V. I. Lenin

Russian Revolutionaries’ Trip Across Germany


Written: Written on March 31 (April 13), 1917
Published: Published in Russian in part on April 5 (18), 1917 in the newspapers Dyen No. 25 and Rech No. 78. Published on April 14, 1917 in the newspaper Politiken No. 85. Printed from the Politiken text. Translated from the Swedish.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 397-398.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.  

The Russian revolutionaries who arrived in Stockholm on Friday morning handed to Politiken for publication the following official communiqué concerning their trip:

Britain, which officially welcomed the Russian revolution with “joy in her heart”, at once did everything to nullify one of the results of the revolution—the political amnesty. The British Government does not allow transit to Russia for Russian revolutionaries who live abroad and who oppose the war. When this had been proved beyond doubt—this fact has been confirmed by numerous documents which will be made public in the very near future, and Russian socialists of all trends have stated as much in a unanimous resolution—a section of the Russian Party comrades decided to try to return from Switzerland to Russia via Germany and Sweden. Fritz Platten, Secretary of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party and the leader of its Left wing, a well-known internationalist and anti-militarist, conducted negotiations with the German Government. For their trip the Russian Party comrades demanded the right of extraterritoriality (no inspection of passports or luggage; no officials allowed into their car). The group of those who travelled could include anyone, regardless of political views, provided the Russians themselves approved of his candidature. The Russian Party comrades declared that in return they would demand the release of Austrian and German civilians interned in Russia.

The German Government accepted the terms, and 30 Russian Party comrades, men and women, left Gottmadingen on April 9, including Lenin and Zinoviev, editors of Sotsial-Demokrat, the Central Organ of Russian Social-Democracy; Mikha Tskhakaya, editor of Nachalo{2} in Paris and a founder of the Caucasian Social-Democratic organisation, who had earlier brought Chkheidze into the party, and also several members of the Jewish Workers’ Union. Fritz Platten was in charge of the trip and he alone conducted all the necessary negotiations with the representatives of the German Government who accompanied the train.

During the three-day crossing of Germany, the Russian Party comrades did not leave their car. The agreement was strictly honoured by the German authorities. On the 12th instant, the Russians arrived in Sweden.

Before their departure from Switzerland, a record was made of all the preparations for the trip. Having studied this document, Henri Guilbeaux, representing the French Social-Democratic group “Vie Ouvrière” and editor of Demain{3} a leader of the radical French opposition in Paris, whose name cannot now be divulged{4}; Paul Hartstein, a member of the radical German opposition; M. Bronski, representing Russian-Polish Social-Democracy, and Fritz Platten signed a statement voicing their full approval of the way in which the Russian Party comrades had acted.


{1} The communiqué was handed by Lenin to the Editorial Board of the Swedish Left-wing Social-Democratic newspaper, Politiken, and through it to the representatives of the press and public, upon his arrival in Stockholm on March 31 (April 13). The newspapers Rech and Den, having received the text of the communiqué through the Petrograd telegraph agency, published it on April 5 (18) without the last paragraph which contained the testimony of   the representatives of international Social-Democracy concerning the organisation of the trip across Germany. p. 397

{2} Nachalo (The Beginning)—a newspaper published in Paris from September 1916 to March 1917 in place of Nashe Slovo. After the bourgeois-democratic revolution in February 1917 the paper was published under the title Novaya Epokha (New Epoch). p. 397

{3} Demain (Tomorrow)—a literary, publicistic and political monthly founded by the French internationalist, writer and journalist H. Guilbeaux; it was published first in Geneva and then in Moscow from January 1916 to 1919 (with a break from January to April 1917). p. 398

{4} A reference to F. Loriot. p. 398

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