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Krupskaya's “Reminiscences of Lenin”



We moved to Geneva in April 1903, and took up residence in the working-class suburb of Séchéron, where we rented a small house all to ourselves. There was a big kitchen with a stone floor downstairs, and three tiny rooms upstairs. The kitchen served as our living room. We made up for the scarcity of furniture by using the packing cases that had held our books and crockery. Ignat (Krasikov) dubbed our kitchen "smugglers den." The place was terribly crowded. When we wanted to have a private talk with anyone we had to go to the park nearby or to the shore of the lake.

The delegates began to arrive. The Dementyevs came. Kostya (Dementyev's wife) amazed Lenin by her familiarity with the shipment business. "She's a real shipper!" he kept repeating. "That's real business, not idle talk." Another arrival was Lyubov Radchenko, with whom we were on intimate terms. We talked for hours. Then came the Rostov delegates – Gusev and Lokerman, then Zemlyachka, Shotman (Berg), Uncle, Youth (Dmitry Ilyich). Somebody turned up every day. We discussed questions concerning the programme and the Bund with the delegates, and listened to their stories. Martov was always at our place, and he never tired of talking with the delegates.

The delegates had to be told about the stand of the Yuzhny Rabochy group, who, under the guise of a popular newspaper, wanted to reserve the right to a separate existence. We had to explain that a popular newspaper could not become a mass medium under conditions or illegality, could not count on a mass circulation.

Differences of opinion arose on the editorial board of Iskra. The situation grew intolerable. The editors were generally divided into two trios: Plekhanov, Axelrod and Zasulich in one, Lenin, Martov and Potresov in the other. Vladimir Ilyich again proposed what he had already proposed in March – that a seventh member be co-opted. Provisionally, until the congress, Krasikov was co-opted. The question of an editorial trio began to occupy Ilyich's thoughts more and more. It was a sore subject, but nothing had been said to the delegates about it. The fact that the Iskra editorial board as then constituted was no longer able to handle the job was too painful a thing to talk about.

The delegates complained about the O.C. members. One was accused of being too brusque and careless, another of being too passive. There were signs of discontent about Iskra wanting to boss the show, but the general impression was that there were no differences, and that after the congress everything would go swimmingly.

All the delegates had arrived except Clair (Krzhizhanovsky) and Kurz (Lengnik).