Letter to the Editors of Novaya Zhizn, July 1917
|Written||24 July 1917|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 181-182.
Permit us, comrades, to turn to your hospitality on account of the forced suspension of our Party paper. Certain papers have begun a furious baiting campaign against us, accusing us of espionage or of communicating with an enemy government.
The extraordinary thoughtlessness (an inappropriate and much too weak a word) with which this baiting is con ducted may be seen from the following plain facts. Zhivoye Slovo first published a statement that Lenin was a spy. Then, in a “correction” which is supposed not to change any thing, it declared that he was not accused of spying! First the paper came out with Yermolenko’s testimony, then it was compelled to admit that it is downright awkward and shameful to see such a person’s testimony as evidence.
The name of Parvus is dragged in, without mentioning, however, that no one denounced Parvus as sharply and mercilessly, as far back as 1915, as the Geneva Sotsial-Demokrat, which we edited and which, in an article entitled “The Uttermost, Limit”, branded Parvus as “a renegade’.’ “licking Hindenburg’s boots”, etc. Every literate person knows, or can easily find out, that all political or other relations between ourselves and Parvus are completely out of the question.
The name of one Sumenson is trotted out, a woman with whom we have never even met, let alone had anything to do. Business enterprises of Hanecki and Kozlovsky are also dragged in, but not a single fact is mentioned as to where, how and when the business was a screen for espionage. Not only have we never participated directly or indirectly in business enterprises, but we have never received from any of the above comrades a single kopek either for our selves personally or for the Party.
They go so far as to blame us for Pravda dispatches being reprinted in a distorted fashion by German newspapers, but they “forget” to mention that Pravda issues German and French bulletins abroad and that the reprinting of material from these bulletins is entirely free.
And all this is done with the participation and even on the initiative of Alexinsky, who has not been admitted to the Soviet, who, in other words, has been recognised as an obvious slanderer!! Is it really impossible to under stand that such methods against us are tantamount to legal assassination? The Central Executive Committee’s discussion of the conditions on which the Committee’s members could be brought to court undoubtedly introduces an element of orderliness. Will the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik parties want to participate in an attempt at legal assassination? Will they.want to take part in an attempt to put us on trial without even indicating whether we are accused of espionage or mutiny, in an attempt to put us on trial without any precise indictment at all? Will they want to take part in an attempt to stage’ an obviously unfair trial which may handicap their own candidates in the Constituent Assembly elections? Will those parties want to make the eve of the convocation of a Constituent Assembly in Russia the beginning of a Dreyfusiad on Russian soil?
The near future will give an answer to these questions which we deem it the duty of the free press to raise openly.
We are not talking about the bourgeois press. Of course, Milyukov believes in our espionage or in our acceptance of German money about as much as Markov and Zamyslovsky believed that Jews drink children’s blood.
But Milyukov and Co. know what they are doing.
- See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 421–22.—Ed.
- Byulleten “Pravdy” (The “Pravda” Bulletin) was published in German in Stockholm from June to November 1917 under the title of Russische Korrespondenz “Prawda”. Its publisher was a CC RSDLP(b) group abroad, and it carried articles on major issues of the Russian revolution, documents, reviews, and news items on the life of the Party and the country. There was also a French edition.
- After the reactionary Zhivoye Slovo had published the infamous calumny against Lenin, the Menshevik and S.R. Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on July 5 (18), 1917, appointed a commission of inquiry at the instance of the Bolshevik group to investigate the slanderous charges against Lenin and other Bolsheviks. But as soon as the Provisional Government had decided to refer the case “of the organised armed action in the city of Petrograd on July 3–5, 1917, against state power” to the Petrograd Court, the CEC commission of inquiry resigned and on July 9 (22) published in Izvestia the statement that it was “discontinuing its activity and putting the evidence collected by it at the disposal of a government committee”. At a joint meeting held by the CEC of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and the Executive Committee of the All-Russia Congress of Peasants’ Deputies on July 13 (26), the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries put through a resolution stating that they considered Lenin’s refusal to appear in court absolutely impermissible. The resolution said that all persons against whom charges had been preferred by the judicial authorities were removed from work in the Soviets.