Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Preface To The Pamphlet

Old Articles Or Almost New Subjects

Preface To The 1922 Edition[1]

Written: 28 April, 1922
First Published: Published in the pamphlet Old Articles on Almost New Subjects, Moscow. 1922; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 345-347
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

This pamphlet has been published on the recommendation of the Communists of Moscow, not on mine. I was, at first, opposed to the republication of this old stuff, as I considered it to be out of date.

After reading the material prepared by the Moscow comrades for publication I found that it was not as obsolete as might have been expected. In fact, most of it is not obsolete at all, in spite of the extremely turbulent and rapid revolutionary development of the past four years.

The situation in the spring of 1922 duplicates on a broad scale the main features of the situation in the spring of 1918. At that time we had a “respite” between two wars between the imperialist war, which we brought to an end (it would be more correct to say almost brought to an end) in February 1918, and the Civil War, which did not come to an end with our first victory over counter-revolutionaries of the Bogayevsky type, but for which preparations were being made by the Czechoslovaks, Kornilov, Denikin and Co.

Today Genoa represents another “respite” on a very much larger, on a world scale. It is a respite between the war against Soviet Russia, that was fought and lost by the world bourgeoisie, and the new war which this bourgeoisie is preparing, but is not yet ready for (I am writing these lines on April 28, 1922, when the latest news indicates the danger of a rupture).

Now, as then, the “pivot” of Soviet policy is organisation, accounting and control, a slow, cautious and businesslike approach to practical tasks, to executive control and the study of our practical experience. I spoke about this at the Eleventh Congress of the R.C.P. a few weeks ago. The Congress accepted this ’line”, as is evident from the resolution it passed on the report of the Central Committee, and from other resolutions. And I tried to sum up that line in my speech in closing the Eleventh Congress.

The republication of this old pamphlet of 1918 will be useful because the controversies that raged at that time will go a long way to explain the problems that face our Party today. Speeches like those delivered by Comrades Preobrazhensky, Osinsky and Larin during the debate on the report of the Central Committee at the Eleventh Party Congress clearly revealed that very many prominent and leading Party officials are not concentrating their attention on what they should. In their speeches they wrongly defined the “pivot” of the problems that now confront the Party. I hope to be able to discuss this matter with the reader in greater detail in the near future. For the time being, I must limit myself to the remark that the object of the present pamphlet is to explain why the task that was in the forefront when this pamphlet was first published was (and at the present time still is) “to learn to work efficiently to learn how to put the right men in the right place, to establish individual responsibility for a definite job, carefully to study and test practical experience instead of hankering after “new” plans of new government departments, or after new methods of organisation, reorganisation, and so forth.

Just one more absolutely necessary remark in conclusion. have deleted from this pamphlet the speech I delivered in closing the session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee in the spring of 1918.[2] This speech was recorded in such a way as to render it absolutely useless. I must repeat what I once wrote to the Petrograd comrades in 1919, or 1920, in a letter intended for publication in the press, but which, unfortunately, they did not publish, [See Preface To The Pamphlet; The Problem Of The New Economic PolicyTranscriber] viz., that I cannot accept responsibility for the reports of my speeches in the way they are usually printed in the press, and I earnestly request that they should not be reprinted—except in case of extreme necessity, and, in any case, together with my present definite statement. Whether it is due to the fact that I often speak too fast; whether in many cases my style of delivery is faulty, or whether the ordinary records of speeches are made too hurriedly and are very unsatisfactory-for all these reasons, and for certain others all taken together, the fact remains that I cannot accept responsibility for the text of my speeches as recorded, and request that they should not be reproduced. Let those who make these records be responsible. If it is necessary to reprint anything, there are plenty of pamphlets and articles that can be reprinted, and for the text of which I take full and complete responsibility.

April 28, 1922

N. Lenin


[1] Lenin’s pamphlet Old Articles on Almost New Subjects. On the Question of the New Economic Policy (Two Articles and a Speech, 1918) was published in 1922 by the Moscow branch of the State Publishing House. The pamphlet included the Preface to the 1922 Edition, the article The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government, report on the immediate tasks of the Soviet Government at the session of the All-Russia C.E.C. on April 29, 1918, and the article Left-Wing Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality

[2] See present edition, Vol. 27, pp. 306-13