We were not able to have much of a “rest” - after four days we had to go to Petersburg. For some reason, memories of the wintry journey have stayed with me, travelling through the Finnish pine forests, the glorious morning and Ilyich’s preoccupied, thoughtful face. He was thinking of the struggle ahead. The question of the Constituent Assembly must be decided soon. It has been arranged for the 18 January.
From 330 delegates 195 were left socialist-revolutionaries; they were the decisive group; at the congress there was a fight against right socialist revolutionaries (they were only 65 people). After Lenin’s second speech a resolution was adopted that approved of Sovnarkom’s work and of the conditions of the agreement with the left socialist revolutionaries. Left socialist revolutionaries have agreed to participate in government and have sent their representatives to People’s Commissaries, even though not immediately.
A guy called Korotkov told me this story. He lived with his mother, a cleaning lady in the Smolny canteen. One day she heard someone pacing in the canteen. She peeked inside: Ilyich was standing by a table, he took a piece of rye bread and a herring and started eating. Upon seeing the cleaning lady, he got a little embarrassed and told her, smiling: "I suddenly got very hungry."
There was an extended session of the Central Committee in Lesnoi, where, besides the members of the Central Committee, were also members of executive boards of the Petrograd Committee, of the military organization, of the Petrograd Soviet, of professional unions, of manufacturing committees, of railroad workers, of the Petrograd district committee. See more
At this session two positions were discussed: of the majority—those who were in favor of the immediate uprising, and of the minority—those who were against the immediate uprising. Lenin’s resolution won the majority of the votes—19 votes, 2 were against, 4 abstained. The issue was decided. At the closed session of the Central Committee a Military-Revolutionary centre was elected.
We found him a place at the Vyborg side, on the corner of Lesnoy avenue, in a big house where the majority of the tenants are workers, in the apartment of Maria Vasil'yevna Fofanova. The apartment is very convenient: there's no one there, not even a housekeeper, and Margarita Vasil'yevna herself is an avid Bolshevik, ready to help Lenin in any way she can.
Kornilov’sCommander in Chief of the Petrograd command - from 18 March 1917 advancement towards Petrograd has begun. Workers from Petrograd and Vyborg have all rushed, of course, to Petrograd’s defense. We sent our agitators toward Kornilov’s troops, his so-called “Savage division”.
Ilyich has settled in Helsingfors. He sent me a letter written in invisible ink asking me to come, told me his address and even drew a map showing me how to get there without asking anyone. But when I heated up the letter over a lamp, the corner of the map burnt off. The Yemelianovs have got me a passport too – the passport of an old working woman from Sestroretsk. See more
I tied a scarf around my head and went to Razliv to see the Yemelianovs. They took me across the border; for people living near the border, a passport is enough to cross to the other side. Some officer inspected the passports. Once I was over the border, I had to travel about five versts to a small station, Olilla, and board a troop train there. Everything went off without a hitch. The only problem was the corner of the map which had been burnt-off. I wandered about the streets for a long time until I found the right street. Ilyich was delighted. It was clear that he is terribly frustrated to have to stay undercover at a time when it is crucial for him to be in the centre of events, preparing for battle. I told him everything I knew.
Living in a hut near the Razliv station where Ilyich was hiding was no longer possible. Autumn arrived, and Ilyich decided to move to Finland, where he wanted to write his planned State and Revolution which he had already done a lot of extracts, and had considered from all sides. See more
It was also easier to follow the newspapers in Finland. Emelyanov made him a passport for a Sestroretsk worker, and Ilyich wore a wig and made himself up a bit. Dmitry Ilyich Leshchenko, an old party comrade from 1905-1907, the former secretary of our Bolshevik newspapers, who often slept over at Vladimir Ilyich’s, went to Razliv and photographed Ilyich (a picture was to be attached to the passport). Cde. Yalava, a Finnish comrade who worked as a machinist on the Finnish Railway, Cdes. Shotman and Rakhya knew him well, took on himself to transport Ilyich in the guise of a stoker. And that’s how it was done.
It was a moment of hesitation for Ilich. He laid out the arguments for the necessity of going to court. “Grigory and I have decided to go to court. Go and let Kamenev know”, Ilich said to me. At this moment Kamenev was in a nearby flat. I was hurrying out the door when Vladimir Ilich stopped me: “Let us say our farewells; it may be that we will not see each other again”. See more
We embraced. I went to Kamenev and gave him Vladimir Ilich’s instructions. In the evening comrade Stalin and others persuaded Ilich not to go to court and by so doing saved his life. In the evening our flat we were searched, but only in our room. The search was performed by some kind of colonel and another military type in an overcoat with a white inner lining. They took a few notes from the the desk, together with some of my documents. They asked whether I knew where Ilich was, from which I concluded that he had not presented himself to the authorities.
I was close to the youth work. The youth were grouped into the union “Light and Knowledge”, and were developing their program. Among the boys were Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, anarchists and non-partisans. The program is archaic and primitive, but the controversy surrounding it is very interesting. For example, one of the points held that everyone should learn how to sew. See more
Then, one lad - a Bolshevik – remarked: “Why should everyone learn to sew? Of course, girls need to know how, as her husband won’t be able to sew a button to his trousers, but why should everyone learn?!” These words brought on a storm of indignation. Not only the girls, but all the boys were indignant, leaping from their seats: “It’s the wife that should sew the button to the trousers? What are you on about? Do you want to support the old female slavery? A wife is her husband’s comrade, not his servant!” The boy whose idea it was that only women should learn to sew was forced to surrender.
Ilyich addresses the First All-Russia Congress of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. In the hall, full of people, the Bolsheviks were sitting in the back, in a small group. Only the Bolsheviks applauded during Ilyich’s speech, but it was apparent that it created a strong impression. Someone said afterwards that Kerensky, after this address, was unconscious for three hours. I don’t know how close this was to the truth.
Went to a Central Committee hearing. Got to know the crowd a bit better from up close, observed the Petersburg Committee at work. I also found myself very interested in the adolescents, the working youth. Those kids are all caught up in the movement. Among them were supporters of a range of different parties—Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, SRs and anarchists. See more
The organization has drawn in up to 50 thousand young people, but at first, their movement was rather directionless. I worked with them a bit at one point. The high school students provided a stark contrast to the working youth. They would often march up in a crowd to Kshesinskaya’s house and scream various obscenities at the Bolsheviks’ address. It was clear that someone has been working on them very effectively.
I was more and more burdened by my work in the secretariat. I wanted to go to direct mass work. I also wanted to see Ilyich more often, for whom I was becoming increasingly and greater alarmed for. He was being persecuted more and more. You walk in Petersburg and hear some housewives talking: “And what should we do about this Lenin, who came from Germany? Should be drown him in a well." Of course it was clear where all this talk about bribery and betrayal was coming from, but it was not fun to listen to it. It’s one thing when a bourgeoisie speaks, and it’s another matter when the masses speak.
The All-Russian April conference was held. 151 delegated attended it, a new Central Committee was elected during the conference, important questions were discussed - about the current situation, about the war, about the preparation of the Third International, about the national situation, the agrarian situation, and the party program. I particularly remember Ilyich’s speech about the current situation. See more
In this speech the attitude of Ilyich to the masses was particularly striking, as he carefully looked at how the masses lived, what they were experiencing. Not only among the proletariat, but also among the broad sections of the petty bourgeoisie, one must be able to conduct explanatory work, Ilyich said.