Letter to Pavel Axelrod, March 20, 1901

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March 20, 1901

Dear P. B.,

I have received all your letters and have given Auntie news of her old friend.[1] There was no need for you to worry about addresses and to think that there had been any change. I am still living at the same place and you should write to me at the old address:

Herrn Georg Rittmeyer, Kaiserstrasse 53/0, M/"unchen. Inside: für Meyer.

I am not expecting my wife for some time yet: her term of exile only ends on Sunday, and she has to make some calls on the way, so she can hardly be here before the second half of April. Even when she does come you can still write to Rittmeyer,[2] for he will always forward everything to me, and I in turn will let you know in good time of any change of address.

We are having trouble with Zarya. That capricious -3 gentleman Dietz[3] definitely rejected your editorial article; he was frightened by the references to Iskra, scented a whiff of “groups”, etc., and referred to the fact that both Bebel and Singer (shareholders in his G.m.b.H.) are rather afraid,[4] and so on. To our very great regret, we had to give up your article, replacing it by a few words “to the readers”. This new censorship is horribly unpleasant! The cover, too, has suffered: they deleted even “several Russian Social-Democrats”. When shall we get rid of the “tutelage” of these Dreck-Genossen?!

We are having unpleasantness with that Calf (Judas) too. A very angry letter has come from his friend (=the proposed source of money=goldene Wanze[5]), saying: I am sending 200 (two hundred!) rubles for Sovremennoye Obozrentye, and bear in mind, he says, that it is for this enterprise and not for yours. We are all indignant, and it has been decided: 1) not to publish the statement about the coalition, 2) to send the Calf and his “friend” an ultimatum :either firm financing of our enterprise or we refuse, 3) to finish the Witte memorandum.[6]

Well, haven’t we been fooled again by Judas?

There is one consolation: No. 2 of Iskra has reached Russia safely. It is a success and letters are pouring in. The devil knows what is happening in Russia: demonstrations in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov, Kazan; martial law in Moscow (by the way, they arrested my youngest sister there and even my brother-in-law,[7] who had never taken part in anything!); bloody battles; prisons crammed full, and so on.

In a few days we are expecting Brother[8] and our common friend—Feld[9]—who have already left (at last!); the latter (so far) has safely fulfilled everything required of him.

We are publishing a May-Day leaflet,[10] and then we shall start on No. 3 of Iskra, and perhaps also No. 4 at the same time—there is a lot of material.

Zarya will come out on Saturday, they say, and will be sent to you directly from Stuttgart.

Our finances are in a very bad way. Hence for the time being we must definitely refrain from all expenditure on inviting a man out (proposed by you as a carrier).

All the very best.

Yours, Meyer

  1. The reference is to Dobrogeanu-Gherea (Kats, K. A.) (1855-1920) — leader of the opportunist wing of the Rumanian Social-Democrats. p. 58
  2. Rittmeyer, G. — a Munich Social-Democrat at whose place Lenin lived in 1900-01 under the name of Meyer. Letters to Lenin were sent to his address from December 1900 to the end of July 1901. p. 58
  3. Dietz — owner of a Stuttgart printing-house at which Zarya, the Marxist scientific and political journal, was printed.
    G.m.b.H. — Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung. p. 58
  4. This refers to an article of Axelrod’s intended as an editorial for the first issue of Zarya. In the phrase that was to appear on the cover of the journal “Published in close co-operation with G. V. Plekhanov, V. I. Zasulich, P. B. Axelrod and several Russian Social-Democrats”, Dietz crossed out the last five words. p. 58
  5. This refers to D. Zhukovksy, a publisher of books on philosophy. p. 55
  6. The secret memorandum of tsarist minister S. Y. Witte under the heading “The Autocracy and the Zemstvo”, with a preface by P. B. Struve (using the pseudonym R.N.S.), was published illegally by Zarya in 1901. Both the memorandum and the preface were sharply criticised by Lenin in his article “The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism” (See Vol. 5 of this edition). p. 59
  7. Referring to Maria Ulyanova, and M. T. Yelizarov. p. 59
  8. This refers to Y. O. Martov. p. 59
  9. The pseudonym of Blumenfeld, Yosif Solomonovich (born 1865)—a Social-Democrat, active member of the Emancipation of Labour group, later a member of the Iskra organization, by trade a compositor. In the E. L. group and Iskra was in charge of printing and shipping arrangements. In March 1902 was arrested with a parcel of Iskra publications and imprisoned in a Kiev jail, whence he escaped abroad in August 1902. After the split at the Second Congress of the RSDLP he joined the Mensheviks. In December 1903 became secretary of the editorial board of the Menshevik Iskra and subsequently worked in the Menshevik organizations in Russian and abroad. p. 59
  10. This refers to the Iskra leaflet “First of May” issued in April 1901. p. 59