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Letters from Lenin to Inessa Armand

Extracts from The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archives, Richard Pipes, 1996

Document 6. Letter to Armand (p 26)

25 May (7 June) 1914

7 June 19141

Dear friend!

I am always very busy now & worried with the same story of Malinowsky. He is here & it is very hard to see him -- so useless & helpless now. And the liquidators2 continue their infamous compagn of slander & chantage. Wiring [sic] with brother3 & small misunderstandings with him do not cease. Generalle he is very good, excellent — but exceptionally in such crisis he is from time to time a little too weak.

The liquidators have published (if we understood rightly the wire [news]) that we knew oui dire (rumors) about political improbity (dishonesty) of Malinovsky! In fact, we heard it from the Viennese (the liquidators), who blabbed — but we, of course, rejected the rumors, submitting [them] to a collegium of three members of the Central Committee.4 As for the liquidators!! To whom have they submitted [the rumors]?? Well, the workers have already given and will continue to give these filthy slanderers what for! We are sending you the new newspaper.5

If possible, do not be angry against me. I have caused you a great pain, I know it.

Yours truly

W.L[enin]

After your depart from Paris — you will not accomplish anything there! What can you do with people like that!

Notes

1. The date is recorded in the hand of Armand.

2. A term of opprobrium coined by Lenin for Mensheviks who wanted the movement to adapt itself to the workers' desires and needs and thereby to "liquidate" the revolution.

3. L.B. Kamenev.

4. The reference is to a Central Committee commission of inquiry made up of Lenin, G.Ye. Zinoviev, and Ya.S. Ganetsky, established to investigate the charges of provocation against Malinovsky.

5. Reference to the newspaper Rabochii [The workerj, the first issue of which was published on 22 April (5 May) 1914.

Document 7. Excerpt of a Letter to Armand. (p 27)

[Prior to 23 June (6 July) 1914]

Never, never have I written that I esteem only three women. Never!! I've written that fullest friendship, absolute esteem and confidance of mine are confined to only 2-3 women. That is quite another quite, quite another thing. I hope we will see each other here after the congress and speak about it. Please bring when You will come (that is, bring with you) all our letters (sending them by registered mail here is not convenient: the registered packet can very easily be opened by friends. And so on ...) Please, bring all letters, Yourself and we shall speak about it.

Document 8. Excerpt of a Letter to Armand (p 27)

[3 (16) July 1914]

My dear & dearest friend!1

Oh, I would like to kiss you thousand times greeting you & wishing you but success: I am fully sure you will be victorious.

Notes

1. The PSS version has it, "My dear friend!"

The importance of Document 9 lies in the opening sentence, which reveals that Lenin saw the outbreak of the First World War as inevitably leading to a revolution in Russia.

Document 9. Letter to Armand. (p 27-30)

[Before 12 (25) July 1914]

My dear & dearest friend!

Best greetings for the commencing revolution in Russia. We are here without news. Extremely eager to know what is happening -- but no telegramms!! Now the great town would be better than a village in Galicia. This evening at ... o'clock the question of war between Austria & Serbia will be answered ... The idiot Brussels conference can be forgotten in such time.1 (I understand that the liquidators & Plekhanov2 & other canailles are preparing a common manifesto. The traitors Poles, opposition, will not sign it!! Already the decomposition of the new "third-july block"!!)

Tomorrow I expect here the comrade You have seen in Brussels from the letton [Latvian] party.3

This summer is extremely unhappy: at first "affair" of Malinovsky, then the conference at Brussels. And now totally unknown if the great meeting of our party will be possible after the events in SPB [St Petersburg].4

Here extremely unpleasant "stories" with the stupid wife of the army.5 She is here with army & two her new friends: i) young man with grey hair, whom You have seen at first in Russia after having left Krakow in summer 1912, and the former editor of our scientific review. Both are friends of wife of the army. Both hate Malinowsky & repeat: the wife ... is "convinced", that he is an agent-provocateur!!

We in our quality as a committee of investigation, have lost many many hours to hear the "evidence" of the wife of the army. Stupid talks, hystery, — nothing serious. She accuses us to be partial (in relation to Malinovsky)!! Confrontation of her with Malinovsky. She is blamed — she has mixed personal affairs & intimities with the politics. Malinovsky reveals her intime discourses. Now come "the three" (army & both friends) & will have almost a duel with Malinovsky & soon & soon ... Oh, quelle misère! These hysterical stupid creatures, I am so angry, so angry!! Losing of time for such stupid stories!!! Yours very truly, I hope You are not angry against me, my dear friend?

Your W.L.

In our capital "etat de siege". Both [Bolshevik] papers must be closed. Arrests innombrable. The brother6 must be safe, because I've got a despatch from Finland with allusion that the brother is there & safe. But this is only a supposition. Nothing is certain.

Notes

1. Reference to conference in Brussels of the International Socialist Bureau, 16-18 July 1914 (NS).

2. Georgy Valentinovich Plekhanov (18/6/1918): founding father of Russian Social Democracy. Before the 1917 Revolution, lived mainly in Switzerland; vacillated between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. During World War I, adopted a "defensist" position. On his return to Russia, opposed Lenin's dictatorship.

3. Ya A. Berzin (1881-1938). Old Bolshevik of Latvian origin. On 8 April 1918, was appointed the Soviet "political representative" in Bern, Switzerland. After Bern, posted in London (1921-25) and in Vienna (1925-27). Perished in Stalin's terror.

4. Reference to major industrial strike in St Petersburg on 12-14 July 1914 (NS).

5. Possibly A.A. Troianovsky (1881-?): Russian writer and economist. Vacillated between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. In the 1920s emigrated to the United States.

6. L.B. Kamenev.


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