Letter to Pavel Axelrod, July 26, 1901

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July 26, 1901

Dear P. B.,

I have received and carefully read your letter (so has Alexei). I was very glad that you set out your remarks in such detail.[1] Only you are wrong in thinking that I am too (“pretty”) “stubborn”, I have accepted all your suggestions about toning down definite passages (as well as all suggestions of G. V.), that is, I have toned it down everywhere. “A kopek on the ruble” will unite all the workers: I have added “in the opinion of the Economists” in brackets. Instead of “restriction of the autocracy” I have put “destruction”, as you suggested. On pp. 82–83 I have deleted altogether what was incautious in the sense of our views on utilising the liberals (i.e., incautiously expressed ideas), as you advised. I have also inserted a note with a reference to your pamphlet The Historical Situation, pointing out that the question only slightly touched upon by me has been analysed in detail by you. I have inserted a couple of words to the effect that one can be glad of the greater understanding of the workers’ movement shown by the liberals (in the person of R. N. S.). I have deleted altogether “regret” at the publication of the Witte memorandum with such a preface. I have also deleted some sharp remarks in the first and the second half of the article. In general, I am not at all so stubborn about toning down specific remarks, but as a matter of principle I cannot give up the idea that it is our right (and our duty) to trounce R. N. S. for his political juggling. He is precisely a political juggler—reading and re-reading the preface has definitely convinced me of this, and in my criticism I brought in everything that the last few months have shown us (i.e.,Verhand- lungen[2] with “Calf”, attempts at an agreement, etc.[3] I got a weight off my chest, so to speak, in settling accounts with this individual. I regarded elucidation of the constitutional nature of the Zemstvo as the crux of the whole article. Zemstvo liberalism is, in the sphere of its influence on society, the same thing as Economism in the sphere of the latter’s influence on the workers. We must attack the narrowness of both the one and the other.

Tomorrow, probably, the question of the article will be decided here. If it goes to press now, I shall try to send you a copy of the first proof; you may have further suggestions, and we can still manage to touch it up (while the first and second proofs are being corrected).

I send you warm greetings and wishes for a good rest and recuperation. For this it would be best, perhaps, not to send you anything for the time being? So as not to spoil your holiday and treatment?



Write to Herrn Dr. Med. Carl Lehmann, Gabelsbergerstrasse 20 a/II, München (für Meyer inside).

  1. This is a reply to Axelrod’s remarks on Lenin’s article “The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism” (see Vol. 5 of this edition). p. 83
  2. Negotiations.—Ed.
  3. See pp. 55–57 of this volume.—Ed.