Letter to Alexei Rykov, March 1911

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Author(s) Lenin
Written March 1911

First published in 1931. Sent from Paris to Berlin. Printed from the original in Lenin Miscellany XVIII.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 43, pages 274b-275.
Keywords : Alexei Rykov, Letter

Received your letter with the news about the call sent to M. M.

You are doing right in sending it. So far the non-conciliators have sent 4 (if not 6). This makes a big difference. That’s one thing. Secondly, it is time to is sue an ultimatum; you yourself are aware of this when you say: “one must lose all respect for the Party to drag things out endlessly.” True! Right! Correct!

Only there must be no threat to withdraw from the CC, as you propose. That would be a mistake. Don’t do that.[1] Threaten to protest publicly against the Bureau and to show them up for a nil or even worse if they, after having placed their confidence in you and offered you their authorisation, do not go abroad at once.

You should invite Lyubich. It will be a mistake not to. It is ridiculous to grudge 200–300 extra rubles when it is a matter of the finale of the entire CC Lyubich is needed precisely so as not to be dependent on a “philistine and coward”.[2] Only from your letter did I see how base this “philistine and coward” is. People like that should be pinned to the wall, and if they don’t submit, trampled in the mud. I shall do that publicly by printing the record of our relations with the Bureau when my patience has been exhausted.

There is full clarity now. Line-up against line-up. It’s either 1/2+1 for us and the P.S.D.[3][4] or a Menshevik victory in the CC, our withdrawal and a disgraceful split. But even if only Makar and Lyubich are brought over the situation could be saved: Plekhanov and the group will be for us, and we can nip the Menshevik split in the bud. The scoundrels would not dare in that case.

I am enclosing a copy of a letter I received from a worker in Bologna. He understood the Vperyod “platform”!! But look at those Golos scoundrels: Golos agent Volontyor, a member of the Party School Commission, goes against its decision and carries on agitation against it among the ex-ists!![5] Now I’ll expose them in the press.

Semashko was sent from the School Commission to Bologna. The blackguards have been caught red-handed, they won’t wriggle out of it!

Return the copy of the letter.

I am enclosing a letter from Finikov (return immediately after reading). Tell me, am I not right in saying that a Bolshevik like this is stronger than a hundred “conciliators”, for he has understood the situation whereas the latter do not want to understand it?

With a few such we shall defeat hundreds of “conciliators”.


N. Lenin

  1. If you withdraw from the CC, it will be tantamount to deserting the field of battle, betrayal of Bolshevism at a difficult moment. You must not withdraw but send an ultimatum to Makar and, if he does not show up and yield, fight as a member of the CC to get the money returned. —Lenin
  2. A reference to Lindov (G. D. Leiteisen) whom Rykov in one of his letters to Lenin in 1911 called “a philistine and coward”. Lindov, then a member of the Bureau of the CC, RSDLP, in Russia, took an indecisive, vacillating position on the question of calling a plenary meeting.
  3. It is impossible to win in the seven. Therefore, it is necessary to hold a plenary meeting abroad; call over Makar and Lyubich and ex plain things to them. —Lenin
  4. Out of the eight members of the Bureau of the CC, RSDLP, in Russia, four Bolsheviks and one representative of the Polish Social-Democrats.
  5. The Party School Commission, established by decision of the January 1910 plenary meeting of the CC, RSDLP, was to arrange in 1911 additional lectures in Paris for graduates of the Vperyod school.
    M. L. Veltman-Pavlovich (Volontyor), one of the lecturers at the Vperyod school in Bologne, was a member of the party school commission in March 1911. By giving a one-sided, factionalist picture of the work of the commission, he incited the students against it with the result that studies were disrupted.