G. Zinoviev

Five Years

(30 August 1923)

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 60 [30], 13 September 1923, pp. 661.
On-line Publication: Zinoviev Internet Archive, May 2023.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Moscow, August 30, 1923.

Five years have passed since the attack made on Lenin in Moscow. The first attempt on his life has also been forgotten. Today we shall recall it to our memories.

On January 1, 1918, when Comrade Lenin was leaving the meeting at which he had addressed the first troops of the socialist army going to the front, his motor car was fired upon from behind. The body of the car was riddled, and torn through in some places. Comrade Platten, who sat with Comrade Lenin in the car, was injured in the hand.

At that time our position was extremely difficult. The civil war had broken out. On January 5, five days later, the Mensheviki and the S.R.’s convened the famous demonstration for the constituent assembly. At that time the bourgeois and social revolutionary press was still legal. The organ of the S.R.’s, Djelo Naroda, kept up an openly terrorist agitation for some weeks, pointing out “in a polite manner”, that “death is to be combated by death". The impudence of the S.R.’s went so far that the Djelo Naroda, on the day after the attempted assassination, wrote cynically of the “arrangement” of the attack, and insinuated that the Bolsheviki themselves had contrived it.

In the whirl of events the first attempt on Vladimir Ilitch’s life was speedily forgotten.

On August 30, 1918, the S.R.’s again made an attempt to shoot Lenin. The civil war was now raging. The young and untrained Red Army was fighting on several fronts. Ekaterinburg, the whole of the Ukraine, and a part of North Russia and of the Volga district were in the hands of the Whites. On August 30, 1918, in the morning, Uritzky was murdered at Petrograd. and on the same evening Vladimir flitch was severely wounded.

In the first telegram it was stated that Comrade Lenin was wounded in the left hand. But it soon appeared that the injury was not only to the left hand, but that it was much more serious. For days Lenin lay between life and death. Until September 6, it was uncertain whether he would live or die.

When his life was assured, a sigh of relief went up from millions of workers. Millions of human beings had been waiting with bated breath, in sorrowful anxiety, for the issue of Lenin’s struggle with his severe wound. At that time Vladimir Ilitch was already dear to the broadest masses of the working population of our country. But he became even dearer to them during the weeks in which he lay struggling with death.

It is customary – so said the writer of these lines at the session of the Petrograd Soviet on September 6, 1918 – to compare comrade Lenin with Marat. Marat became especially dear to the people after his death. Our teacher, Comrade Lenin, was very near to death. Even before the attempts on his life he was dear to the people. But after this treacherous deed the working class regarded him with even deeper affection than before. Marat lived long in the memory of his people, long after his physical life had been destroyed. Lenin, however, will not only live in our minds and hearts, but will live with us in our ranks, will fight further with us, and lead the first socialist workers’ revolution tc its victorious conclusion.

Five years have passed since then. Sometimes these years appear to us like a moment, sometimes like an eternity. During these five years Lenin has helped to steer our vessel amid the most dangerous reefs. The party which instigated the attack on Lenin has been completely dispersed. It has paid dearly enough for the crimes it committed. At one time the “strongest” party in Russia, today a handful of parasites and spongers on imperialism, lobbying in the ministries of London, Paris, and Prague. All that was really sincere and proletarian in the S.R. Party came over to us. The treacherous attacks on Comrade Lenin’s life opened the eyes of many workers belonging to the S.R.’s. History has stigmatized this attempted assassination as deserving of contempt and hate, but Comrade Lenin has led our country out into the open, has helped us to create the United Soviet Republics, and opened up new vistas for humanity.

The author of these lines, when speaking at the session of the Petrograd Soviet after the first attempt on Lenin’s life, spoke of Comrade Lenin as the Mont Blanc among the leaders of international socialism. Who can maintain today that this estimate was wrong? Ihe conception of Leninism has become synonymous with the concept of modern communism.

Our ears are now filled with the rumble of impending events in Germany. The whole world hears the mighty tramp of the German proletariat approaching to give battle and the hearts of all sincere revolutionists beat more rapidly, who can doubt that the leading spirits of the German labor movement will act, during the coming events as Comrade Lenin has taught us all? Who can doubt that the spirit of Leninism will inspire all the tactics of the German people now preparing for the decisive battle?

Learn from Lenin! This we say again und again to all workers, especially to the communist workers, and, above all, to our youth. Leninism is the highest expression of revolutionary Marxism in the epoch of the direct struggle for power on the part of the proletariat. Leninism is an incomparable weapon possessed by the proletariat, and renders the proletariat invincible, during a whole historical epoch Leninism will be the powerful torch which rights the way for the serried ranks of the proletarian army of the whole world. Leninism is the best armour against every mental aberration and vacillation. Leninism is the gospel of that generation of the world proletariat which is destined to be the grave digger of the bourgeois social order.

We do not know of any other leader of the people, in the whole history of the world, whose name has become so dear to the masses of the people, so near to their hearts so closely bound up with them, as the name of our Comrade Lenin. The months of Comrade Lenin's last severe illness have been accompanied by the restless and anxious expectation of millions of workers, not only in Russia, but all over the world. The improvement which has taken place in Comrade Lenin’s health during the last few days has called forth profound and genuine joy throughout the world. It is high time that the captain was once more at the helm.

Five years have passed since the treacherous deed was committed. During these years the idea of Leninism has borne rich fruits in proletarian Europe, and has attained its culmination in the mighty movement of the communist proletariat of Germany. Five years more, and the seeds scattered by the great sower will spring up throughout the entire East, that East where hundreds of millions of human beings live lives of unspeakable misery, and where the fate of the proletarian world revolution will be finally decided.

To-day all the love of millions and millions of proletarians is given to Vladimir Ilitch Lenin, the spirit of proletarian world revolution.

Last updated on 3 May 2023