Interviewed: June 4, 1920
Published: Transmitted by telegraph June 4, 1920. First published in Russian in 1924 in a collection of articles Lenin i Vostok, (Lenin and the East), Moscow. Published in Japanese June 10, 1920, in the newspaper Tokyo Nichi-Nichi No. 15686. Printed from the text of the book collated with the typewritten copy of K. Fusse’s telegraphed report.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Printing, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 194b-196a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
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Lenin said on meeting Fusse that he was very glad to see him and that despite everything that had taken place in recent years between Russia and Japan and the fact that some people in Japan still took an uncompromising attitude towards Soviet Russia, he nevertheless took an optimistic view of future relations between the two countries. The Soviet Government had recognised the independence of the buffer state and “this, I hope,” said Lenin, “would help restore peace in the Far East in the very near future.”
Fusse started the interview by asking Lenin: “Last autumn you said the difficulties were over. Don’t you foresee big difficulties ahead?"
I meant that our greatest difficulties were over; but, of course, there are still many difficulties confronting us.
Fusse: “You said it took capitalism many years to accomplish the transition from feudalism, therefore it would also take socialism many years to accomplish the transition from capitalism. Approximately how long do you think this will take?"
Generally, it is hard to fix dates; to overthrow the old order doesn’t require much time, but you can’t create the new order in a short time. We have launched our plan for the electrification of industry and agriculture; without electrification the communist order is impracticable, and our plan of electrification is designed for a period of ten years under the most favourable conditions. That’s the shortest time we set for building up our new order.
Lenin then asked Fusse a number of questions concerning agrarian and class relations in Japan.
What kind of landowners does Japan have? What is the position of the landless peasant in Japan? Are there any peasant organisations? and so on. Lenin also showed an interest in the state of electrification and public education in Japan and how children were treated in Japan. When Fusse said that Japan took better care of her children than the West, Lenin remarked: “That’s very important, in view of the fact that the practice of beating children in the schools has not yet been entirely eliminated in the so-called civilised countries of Europe, not even in a country like Switzerland..”
After this Fusse again asked Lenin a number of political questions.
Fusse: do you visualise good-neighbourly relations between socialist and capitalist states?”
Our terms of coexistence with capitalist countries were set forth at length in the draft treaty which the American representative, Mr. Bullitt, recently published in Washington. These terms were most unfavourable to us, and it was this that led the Allied governments to believe that our willingness to make concessions was a sign of weakness, and they started their intervention, as a result of which they suffered complete defeat. We routed Kolchak, Yudenich and Denikin,
Fusse: “Where does communism have more chance of success-in -the West or in the East?”
So far, real communism can succeed only in the West, but it must be remembered that the West lives at the expense of the East; the imperialist powers of Europe grow rich chiefly at the expense of the eastern colonies, but at the same time they are arming their colonies and teaching them to fight, and by so doing the West is digging its own grave in the East.
Fusse: “What are the immediate tasks of the Soviet Government?”
First, to beat the Polish landowners, second, to secure a lasting peace, and then, third, to develop our economic life.