J. V. Stalin

Comrade Lenin on vacation Notes

September 15, 1922

Source : Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

It seems to me that it would not be fitting now to write of "Comrade Lenin on Vacation," when the vacation is coming to an end and Comrade Lenin will soon return to work. Besides, my impressions are so many and so precious that it is not quite expedient to write about them in a brief note, as the editorial board of Pravda requests. However, I must write, for the editorial board insists on it.

I had occasion to meet at the front veteran fighters who, after fighting continuously for several days "on end," without sleep or rest, would come back from the firing line looking like shadows and drop like logs, but after having "slept the clock round" they would rise refreshed and eager for new battles, without which they "cannot live." When I first visited Comrade Lenin in July, not having seen him for six weeks, that was just the impression he made on me—that of a veteran fighter who had managed to get some rest after incessant and exhausting battles, and who had been refreshed by his rest. He looked fresh and recuperated, but still bore traces of overwork and fatigue.

"I am not allowed to read the newspapers," Comrade Lenin remarked ironically, "and I must not talk politics. I carefully avoid every scrap of paper lying on the table, lest it turn out to be a newspaper and lead to a breach of discipline."

I laughed heartily and praised him to the skies for his obedience to discipline. We proceeded to make merry over the doctors, who cannot understand that when professional men of politics get together they cannot help talking politics.

What struck one in Comrade Lenin was his thirst for information and his craving, his insuperable craving for work. It is clear that he had been famished. The trial of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 1 Genoa and The Hague, 2 the harvest prospects, industry and finance all these questions came up in swift succession. He was in no hurry to express his opinion, complaining that he was out of touch with events; for the most part he asked questions and took silent note. He became very cheerful on learning that the harvest prospects were good.

I found an entirely different picture a month later. This time Comrade Lenin was surrounded by stacks of books and newspapers (he had been given permission to read and talk politics to his heart's content). There was no longer any trace of fatigue, of overwork. There was no sign of that nervous craving for work— he was no longer famished. Calmness and self-assurance had fully returned. This was our old Lenin, screwing up his eyes and gazing shrewdly at his interlocutor....

And this time our talk, too, was of a more lively character.

Home affairs ... the harvest ... the state of industry ... the rate of exchange of the ruble ... the budget. ...

"The situation is difficult. But the worst is over. The harvest will make a fundamental difference. It is bound to be followed by an improvement in industry and finance. The thing now is to relieve the state of unnecessary expenditure by retrenchment in our institutions and enterprises and by improving them. We must be particularly firm in this matter, and we shall squeeze through, we shall most certainly squeeze through."

Foreign affairs ... the Entente ... France's behaviour ... Britain and Germany ... the role of America ....

"They are greedy, and they hate one another profoundly. They will be at loggerheads yet. We need be in no hurry. Ours is a sure road: we are for peace and for agreement, but we are against enslavement and enslaving terms of agreement. We must keep a firm hand on the wheel and steer our own course, without yielding to either flattery or intimidation."

The Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, and their rabid agitation against Soviet Russia . ...

"Yes, they have made it their aim to defame Soviet Russia. They are facilitating the imperialists' fight against Soviet Russia. They have been caught in the mire of capitalism, and are sliding into an abyss. Let them flounder. They have long been dead as far as the working class is concerned."

The whiteguard press ... the emigres ... the incredible fairy-tales about Lenin's death, with full details . ...

Comrade Lenin smiled and remarked: "Let them lie if it is any consolation to them; one should not rob the dying of their last consolation."


Comrade Lenin on Vacation, Illustrated supplement to Pravda, No. 215, September 24, 1922


1. The trial of the Socialist-Revolutionaries by the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal took place in Moscow, in 1922, from June 8 to August 7. Of the 34 accused, 11 were members of the Central Committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. The trial established that from the very first days of the October Socialist Revolution, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party had fought against the Soviet power, had organised armed revolts and conspiracies, had supported the foreign interventionists and had committed terroristic acts against leaders of the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet Government.

2.. This refers to the international economic conferences held in Genoa (April 10-May 19, 1922) and at The Hague (June 15- July 20, 1922). The Genoa Conference was called for the purpose of determining the relations between the capitalist world and Soviet Russia. The conference was attended, on the one side, by representatives of Great Britain, Frame, Italy, Japan and of other capitalist states, and, on the other side, by representatives of Soviet Russia. The representatives of the capitalist countries presented the Soviet delegation with demands which, if conceded, would have meant transforming the land of Soviets into a colony of West-European capital (the demand for payment of all war and pre-war debts, for restitution to foreigners of nationalised property formerly owned by them, etc.). The Soviet delegation rejected the claims of the foreign capitalists. The matter was referred to a conference of experts that was convened at The Hague. The Hague Conference also failed to reach agreement owing to the irreconcilability of the points of view of the two sides.