V. I.   Lenin

Letters From Afar[1]

Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 23, pages 295-342.
Translated: M. S. Levin, The Late Joe Fineberg and and Others
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2002 (2005). 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.README


FIRST Letter. The First Stage of the First Revolution  297
SECOND Letter. The New Government and the Proletariat  309
THIRD Letter. Concerning a Proletarian Militia  320
FOURTH Letter. How To Achieve Peace  333
FIFTH Letter. The Tasks Involved in the Building of the Revolutionary Proletarian State  340



[1] The first four Letters from Afar were written between March 7 and 12 (20 and 25), the fifth, unfinished letter was written on the eve of Lenin’s departure from Switzerland, on March 26 (April 8), 1917.

As soon as the first news reached him of the revolutionary events in Russia and the composition of the bourgeois Provisional Government and the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, Lenin began work on an article for Pravda—he regarded the press as an important vehicle of propaganda and organisation. “The press is now the main thing”, he wrote to Alexandra Kollontai on March 3 (16). “I cannot deliver lectures or attend meetings, for I must write daily for Pravda,” he wrote to V. A. Karpinsky on March 8 (21), in reply to the latter’s invitation to deliver a lecture on the tasks of the Party in the revolution to Russian émigrés and Swiss socialists in Geneva.

The first and second “Letters from Afar” were sent to Alexandra Kollontai in Oslo on March 9 (22) for forwarding to Petrograd. On March 17 (30) Lenin asked J. S. Hanecki whether the first four letters had readied Pravda in Petrograd, adding that if they had not, he would send copies. The letters were brought to Petrograd by Alexandra Kollontai, who handed them over to Pravda on March 19 (April 1).

The first letter appeared in Nos. 14 and 15 of Pravda, March 21 and 22 (April 3 and 4), with considerable abridgements and certain changes by the editorial board, which, beginning with mid-March, included L. B. Kamenev and J. V. Stalin. The full text of the letter was first published in 1949, in the fourth Russian edition of Lenin’s Collected Works.

The second, third and fourth letters were not published in 1917. The basic ideas of the unfinished fifth letter were developed by Lenin in his “Letters on Tactics” and “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution”.

Before leaving for Russia, Lenin took measures to circulate the first and second letters among Bolsheviks living in France and Switzerland.

< backward   forward >
Works Index   |   Volume 23 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index