Leninist Aesopian speech

By Christopher Story
June 19, 2019 Anno Domini
Excerpt: The European Union Collective: Enemy of Its Member States, pg. XXXIX (1997)

Lenin was most exacting of the language and style of agitation and propaganda. He demanded that the language of articles and books should be impeccable…. Before him, history had not known a politician who made such effective use of the spoken word in the interests of the revolutionary transformation of society’ [from ‘Lenin on Language’, Raduga Publishers, Moscow, 1983]. However, typically, Lenin did not encourage such exactitude in order to clarify matters: on the contrary, he was exacting in his use of language in order to obfuscate – and to create a means of communicating with those whom he called ‘the interested’ (the revolutionaries), while still using ordinary, everyday language, to which the Tsarist censors could hardly object. By the use of this dialectical means of communication, which contained hidden meanings, the ‘enemy’ could be charmed, deluded, misled and lied to, while the interested’ could simultaneously be instructed as required by the strategists.

Among vehicles used for the issuance of Kremlin directives, one of the most widely employed outside the ‘former’ Soviet Bloc has been ‘World Marxist Review’, in which language is used with Leninist care. Another crucial source of information on the continuing Revolution is the Russian Foreign Ministry’s journal ‘International

Affairs’, also written in Lenin’s ‘two-faced’ language, which provides detailed continuing insights into Soviet revolutionary policy, tactics, strategy and intentions: if Western analysts were aware of Lenin’s ‘special way of writing’, and were prepared to spend the necessary time reading and analysing ‘International Affairs’, they would be able to acquire Golitsyn-like expertise in interpreting events and predicting the likely course of Soviet tactics or strategy. One reason for Western blindness is ignorance about Lenin’s ‘Aesopian language’.

So the Leninists’ ‘Aesopian language’, alluded to in this work, requires some brief explanation. In the Preface to the Russian Edition of ‘Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism’ [26th April 1917], Lenin wrote: ‘I was not only forced to confine myself strictly to an exclusively theoretical, mainly economic analysis of facts, but to formulate a few necessary observations on politics with extreme caution, by hints, in that Aesopian language – in that cursed Aesopian language – to which Tsarism compelled all revolutionaries to have recourse whenever they took up their pens to write a “legal” work’ [i.e., a work which would not be censored or banned by the Tsarist authorities as illegal -Ed.]. Following this passage, Lenin appended a Note, which reads as follows: “Aesopian”, after the Greek fable writer, Aesop, was the term applied to the allusive and roundabout style adopted in “legal” publications by revolutionaries in order to evade the censorship’.

That this method of communication has been used by the Leninists ever since is obvious from the language of double-meanings used by Gorbachev, Kozyrev and other contemporary Leninists – ‘perestroika’ being the most conspicuous case in point. The Soviets encouraged the West to believe that ‘perestroika’ meant ‘restructuring’, as in ‘restructuring of the economy’; which it did. But ‘perestroika’ also meant something entirely different to ‘the interested’; and its second meaning was quite legitimate: to Gorbachev’s ‘interested’, ‘perestroika’ meant ‘re-formation’, as in ‘military formation’: so that its hidden meaning was ‘we are ‘re-forming’, in order more effectively to prevail over all who are opposed to Communism. That this was the case was made clear by Carl Bloice, the Kremlin correspondent of the CPUSA’s ‘People’s Weekly World’ [see page 62]. Citing Lenin, he wrote in May 1991 that the Soviet Leninists were engaged in ‘drawing back in order to make better preparations for a new offensive’.