The 20th century has ended. A century that has passed for Russia under
the sign of major reforms and grandiose revolutions, in which the
country was looking for a solution to the problems facing it. An
important turning point in this process was the Great October Socialist
Revolution, which is inextricably linked with the name and work of V.I.
Lenin and the organization of revolutionaries he created a hundred years
ago, in 1903, the Bolshevik Party. 1917 was the year of the triumph of
V.I. Lenin. The tactics he proposed enabled the Bolsheviks, whose
authority and influence as far back as the summer of 1917 could not be
compared with the political strength of their opponents, in
September-October to lead the rising people's revolution and give it a
In the course of the struggle to retain power and implement the program
for the socialist reorganization of society, the Bolsheviks accumulated
vast political and social experience, which allowed Lenin to
significantly refine and develop the concept of building socialism. An
important place in this process is occupied by the latest works of V.I.
Lenin, known as his "Political testament".
Decades have passed. A socialist society was formed in the USSR, which
had a huge impact on world development in the 20th century. However,
having failed to defend the political, social, and moral-psychological
positions it had won in the struggle against modern capitalism, Soviet
socialism itself became the property of history. The cycle of the
country's historical development has come to an end.
The political and ideological battles of the times of “perestroika” died
down, during which the authority of V.I. Lenin and his "Political
Testament" were used as a weapon to crush socialism. In society, the
former interest in the history of the October Revolution, the Bolshevik
Party and its main figures has faded. The problems of the " Testament
" of V.I. Lenin, which excited the minds, has lost its former political
relevance. Now other problems worry society.
The political interest of the new government forced it to slightly open
the archives of the defeated enemy - the CPSU and the Soviet state and
open access to previously inaccessible documents. It became possible to
explore not only the archival texts of the Testament, but also those
problems that had previously been covered only by memoir sources. And it
immediately became clear that with these documents, not everything is as
simple and unambiguous as it seemed before, that Lenin's Testament,
which had great potential for ideological and psychological influence on
Soviet people, was for a long time considered by the leadership of the
CPSU as a means to achieve political goals that had nothing to do with
an objective analysis of historical experience.
Unfortunately, historians use newly discovered documents mainly to argue
for positions long accepted in historiography, so the study of the
problem, despite the abundance of literature and the success achieved in
clarifying individual issues, should be recognized as insufficient.
Insufficient both in terms of the possibilities that the currently
available sources provide, and the range of problems to be investigated,
as well as the argumentation of many conclusions and assessments.
The most important problem left without due attention of historians and
being the key to the entire problematics of the Testament is the
establishment of Lenin’s authorship of each of the texts included in it.
The grounds for posing this question appeared already in the late 1980s
and early 1990s, when new documents became available to a wide range of
historians, from which a picture
emerged that was significantly different from that which was accepted in
historiography. The need to study the Testament became obvious in
the context of the political struggle that took place in the leadership
of the RCP (b) and which in many ways still remained unexplored. A need
arose in historical science, and it became possible to carry out a
comprehensive analysis of Lenin's latest works.
An attempt by the author of this book to draw the attention of
researchers to these problems, undertaken at the international
conference "Russia in the 20th century", caused a sharply negative
reaction. The authors of the book "Confrontation: Krupskaya - Stalin"
V.A. Kumanev and I.S. Kulikova wrote:
“The statement of one “researcher” at the International Conference
“Russia in the 20th Century” (1993) that “Krupskaya forged some
provisions in the Testament”  looks completely groundless and absurd.
The words attributed to me have nothing in common with what I said at
this conference, but they quite accurately convey the reaction of most
of its participants to the question of the dubiousness of
the Lenin’s authorship of some texts of the Testament .
Awareness of the need to establish Lenin’s authorship of individual
texts of the "Testament" radically changes the general approach to the
study of both each of the texts included in it, and their entire complex
as a whole.
The texts of the Testament, with their assessments and proposals, should
turn from the starting point of all discussions about Lenin's views and
intentions, from an indisputable "verdict", as was the case in
traditional historiography, into an object of comprehensive source
study. First of all. And only after that will it be possible to study
their content in order to study Lenin's views, attitudes, moods, etc.
The scientific relevance and significance of the topic chosen by the
author are determined, firstly, by the fact that it, as a focus,
collects many of the most important questions of the history and theory
of the socialist revolution, and, secondly, by the fact that it itself
organically enters into a wide range of problems of national history.
The political significance of the topic is determined by the importance
of the intellectual process in which Lenin's "Testament" turns out to be
inscribed - the process of comprehending the grandiose socio-economic,
political, and spiritual experience of the Russian revolution.
The book offered to the reader is an attempt at a systematic analysis of
the history of the creation of the "Political Testament", its content
and use in the political struggle of the 1920s.
We did not initially question Lenin’s authorship of any of the texts of
the Testament and therefore did not intend to prove that they do not
belong to V.I. Lenin. The scientific formulation of the problem, in our
opinion, consists in the need to prove that this or that document
belongs to V. I. Lenin. In other words, only a document whose Lenin’s authorship
has been proven can be considered Lenin’s.
The source base available to historians, despite certain shortcomings, makes
it possible to conduct a study to establish Lenin’s authorship of
each of the texts of the Testament. The author considers the main
condition for success to be the identification of a real
connection between the content of the texts of the Testament and the
political struggle that took place within the Central Committee of the
RCP (b), as well as a comprehensive analysis of all available sources.
The immediate objectives of the study are to study the political
conditions in which V.I. Lenin; studying the history of the creation of
each of his texts; analysis of their political content; clarification of
the circumstances of the promulgation of the texts of the "Testament"
and their use in the course of the inner-party struggle.
The methodological basis of the study is dialectical materialism in an
organic combination with the so-called "civilizational approach", which,
as the author believes, does not oppose dialectical materialism, but
organically combines with it .
It is impossible for a historian in the course of his research to
abstract from the views, feelings, predilections inherent in him, like
any other citizen. In world outlook, ideological, and political terms,
the author is also not indifferent. However, in our opinion, a conscious
and, if possible, clear delineation of political and scientific
interests makes it possible to increase the independence of scientific
conclusions from political predilections. This is important, because deceit
in historical science for the sake of political gain can only give
tactical advantages but predetermines a strategic loss. To achieve
strategic goals in the political struggle, it is necessary
to have the most accurate knowledge of the historical past and an
understanding of the laws governing the development of society.
The specific features of the complex of documents under study pose a
difficult task for us to establish a conceptual apparatus. In everyday
political life and in historiography, no consensus has been developed
regarding the name of Lenin's last works. The complex of Lenin's last
documents, dictated by him in the period from December 23, 1922, to the
beginning of March 1923, entered historical science under different
names: “Last Letters and Articles”, “Political Testament” (or
“Testament”). It includes texts published in 1923 and called articles, regardless
of whether Lenin prepared them for publication or not. These include
articles published in January-March 1923 in accordance with his will,
“Pages from a Diary”, “How We Can Reorganize the Labor Committee
(Proposal to the XII Party Congress)” and “Better Less, But Better”, as
well as texts presented by N.K. Krupskaya in May 1923 in the Politburo
and published in the newspaper Pravda with the titles given by the
publishers: “On cooperation”, “On our revolution (on the notes of N.
Calling these texts "articles", we will use this word in quotation marks
to set off the conventionality of the title, which does
not belong to Lenin, and the purpose and nature of these materials.
The other part of the texts was not published for various reasons:
either in view of an official ban, or because the question of their
publication was not raised at all.
The former includes the dictations of December 24-25, 1922 (the
so-called "characteristics") and January 4, 1923 (the "addition" to
them), as well as the text known as the notes "On the question of
nationalities or on "autonomization"" (other names of these notes are
also used in historiography: letter, article).
To the second - dictations on December 26-29, 1922, devoted to the
issues of reforming the Central Committee of the RCP (b) and the Workers
'and Peasants' Inspectorate (RKI), as well as notes on the State
Planning Commission, known as "On giving legislative functions to the
State Planning Commission." These texts, which were not published as
articles in 1923, are usually called "Letter to the Congress." The set
of texts included in this "letter" varies from author to author. Often,
under "Letter to the Congress" they mean only the dictations of December
24-25 and January 4. Sometimes it includes all the dictations from
December 23 to 31, 1922 (including the notes "On the Question of
Nationalities or "Autonomization""). Sometimes notes on the national
question are not included in it. Thus, there is no established system in
the use of these terms.
Since a number of documents published as articles were not such, they
were not letters, but represent primary studies of individual problems,
it would be more correct to call this full set of documents, taking into
account the accepted in historiography and well-established terminology,
Lenin's last letters, notes, and articles.
At the same time, by "Letter to the Congress" we will mean only the
so-called "characteristics" and "addition" to them - texts dated
December 24-25, 1922, and January 4, 1923. Using the term "Political
testament" ("Testament") and keeping in mind the conventionality of this
name, we will have in mind all the texts traditionally considered to be
Lenin's, regardless of whether they really belonged to Lenin.
This is justified, since it was under this name that they entered the
political life of the country and, as such, influenced the position of
the members of the Communist Party, the public consciousness of the
Soviet people and world public opinion.
 Kumanev V.A., Kulikova I.S. Confrontation: Krupskaya - Stalin. M.,
1994. S. 58.
 Sakharov V.A. Historical legends in the political struggle // Russia
in the XX century: The fate of historical science. M., 1996. S. 649-669.
 See: Sakharov V.A. Formational and civilizational approaches to the
study of the features of the historical development of Russia in the
works of K. Marx // Civilizational and formational approaches to the
study of national history: theory and methodology (Concrete historical
problems). Issue. 4, part 1. M., 1996. S. 110–120.