Letter to Grigori Alexinsky, Late September-early October, 1907
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 47. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 43, pages 175b-177a.
For Pyotr[edit source]
I don’t know whether your letter was written before you met our local friend or after. At any rate I am answering your questions.
N. K. has spoken about the money question many times. She will mention it again and so shall I.
I have not written to R. because I myself recently saw (when I happened to be in those parts) two comrades from there and took up all matters concerning you with them.
You ask what I think about your work there.
It is rather difficult to answer this question in a few words. When you have looked around you will see for yourself what material, information, etc., can be sent from there, but this is a relatively minor problem and can be easily solved. The general conditions of work there is an other matter. I doubt whether you have ever seen such foul conditions as those in which the emigrants find them selves abroad. You must be extremely cautious there. Not that I am advising against waging war with the opportunists. On the contrary, it is very necessary to fight there, and much fighting will have to be done. But it is an ugly kind of war. You must always be prepared for malicious underhand attacks, outright “provocations” on the part of the Mensheviks (they will systematically provoke you), and very little effective sympathy. For over there you are frightfully out of touch with Russia, and idleness and the state of mind that goes with it, a nervous, hysterical, hissing and spitting mentality, predominate. The difficulties you will encounter there have nothing in common with the difficulties encountered in Russia: though there is practically full “freedom”, there is no live work or an environment for live work to speak of.
In my opinion the chief thing is for you to have work, your own work. R. may provide it.... More important still is it for you to maintain contact with the organisation in Russia: in that case you won’t feel rootless there. And, finally, most important of all, we all, both there and here, should work in unison, march in step, exchange views more often (if not all views are clearly expressed in the press). Only by working abroad in contact with the organisation in Russia can one protect oneself against being sucked down into the slough of despond, squabbles, the viciousness of overwrought nerves, etc. My own memory of that “abroad” is only too fresh, and I speak from no little experience.
It would be very good if you would work together with Knunyants and Trotsky. It would be much easier for you with them.
Anyway, you will see all this for yourself in time.
The address you have written to here should not be used on any account. Besides, I shall be leaving here soon. For the time being write me at this address: Herrn Kakko Paavo, Terijoki, and inside the envelope (and only inside) for L—n. Let me have your address there as soon as possible.
Best regards. Warm greetings to all the Knipoviches.
Address: I. Ladyschnikoff, Uhlandstrasse N 145. Berlin.
Entrance through courtyard. This is a private address. Abramoff lives in the same place, one floor higher. Opposite, at Uhlandstrasse, 52, is the office where they can be found in the mornings. I give it just in case, though you probably know this by now.
- R., Raduga (Rainbow)—a literary, scientific and political monthly put out in Geneva from June 1907 to February 1908. Its contributors included Maxim Gorky, N. A. Semashko and M. G. Tskhakaya. The “two comrades” referred to probably were B. M. Knunyants and N. A. Semashko, with whom Lenin may have had talks during the Stuttgart Congress of the Second International. The former was a member of the Bolshevik delegation and the latter attended the Congress in a private capacity.
- Signature illegible.—Ed.