Letter to Georgi Plekhanov, December 25, 1902

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25.XII. 02

Dear G. V.,

Just received a letter from you and A. N. (how it came to be delivered on a holiday I don’t understand!). Well, this looks like forced moves, as chessplayers say. Under the circumstances Bonch of course should be won over to our side, and in all likelihood, everybody will approve of your step (going to Bonch-Bruyevich and “inviting” him to join the League).

But the question is what to do next. In my opinion, if your talks with Bonch-Bruyevich will be (or were) successful, it is necessary first of all (having assured him that you will sponsor his candidacy in the League and are quite certain of success) to insist on a formal step on his part as well. In other words, he should officially and publicly announce that there has been a split in Zhizn and that he wishes to go over to Iskra.

Without such a step, I think, his candidacy should not be formally put forward in the League, since Bonch-Bruyevich officially has not yet left Zhizn and it would be ridiculous to accept a person belonging to another organisation. Moreover, if Bonch-Bruyevich is still only warring with Posse, still only “dividing up” things with him, defending our interests, there is as yet no guarantee of a favourable outcome!! This should not be forgotten. And if “Bonch is most determined to come over to us”, as A. N. writes, insistence on your part will in no way be objectionable to him, he will admit himself that so long as he has not officially left Zhizn and made a statement, we, the League, cannot vote for him. If the split in Zhizn has been finally decided on and is absolutely inevitable, it is in Bonch’s own interests and his duty to announce this publicly at the earliest date, if only in a letter[1] to Iskra. We would publish the letter at once in No. 30 and thereby forestall our opponents and “bind Bonch” (and ourselves by printing the letter[2] ). In deed, this would be the best way, and the safest, for other wise we might get into trouble....

And so my opinion is this: I also consider “all kinds of overtures” to Bonch (which A. N. writes about and which you are making) necessary, but if he, Bonch, does not take the formal step, and until he takes it, we should confine our selves to these overtures which do not officially commit the League, and nothing more.

As to what will happen later, no more hitches can be expected. When Bonch-Bruyevich has left Zhizn and made a public statement, and when his transport group has given its support to this statement, it can easily obtain printed matter from our administration and begin transporting it. If it becomes necessary to admit this group as well (as you, G. V., assume), we shall then find out all about it from Bonch and discuss whom to accept and how.

[[BOX-ENDS: You, G. V., write that “we are awaiting instructions for the negotiations with the transport group”. Let the group first set forth its position in detail, for who can tell what it represents?]]

You have not yet replied, G. V., about your feuilleton for Iskra, or the article about Tarasov. Why?

Best regards,



P.S. Please send or pass on this letter to A. N.

  1. A letter to the effect that there has been a split in Zhizn, for such-and-such reasons, that he and company are leaving it and would like to work for Iskra and Zarya inasmuch as they share or stand closest of all to
    [[[ this footnote ends after "to" (why?) -RjC -2005.05.17 ]]] —Lenin
  2. The letter was not published in Iskra.—Ed.