V. I. Lenin

Speech Delivered At A Meeting In The Alexeyevsky Riding School[1]

July 2, 1918

Brief Newspaper Report

Delivered: 29 June, 1918
First Published: July 4. 1918, Pravda No, 135, Published according to the Pravda text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 500-501
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

Lenin pointed out that the army, like the means of production, had formerly been an instrument of oppression in the hands of the exploiting class. Today in Russia both were becoming weapons in the struggle for the interests of the working people.

This radical change was no easy thing to accomplish, as the soldiers of the old tsarist army knew from the discipline that held that army in a vice. Lenin then cited a recent experience of his. When he was in Finland, he had heard an old Finnish peasant woman say that whereas in the old days the man with the gun was there to prevent her gathering faggots in the forest, today he was no longer dangerous; on the contrary, he even protected her. In spite of all the mud slung at us by the bourgeois and their followers, Lenin said, in spite of all the plotting of the whiteguards, once it had been brought home even to such unenlightened masses, the exploited, that the present army was their protector, the Soviet government stood firmly planted.

Lenin then went on to say that, as in the past, famine was strengthening the hand of the profiteers and capitalists. The same thing was occurring today, so that the new army might in the civil war have to deal with these people who were making money out of the famine. Let the old worldthe representatives of an outworn society-go on trying to help the starving in the old way; the new world would, despite them, do it in a new way. We would win, Lenin said, if the vanguard of the working people, the Red Army, remembered that it was there to represent and defend the interests of international socialism. Lenin further said that we were not alone, as had been shown by the events in Austria, as well as by like-minded people in all the countries of Europe, who, although held in subjection at present, were doing their work.


[1] On July 2, 1918; meetings of men called up for the Red Army were held in Moscow. The public meeting in the former Alexeyevsky Riding School was attended by about 1,500 mobilised men and Red Army volunteers. After Lenin and other speakers had addressed the meeting there was a concert. The atmosphere at the meeting was one of great enthusiasm.

The same day Lenin went to a meeting at the Salamonsky Circus but did not speak because the meeting did not start on time..