V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 2-3. Sent from Shushenskoye to Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 135-137.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

December 10, 1897

According to my estimate, Mother dearest, this letter should arrive by Christmas. I have decided to send it off by the first post and not wait until Sunday (I am used to writing to you on Sundays). I have received a letter from Gleb in which he says he has submitted an application for permission to come to me for ten days during the holidays. I hope he will get permission. It will give me great pleasure. They have written from Tesinskoye that Zinaida Pavlovna has been sentenced to three years’ exile in northern gubernias, and that she is asking to be sent to Minusinsk District.[1] I believe Nadezhda Konstantinovna[2] intends to do the same, although her sentence is not yet properly known; it will probably be very much the same.

I kiss you warmly,
V. U.

I hope that Mitya will be free by the time you receive this letter. They are not likely to hold him long.[5]


I am now reading the French translation of Labriola’s Essays on the Materialistic Conception of History. It is a very sensible and interesting book.[3] The idea came to me   that you ought to translate it. (The original is in Italian and Kamensky in Novoye Slovo says that the French translation is not very good. You would, of course, have to get the original.) The book is in three parts: (1) In Memory of the Communist Manifesto, (2) Historical Materialism (the biggest part) and (3) Appendix: The Manifesto of the Communist Party (translated into French by Laura Lafargue). It goes-without saying that only the second part is suitable for translation, and not all of that (I have not yet finished reading it). If something is left out, it will not by any means detract from this extremely clever defence of “our doctrine” (Labriola’s expression). I am writing to St. Petersburg this very day to find out whether the writer proposes using this material for the journal. You can either get his opinion from N. K. (I am writing to her) or propose directly to him that you start the translation.[6]

V. U.


I received your letter of November 24 and the second issue of the Vyatka Returns. Earlier I received the Ulozheniye and Ustav[7]—I do not remember whether I acknowledged them.

You say that “goods for Minusinsk are still not being accepted from Moscow”. Perhaps they will soon be accepted. Mark could probably find out. Books are no longer urgent. Perhaps you can send them with someone coming at Christmas or with the girls[4] who intend to come here (I am writing to Mother about them) or, eventually, with someone else. If things are sent to Krasnoyarsk the delay is, in any case, tremendous. If any book is needed for work, I shall write and it can be sent by post. We had better wait a while before using the carrier’s office.

Savchenko’s book, it seems, is Peskovsky’s.

Programma domashnego chteniya has arrived; I have looked at it, it is dull and I do not want to write a review.

Wolfe’s little publication starts quite well and is fabulously cheap.

I have ordered Seignobos. I do not intend to order Ziber yet. If I get some money I shall probably order it, too. Kalmykova’s bookshop gives me a discount of 15 per cent, so I order books from there; it is convenient, too, because it saves you trouble.

All the best,
V. U.


[1] Zinaida Pavlovna Nevzorova.—Ed.

[2] Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya.—Ed. —Lenin

[3] For Lenin’s opinion of the book see Collected Works, Vol. 2, p. 486.—Ed.

[4] The girls are Nadezhda Krupskaya and Zinaida Nevzorova.—Ed.

[5] Lenin’s brother, Dmitry, was arrested on November 7, 1897, in connection with the case of the Moscow Workers’ Union; he was kept in prison until August 20, 1898, was expelled from Moscow University and banished to Tula; later he was kept under police surveillance in the town of Podolsk, Moscow Gubernia.

[6] Lenin’s letters to Struve and Krupskaya proposing the publication of a translation of the second part of Antonio Labriola’s   book in Novoye Slovo have been lost. The translation appeared in 1898 in St. Petersburg in an edition by Berezin and Semyonov; it was given the title K voprosu o materialisticheskom vzglyade na istoriyu (On the Question of the Materialistic View of History). The English title of this essay of Labriola’s is Historical Materialism.

[7] The books referred to are Ulozheniye o nakazaniyakh ugolovnykh i ispravitelnykh (Ordinance on Criminal and Correctional Penalties) and Ustavo nakazaniyakh, nalagayemykh mirovymi sudyami (Code of Penalties Imposable by Magistrates). Lenin needed these books for his work as a consulting lawyer in Shushenskoye. He later recalled, “...when I was in exile in Siberia I had occasion to act in the capacity of a lawyer. I was not a certified lawyer, because, being summarily exiled, I was not allowed to practise; but as there was no other lawyer in the region, people came and confided their troubles to me.” (Collected Works, Vol. 33, p. 295.)

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