Letter to Anatoly Lunacharsky, Between August 15 and 19, 1905

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Dear An. Vas.,

I have received your letter. You had better write to my private address: 3. Rue David Dufour.

I don’t know what to do about Kostrov’s pamphlet. I have not yet read it in the press, but from the old manuscript I know what kind of stuff it is. You are quite right about its being plain “Black-Hundred literature”.[1] You ask—how to reply?

Vas. Vas. has written a paragraph for Proletary—an uninteresting one, I don’t feel like publishing it. Olin has delivered a lecture, he is writing, too, but I don’t think he’ll manage it. Two things are required here, in my opinion:

firstly, “a brief outline of the history of the split”. A popular one. Starting from the beginning, from Economism. Properly documented. Divided into periods: 1901-03; 1903 (Second Congress); August 26, 1903-November 26, 1903; November 26, 1903-January 1904; January-August 1904; August 1904-May 1905; May 1905 (Third Congress).

I think it could be written so clearly, exactly, and concisely that even those to whom Kostrov addresses himself would read it.

Secondly, we need a lively, sharp, subtle and detailed characterisation (literary-critical) of these Black Hundreds. As a matter of fact, this falsity is at the bottom of things both with L. M. (did you read the disgraceful stuff in No. 107? Schwarz is replying with an article. I don’t know whether it is worth while?) and with Old Believer. A number of such articles and pamphlets should be collected, the gross lie should be shown up, nailed down, so that it would be impossible to wriggle out of it, and branded as definitely “Black-Hundred literature”. The new-Iskrists have now provided plenty of material and if it is carefully gone over and these dirty methods of tittle-tattle, talebear- ing, etc., are exposed in all their beauty, a powerful effect could be produced. L. M.’s obscure “personal hints” alone—what undiluted filth it is!

I may perhaps tackle the first subject myself, but not just now, not soon; I have no time for it[2] (afterwards, I daresay, it will be too late!).

I would not tackle the second subject and I think that only you could do it. A nasty job, a stinking one, there’s no denying it, but, after all, we are not fine gentlemen, but newspapermen, and it is impermissible for Social- Democratic publicists to allow “foulness and poison” to go unbranded.

Think this over and drop me a line.

A pamphlet on the mass political strike has to be produced—that should not be difficult for you.

You should certainly continue writing popular pamphlets as well, selecting something topical. What precisely, I do not know. Perhaps about the Bulygin Duma? It will be necessary to await the publication.[3]

It would he good to write about workers’ organisation. Compare our Rules (Third Congress) and the Conference Statute, analyse the two, explain the idea, importance and methods of revolutionary organisation of the proletariat (particularly for an uprising), the difference between Party organisations and those aligned with the Party, etc. In part, this would be an answer to Kostrov, a popular one, for the masses, on a burning topic of the day. Have a try!

All the very best,


N. Lenin,

  1. Black-Hundred Literature”—articles of Kostrov (N. Jordania) published first in Sotsial-Demokrat (organ of the Georgian Mensheviks), Nos. 1–3, and subsequently in pamphlet form under the title Majority or Minority?
  2. I am now going to answer Plekhanov (Sotsial-Demokrat No. 2).[4] He has to be pulled to pieces thoroughly, for he, too, has a heap of abominations and miserable arguments. I hope that I shall succeed.
  3. The manifesto concerning the Bulygin Duma was published on August 6 (19), 1905. On August 29 (16) Proletary published an article of Lenin’s on this subject entitled “Oneness of the Tsar and the People, and of the People and the Tsar” ^^(see Vol. 9, pp. 191–99, of this edition)^^.