Letter to Alexander Bogdanov, November 21, 1904

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Dear friend,

Please tell Rakhmetov immediately that he is acting like a real pig towards us. He cannot imagine how eagerly everyone here is expecting from him definite and precise, encouraging reports, and not the telegrams he sends us. This eternal suspense and uncertainty is real torture. It is absolutely impossible that Rakhmetov should have nothing to write about: he has seen and is seeing many people, he has spoken with Zemlyachka, he has been in touch with Beard, the Moscow lawyers and writers, etc., etc. He must keep us au courant, pass on contacts, inform us of new ad dresses, forward local correspondence, tell us about business meetings and interesting encounters. Rakhmetov has not sent us a single new contact! It’s monstrous. Not a single item of correspondence, not a single report about the group of writers in Moscow. If Rakhmetov were to be arrested tomorrow, we’d find ourselves empty-handed, as if he had never lived! It’s a crying shame; he could have written everything and about everything without the slightest danger, and all he has done is to hint at some young forces and so on. (What is known about Bazarov, Frich, Suvorov and the others?) Not less than once a week (that’s not much, surely), two or three hours should be spent on a letter of 10-15 pages, otherwise, I give you my word, all contact is virtually broken. Rakhmetov and his bound less plans become a boundless fiction, and our people here are simply running away, drawing the horrified conclusion that there is no sort of majority and that nothing will come of the majority. In their new form, the tactics of the Minority have become quite clear, namely, to ignore and keep silent about the Majority’s writings and the Majority’s existence, to keep polemics out of the CO and talk importantly about positive work (recently the editors of the CO issued in print, “for Party members only”, a letter to Party organisations concerning a plan for the participation of Social-Democrats in the Zemstvo campaign—staggering pomposity about staggering banalities. An analysis and scathing criticism of this letter has been issued here by= Lenin[1] ). It is essential that the Majority should come forward with an organ of its own[2]the necessary money and workers’ letters for this are lacking. We must work hard to get both the one and the other; unless we have the most detailed and exhaustive letters nothing will come of it. Contacts are not being transmitted, there is no possibility of attacking one and the same personage from different angles, there is no co-ordination in the work of the bulk of the Bolsheviks who travel about Russia arranging things each on his own. This dispersal of efforts is felt everywhere; the committees are again lagging behind the situation, some of them unaware of the Council’s new decisions (the supplement to Iskra Nos. 73-74, a special ten-page leaflet), others not giving serious thought to them and not realising that these decisions are tantamount to the most complete and brazen falsification of the congress. Only children could fail to see now that the Council and CC will stop at nothing to sabotage a congress. We must counterpose this by a force==a press organ+ the organisation of the Majority in Russia, otherwise we are bound to die. Lenin has not yet seen Lightmind; it is strange that the latter has moved to the side lines and maintains a waiting attitude!

And so, give Rakhmetov a triple dressing-down and make him write a diary as a punishment. Why hasn’t Mme Rakhmetova gone where she promised? We repeat: all and sun dry will run away (even Galyorka is groaning and moaning), for there is no sign of any contact with Russia, no sign that Rakhmetov is alive, working for the common cause, that he is worried and concerned about it. Without letters there is nothing but complete isolation!

  1. The reference is to the pamphlet The Zemstvo Campaign and Iskra’s Plan (see present edition, Vol. 7).—Ed.
  2. Lenin speaks of the need for creating the illegal Bolshevik newspaper Vperyod, the first issue of which came out on January 4, 1905 (December 22, 1904).