The following document is a stenographic record of the remarkable speech delivered by Gregory Zinoviev, September 6, 1918, at a session of the Petrograd Soviet.
The young Soviet Republic faced some of its greatest dangers in this period. In July and August 1918, the famine became more acute. The Czechoslovak troops in Siberia aided by the Allies launched military action against the Soviet government. Other counter-revolutionary rebellions broke out in various parts of the country. Trotsky departed for the Kaman front. At this time the left Social Revolutionists began a policy of terrorism against the Soviet government. In July, they organized a conspiracy and killed Count Mirbach, the German Ambassador, in order to force the Soviet Union into war with Germany. On August 30, Lenin while leaving a workers’meeting at the Michaelson factory, was severely wounded from a shot fired by the terrorist Fanny Kaplan, a member of the Social Revolutionists. Lenin's life was in danger but thanks to his powerful constitution he recovered from his wounds. On September 17 he resumed active work.
COMRADES! Last week may be called the Lenin week. I think I shall not in any way exaggerate if I say that every honest worker in Petrograd, in the whale of Europe, indeed, in the whole world, so far he may have heard the news of the attempt on Comrade Lenin, had in the course of these anxious days no other thought than the one question, will the wounded leader of the International Commune recover? And I, comrades, am happy to share with you he good news: today we may — at last — count the recovery of Comrade Lenin as entirely assured. (Thunderous applause).
Comrades, I have in my hands a telegram, written already by Comrade Lenin himself. (Thunderous applause). This telegram was handed in today at 1.10 p.m., from the Kremlin. This is, apparently, the first telegram of Comrade Lenin since he began to recover. Comrade Lenin gives us certain official instructions and finishes the telegram with the following words: ‘Affairs at the front are going well; I have no doubt that they will go still better.’ (Applause). Thus, comrades, one thing is clear, that Comrade Lenin will live (applause, ovation) to the terror of the enemies of Communism and to the joy of the proletarian Communists.
Comrades! It goes without saying, that in this hall there is not one single man who does not know, in general or in particular, who Lenin is. Every worker has heard of Lenin, knows that this is a titanic figure in the history of the world labour movement. Everyone is so much accustomed to the word ‘Lenin’, that he does not stop to think what, after all, he has done for the international and Russian labour movement. Every proletarian knows that Lenin is the leader, Lenin is the apostle of world Communism. (Applause). But I think, comrades that we cannot pay a greater honour to our teacher and leader today than if I, who am acquainted with the biography of Comrade Lenin somewhat intimately — I have had the good fortune to work side by side with Comrade Lenin in the closest collaboration for more than ten years — if I take advantage of the present occasion in order to share, though it be only in brief, with younger friends and older comrades, who have never had the opportunity of observing so closely the work of Comrade Lenin, my authentic knowledge of the life of Comrade Lenin. (Numerous voices: Please do!).
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin-Ulianov is now 48 years old. He was born in 1870, on the 10th of April, at Simbirsk. And out of the 48 years of his life, Comrade Lenin has devoted nearly 30 years’work to the cause of proletarian emancipation.
The father of Comrade Lenin, by birth a peasant, was director of the elementary schools in the Volga provinces, and enjoyed great popularity among the teachers of the own and village schools in his district.
The mother of Comrade Lenin I knew personally. She died in the year 1913. Czar Alexander III had executed her eldest son, Alexander Ulianov. From that time she concentrated her maternal tenderness on Vladimir Ilyich. And Comrade Lenin, in his turn, tenderly loved his broken-hearted little mother.
Living in emigration, hunted by the Czar's government, Comrade Lenin would tear himself away from the most urgent work in order to make a special trip to Sweden to visit his mother and to brighten for her the last days of her life.
Next: Lenin's Legal Career