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 118-119.
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.

June 15, 1897

In the last post but one, Mark, I received your letter of May 23. At last you, too, are getting down to the business of “spoiling paper”—that’s fine. I hope that the “terrible boredom” you complain of will make you write more often—I should be very glad of it. Moreover we are in rather the same position. We are both living in villages and quite alone—true, I am a bit further away—and so we must make an effort to correspond more often.

It was news to me that Kokushkino is up for sale, and that Mitya has gone to Kazan to see about it.[1] Has he power of attorney to handle the estate? Write and tell me how the matter is settled. On the one hand it seems to be a good thing that it will be finished with once and for all, but on the other hand the “finish” is a most unpleasant, troublesome and, most likely, unprofitable one.

I have not only not received the box of books—I did not even know that it had been sent. Who was it sent to and when? To whom was the carrier’s receipt sent? Write to me about all this. From Mother’s letter I know that they intended sending it through a carrier’s office. That means it will take a long time, probably two or three months. If any new books were bought to be sent with the others, please let me know (if you remember) what they were, because I do not risk ordering any at the moment, thinking they are already on the way.

I have begun receiving Russkiye Vedomosti and read it with a voracity that can be explained only as a reaction to the long absence of newspapers. Has anything else been   ordered? (Russkoye Bogatstvo, Vestnik Finansov—in Rybkina’s[2] name; German publications). I receive the newspapers on the thirteenth day after Wednesday and Saturday. That means that the post from Moscow here leaves on those days; bear that in mind in case you have to make any calculations about sending things.

The day before yesterday I received the report of the Society for the Organisation of Popular Entertainments.[3] Thanks.

I have not yet received a single letter from our people abroad. On account of their travelling they probably had to wait a long time between my letters and wrote to me less often. I do not know how to write to them now. It would hardly be convenient to write to Berne and I have no new address. The last time I wrote to Mother was a week ago, the same time as I sent you a postcard. Today I shall not write a special letter to her, but please send this letter on to her so that she will not worry and will have some news of me.

It would not be a bad thing if Mitya, on his return, were also to take up paper-spoiling. I have not yet given an answer to his “theoretical” letter; the fact of the matter was that I was so absent-minded when I was in Moscow that I did not remember anything of what he told me about the question that interested him. I could not gain a completely definite impression from his letter—first, because it was too short and, secondly, because I have here no Russian translation of the book he quotes and cannot get the necessary information.

All the best,
V. U.

P.S. I am thinking more keenly and more often over the idea of arranging for parcels of books to be sent here from some capital-city library; I am at times beginning to think that without that arrangement I shall not be able to carry on literary work here; an outside stimulus is very necessary and I have absolutely nothing of the sort here.


[1] Dmitry Ulyanov went to Kazan in connection with the sale of Kokushkino after the death of L. A. Ponomaryova. The very unpleasant ending of which Lenin writes was that both shares, that of Ponomaryova and of Lenin’s mother, might be left to the latter with all their debts.

[2] Rybkina—Nadezhda Krupskaya’s Party nickname.

Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya (1869–1939)—professional revolutionary, prominent figure in the Communist Party and the Soviet state; the wife of Lenin.

She began her revolutionary activity in 1890 in student Marxist groups in St. Petersburg. From 1891 to 1896 she was a teacher at the Sunday Evening School outside the Neva Tollgate and conducted Social-Democratic propaganda among factory workers She met Lenin when they were working together in the winter of 1894. In 1895 she was one of the organisers of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. In August 1896 she was arrested and sentenced to exile for three years; she started her term of exile with Lenin in Shushenskoye and finished it alone in Ufa. After her return from exile in 1901 she went abroad and worked as secretary of the newspaper Iskra. She played an active part in preparing the Second Congress of theR.S.D.L.P., which she attended as a delegate with voice but no vote. After the Congress she was secretary of the editorial board of the Bolshevik newspapers Vperyod and Proletary. She played an active part in preparing for the Third Congress of the Party. While working abroad she maintained an extensive correspondence with Party organisations in Russia. During the years of reaction she took part in the struggle against the liquidators and the otzovists. In 1911 she worked in the Party school at Longjumeau; after the Prague Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (1912) she helped Lenin establish contact with Party organisations in Russia, with Pravda and with the Bolshevik group in the Fourth Duma. In 1915 she was a delegate to the International Women’s Conference in Berne.

Nadezhda Krupskaya returned to Russia with Lenin after the February Revolution of 1917 and worked in the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party; she took an active part in preparing and carrying out the October Socialist Revolution. After the revolution she became a member of the Collegium of the People’s Commissariat of Education and in 1921 became head of the Chief Committee for Political Education; in 1929 she was appointed Deputy People’s Commissar for Education. Nadezhda Krupskaya was one of the founders of the Soviet system of education and a leading theoretician in the field of pedagogy. She wrote a number of books on problems of public education and communist upbringing, and on the women’s and youth movements.   She also wrote her reminiscences of Lenin. She participated in all Party Congresses (except the 1st and 5th), became a member of the Central Control Commission in 1924 and a member of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) in 1927. She was a member of all convocations of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and of the Central Executive Committee of the U.S.S.R. and was a deputy to the First Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. and a member of its Presidium.

[3] The Neva Society {or the Organisation of Popular Entertainments, the report of whose committee is mentioned here, was founded in St. Petersburg in 1885; at first it was a private circle and later, in 1891, was formed into an independent society with a set of rules and an official name. The society had its own theatres, concert halls and sports premises in the area beyond the Neva Tollgate, where most factories were concentrated. The society arranged carnivals, lectures, concerts, plays, dances, etc.; it also organised workers’ choirs, reading-rooms and kindergartens. One of the Society’s reading-rooms was used by members of Marxist study circles for meetings and talks with workers. Before her arrest in 1896, Nadezhda Krupskaya and other Marxist women teachers made extensive use of the reading-room.

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