Lenin Collected Works:
This volume contains 274 personal letters, telegrams and notes
from Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to his relatives. They were written
between 1893 and 1922, to his mother, Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova,
his sisters, Anna and Maria, his brother, Dmitry, his
brother-in-law, Mark Timofeyevich Yelizarov (husband of Anna
Ulyanova), and his wife, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya.
Many of these letters were published in the journal
Proletarskaya Revolyatsiya for the years 1924,
1929 and 1930 and in Lenin Miscellanies Nos. III,
XXIV, XXV, XXXV; separate editions of the Letters to
Relatives, edited by Lenin’s sisters, were published
in 1930, 1931 and 1934.
The Preface to the 1930 edition by Maria Ulyanova and the
article by Anna Ulyanova-Yelizarova, “Apropos of
Lenin’s Letters to Relatives”, which formed the
preface to the 1931 and 1934 editions, discuss the content
and significance of the letters; these two articles precede
the letters in the present volume.
Lenin wrote to his mother and to other relatives at least
once in every week or ten days. The longer intervals between
letters in this volume show that a considerable number of
letters have been lost. Most of Lenin’s letters were written
before the revolution, a time when his relatives were subjected
to frequent house searches and arrests. Many of his
letters fell into the hands of the secret police and bear
traces of their examination—passages of interest to
the police are underlined in red pencil, etc. Some of the
letters seized during searches were not returned, some were
found after the revolution in police dossiers; only odd
pages of some letters have survived. Many letters were lost
during the First World War (1914-1917), when letters from abroad
were subjected to a particularly strict scrutiny by the
The periods best represented are the late nineties, when
Lenin was writing his Economic Studies and Essays
and The Development of Capitalism in Russia, and
the years 1908-09 when he was preparing his Materialism
and Empirio criticism; in these years Lenin’s letters
concerned the despatch to him of the literature he needed,
and contained instructions on how the books should be
published and on correction of the proofs.
Almost all the letters are printed from the originals; in a
few cases, however, they have been printed from copies in
the files of the Police Department in the form (in full or
as extracts) in which they were found there.
Eleven of the letters were published for the first time in
the Fourth Russian Edition of the Collected Works,
from which the translation of this volume has been made
(these letters are marked with an asterisk in the table of
In the letter to his mother dated July 1, 1912, Lenin
mentions that he is moving from Paris to Krakow. This change
of address was necessary to bring him closer to
St. Petersburg, the centre of the working-class movement, so
that he could improve contacts with Pravda and with
the Bolshevik group in the Fourth Duma, and carry out the
day-to-day work involved in his guidance of the Party
organisations. In his letter of July 15, 1919, addressed to
the propaganda boat Krasnaya Zvezda, Lenin informed
his wife of the situation obtaining on the Eastern
Front—the capture of Yekaterinburg (now
Sverdlovsk)—and also of the great change then taking
place in the South.
Among the items first published in the Fourth Edition are
some brief notes addressed to his wife and to his sister
Maria between 1919 and 1922.
Fifty-four letters addressed by Lenin’s wife to his mother
and sisters are given as an Appendix to this volume; these
letters describe Lenin’s way of life when he was in exile in
Siberia and when he was living abroad and help to elucidate
certain facts mentioned in Lenin’s letters; eight of
Krupskaya’s letters were published for the first time in
the Fourth Russian Edition of the Collected Works.
These are also marked with an asterisk in the table of
contents. Letters written jointly by Lenin and his wife are
contained in the body of the volume.
The items are arranged chronologically; letters posted in
Russia are dated according to the Old Style, those from
abroad according to the New Style; the editors have added
dates at the end of undated letters. The source and destination
of the letter and, where necessary, the date are indicated
by the editors at the end of each letter; below this,
information is given on where the letter was first published
in Russian. It should be borne in mind that the note on
printing given on the right of the page refers always to the
Russian original, not to the translation.
The volume is furnished with a name index, a list of
literature mentioned in the letters, and explanatory notes.
The illustrations include photographs of Lenin’s relatives
and some of the places where he lived. Facsimiles of two of
Lenin’s letters are also given.