Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) (ed.). Vpered (Forward). Proletarii (Proletarians). Complete runs of both newspapers.

Geneva, [The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party], 1905.

Folio (445 x 295 mm). Two newspaper runs, comprising together 44 tabloid-format issues (18 issues of Vpered, 26 issues of Proletarii). Contents printed in triple column with diagrams in text. Bound in one volume, early 20th century black half cloth, paper labels to head of spine and front cover, marbled paper-covered sides. Housed in a custom black cloth flat-back box.


Complete runs of two of the earliest revolutionary Bolshevik émigré newspapers: "Vpered", the first Bolshevik newspaper, and "Proletarii", its immediate successor.

Journalism was a key part of Lenin's revolutionary activities. "A succession of papers and journals, especially 'Iskra', 'Vpered', 'Proletarii' and eventually 'Pravda', occupied the core of Lenin's life in the exile years. He wrote an astonishing number of articles for his journals ... In all Lenin contributed forty articles to ['Vpered']. It was replaced by 'Proletarii' ('Proletarians'). From May to his return to Russia in November, he spent three days a week working on it. He contributed ninety articles to its twenty-six issues ... For Lenin, being a professional revolutionary was more or less synonymous with being, like his mentor Karl Marx, a professional political analyst and commentator" (Read, p. 63).

"Vpered" was founded after the Mensheviks seized control of "Iskra" from Lenin in 1904; it was published in Geneva from 22 December 1904 (4 January 1905 New Style) to 5 (18) May 1905, and was critical to the formation of their new and distinct political identity. Lenin was joined on Vpered's editorial board by Alexander Bogdanov, Anatoly Lunacharsky, and Mikhail Olminsky. Financial support was provided by the founder of socialist realism, Maxim Gorky, who also contributed articles to several issues. The final issue was printed just before Lenin's departure from Geneva for the Third Congress in London on 25 April 1905. It should be distinguished from "Vpered!", an earlier political journal founded by Pyotr Lavrov (first published in Zurich, 1873 and then in London, 1874-77), and from "Vpered", the name of Bogdanov's later faction, founded in 1909.

"Vpered's" immediate successor, "Proletarii", was published in Geneva from May to November 1905. During the Third Congress Lenin moved to "establish a Leninist grip on key Party institutions. Existing papers - 'Iskra' and 'Vpered' - were declared disbanded and a new paper, 'Proletarii', set up as the official Party newspaper under Lenin's editorship. An all-Leninist Central Committee was elected composed of Lenin, Bogdanov, Krasin, Postalovsky and Rykov. Lenin even wrote to the International Socialist Bureau in Brussels in June demanding it recognise 'Proletarii' as the only official newspaper and de-recognise 'Iskra' (ibid., p. 78).

Provenance: the Bund Archives, one of the most important Jewish collections specialising in the history of socialist and labour movements. Not only does it contain the official records of the Jewish Labour Bund, it also includes important documents relating to the history of the revolutionary movement in Tsarist Russia. It was transferred to Berlin in 1919, smuggled into France in 1933, and moved to the US in 1951.

Library stamps of "Archiv Bunda" on front free endpaper and first leaf of Vpered no. 1. Extremities and labels worn, cloth a little spotted, some issues evenly browned with light creasing to margins, a few small nicks at fore edges and a few margins trimmed in the binding process. Overall in very good condition.


Christopher Read, Lenin: A Revolutionary Life, 2005.

Art.-Nr.: BN#62507 Schlagwörter: , ,