V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on June 4, 1920
Published: First published on January 21, 1927 in Krasnaya Gazeta No. 1 7. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, page 526.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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11.30 p.m. June 4

Comrade Botin,

When you called on me today I had only two minutes, because I had to go back to an important meeting.

Now I have a quarter of an hour free, and therefore can (and must) tell you in more detail and more clearly that mistakes have obviously been made, and that you should frankly, honestly and resolutely repudiate these mistakes. Otherwise a most important undertaking will be ruined.

The mistake was, firstly, that there was distrust of the “expert”, which prevented his being told everything at once and speedy organisation of the experiment; secondly, that the “spade” or preparatory work was done by you personally, which distracted you from the real work, when the whole mass of the “spade”, i.e., preparatory, work must be passed on to the mechanics, assembly-men, electricians, etc., of whom we can find a dozen. And to separate your real work from the preparatory or auxiliary jobs, the constant advice of an “expert” is necessary.

Now you have promised me to have full trust in the “ expert”, and I believe that you have been entirely convinced of his Party attitude and his absolute loyalty to the revolution. So I must ask you to fulfil your promise to me in its entirety (otherwise the mistakes will be inevitably repeated). Tomorrow morning, therefore, show everything to the “expert” and tell him how matters stand (while your assistants are bringing up the cars and doing the preparatory work). Then, together with the “expert”, the experiments will be carried through without further delays.

Please reply to me that you promise to do this.

Best wishes,


[1] A reference to the experiments of S. I. Botin, who was working on the problem of distance controlled blasts with the aid of electro-magnetic waves. Lenin realised the great importance of this in conditions of the Civil War and foreign intervention, and devoted much attention to and concern for the inventor.

The “expert” in this case is A. M. Nikolayev, a member of the Collegium of the People’s Commissariat for Posts and Telegraph in 1918–24, and chairman of the Radio Council. In the summer of 1920, Nikolayev was seconded, on Lenin’s assignment, to work with S. I. Botin as a specialist and attorney for the inventor’s secrets.

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