Greeting Speech to Adam Egede-Nissen's 70th birthday. Printed in Friheten 21 June 1948.
Which worker, male or female in Norway, in Scandinavia, yes, even beyond its borders, does not know Comrade Egede-Nissen. For certain, in the Soviet Union his name is beloved, admired and honoured. Was it not Comrade Egede-Nissen who was among the first ones during the first fiery months after the October Revolution to come to our Soviet republic to greet the young Soviet republic and to shake hands with Lenin and Stalin.
The situation was then very serious. The Soviet republic was threatened by the German offensive and the interventionist armies from 14 capitalist states.
And already many years before the October Revolution it was comrade Egede-Nissen who supported the Bolsheviks in their struggle against tsarism. Already in 1905, immediately after the first unsuccessful Russian Revolution, Egede-Nissen was in touch with the Russian revolutionaries. At that time the Bolsheviks were fighting against the worst reaction in Russia.
Not many socialists dared at that time to support and help the Bolshevik struggle through which the party not only worked and fought for the Russian people liberation from Tsarist tyranny, but also was the driving force throughout the world's struggling labour movement.
Because of his deep and correct revolutionary conception, because of his courageous determination, Egede-Nissen could not tolerate the opportunist politics, which from Germany began to spread to all countries and paralyzed the working class struggle. Egede-Nissen knew he belonged to Lenin's and Stalin's battalions.hon
40 years ago, Egede-Nissen was the first Norwegian Bolshevik. However, Egede-Nissen has also been a good son of his people. As such, he loves his country and is fighting for its progress. Bolshevism is about workers' solidarity across borders, but always maintains warm feelings for one's own country and people.
In the year 1915, in the middle of the World War, at a time when the Social Democratic leaders had betrayed the working class and when the masses stood perplexed and deceived, Social Democracy preached class harmony and castle peace. Only the Bolsheviks – followers of Lenin and Stalin – remained faithful to Marx's teachings. No class harmony; an imperialist war can turn into a revolutionary war, this was the Bolshevik standpoint. The Social Democratic opportunists responded with attacks on the Bolsheviks: Bolshevism is a utopia, Bolshevism is a dangerous frenzy! But Comrade Egede-Nissen only smiled when he heard all the scorn and hatred towards the faithful revolutionary Marxists. He belonged to the labour movement's vanguard and he believed in the Russian workers' victory over tsarism, reaction and war.
I recall May 1st 1915, when Egede-Nissen interpreted my speech in Oslo People's House, a speech that built on Lenin's program. Egede-Nissens brilliant interpretation enraptured throughout the People's House. He fought against imperialism and reaction and was convinced of the proletariat and the victory of socialism.
Then came the October Revolution in 1917. Already a few months after the victorious revolution, Egede-Nissen left for Petrograd to convey the Norwegian workers’ greeting to the first socialist soviet republic in the world.
Egede-Nissen attended as guest at the Congress of workers, peasants and soldiers, the first after the October Revolution. His fiery internationalism was expressed in his brilliant welcome speech. He was a frequent guest in Smolny and often had conversations with Lenin. Egede-Nissen also participated in a conference that prepared for the new 3rd International.
In February 1918 when Egede-Nissen went home over Finland, we met in a very grave situation on the frozen Finnish bay after we were abandoned by our icebreaker and were alone onboard our little steamer. The central executive committee had sent its first official delegation abroad. As People’s Commissar for Social Welfare, I was the delegation's chairman. The aim of the journey was to go to Scandinavia and to inform the world about what had happened in the Soviet Republic. One must not forget that our republic was under blockade and that the truth could not break its way abroad.
Our delegation met Egede-Nissen near Åbo (Turku). He came over on the little steamer "Mariograf", that the delegation would take to Sweden. But it was a hard, cold winter. The Finnish bay was frozen stiff. "Mariograf" was a simply equipped coastal vessel and could not plough its way without an icebreaker. Progress was very slow. One day the icebreaker simply let us in the lurch and "Mariograf " froze stuck in an ice floe. This floe drifted next to a mine belt and mines began to explode all around as soon as they came near our shelf of ice.
Never shall I forget one evening with a wonderful red sunset, with the blue ice cubes on the Finnish bay and the big red Soviet flag on the bough of the steamer. There we stood, Comrade Egede-Nissen and I, watching the exploding mines around us. They set off giant fountains and I remember Egede-Nissens words: "Is it not beautiful with the red flag against the blue ice. If we go under, it is a nice way to die with the red flag in the fore."
A coincidence helped us out of the catastrophic situation.
I again met Egede-Nissen in 1922 in Norway when I came to take over work at the Legation. As Member of Parliament Egede-Nissen spent all his energy on achieving recognition of the Soviet government. His energy was immovable like a Norwegian mountain when he worked for reconciliation between Norway and the Soviet Union. Indeed, the mutual recognition was achieved. And today I will pronounce my heartfelt gratitude to Comrade Egede-Nissen for all his help during this time, which was so full of difficulties, disappointments and resistance, but also joyful and profitable for the best of the toiling peoples in these two countries.
All of us who know Egede-Nissen, admire him for the personification of all the best traits of the Norwegian people; energy, frankness, reliability and courage.
His life's mission has always been working class happiness and the victory of socialism. We admire Egede-Nissen as a faithful Soviet friend and student of Marx, Lenin and Stalin. Lenin warmly praised Egede-Nissens friendship.
Egede-Nissen will be 70. But he was, is and will be a revolutionary youth to the very end. His unwavering faith in the working people moves everyone who comes in touch with Egede-Nissen.
May Egede-Nissen live on for many years, years of creativity and happiness!
My heartfelt congratulations to the 70-year-old youngster!
Translation by Revolusjon.