V. I. Lenin

Memo To G. Y. Zinoviev With The Draft Of
The Soviet Government’s Reply To E. Van Dervelde[1]

Dictated by Telephone: 17 March, 1922
First Published: Published in full for the first time, according to the stenographer’s notes (typewritten copy);
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 243-244
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

To Comrade Zinoviev Copy to Comrade Kamenev to Comrade Molotov

I have just spoken to Kamenev and we have arranged that late tonight you will reply to Vandervelde that you have delivered his telegram to the Soviet Government. Comrade Kursky, the People’s Commissar of Justice, will send him a reply tomorrow on behalf of the Soviet Government.

I propose that the text of the reply be discussed in the Political Bureau and, for my part, suggest the following text:

“No member of the Soviet Government in Russia has ever doubted that representatives of the Second International always steadfastly pursued the policy likewise followed with some vacillation by representatives of the Viennese Socialist Association.” They were the ones who pursued the policy of forming a direct and indirect alliance with those exploiter classes that have in all countries persecuted and killed Communists, examples of which are particularly numerous and striking in the democratic republic of Germany. The confidence in the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks that certain political circles in Western Europe are showing may be explained only by this alliance and political closeness of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who, in effect, supported the invasion nf Russia by Kolehak, Denikin and others As a matter of fact, far from a sentence having been passed in the case of the Socialist-Revolutionaries you write about, there has not even been a trial and they have not yet been indicted. In any case, I consider it my duty to add that the Soviet Government did not turn down practical proposals like the proposal to exchange prisoners of war or to free various categories of war prisoners, when proposals of that kind came from Denikin’s government during his direct invasion of Soviet Russia with the objective of restoring the rule of the landowners.

“People’s Commissar of Justice.”
V. Ulyanov (Lenin),
Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars


[1] The decree of the State Political Administration committing members of the CC. and active members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party for trial before the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal for counter-revolutionary, terrorist acts against Soviet rule, was published on February 28, 1922. In reply to this decree, a group of Socialist-Revolutionaries living abroad and calling themselves “Delegation of Socialist-Revolutionaries Living Abroad”, published an appeal “To Socialist Parties Throughout the World” in issue No. 913 of their newspaper Gobs Rossil (Voice of Russia) (published in Berlin) on March 11, 1922. In this appeal they protested against what they alleged was a predetermined death sentence for the accused. The appeal was supported by the parties of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals and also by reformist trade unions and bourgeois intellectuals.

The document published in this volume was written in connection with telegrams sent to Lenin and Chicherin by the National Council of the Independent Labour Party of Britain, T. Stauning, Chairman of the Danish Social-Democratic Party, E. Vandervelde, a leader of the Second International, and by the Presidium of the General German Workers’ Union, who demanded that the trial of the Socialist-Revolutionaries be postponed until the Berlin Conference of the three Internationals.

The trialof the Socialist-Revolutionaries was held in Moscow on June 8-August 7, 1922. Thirty-four persons were tried: members of the Central Committee and of the Moscow Bureau of the Central Committee, and individual members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party who acted on the strength of directives from that party’s Central Committee. The trial fully bore out the indictment and revealed the counter-revolutionary activity of the Central Committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party: conspiracies and the organisation of uprisings against Soviet rule, the murder of workers’ leaders, support for the foreign intervention. The Supreme Tribunal sentenced twelve of the main accused to death. The Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee endorsed this sentence and ordered it to be executed if the Socialist-Revolutionary Party did not relinquish its armed struggle against Soviet rule and continued its terrorist acts and organising uprisings. Some of the accused were sentenced to imprisonment of from two to ten years. A number of the accused, who repented and exposed the criminal activities of the Central Committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, were released from custody.