In Reply To Questions Put By Karl Wiegand
|Written||18 February 1920|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 30, pages 365-367
Berlin Correspondent Of Universal Service[edit source]
Lenin’s answers were wired to Berlin, and from there to New York on February 21, 1920. That same evening they were published in the New York Evening Journal. Lenin’s answers were reprinted in the German communist and socialist press.
1. Do we intend to attack Poland and Rumania?
No. We have declared most emphatically and officially, in the name of the Council of People’s Commissars and the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, our peaceful intentions. It is very much to be regretted that the French capitalist government is instigating Poland (and presumably Rumania, too) to attack us. This is even, mentioned by a number of American radios from Lyons.
2. What are our plans in Asia?
They are the same as in Europe: peaceful coexistence with all peoples; with the workers and peasants of all nations awakening to a new life—a life without exploiters, without landowners, without capitalists, without merchants. The imperialist war of 1914-18, the war of the capitalists of the Anglo-French (and Russian) group against the German-Austrian capitalist group for the partition of the world, has awakened Asia and has strengthened there, as everywhere else, the urge towards freedom, towards peaceful labour and against possible future wars.
3. What would be the basis of peace with America?
Let the American capitalists leave us alone. We shall not touch them. We are even ready to pay them in gold for any machinery, tools, etc., useful to our transport and industries. We are ready to pay not only in gold, but in raw materials too.
4. What are the obstacles to such a peace?
None on our part; imperialism on the part of the Ameri-can (and of any other) capitalists.
5. What are our views of the deportation of Russian revo-lutionaries from America?
We have accepted them. We are not afraid of revolution-aries here in this country. As a matter of fact, we are not afraid of anybody, and if America is afraid of a few more hundred or thousand of its citizens, we are ready to begin negotiations with a view of receiving any citizens whom Amer-ica thinks dangerous (with the exception of criminals, of course).
6. What possibilities are there of an economic alliance between Russia and Germany?
Unfortunately, they are not great. The Scheidemanns are bad allies. We stand for an alliance with all countries without exception.
7. What are our views upon the allied demand for the extradition of war criminals?
If we are to speak seriously on this matter of war guilt, the guilty ones are the capitalists of all countries. Hand over to us all your landed proprietors owning more than a hundred hectares and capitalists having a capital of more than 100,000 francs, and we shall educate them. to useful labour and make them break with the shameful, base and bloody role of exploiters and instigators of wars for the par-tition of colonies. Wars will then soon become absolutely impossible .
8. What would be the influence of peace with Russia upon the economic conditions in Europe?
Exchange of machinery for grain, flax and other raw materials—1 ask, can this he disadvantageous for Europe? Clearly, it cannot be anything but beneficial.
9. What is our opinion regarding the future development of the Soviets as a world force?
The future belongs to the Soviet system all the world over. The facts have proved it. One has only to count by quarterly periods, say, the growth in the number of pamphlets, books, leaflets and newspapers standing for or sympathising with the Soviets published in any country. It cannot be other-wise. Once the workers in the cities, the workers, landless peasants and the handicraftsmen in the villages as well as the small peasants (i.e., those who do not exploit hired labour)—once this enormous majority of working people have understood that the Soviet system gives all power into their hands, releasing them from the yoke of landlords and capitalists—how could one prevent the victory of the Soviet system all over the world? I, for one, do not know of any means of preventing it.
10. Has Russia still to fear counter-revolution from without?
Unfortunately, it has, for the capitalists are stupid, greedy people. They have made a number of such stupid, greedy attempts at intervention and one has to fear repe-titions until the workers and peasants of all countries thor-oughly re—educate their own capitalists.
11. Is Russia ready to enter into business relations with America?
Of course she is ready to do so, and with all other coun-tries. Peace with Estonia, to whom we have conceded a great deal, has proved our readiness, for the sake of business relations, to give even industrial concessions on certain conditions.
February 18, 1920
V. Ulyanov (TN. Lenin)