Letter to Georgi Plekhanov, December 14, 1902

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December 14, 1902

Dear G. V.,

There has been no news from you for quite a time and a lot of business and questions have accumulated.

First of all, about articles for Iskra. For No. 30 (No. 29 will come out tomorrow or the day after) we have Julius’s article “Autumnal Summing-up”. One more article is essential. How about you? Please let us know whether you are writing anything and when you are thinking of sending it, and also about a feuilleton; it would be very good to have in No. 30 the feuilleton you proposed against Tarasov’s “little page”.[1] I shall await your reply.

Next, about a pamphlet against the Socialist-Revolutionaries. L. Gr. told me and wrote to you that it would be best if you undertook it, for you could give, in addition to “dogmatic” criticism, the historical parallel with the seventies. I fully agree with L. Gr. that such a parallel is very, very important; but there is no use, of course, in my even thinking about it. And in general I should be very glad if you would undertake this pamphlet. I have little heart for it myself; besides, in addition to current business, I am now faced with the task of preparing for lectures in Paris (Julius tells me that they want to invite me there for three or four lectures on the agrarian question). And so, absolutely everything points to the pamphlet being your job—it is most definitely needed against the Socialist-Revolutionaries, who must be picked to pieces. in the most detailed and thoroughgoing manner. They are awfully harmful to us and our cause. Do write and tell us your decision.

L. Gr.’s answer to Revolutsionnaya Rossiya[2] was published in No. 29: you will receive it towards the end of the week—and you have already seen the proofs.

I learnt today that you will be at the international conference in Brussels (probably at the end of December or beginning of January[3]) and will read a lecture there. I hope you will not fail to drop in on us. We are right next door and the fare will be quite cheap during the holidays. And here, firstly, your lecture is very badly needed, as there are many workers here who are infected with anarchism (I discovered this when I delivered my lecture on the Socialist-Revolutionaries, which did not interest our people here[4]). You would certainly be able to influence them. Furthermore, and this is the chief thing, we have a heap of important subjects to discuss, especially as regards Russian affairs: the Organising Committee, after long preparation, has at last been formed there and it can play a tremendous role. It is of the highest importance that we should jointly reply to a whole series of questions which it has already addressed to us (questions concerning measures for uniting the Party, the agenda, Tagesordnung, at the general congress, what reports there will be from us, etc.—extremely important questions in general, and now of particular significance). Write, please, as to when exactly the conference in Brussels will be held, how long it will last and whether you will be able to come here. Further, it may, perhaps, not be out of place if at this conference you already make use in one way or another of the fact that the Organising Committee has been set up. Write soon and we shall get in touch with Russia: we may succeed even in getting some sort of statement or letter from them addressed to you, if needed.

Do you see the Zhiznites[5]? How is the “rapprochement” with them progressing and what are the chances? And what about the Rabocheye Dyelo people? You know, I believe it would be a good thing if they too took part in your “Marxist circle” and if we began (informally) to come closer to them. It is not worth while these days quarrelling with them, and there is no reason to, as a matter of fact: by replacing Rabocheye Dyelo by Krasnoye Znamya[6] they have in effect adopted our plan for “division of literary functions”, and (apart from the silly “clairvoyant”) there is nothing harmful in Martynov’s pamphlet Workers and Revolution.

All the very best.



As for the Bulgarian,[7] I am to blame. I’m sorry. I did not write because there were no assignments to give, and it did not occur to me that you would worry.

  1. This refers to Plekhanov’s article against the article by K. Tarasov (pseudonym of N. S. Rusanov, a Narodnik publicist) published in the Socialist-Revolutionary journal Vestnik Russkoi Revolutsii.
  2. Revolutsionnaya Rossiya (Revolutionary Russia)—an illegal newspaper of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, published in Russia from the end of 1900. From January 1902 to December 1905 it came out abroad (Geneva) as the official organ of the S.R. party.
  3. This refers to the forthcoming meeting of the International Socialist Bureau, which was held in Brussels on December 29, 1902. Plekhanov did not attend the meeting.
  4. Lenin probably refers to his London lecture of November 29, 1902, on the subject of S.R. programme and tactics.
  5. Zhiznites members of the Zhizn Social-Democratic group. (see Note 37).
  6. Krasnoye Znamya (Red Banner)—a journal, organ of the Economists, published in Geneva by the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad from November 1902 to January 1903 in place of Rabochaya Dyelo. Three numbers of the journal were published.
  7. Unidentified.—Ed.