An Old Woman

A Lenin Folktale

I found this story on Roland Boer’s webpage. [1] Boer cites Arthur Ransome, but I couldn’t find the story in the cited document. [2] The passage is available in Boer’s Lenin, Religion, and Theology (2013), but there the citation is different: Nina Tumarkin, an author generally contemptuous of her subject matter. [3] Tumarkin in turn cites L. Seifullina, who is said to have got the story from “an old woman in a peasant settlement in Orenburg province.” [4]

The tsar was told by his most important general that there was a certain person, “of unknown rank, without a passport, who goes by the name of Lenin.” [5] This Lenin threatened to take away the tsar’s soldiers with one word and to grind the generals, commanders, and officers — even the tsar himself — into ashes and let them blow in the wind. The tsar took fright and sent a message to Lenin, offering to divide the country in half with Lenin to prevent him from uttering that word. Lenin agreed but specified that the tsar must take the “white” half — the generals and officers and rich people — while Lenin took the “black” — the soldiers, peasants, and workers. The tsar was overjoyed to keep his riches, but then discovered that Lenin had tricked him. His officers had no soldiers to lead and no people to make the country run. So the tsar’s white part of Russia went to war against Lenin’s black part to regain the latter. But the white could not survive for long. So it was that Lenin took the country away from the tsar.

  1. Roland Boer. “Items in relation to the Russian Revolution, Soviet Marxism, and Eastern Europe.” [web] 

  2. The Crisis in Russia, p. 36. [web] 

  3. Lenin Lives! The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia (1997), p. 92-93. [web] 

  4. Seifullina, L. “Muzhitskii skaz o Lenine,” Krasnaia nov’ (1924), pp. 162-169. 

  5. The Russian phrase: “Neizvestnogo on chinu-zvania, bez pashportu, a po prozvaniiu Lenin.”