish things are done during a revolution, perhaps more than at any other time.[7] We revolutionaries must learn to regard these foolish acts dispassionately and fearlessly.

In this revolution we have done so much that is ineradicable, that we have finally won; the whole world knows about it and we have no reason whatever to be embarrassed or nervous. On the basis of our reconnaissance we are now checking up on what we have done. This check is very important and should serve as the starting point for our further progress. And since we have to hold out in the struggle against the capitalists, we must pursue our new line with determination. We must build up our whole organisation in such a way that our commercial enterprises are not headed by people who lack experience in that field. Very often we find a Communist at the head of a government office who is admittedly a conscientious comrade, tried and tested in the struggle for communism, who suffered imprisonment for the cause, and for that reason has been put at the head of a state trust. But he does not know how to trade. He has all the undoubted qualities of a Communist, but the merchant cheats him, and is quite right in doing so; it is a mistake to put a very worthy, excellent Communist, whose loyalty no one but a madman would doubt, in a place that should be occupied by a shrewd, conscientious salesman who could cope with his work ever so much better than the most devoted Communist. This is just where our Oblomovism makes itself felt.

We have given Communists, with all their splendid qualities, practical executive jobs for which they are totally unfitted. How many Communists are there in government offices? We have huge quantities of material, bulky works, that would cause the heart of the most methodical German scientist to rejoice; we have mountains of paper, and it would take Istpart[8] fifty times fifty years to go through it all; but if you tried to find anything practical in a state trust, you would fail; and you would never know who was responsible for what. The practical fulfilment of decrees—of which we have more than enough, and which we bake as fast as Mayakovsky describes—is never checked. Are the orders of the responsible Communist officials carried out? Can they get this done? No. They cannot; and that is why we are changing our domestic policy to the very core. Of what value are our meetings and commissions? Very often they are just make believe. After we began to purge our Party and said to ourselves: “Out with the self-seekers who have crept into the Party, out with the thieves!” things improved. We have expelled about a hundred thousand; that is splendid, but it is only a beginning. We shall discuss this question thoroughly at the Party Congress. And then, I think, the tens of thousands who now only organise commissions, and do not, and cannot, carry on practical work, will meet with the same fate. And after we have completed the purge in this way, our Party will get down to real work and learn to understand it as it learnt to understand war work. This, of course, is not a matter of several months, or even a year. We must display rock-like firmness in this question. We are not afraid to say that the nature of our work has changed. Our worst internal enemy is the bureaucrat—the Communist who occupies a responsible (or not responsible) Soviet post and enjoys universal respect as a conscientious man. As the Russian saying goes, “Although he never touches a drop, he sings false". He is very conscientious, but he has not learnt to combat red tape, he is unable to combat it, he condones it. We must rid ourselves of this enemy, and with the aid of all class-conscious workers and peasants we shall get at him. The whole mass of non-Party workers and peasants will follow the lead of the vanguard of the Communist Party in the fight against this enemy and this inefficiency and Oblomovisni. There must be no hesitation whatever in this matter.

In conclusion, I will sum up briefly. The Genoa game, the game of leap-frog that is going on around it, will not compel us to waver in the least. They cannot catch us now. We shall go to the merchants and agree to do business, continuing our policy of concessions; but the limits of these concessions are already defined. What we have given the merchants in our agreements up to now has been a step backward in our legislation; but we shall not retreat any further.

In connection with this, our main tasks in our internal and, particularly, our economic policy are undergoing a change. We do not need new decrees, new institutions or new methods of struggle, What we need is the testing of the fitness of our officials; we need executive control. The next purge will affect the Communists who imagine that they are administrators. All those who run all these commissions and conferences and talk but do no practical work would do better to go into the field of propaganda, agitation and other useful work of that kind. All sorts of extraordinary and intricate things are invented on the plea that the New Economic Policy requires something new; but they do not do the work they are instructed to do. They make no effort to look after the kopeks entrusted to them; they make no effort to make one kopek grow into two; but they draw up plans affecting billions and even trillions of Soviet rubles. It is this evil that we shall combat. To test men and verify what has actually been. done— this, this again this alone is now the main feature of all our activities, of our whole policy. This is not, a matter of a few months or of a year, but of several years. We must say officially, on behalf of the Party, what the main feature of our activities is at the present time, and reorganise our ranks accordingly. If we do that we shall be as victorious in this new field as we have been up to now in all the fields of activity engaged in by Bolshevik, proletarian power, supported by the peasant masses. (Applause.)


[1] This Congress, held in Moscow on March 3-7, 1922, was attended by 313 delegates representing more than half a million members of the metalworkers’ union. Lenin spoke at a meeting of the Communist group at the Congress on the morning of March 6.

[2] Oblomou—the main personage in the novel of the same name by I. A. Gonc.hiarov. The name Oblomov has become a synonym of narrow-mindedness, stagnation and immobility.

[3] The All-Russia Democratic Conference was convened in September 1917 in Petrograd by the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary Central Executive Committee of Soviets to decide the question of power. Actually, the conference was called with the purpose of distracting the people’s attention from the mounting revolution. More than 1,500 persons attended the conference. The Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary leaders did their utmost to reduce representation from the Soviets of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies and increase the number of delegates from various petty-bourgeois and bourgeois organisations and thereby ensure a majority. The Bolsheviks went to the conference to use its rostrum for exposing the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries.

The conference passed a resolution on the formation of a PreParliament (Provisional Council of the Republic). This was an attempt to create the illusion that a parliamentary system had been instituted in Russia. However, the rules endorsed by the Provisional Government reduced the Pre-Parliament to the states of a consultative body. Lenin categorically insisted on a boycott of the Pre-Parliament, because to remain in it vcouid give the impression that that body could resolve the tasks of the revolution. The Central Committee debated Lenin’s suggestion and, despite the opposition of Kamenev and other capitulatora, adopted a decision to recall Bolsheviks from the Pee-Parliament, On October 7 (20), the day the Pre-Parliament opened, the Bolsheviks made the Central Committee Declaration public and walked out.

[4] Lenin refers to the ’Speech on the Attitude Towards the Provisional Government” at a sitting of the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of -Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on June 4 (17), 1917 (see present edition, Vol. 25, p. 20).

[5] Officer cadets—students of military academies in tsarist Russia.

[6] This is a reference to Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Incessant Meeting Sitters,

[7] Lenin refers to words used by Engels in Emigre Literature (Marx, Engels, Werke, Bd. 18, S. 534. Dietz Verlag. Berlin.)

[8] Jetport (Commission for Collecting and Studying Materials on the History of the October Revolution and the History of the Russian Communist Party) was set up at the People’s Commissariat of Education by a decree passed by the Council f People’s Commissars on September 21, 1920. On December 1, 1921, by a decision passed by the C.C., R.C.P.(B.), Istpart became a department of the Party Central Committee. In 1928 it was merged with the Lenin Institute at the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.).