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Introductory Note to the
"Memoir on Russia, for the Instruction of the Present Emperor"[320]

Karl Marx

Just after the settlement of the Regency question in Prussia, and the dismissal of Manteuffel's ministry, his successors in office discovered, among other official papers, a most curious "Memoir on Russia," an extract of which, despite all precautions taken, found its way into the hands of some outsiders who consider the present moment opportune for the publication of such a State paper.

All the passages literally quoted from the original are indicated by quotation marks. Passing over the general considerations, on Russian history, with which the document opens, we begin with what relates to the time of Peter the Great.[a]

Written on July 14, 1859
First published in Das Volk, No. 12, July 23, 1859;
reprinted in the New-York Daily Tribune, No. 5703, August 3, 1859
Reproduced from the New-York Daily Tribune


[a] In Das Volk Marx introduced the text of the document with the following lines: "Under this heading the Urquhartist Free Press publishes a document of so great importance for Prussia and Germany that we reprint it in full. In one of our next issues we shall deal with the secret strings of the drama whose stage player is Bonaparte, but whose manager is Russia. For the present we let The Free Press speak."—Ed.

[320] This text was written by Marx as an introductory note to his report "The Foreign Policy of Russia. Memoir on Russia, for the Instruction of the Present Emperor—Drawn up by the Russian Cabinet in 1837" published in the New-York Daily Tribune. In this report marked "Correspondence of the N.-Y. Tribune. Berlin, July 14, 1859" Marx reproduced the document—"Memoir on Russia, for the Instruction of the Present Emperor. Drawn up by the Cabinet in 1837"—published by The Free Press on July 13, 1859. This document attracted Marx's attention in connection with the intensified struggle over the problem of German and Italian unification and the fight against Bonapartism. Marx intended to briefly sum up Russia's part in this tragicomedy and at the same time to expose Bonaparte's intrigues (see Marx's letter to Engels of July 19, 1859). Marx expressed the same idea in the introductory note to another publication of this document which appeared in Das Volk and was a German translation from The Free Press. When Marx and Engels read this document they expressed doubts as to the authenticity of some passages (see Engels' letter to Marx of July 18, 1859 and Marx's letter to Engels of July 19, 1859). And indeed, from subsequent issues of The Free Press (of July 27 and 31, 1859) it appeared that the publication was based not on the original document but on material published in the German conservative newspaper Preussisches Wochenblatt and allegedly a review of this document with large quotations from it (Preussisches Wochenblatt zur Besprechung politischer Tagesfragen, Nos. 23, 24 and 25, June 9, 16 and 23, 1855). This publication quoted neither the source from which the document had been taken nor its title or the full text. In his memoirs (Gedanken und Erinnerungen von Otto First von Bismarck, Stuttgart, 1898, Bd. 1, S. 111-12) Bismarck says outright that this publication was forged.

The introductory note to the German publication in Das Volk (July 23 and 26 and August 6 and 13, 1859) is reproduced in the footnote to this item.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 16 (p.415), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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