Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Second Congress

From the Commission

In publishing the minutes of the second congress of the RSDLP, the commission elected by the congress considers it necessary to preface its work with the following explanatory notes.

First of all, about the material with which we had to work. No shorthand report of the congress was taken, but the speeches and the whole course of the debates were recorded by the duty secretaries, whom the speakers helped by providing them with summaries of their more important speeches. Subsequently, the minutes compiled were read to the congress and approved by it. Only the minutes of the two last sessions (36 and 37) remained unapproved, owing to lack of time.

Thus, the commission had at its disposal material which had already been approved by the congress. What remained was to put this into suitable form for publication and to edit it. The initial work of getting the material in order was done by Comrade Koltsov, and then the commission as a whole examined and approved the text to be handed over to the printer.

The commission did not make use of the right which had been given to it to refrain from publishing certain parts of the minutes; or, more precisely the commission used this right to a quite insignificant extent, and only in so far as this was absolutely necessitated by considerations of security.

The commission was also guided by these considerations in substituting other names for some of the ‘conspiratorial names’ under which certain delegates figured at the congress. In all other respects it has kept strictly to the text which was approved by the congress, making only stylistic corrections.

The commission has not published here the reports delivered by the delegates to the congress. These were not directly connected with the activity of the congress, there were no debates concerning them, and so they can conveniently be published separately. Only one out of all these reports, that of the Bund, gave rise to a certain amount of discussion at the Congress. Unfortunately, however, the commission has had to refrain from reproducing these discussions because the minutes do not contain the speech by the delegate of the Bund, replying to the questions that were put to him.

Finally, the commission has added to the minutes, as appendices, a few (eleven) documents which, in one way or another, supplement and clarify the work of the congress and the decisions adopted by it.

Gorin Koltsov Starove