G. Zinoviev

In Soviet Russia

The Recovery of Lenin

(17 October 1922)

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 89, 17 October 1922, p. 678.
On-line Publication: Zinoviev Internet Archive, December 2020.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Lenin knows how to rest. – Lenin as pedestrian and tourist. – He takes up work again. – A deluge of false reports.

At each mass meeting of the workers we are unfailingly overwhelmed with questions concerning the state of health of comrade Lenin, and the progress of the recovery of the man in whom the popular masses of the greatest country in the world have boundless confidence.

Everyone knows that Lenin can work as do few men. But he understands also how to rest. His work is in general methodical and ordered even in times of highest tension. His rest is simple. Lenin, like most strong characters, loves nature. He spends almost all his periods of rest outdoors.

The comrades who have lived with Vladimir Illitch in the vast solitudes of Siberia, have discovered in him an enthusiastic tourist. The most assiduous daily labor did not prevent him an enthusiastic tourist. The most assiduous daily labor did not prevent him from making excursions dozens of versts from his residence in Siberia.

In Switzerland, where Vladimir Illitch lived for a long time, there are few places which he did not visit either on foot or by bicycle. He is more familiar with the vicinity of Geneva than many a Swiss. Before the historical schism in the Russian Social-Democratic Party which divided it info menshevik and bolshevik factions, Lenin journeyed into the mountains to prepare his plan of work and action amid peaceful surroundings.

After the defeat of the Revolution of 1905, Vladimir Illitch spent several weeks in Kuokalla, a small Finnish railway station not far from Petrograd, where a number of the militant leaders of our party gathered around him. There, too, he took advantage of all his moments of leisure to enjoy the sea and Finnish landscapes.

Following that, he returned to Geneva, then went to Paris, and from there to Cracow. At Paris, he invited us more than once to pleasant outings in the vicinity.

In Galicia, Vladimir Illitch passed four months in the little village of Tatra. There his custom was to take frequent walks to the neighboring mountains. He often lured us to take long bicycle trips as far as Hungary, more than 100 km. distant. From there we would bring back as a prize, a bottle of good wine. Lenin loved to take young comrades along with him on his trips. His greatest pleasure was to do a little mountain climbing. Thanks to him, daily baths taken in the cold mountain streams were enforced until the beginning of winter upon all members of that colony of Russian exiles. Kamenev, who often tried to avoid them, drew upon himself the worst rebukes ... In winter we would go skating in Cracow. After reading through the newspapers from Petrograd we would debate questions of vital importance to our party while skating.

Upon his return to Russia after the Revolution of 1917, Vladimir Illitch availed himself of all opportunities to make excursions into the neighboring country or Petrograd. He was there at the time of the uprising of July 1917. The Central Committee, realizing the importance of the events, went to fetch him in all haste.

Some time after the July days we spent almost three weeks with Vladimir Illitch in a small hay-shed not far from Sestroretsk ... Lenin was being tracked. Kerenski, Tseretelli, the entire provisional government ordered a search for the dangerous “agent of Germany”. Lenin will affirm, that we are not at all exaggerating. Well! his desire to go for a walk, or to get together a fishing party sometimes proved stronger than all considerations of prudence.

From Sestroretsk Lenin, by order of the Central Committee, returned to Finland under great risks, where he remained in absolute retirement.

During the five years of the existence of the Soviet regime, and particularly during the first four, Vladimir Illitch had no opportunity to take the least rest. Last summer serious illness forced him to give up his daily work. When I saw him recently, however, I was surprised at the fact that Vladimir Illitch, “who reads almost no newspapers”, was remarkably well-posted on events of any importance, and held opinions “of a man badly informed” so suited to the present need that the directing departments of our party soon agreed to them.

Vladimir Illitch is returning to activity after a long convalescence. The world will see how much the “first-hand” reports on the illness of Lenin spread broadcast by all our opponents, from the monarchists to the mensheviks and S.R.’s were worth. During the two weeks of 1918, when, seriously wounded, he struggled against death, Vladimir Illitch won more popularity than at any other time in his life. Whoever attends our mass meetings to-day, whoever has seen how the Russian working people, even non-partizans, follow the illness and recovery of Lenin, will be deeply convinced that this crisis in health, and the invidious counter-revolutionary activities of which it has been the outcome, has only strengthened, more than was expected in 1918, the affection which the masses of Russia bear to Vladimir Illitch.

How pitiable appear to-day all the sordid, petty intrigues of Milioukov, of Tchernov, of Dan, whose newspapers published on “the hopeless condition” of Lenin, so many articles expressing malicious joy in each line! How ridiculous these people appear again in publishing information on the “crisis in our party” and the “struggle for power” amongst us! Milioukov has printed numerous articles in his Paris daily on the health of Lenin written as if they were medical diagnoses. Such chosen morsels from this collection deserve to be preserved in the literature of humor. In its entirety, the campaign of false news and lies conducted by the bourgeois press at the time of the illness of Lenin summarizes all the campaigns of this kind directed against the power of the Soviets.

His convalescence over, the captain returns to his post of command. The entire crew of the great ship from the first to the last man will retake courage. I do not exaggerate. Our entire party, and with it the best elements of the Russian workers and peasants, will heartily cheer the return of Vladimir Illitch to his daily tasks. The class-conscious workers of all countries will rejoice with us at this new defeat of our enemies.

Last updated: 3 December 2020