Lenin quote check

Robin Evans

New Member
I would like to trace this quote back to the primary source to confirm its validity and put it into context.

"By destroying the peasant economy and driving the peasant from the country to the town, the famine creates a proletariat... Furthermore the famine can and should be a progressive factor not only economically. It will force the peasant to reflect on the bases of the capitalist system, demolish faith in the tsar and tsarism, and consequently in due course make the victory of the revolution easier... Psychologically all this talk about feeding the starving and so on essentially reflects the usual sugary sentimentality of our intelligentsia." - Lenin, as quoted in Michael Ellman, The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1934, Europe-Asia Studies, September 2005, page 823.
Content from External Source
I find it odd that wikiquote cites it as quoted by Michael Ellman, rather than just pointing to the primary source. I wonder if Michael Ellman cites any primary source in this book. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Vladimir_Lenin
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The quote seems to comes from V. Vodovozov characterizing Lenin's position and not from Lenin:

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ленин,_Владимир_Ильич


Ряд авторов[32] склонны видеть одной из сторон ещё молодого Ленина жестокость. В качестве доказательства часто приводятся воспоминания В. В. Водовозова о позиции Ленина в отношении голода 1891—1892 годов[33]:

Вл. Ульянов… резко и определённо выступил против кормления голодающих. Его позиция, насколько я её сейчас вспоминаю, — а запомнил я её хорошо, ибо мне приходилось не мало с ним о ней спорить, — сводилась к следующему: голод есть прямой результат определённого социального строя; пока этот строй существует, такие голодовки неизбежны; уничтожить их можно, лишь уничтожив этот строй. Будучи в этом смысле неизбежным, голод в настоящее время играет и роль прогрессивного фактора. Разрушая крестьянское хозяйство, выбрасывая мужика из деревни в город, голод создаёт пролетариат и содействует индустриализации края… Он заставит мужика задуматься над основами капиталистического строя, разобьет веру в царя и царизм и, следовательно, в свое время облегчит победу революции.


A number of authors [32] are inclined to see cruelty as one of the sides of the still young Lenin. As a proof, V. Vodovozov's memoirs about Lenin's position regarding the famine of 1891-1892 are often cited [33] :

Vl. Ulyanov ... sharply and definitely opposed the feeding of the hungry. His position, as far as I remember it now, - and I remember it well, for I had to argue with him for quite a while - boiled down to the following: hunger is the direct result of a definite social order; While this system exists, such hunger strikes are inevitable; You can destroy them only by destroying this system. Being in this sense inevitable, hunger now plays the role of a progressive factor. Destroying the peasant economy, throwing the peasant out of the countryside into the city, the famine creates the proletariat and promotes the industrialization of the region ... He will make the peasant think about the basics of the capitalist system, break faith in the tsar and tsarism and, consequently, in his time will facilitate the victory of the revolution .
Content from External Source
 
Last edited:

deirdre

Senior Member.
I wonder if Michael Ellman cites any primary source in this book.

The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931–1934
MICHAEL ELLMAN
[Lenin in 1891–92] spoke out sharply and definitely against feeding the starving. Hisposition, to the extent that I can now remember it, and I remember it well since I frequentlyargued with him about it, was as follows. The famine is the direct result of a definite socialsystem. While that system exists such famines are inevitable. To eliminate famines is possible,but only by destroying this system. Being in this sense inevitable, the current famine is playingthe role of a progressive factor. By destroying the peasant economy and driving the peasantfrom the country to the town, the famine creates a proletariat and facilitates theindustrialisation of the region, which is progressive. Furthermore the famine can and shouldbe a progressive factor not only economically. It will force the peasant to reflect on the basesof the capitalist system, demolish faith in the tsar and tsarism, and consequently in due coursemake the victory of the revolution easier... Psychologically all this talk about feeding thestarving and so on essentially reflects the usual sugary sentimentality of our intelligentsia. V.Vodovozov (1925)
1
Content from External Source
https://docgo.net/ellman-the-role-o...d-of-intent-in-the-soviet-famine-of-1931-1934

The PDF download says
1 V. Vodovozov, ‘Moe znakoms tvo s Leninym’, Na chuzoi storone, vol. XII (Prague, 192 5), pp. 176 – 177. Vodovozov knew Lenin person ally in 1891 – 92, but was writing more than 30 years after the event in an e´migre´ journal. A heavily edited versi on of Vodovozov’s account of Lenin’s attitude to the famine and the anti -famine NGO was included in the bookl et published by the Marx – Engels – Lenin Institute, Lenin v Samare 1889 – 1893 (Moscow, 1933), pp. 98 – 101. The edit or argued (pp. 98 – 99) that Vodovozov’s account had ‘a particularly tendentious character’ and was quite misleading. According to the editor, Lenin did not oppose bourgeois-liberal elements feeding the hungry, organising public works etc., but did oppose seeing these activities as suitable for political exiles and revolutionary youth, as a contribution to the revolu tion and the overthrow of the....autocracy. Lenin, according to the editor, saw these activities as a distraction from the revolution and advantageous for the ruling class since they lessened peasant dissatisfaction and despair. However, even this publication agrees that Lenin though t that feedi ng the starving was not appropriate for him and his comrades and was politically harmful. According to Belyakov, who did not know Lenin personally and was writing in a Soviet book in the Khrushchev era, it was not the famine which Lenin regarded as progressive but the consequences of the famine. ‘Vladimir Il’ich had the bravery to declare that the consequences of the famine [of 1891 – 92]—the growth of an industrial proletariat, this gravedigger of the bourgeois system—were progressive, because they facilitated Russian indus try and brought us to our final goal, to socialism via capitalism.. . The famine, in destroying the peasant economy, simultaneously destroys faith not only in the Tsar but also in God and in time without doubt pushes the peasants on the path of revolution and makes the victory of the revolution easier’. (A. Belyakov, Yunost’ vozhdya (Moscow, 1960), pp. 78 – 79). The relevance of Lenin’s position in 1891 in understanding the position of the Soviet leadership in 1932– 33 was long ago argued by Conquest; see R. Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow (London, 1986), p. 234.
Content from External Source
 

Attachments

  • ellmanbook.pdf
    230.4 KB · Views: 651

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
To find that I translated the phrase "destroying the peasant economy" into Russian with Google Translate, and searched for that.
 

Robin Evans

New Member
That good sir was some excellent and quickly done work. Legend.

I was told a bit earlier on a facebook page that this quote was in response to the famine in imperial Russia in the 1890's and that Ellman's goal of this quote is to prove Stalin intentionally starved peasants during the famine known as the Holodomor, but I thought that given context even if he had said it all this really shows is apathy towards the poorer peasantry and a utilitarian drive towards revolution. this just highlights the intellectual dishonesty of anti-communist institutions like the hoover institution and so called "intelligentsia" like Michael Ellman.

I doubt that he at all wished people to starve as these material conditions were out of his control, so I saw that quote as illustrating insight from Lenin on the peasants and in particular their potential as a revolutionary force, as he realized the need for a strong proletariat force with support of the majority of the peasants to take the revolution through to completion.

So, it has been taken from V. Vodovozov's memoirs and attributed to Lenin, and Wikiquote were to lazy to check.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
That good sir was some excellent and quickly done work. Legend.

I was told a bit earlier on a facebook page that this quote was in response to the famine in imperial Russia in the 1890's and that Ellman's goal of this quote is to prove Stalin intentionally starved peasants during the famine known as the Holodomor, but I thought that given context even if he had said it all this really shows is apathy towards the poorer peasantry and a utilitarian drive towards revolution. this just highlights the intellectual dishonesty of anti-communist institutions like the hoover institution and so called "intelligentsia" like Michael Ellman.

I doubt that he at all wished people to starve as these material conditions were out of his control, so I saw that quote as illustrating insight from Lenin on the peasants and in particular their potential as a revolutionary force, as he realized the need for a strong proletariat force with support of the majority of the peasants to take the revolution through to completion.

So, it has been taken from V. Vodovozov's memoirs and attributed to Lenin, and Wikiquote were to lazy to check.
Now you can change wikiquote and put it right. :)
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Due to the cult of Lenin in the former Soviet Union, all his publications, recorded speeches and signed correspondence have been collected and archived after his death. In 1960s, the fifth edition of Lenin's works has been published. Its 55 volumes constitute the so-called "Полное собрание сочинений" ('complete works'), which is translated into all main languages and considered to be an official reference for the Lenin's quotes. The OP quote is not there.

The Russian and translated versions are available online. Although the completeness of this publication is questionable, those allegedly omitted and/or edited works are believed to be dated after the October Revolution, when Lenin was the leader of the Soviet State, not from his early pre-Revolutionary years.
 
Last edited:

Robin Evans

New Member
Now you can change wikiquote and put it right.
Content from External Source
I wasn't even aware I could do this. I just did this. Thanks for the advice.
 
Last edited:
Top