V. I.   Lenin




Written: Written on March 2, 1897
Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 2–3. Sent to Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 91-93.
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.

Ob Station. March 2[3]

I am writing to you once more while I am on my way, Mother dearest. The halt here is a long one and there is nothing to do, and I have decided to write yet another letter en route, my third. I still have two more days’ journey ahead of me. I drove across the Ob in a horse-sleigh and bought tickets to Krasnoyarsk. Since traffic here is still “temporary”, I had to pay the old rates, which meant handing over 10 rubles for a ticket and 5 rubles for luggage for something like 700 versts! The way the trains run here is beyond all bounds. To do that 700 versts we shall crawl for forty-eight hours. Beyond Krasnoyarsk, the railway goes only as far as Kansk, i.e., for 220 versts—and altogether to Irkutsk it is about 1,000 versts. And so I shall have to go on by road—if I have to go at all. Another 24 hours is taken up by those 220 versts on the railway; the further you go, the slower the trains crawl along.

You have to use a horse-sleigh to cross the Ob because the bridge is not ready, although its skeleton has been built. The crossing was not too bad—but I was able to manage without warm (or rather the warmest) clothing only because it was a short one—less than an hour. If I have to go to my destination by road (and I most probably shall have to), I shall obviously have to acquire a sheepskin coat, felt boots and even, perhaps, a fur cap (you see how spoiled I was in Russia! But how else am I expected to travel by sleigh?).

Despite the devilish slowness of the journey it has tired me far less than I expected. I may even say that I am hardly tired at all. I am surprised at this myself, because before   this a journey of some three days from Samara to St. Petersburg would wear me out. The fact of the matter most probably is that I sleep very well every night without exception. The country covered by the West-Siberian Railway that I have just travelled throughout its entire length (1,300 versts from Chelyabinsk to Krivoshchokovo—three days) is astonishingly monotonous—bare, bleak steppe. No sign of life, no towns, very rarely a village or a patch of forest—and for the rest, all steppe. Snow and sky—and nothing else for the whole three days. They say that further on there will be taiga, and after that, beginning at Achinsk, mountains. The air in the steppe, however, is wonderful; breathing is so easy. There is a hard frost, more than twenty degrees below, but it is easier to bear here than in Russia. It does not seem to me that it is twenty below. The Siberians say it is because the air is “soft”, and that makes the frost easier to bear. Quite probably it is so.

In the train I met the Arzt[1] that Anyuta visited in St. Petersburg. I learned a few things from him about Krasnoyarsk, etc., that will be useful to me. He said that I should definitely be able to stay there for a few days. That is what I think of doing, in order to find out what my position in the future will be. If I send a telegram “staying a few days” that will mean that the length of my stay is not known even to me. And so I shall wait there for the doctor,[2] meet him, and if I do have to go on to Irkutsk, we shall go together. According to that same person, I cannot expect any delay in my being appointed a place; most probably it has been decided already because the whole thing is arranged beforehand. And so, until next time.

V. U.

Regards to all.

P.S. Accuse me of anything you like except infrequent letters! When there is something to write about—I write very often.

My talk with the Arzt has made very much clear to me (even if only approximately), and for this reason I feel quite calm; I have left my nervousness behind in Moscow. It was due to the uncertainty, nothing more. Now there is less uncertainty and I therefore feel better.


[1] V. M. Krutovsky—Ed.

[2] Y. M. Lyakhovsky.—Ed.

[3] This letter was sent by Lenin on his way to exile in Siberia.

On January 29, 1897, the sentence of exile in Eastern Siberia for three years under the surveillance of the police was confirmed. Lenin obtained permission to go to his place of exile at his own expense and not under escort; he was ordered in his travel permit to report to the Governor-General of Irkutsk for further -7 instructions. Lenin did not go as far as Irkutsk, but remained in -4 Krasnoyarsk to await an answer to his application sent on March 6, for the permission of the Governor-General to remain in -6 Krasnoyarsk or Minusinsk District of Yenisei Gubernia.

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