J. V. Stalin

Reply to the Greetings of the Workers of the Chief Railway Workshops in Tiflis

June 8, 1926

Source: Works, Vol. 8, January-November, 1926, pp. 182-184
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
First Published: Zarya Vostoka (Tiflis), No. 1197, June 10, 1926
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
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.

Comrades, permit me first of all to tender my comradely thanks for the greetings conveyed to me here by the representatives of the workers.

I must say in all conscience, comrades, that I do not deserve a good half of the flattering things that have been said here about me. I am, it appears, a hero of the October Revolution, the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the leader of the Communist International, a legendary warrior-knight and all the rest of it. That is absurd, comrades, and quite unnecessary exaggeration. It is the sort of thing that is usually said at the graveside of a departed revolutionary. But I have no intention of dying yet.

I must therefore give a true picture of what I was formerly, and to whom I owe my present position in our Party.

Comrade Arakel* said here that in the old days he regarded himself as one of my teachers, and myself as his pupil. That is perfectly true, comrades. I really was, and still am, one of the pupils of the advanced workers of the Tiflis railway workshops,

Let me turn back to the past.

I recall the year 1898, when I was first put in charge of a study circle of workers from the railway workshops. That was some twenty-eight years ago. I recall the days when in the home of Comrade Sturua, and in the presence of Djibladze (he was also one of my teachers at that time), Chodrishvili, Chkheidze, Bochorishvili, Ninua and other advanced workers of Tiflis, I received my first lessons in practical work. Compared with these comrades, I was then quite a young man. I may have been a little better-read than many of them were, but as a practical worker I was unquestionably a novice in those days. It was here, among these comrades, that I received my first baptism in the revolutionary struggle. It was here, among these comrades, that I became an apprentice in the art of revolution. As you see, my first teachers were Tiflis workers.

Permit me to tender them my sincere comradely thanks. (Applause.)

I recall, further, the years 1907-09, when, by the will of the Party, I was transferred to work in Baku. Three years of revolutionary activity among the workers in the oil industry steeled me as a practical fighter and as one of the local practical leaders. Association with such advanced workers in Baku as Vatsek, Saratovets, Fioletov and others, on the one hand, and the storm of acute conflicts between the workers and the oil owners, on the other, first taught me what it means to lead large masses of workers. It was there, in Baku, that I thus received my second baptism in the revolutionary struggle. There I became a journeyman in the art of revolution.

Permit me to tender my sincere comradely thanks to my Baku teachers. (Applause.)

Lastly, I recall the year 1917, when, by the will of the Party, after my wanderings from one prison and place of exile to another, I was transferred to Leningrad. There, in the society of Russian workers, and in direct contact with Comrade Lenin, the great teacher of the proletarians of all countries, in the storm of mighty clashes between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, in the conditions of the imperialist war, I first learnt what it means to be one of the leaders of the great Party of the working class. There, in the society of Russian workers—the liberators of oppressed peoples and the pioneers of the proletarian struggle of all countries and all peoples—I received my third baptism in the revolutionary struggle. There, in Russia, under Lenin’s guidance, I became a master workman in the art of revolution.

Permit me to tender my sincere comradely thanks to my Russian teachers and to bow my head in homage to the memory of my great teacher—Lenin. (Applause.)

From the rank of apprentice (Tiflis), to the rank of journeyman (Baku), and then to the rank of a master workman of our revolution (Leningrad)—such, comrades, was the school in which I passed my revolutionary apprenticeship.

Such, comrades, is the true picture of what I was and what I have become, if one is to speak without exaggeration and in all conscience. (Applause rising to a stormy ovation.)



1. A. Okuashvili