Modern History Sourcebook:
Vladimir Illyich Lenin:
By the stability of the Central Committee, of which I spoke above,
I mean measures against a split, as far as such measures can at
all be taken. For, of course, the whiteguard in Russkaya Mys (it
seems to have been S. S. Oldenburg) was right when, first, in
the whiteguards' game against Soviet Russia he banked on a split
in our Party, and when, secondly, he banked on grave differences
in our Party to cause that split.
Our Party relies on two classes and therefore its instability
would be possible and its downfall inevitable if there were no
agreement between those two classes. In that event, this or that
measure, and generally all talk about the stability of our C.C.,
would be futile. No measures of any kind could prevent a split
in such a case. But I hope that this is too remote a future and
too improbable an event to talk about.
I have in mind stability as a guarantee against a split in the
immediate future, and I intend to deal here with a few ideas concerning
I think that from this standpoint, the prime factors in the question
of stability are such members of the C.C. as Stalin and Trotsky.
I think relations between them make up the greater part of the
danger of a split, which could be avoided, and this purpose, in
my opinion, would be served, among other things, by increasing
the number of C.C. members to 50 or 100.
Comrade Stalin, having become Secretary-General, has unlimited
authority concentrated in his hands, and I am not sure whether
he will always be capable of using that authority with sufficient
caution. Comrade Trotsky*, on the other hand, as his struggles
against the C.C. on the question of the People.s Commissariat
for Communications has already proved, is distinguished not only
by outstanding ability. He is personally perhaps the most capable
man in the present C.C., but he has displayed excessive self-assurance
and shown excessive preoccupation with the purely administrative
side of the work.
These two qualities of the two outstanding leaders of the present
C.C. can inadvertently lead to a split, and if our Party does
not take steps to avert this, the split may come unexpectedly.
I shall not give any further appraisals of the personal qualities
of other members of the C.C. I shall just recall that the October
episode with Zinoviev and Kamenov was, of course, no accident,
but neither can the blame for it be laid upon them personally,
any more than non-Bolshevism can upon Trotsky.
Speaking of the young C.C. members, I wish to say a few words
about Bukharin and Pyatakov. They are, in my opinion, the most
outstanding figures (among the younger ones), and the following
must be borne in mind about them: Bukharin is not only a most
valuable and major theorist of the Party; he is also rightly considered
the favorite of the whole Party, but his theoretical views can
be classified as fully Marxist only with the great reserve, for
there is something scholastic about him (he has never made a study
of dialectics, and, I think, never fully appreciated it).
December 25. As for Pyatakov, he is unquestionably a man of outstanding
will and outstanding ability, but shows far too much zeal for
administrating and the administrative side of the work to be relied
upon in a serious political matter.
Both of these remarks, of course, are made only for the present,
on the assumption that both these outstanding and devoted Party
workers fail to find an occasion to enhance their knowledge and
amend their one-sidedness.
Lenin, 24 December 1922
Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in
our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable
in a Secretary-General. That is why I suggest the comrades think
about a way of removing Staling from that post and appointing
another man in his stead who in all other respects differs from
Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being
more tolerant, more loyal, more polite, and more considerate to
the comrades, less capricious, etc. This circumstance may appear
to be a negligible detail. But I think that from the standpoint
of safeguards against a split, and from the standpoint of what
I wrote above about the relationship between Stalin and Trotsky,
it is not a detail, or it is a detail which can assume decisive
Lenin, 25 December 1922
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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997