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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Lenin in Sverdlov Square, May 5, 1920

On May 5, 1920 Lenin gave his famous "Speech To Men Of The Red Army Leaving For The Polish Front". It is not the speech itself that is famous (though we have included it below) but it is associated with an iconic Lenin photo:

However, there were several other photos taken of the event that are not as common. Here, on the anniversary of it we are sharing five of these.


Comrades: You know that, instigated by the Entente, the Polish landowners and capitalists have forced a new war on us. Remember, comrades, that we have no quarrel with the Polish peasants and workers; we have recognised Poland’s independence and the Polish People’s Republic, and shall continue to do so. We have proposed peace to Poland on the basis of the integrity of her frontiers, although these frontiers extend far beyond the purely Polish population. We have agreed to make all concessions, which is something each of you should remember at the front. Let your attitude to the Poles there prove that you are soldiers of a workers’ and peasants’ republic, that you are coming to them, not as aggressors but as liberators. Now that, despite our efforts, the Polish magnates have concluded an alliance with Petlyura, launched an offensive, are approaching Kiev, and are spreading rumours in the foreign press that they have already captured Kiev—which is the sheerest fabrication since only yesterday I was talking on the direct line with F. Kon, who is in Kiev—we say: Comrades, we have been able to repel a more terrible enemy; we have been able to defeat our own landowners and capitalists, and we shall defeat the Polish landowners and capitalists too! All of us here today should pledge ourselves, give a solemn promise, that we shall stand as one man so as not to allow a victory of the Polish magnates and capitalists. Long live the peasants and workers of a free independent Polish Republic! Down with the Polish magnates, landowners and capitalists! Long live our Red Workers’ and Peasants’ Army! (The mighty strains of the "Internationale" and cries of "Hurrah" drown Comrade Lenin’s final words.)



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