Chess table with the hidden box for documents.
"As a current of political thought and as
a political party, Bolshevism has existed since 1903."
These words of Lenin recalled in this hall express the essence of this
exposition, recounting the beginning of the revolutionary party of the
working class in Russia, the Bolshevik party, and the Second Congress
of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, which took place in late
July and early August 1903. Among the exhibition items are rough copies
of the time-limits and agenda for the Congress, draft resolutions written
by V. I. Lenin. In the centre of the hall a map-diagram indicating the
organisations that sent delegates to the Second Congress is displayed.
V. I. Lenin actively participated in the work of the
Congress. More than 130 speeches, retorts and remarks by him are recorded
in the minutes.
Several of these are presented in the exposition. A
moment during one of Lenin's speeches is portrayed In Y.Vinogradov's painting,
"The Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party".
The Congress adopted the Party Programme drawn up by
Iskra editorship. For the first time in the history of the international
workers' movement after the death of K. Marx and F. Engels, a revolutionary
programme was adopted in which the struggle for the dictatorship of the
proletariat was set forth as the basic task of the working class. The
first edition of the Programme is displayed in the hall.
An open and decisive struggle took place at the Congress.
Lenin later recalled his conversation with one of the Congress delegates
taking a centrist position. "'How oppressive the atmosphere is at our
congress!' he complained. 'This bitter fighting, this agitation one against
the other, this biting controversy, this uncomradely attitude!...' 'What
a splendid thing our Congress is!' I replied. 'A free and open struggle.
Opinions have been stated. The shades have been revealed. The groups have
taken shape. Hands have been raised. A decision has been taken. A stage
has been passed. Forward! That's the stuff for me! That's life! That's
not like the endless, tedious word-chopping of your intellectuals, which
stops not because the question has been settled, but because they are
too tired to talk any more. ...' The comrade of the 'Centre' stared at
me in perplexity and shrugged his shoulders. We were talking different
Among the documents on display is Lenin's manuscript
of the draft of the first paragraph of the Party Rules, and one of his
notes made during the discussion of the rules at the congress: "... the
distinction between those Who merely talk and those who work: it is better
not to name as members ten workers than name one chatterer." Lenin considered
the Party a militant organisation. Every member must actively participate
in the revolutionary Struggle and submit to Party discipline. The opponents
of Lenin and his confederates proposed accepting Into the Party all those
wishing to enter, without obliging them to be members of one of its organisations
and without restraining limits of Party discipline.
In the elections to central bodies of the Party, the
supporters of Lenin received the majority of votes. It was precisely from
this time that they were called Bolsheviks, while their opponents, opportunists
who were in the minority, were named Mensheviks.
Thus at the Second Congress a proletarian party was formed,
a party of a new type, Lenin's Bolshevik Party.
The victory of Lenin's plan for the formation of a Party
of social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat demonstrated
that the Russian and international proletariat found in Lenin an outstanding
theoretician who continued the work and teachings of Marx and Engels,
a strategist of the revolution who foresaw the perspectives for the development
of the workers' movement.
Materials are displayed in the hall which characterise
Lenin's implacable struggle against the Mensheviks after the Second Congress.
Also on display are resolutions and letters of Bolshevik committees from
various cities in support of Lenin's decisions accepted at the Second
Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
In the central display are the first edition of V. I.
Lenin's book One Step Forward, Two Steps Back published
in Geneva in 1904, and its editions in the various national languages
of the USSR and foreign countries. In his work, Lenin outlined the organisational
principles of Bolshevism, the norms of Party life and the principles of
Party leadership, which became the rules for all subsequent Party activities.
During his period of emigration, Lenin, as always, worked
a great deal. From 1903 to 1904 he often used the university library in
Geneva. A chair from this library is an exhibit item in this hall. Here
also is a chess table, made according to Lenin's instructions with a secret
compartment for the preservation of illegal Party documents and letters.
Concluding the hall's display are documents and materials
illustrating V. I. Lenin's preparation for the Party's Third Congress.
The Bolshevik newspaper Vperyod (Forward) played a significant
role in this, reviving the revolutionary traditions of Iskra. The
first issue was printed December 22, 1904 (January 4, 1905) in Geneva.
It contained several articles by Lenin. An original copy of this issue,
an announcement of the newspaper's publication and photographs of the
editors are presented in the exposition.