her. I have no intention to forget so easily that which is being done against me, and I need not stress here that I consider as directed against me that which is being done against my wife. I ask you, therefore, that you weigh carefully whether you are agreeable to retracting your words and apologizing or whether you prefer the severance of relations between us.
"March 5, 1923"
(Commotion in the hall.)
Comrades! I will not comment on these documents. They speak eloquently for themselves. Since Stalin could behave in this manner during Lenin's life, could thus behave toward Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya—whom the party knows well and values highly as a loyal friend of Lenin and as an active fighter for the cause of the party since its creation—we can easily imagine how Stalin treated other people. These negative characteristics of his developed steadily and during the last years acquired an absolutely insufferable character.
As later events have proven, Lenin's anxiety was justified: In the first period after Lenin's death, Stalin still paid attention to his advice, but later he began to disregard the serious admonitions of Vladimir Ilyich.
When we analyze the practice of Stalin in regard to the direction of the party and of the country, when we pause to consider everything which Stalin perpetrated, we must be convinced that Lenin's fears were justified. The negative characteristics of Stalin, which, in Lenin's time, were only incipient, transformed themselves during the last years into a grave abuse of power by Stalin, which caused untold harm to our party.
Party of the Soviet Union. This explains the extreme agitation felt by Lenin, who in this period was particularly insistent on receiving all information. However, Stalin announced that he was suffering from an attack of nerves and left Moscow; without him, the Central Committee Secretariat could give out no information. Lenin succeeded in obtaining Stalin's telephone number in the country, but when Krupskaya called him he "berated her in the most brutal fashion and the most extreme language." (The quotation is from S. Dmitriyevski, who during those years was close to Stalin's personal secretariat and therefore gives a generally pro-Stalin version of events, even though he wrote this in emigration, when he had become an avowed fascist.)
Stalin, of course, realized that Krupskaya could not conceal this incident from Lenin. It was under its immediate impact that Lenin wrote the letter to Stalin whose complete text is now published by Khrushchev. Immediately afterward, Lenin dictated a short letter to Trotsky, asking him to assume the defense of "the Georgian cause" in the Party Central Committee, and he told his secretaries that he was "preparing a bombshell for Stalin at the Congress." However, he was never able to explode it; shortly afterward, he fainted, his condition deteriorated during the night, and then came the third stroke. Stalin's calculations had proved correct: The agitation which he had deliberately provoked had incapacitated Lenin and cleared Stalin's path to dictatorship over the Party.