Written: Written June 13 (26), 1917
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 43, pages 633-634a.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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With regard to the statement by the Executive of the S.D.P.L. groups submitted to the Legal Committee, I ask the Committee to take into consideration that the point in this statement “demanding an explanation” from Hanecki is an absolutely impermissible attack on the honour of an absent comrade (absent on Party business) and an agent of the C.C. at that.
To “demand an explanation” at the word of an avowed slanderer, Mr. Zaslavsky, who has repeatedly been called a slanderer in the newspaper, is generally impermissible, and especially impermissible is it to have this done through the press.
Mr. Zaslavsky acted only as a scandalmonger. A clear legal line should be drawn between the notion of a scandalmonger or slanderer and a denouncer (who demands the establishment of demonstrable facts).
The principle should be established that the Party should not answer scandalmongering and slander (if only by repeating that a slanderer is a slanderer) until (1) a precise accusation is made in the press over the signature of a definite person who is not an avowed slanderer, (2) an accusation which should allow both parties to appear in a court of law, (3) an accusation of a serious nature supported by political organisations.
Failing this, the comrade affected, and not the Party, should answer the accusation either in a special pamphlet (or leaflet: with documents) or merely sweeping aside the scandalmongering.
Especially impermissible is the shadow of any doubt as to the honesty of a Party functionary or the slightest attempt to rummage (“demand an explanation”) in his private life without a preliminary questioning of witnesses (Rozanov, Chudnovsky, Schter and other Copenhageners) and a study of documents.
I request the Legal Committee to consider this statement of mine concerning the absolute impermissibility of such publications (the mare so when emanating not from the C.C. of the Poles) as that of the statement submitted to the Legal Committee.
 Social-Democracy of Poland and Lithuania.—Ed.
 The Executive Committee of the S.D.P.P.L. groups in Russia submitted a statement to the Legal Committee of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.(B.) in connection with the smear campaign raised against Jakub Hanecki in the bourgeois press. This statement, a copy of which is in the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, qualifies the political activities of Hanecki as irreproachable, but contains a point saying that “Hanecki and other comrades abroad familiar with Comrade Hanecki’s private life should be asked to give an explanation in connection with the accusations levelled against this aspect of his life”.
The Executive of the S.D.P.P.L. intended to publish its statement.
After acquainting himself with this material, Lenin wrote this letter to the Legal Committee.
Hanecki, being a member of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.(B.) Bureau Abroad, was in Stockholm at the time.