Letter to Pavel Axelrod, June 1,1901

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June 1, 1901

Dear P. B.,

We have just received your letter with the materials and letters of Deb.[1][2] enclosed. Many thanks; we shall have to sort out the material.

As regards Deb.’s proposal, we agree of course to let him have 300 offprints, and we hope that his reservations will not present the slightest obstacle to our printing his reminiscences. The deadline for No. 2 of Zarya is one month, i.e., July 1. The maximum length is 2 sheets, or 2 1/2 at the outside. We hope that he will divide up his 4–5 sheets into chapters, so that they will fit into No. 2 and No. 3 of Zarya.

We know nothing as yet about the conference.[3] Please persuade Koltsov and someone else from Sotsial-Demokrat to agree. After all, this does not commit anyone to anything, but it removes from us the odium of being unwilling to stop the dissension. We really are not inclined to make any substantial concessions either to Borba or to Rabocheye Dyelo (how feeble No. 7 of its Listok is[4]! We have already left it behind even technically, in speed of coverage).

No. 5 of Iskra is at the press. The leading article is “About Vacuous Dreams” (by Starover). A feature article by G. V., “New Wine in Old Bottles”, is about the manifesto of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and their turn towards the Social-Democrats. Then one (or even two) short articles on the massacre of May 4–7 in St. Petersburg (in Vyborgskaya Storona and at the Obukhov Works). There is also some pretty good material for the social chronicle and the labour movement section, and also for the “May Day in Russia” section—for instance, a vivid letter from a St. Petersburg working woman about the killing on May 4 of a workman (her relative) in the crowd marching to Nevsky Prospekt.[5] There is a letter from our close friend, a worker at Ivanovo-Voznesensk,[6] about the feeling there, the attempts to celebrate May Day and the success of Iskra.

Only the financial side is in a bad way; all the rest is going well, with promise for the future.

How is your health? Is it easier for you now in your Erwerbsarbeit[7] ? Do you get enough rest? How do you intend to spend the summer?

Very best wishes to you and all your family.



  1. We shall, of course, preserve his letter.—Lenin
  2. Deb.—V. K. Debogory-Mokrievich, a revolutionary Narodnik of the 1870s, who lived in Bulgaria from 1894 and died there. In 1901, the Zarya Editorial Board asked him for some extract from his memoirs. Although he agreed, and the members of the editorial board corresponded on the subject, his memoirs were not published in Zarya.
  3. The conference mentioned hero was held in Geneva in June 1901. It was attended by the representatives of = Iskra, Zarya, the Borba and the Rabocheye Dyelo groups, the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad, the Bund and the revolutionary Sotsial-Demokrat organisation. It was preliminary, and the final decisions were put off until the “Unity” Conference in October 1901, at which the = Rabocheye Dyelo and the Iskra groups finally split up.
  4. Listok Rabochego Dyela (Rabocheye Dyelo Supplement) was published by the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad in Geneva, at irregular intervals, in 1900 and 1901.
    Its No. 7 appeared in April 1901 and dealt with the student movement.
  5. A reference to the events of May 4 and 7, 1901, in St. Petersburg, in Vyborgskaya Storona and at the Obukhov Steel Works (known as “Obukhov defence”). Iskra No. 5 (June 1901) carried a letter, “May Day in Russia”, and Lenin’s article, “Another Massacre” (see present edition, Vol. 5 pp. 25–30).
  6. The author was I. V. Babushkin. His report, “Ivanovo– Voznesensk”, appeared in Iskra No. 5, June 1901, in its section “May Day in Russia ”. Babushkin’s role in the Russian Social– Democratic movement (until his execution in Siberia by a tsarist punitive expedition in 1905), in establishing Iskra and in supplying it with workers’ reports, is described in detail in Lenin’s obituary in Rabochaya Gazeta No. 2, December 18 (31), 1910 (see present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 361–64).
  7. Work for a living.—Ed.