V. I.   Lenin

The Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets

December 22-29, 1920[2]

Written: See below.
Published: See below.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Printing, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 239b-267a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Reply To The Debate On The Report
On Concessions Delivered To The R.C.P.(B.) Group
At The Eighth Congress Of Soviets

December 21

Comrades, I have received quite a few notes and shall briefly answer those to which no replies have yet been given. But first let me read to you a note of an informative nature, which I think is characteristic:

At the Arzamas uyezd congress, Nizhni-Novgorod Gubernia, a non-Party peasant declared the following concerning concessions, which we communicate to you as a characteristic sign: “Comrades, we are delegating you to the All-Russia Congress and declare that we, peasants, are prepared to endure hunger and cold and do our duty for another three years but don’t sell Mother-Russia in the form of concessions!”

I think it would be very useful to quote this note in the official report to the Congress,[1] and it ought to be done because it shows a side of the question which the capitalists overlook, and in connection with which we have no need whatever to conceal the fact that there is a danger here, and we have to be on our guard against it. I have already mentioned that these reminders sharpen the attention of the workers and peasants. The fact that such reminders are coming from the midst of the illiterate peasantry is of special importance, as it stresses a task which is of exceptional   importance at the present time-1 mean about your having to examine the bills tabled in the Council of People’s Commissars for rendering assistance to peasant farming. We must learn to convince the non-Party peasants, win them over to our side and make them self-dependent. A note like this shows that we have every chance of achieving tremendous success here, and we shall achieve it.

Here is another note:

Won’t the capitalist concessionaires set the proletarian masses against the Soviet government, seeing that the economic crisis and chaos we are living through make it impossible for us to satisfy the needs of the workers the way the capitalists can?

I have said already that in the advanced countries, in most of them, the workers are better provided for than ours, yet the Russian workers in all the advanced countries are all eagerness to come to Soviet Russia, although they are well aware of the hardships the workers have to bear.

Won’t the Russian Ryabushinskys and the rest of the pack put in an appearance together with the English and American capitalists?

This has a bearing on the note which asks whether the concessionaires will be exterritorial. Of course not, we shall never grant them exterritoriality. This is granted only to ambassadors, and even then on definite conditions. If Ryabushinsky banks on hiding himself from the proper authorities, I think he is mistaken.

Next, comrades, I want to tell you that Comrade Lezhava reports: “Vanderlip has presented a mandate from about a dozen big syndicates. This has been verified by our special authorities here. It has already been corroborated by Krasin in London, who has checked up on the seriousness of the groups for whom Vanderlip is acting.”

For the benefit of those comrades who ask why the agreement has not been published, I repeat that its publication is not to our advantage, because the capitalists, who are fighting among themselves, think there are far worse things in that agreement. The hullabaloo about it in the press bears this out. Let them go on believing it, we have no intention whatever of disillusioning them. Those who wish to familiarise themselves with this agreement have every possibility of doing so. Besides, 1 mentioned that the agreement   will come into force after the new president of the United States of America has been sworn in. Our Party congress will be held in February.[3] Consequently, the Party will have every opportunity of controlling and deciding things.

Please explain, if you can, for how long Kamchatka has been let (or is proposed to be let) and is there an economic, apart from a political, advantage in this for the R.S.F.S.R. and in what form?

Kamchatka has not been let and cannot be let until March. The economic gain is that according to the draft agreement they are obliged to give us a share of the mineral wealth which they will extract.

In granting concessions do we not thereby admit the durability of the capitalist states and do we not consider our thesis concerning the earliness of .a world revolution to be incorrect?

Bukharin has replied to this. It is not a question of our admitting their durability; the point is that gigantic forces are driving them to the brink. Our existence and speedy release from the critical situation and famine are a gigantic force and a factor of revolution more powerful than those farthings—a mere crumb from the point f view of world economy-which they will get from us. An extra hundred or thousand machines and locomotives are of tremendous importance to us, for it will mean that transport repairs, which Trotsky planned over a period of four and a half years and reduced to three and a half, will be reduced by another year. Reducing the economic chaos and famine by a year is of colossal importance to us.

What if Japan, to prevent us letting Kamchatka to America, goes and occupies it with her troops and declares it her own?

As a matter of fact she is in possession of Kamchatka right now, and if she could she would do it, but she can’t because she is afraid of America.

Where will the capitalist get his labour force? Will he bring it with him? Hardly. If he is going to employ Russian workers, not only will these be under the thumb of the capitalist, but it will upset our labour market, and this, in turn, will upset our integrated economic plan.

I can’t see how our economic plan will be upset by our workers going there to work. They won’t be able to go there   apart from the trade unions, apart from our economic organisations and our Party. The workers at the advanced capitalist enterprises will train our workers in the best methods of production. In submitting to capitalist conditions of work, our workers will subordinate them to our code of labour laws or to special restrictive agreements, and will not hesitate to quit if the conditions are bad. If the conditions are unfavourable, the workers will quit. Some comrades are afraid that the conditions will be good, others, that they will be bad. We shall look out, just like our workers and peasants, and take proper measures.

In granting concessions, when the concessionaires start working, will the activities of the R.C.P. in organising communist cells among those employed on the concession territory be open or only illegal?

Here is a wrong idea of concessions and concessionaires. The, concessionaire is not an authority. He does not get any territory other than that to be used for economic exploitation. All government bodies and all courts of law remain only in the hands of the R.S.F.S.R.

Should unemployment in America force a revolution, won’t our concessions be helping America to cope with this crisis, that is, hold up the revolution.

That argument has been disproved by Comrade Bukharin.

If the international bourgeoisie gets to know of the Soviet government’s tactics in concessions, what will the position of the Soviet government be? Won’t this be bad for us?

On the contrary, everyone in Europe has heard about the concessions, and the hullabaloo about it there only goes to show that the bourgeoisie is worried. They are anxious not to be late. All those capitalists who do not want to risk having dealings with Russia are now beginning to realise that they are lagging behind while the more enterprising people are getting in. And we are taking advantage of the contradictions among the capitalists.

Are there any plans or projects for concessions on large industrial enterprises in Moscow and in the centre generally? There is talk about three such concessions in Moscow, Yaroslavl and Lubertsi.

I know nothing about such concessions. There is an American factory in Lubertsi which has not been nationalised   and never was, but there is no concession there. The only concession in the centre, which the S.E.C. comrades have spoken of as being possible, is a concession to the German chemists for developing dye works and letting one factory to them. In the Council of People’s Commissars all were agreed it was possible, but this talk has had no practical consequences.

Germany is so far ahead of our country that during the imperialist war even the advanced countries found them-selves in difficulties when the German chemical industry stopped supplying them. To get our chemical industry going we must be prepared to pay the German chemists well. The best way to learn is to grant the Germans a con-cession on one of our factories. No schools or lectures will help as much as practical work at a factory, where the workers can be trained in six months and then made to build another factory like it next door. To fear that the Germans of a single factory will do something to us, considering their international situation, is ridiculous. There were no differences of opinion in the C.P.C. In point of principle it is acceptable. Unfortunately, this question has not had practical results. I must stress the fact that we talk a great deal about concessions, but so far we have not succeeded in granting a single one. We shall consider it a great success if we manage to grant at least one, and you will see the concrete conditions of the concession.


What countries can be granted concessions? Can we give a concession to Poland?

We believe they can be granted to all countries, Poland included.

Couldn’t the capitalists use the concessions to avert crises at home and thus stave off a social revolution?

If the capitalists could avert crises at home, then capitalism would he everlasting. They are decidedly blind pawns in the general mechanism-the imperialist war has shown that. Every month proves that the crisis of capitalism is deepening, disintegration throughout the world is spreading farther and farther, and Russia is the only country where   an upswing towards a durable and serious improvement has started.

To sow dissension among the workers the concessionaires may place their workers in better conditions.

This won’t increase dissension among our people, we have grown ;much stronger.

Will trade union groups be organised on the concessionaire’s territory?

The concessionaires get economic exploitation, the authorities and laws remain Soviet ones.

Can you outline the conditions guaranteeing us against the danger of the Soviet state system being distorted and a capitalist set-up being introduced?

These conditions are the laws of the R.S.F.S.R. If a contracting party breaks them we have the right to cancel the agreement.

What is the gist of the tentative draft agreement with the American imperialists covering a concession on Kamchatka?

I said that the term of the concession is 50-60 years. We get a share of the produce, they the right to set up a military and naval base at the inlet near which there is an oil deposit.

You say that granting concessions to the capitalists of oppressed countries like Germany is more important than for other countries. But if the capitalists of oppressed countries use the concessions to improve their country’s economic position, don’t you think this will stave off the revolution in that country?

The international situation as regards revolution revolves around Soviet Russia’s struggle against the rest of the world, the capitalist countries. To strengthen Soviet Russia and make her invincible-that is what matters most as far as the struggle of the oppressed and colonial countries is concerned.

What role in concessions does Turkestan cotton play?

So far there is no question of granting a concession on Turkestan cotton. This question was not discussed.

Will concessions be granted for the rehabilitation of industrial enterprises and for taking over railways?

Such exigencies are ruled out. The railways are a single integrated enterprise.

Has there been any question of concessions on slaughter-houses?

Not that I have heard of.

The protests against concessions in the local areas stand clearly revealed, not as healthy sentiments at all, but as patriotic feeling among a strong petty-bourgeois section of the countryside and among the urban middle classes.

The patriotism of a person who is prepared to go hungry for three years rather than surrender Russia to foreigners is genuine patriotism, without which we could not hold out for three years. Without this patriotism we would not have succeeded in defending the Soviet Republic, in doing away with private property and now getting as much as 300 million poods by means of the food surplus-appropriation system. This is the finest revolutionary patriotism. As for the kulaks being prepared to go hungry for three years to keep out the foreign capitalists, from whom they have something to gain-that is untrue. It is not the kulaks who are concerned, it is the non-Party middle peasant.

Isn’t there a risk that in view of a possible war between America and Japan there is a likelihood of a serious attack on Soviet Russia by Japan? What shall we do then? Shall we fight off Japan in alliance with imperialist America, using her assistance as a real force?

Of course we shall-we have often said that an alliance with one imperialist state against another to consolidate the socialist republic is not objectionable in point of principle. An attack by Japan on Soviet Russia is much more difficult now than it was a year ago.

Please explain the Allies’ policy towards Turkey and our relation-ships.

It is rather awkward, of course, to deal openly with this question in an official speech, as relations here are extremely confused. Everything here depends on the intricate play of relations in bourgeois Georgia, which is on the verge of catastrophe. The comrades who are interested in this will, I am sure, derive great benefit from the report by Comrade Meshcheryakov, Editor of Pravda, who has returned from Georgia, where he spent several weeks, if not   months, and has collected highly interesting material on this Menshevik realm. Georgia is on the verge of disaster. The Turkish attack was planned against us. The Allies were making a pitfall for us, but fell into it themselves, because we have received Soviet Armenia.

The men at the top in Turkey are Cadets, Octobrists, Nationalists, who are prepared to sell us to the Allies. But that is an extremely difficult thing to do, because feeling among the Turkish people against the savage oppression by the Allies is running very high, and sympathy towards Soviet Russia is growing in proportion as we help the independent Azerbaijan Republic to carry out proper liberation of the Moslem peasants, who have driven out the landowners, but are afraid to take the land, and will shortly stop being afraid; when they do take the land the Turkish landowner won’t last long.

We personally have been and will be peaceful in the extreme in the Caucasus, and for the information of our Caucasian comrades, we shall be very careful to avoid anything that may involve us in war. Our peaceful policy so far has been so felicitous, that the Allies are getting nervous, have started taking decisive steps against us, but are only getting them against themselves.

What is going to happen next to Georgia?

Even the Mohammedan Allah doesn’t know that, but if we show self-restraint we have something to gain without running any risk.

We are asked whether there were any other concession objects besides Kamchatka. There have been no other concessions with Vanderlip.

Regarding press hand-outs. We can’t do that, first because the printing-works are busy, and secondly so as not to make this material available to people abroad, where there is a desire to torpedo this undertaking of ours. So far we haven’t got a single concession, a single agreement, and we must first get an agreement before speaking about dangers. We have nothing so far and are acting semi-legally.

How will things stand with concessions and with works and buildings erected by concessionaires in the event of a) their violating the laws of the R.S.F.S.R. b) war breaking out with a country of which the concessionaire is a subject, and c) with others?

In the event of an agreement being violated the concessionaire will be prosecuted under the laws of the R.S.F.S.R. In the event of war the concession agreement is broken and the property passes into the possession of the R.SF.S.R. in accordance with military procedure.

The Russian bourgeoisie, who have escaped abroad, will be able to take part in the exploitation of concessions with their capital. Won’t this lead to the old bosses coming back under the guise of foreign capital?

If an old boss takes a ride through the northern forests of European Russia under the guise of foreign capital we have nothing to fear. You will find many an old boss in the centre of Moscow. We have a thousand times less reason to fear a situation in which we shall have a list of all visiting foreigners, than those bosses who are operating at our enterprises and who, unfortunately, have not been registered yet.

You have pointed out and underlined the political significance of concessions. That is understandable. But what the provinces are most worried about is this: with concessions there will be trade relations. What threats and dangers to the Republic does this imply in the sense of disintegration and the blowing up of the Soviet system from within (perhaps increased profiteering, etc.) and what precautions can we take against it?

I have already spoken about that. We had a tremendous threat of profiteering in the shape of Sukharevka,[4] with which we waged a constant struggle. We understand, of course, that with the abolition of Sukharevka profiteering still remains, it remains wherever there is a small proprietor, and we have tens of millions of such proprietors. That is where the real danger lies, and not in big capital, which will be hedged around on all sides with special supervisions. It should not be forgotten that we shall have an agreement which we can always cancel at the risk-our greatest danger-of having to pay damages.

What is the position with regard to tsarist debts? Will the Allies agree to any transactions unless these debts are paid?

England already agrees not to demand the debts from us, since we have proposed the draft of a trade agreement to them. Under that draft trade deals are now starting and under it we are not obliged to repay debts. I say, England agrees, but France does not. And so we tell France that in   principle we do not refuse. The exact amounts of payments will be discussed at a conference, at which we intend to say: you, too, are responsible for the losses you have caused us by your intervention. An ad hoc commission is working on this question, and an initial estimate puts the figure at ten thousand million in gold.

First published in 1963 in the journal Kommunist No. 6
Printed from the shorthand record


Speech To The R.C.P.(B.) Group
At The Eighth Congress Of Soviets
During The Debate
On The Report
Of The All-Russia Central Executive Committee
And The Council Of People’s Commissars
Concerning Home And Foreign Policies

December 22

Comrades, allow me to begin by touching on certain remarks made by speakers and answering notes, at least the more important ones. From Comrade Korzinov’s criticism I have picked out the idea concerning engineers and agronomists. We must push forward with the training of engineers and agronomists from among the workers and peasants. This is beyond all question, and the Soviet government is taking steps in this direction, but we cannot count on very quick results; it may not take as long as electrification, but it will take at least several years; so it is wrong of Comrade Korzinov to suggest that all other matters be set aside until we have our own agronomists. Bight now we have got to find and get the best agronomists, call them to our meetings, demand from them an account and thus single out the industrious and educated men from the rest.

Comrade Korzinov has landed in the opposition for opposition’s sake when he says that the decree on concessions should have been published earlier. But our work at the Council of People’s Commissars and the Council of Labour and Defence is such that we have to react at once, and the   position with us is such that, given no differences of opinion in the C.C. and C.P.C., decisions are taken at once. If the decree on concessions is wrong,[5] then we should propose its repeal, because the chief concession with Vanderlip will not become a formal agreement until next March.

At the time we published this decree our main purpose was, and still remains, to conclude a trade agreement as quickly as possible and offer the bait of concessions to the capitalists. I dealt with this political aspect of the case in my report to the R.C.P. group and heard no objections at the time. I was therefore surprised when Comrade Ignatov, bent on being opposition-minded, said that we had slipped up on Vanderlip, that we hadn’t found out who he was. I read the statement by the Deputy People’s Commissar for Foreign Trade that all inquiries concerning the group Vanderlip represented had been made, had been confirmed abroad and remained unrefuted. Vanderlip himself had pointed out that no agreement could be concluded until after the presidential elections, when the Republican candidate would take office, since such an agreement would have to be sanctioned by the American Government.

This is an agreement under which the American Government is to receive a naval base. Consequently, even if this Washington Vanderlip, about whom Comrade Ryazanov went into such irrelevant details-as often happens with him-even if he did represent nobody and was just a swindler and the proposed agreement was to provide for the Government of the United States receiving a naval base aimed against Japan, there could be no question of our being swindled, as the President of the United States would really be a member of the Republican party. After Vanderlip we shall be in a position to form a conclusive opinion about this trade agreement. Ignatov’s entire criticism falls to the ground; he simply did not pay attention to what was said at our meeting.

Comrade Korzinov said that in the matter of Poland we should have given warning earlier. We have here an extremely difficult situation, and there was a moment when our troops were on the move and the Central Committee had reason to believe that despite the complicated situation we could achieve much by launching an offensive.

At such a time when, after Curzon’s Note of July 11,[6] we had to give a reply within a few days, how could we be expected to call Party meetings to discuss the matter? Besides, every comrade knows that if we could have passed over to an offensive war at the right moment we would have done so without hesitation. And there would never have been any opposition to it anywhere. What we did see was an opposition in reverse, when we were accused of not pursuing a sufficiently active foreign policy. That there have been mistakes here, there is no doubt, but neither is there any doubt that arguing about them would be a sheer waste of time, as we have other things to think of besides our old activities. When time has receded, when all the documents and material will have been collected, we shall be able to fully appreciate our mistake. Therefore, I see nothing, absolutely nothing, in Comrade Korzinov’s speech other than a desire to seek opposition. At another time, when we are in more favourable conditions, we shall make the same use of our successes. And so long as the Party does not forbid it, we shall always assume the offensive. I don’t think that the Party or any of its members will propose a reverse policy at any meeting.

In regard to Comrade Gusev’s remark, I must say that I made a mistake in introducing polemics in an official report, and therefore I have already suggested that this part of the report be deleted from the official text and greetings to Soviet Armenia added-through an unforgivable oversight on my part this was omitted in the report.

Comrade Gusev is wrong in saying that I boasted of my modesty-the point is that in passing over to a more serious practical integration of the economic commissariats and the implementation of a single economic plan, the thing we had to be afraid of was project-mongering.

Comrade Gusev says that I did not criticise his booklet[7] as a whole. But that is the central point: Comrade Trotsky and Comrade Rykov are invited to drop the departments and join the Council of Defence, which, not being a depart-mental body, will set up a new apparatus of its own. I cannot understand how, after three years of Soviet rule, one can raise and support such a question here. I am at a loss for words to express my perplexity. It is so ill-advised, it   means knocking down the department in one place and setting it up in another. It means failure to understand what our apparatus is. I don’t know whether Comrade Popov has managed to print the leaflet he gave me. It contains an extract from the 1920 census results. You know that this census has been satisfactorily carried out and has yielded a mass of valuable information concerning the number of Soviet office employees in Moscow. We took a similar census before this in 1919, but now we have a fuller one. It shows that we have no less than 230,000 office employees, of which 30,000, or even more, are in the most important commissariats, and 70,000 in the Moscow Soviet.[8] Try to imagine these figures, ponder over them, and then you will say to yourself-well, if you take an influential man, one who enjoys the greatest authority and has created a certain style of work in his department, take him out of that department and put him in charge of several united departments, you can expect nothing but chaos. Is that the way to fight bureaucratism? It is simply a frivolous attitude towards the work, absolutely unrealistic. I understand what a serious thing bureaucratism is, but no provision for its abolition is made in the Party Programme. It is not a problem for a congress, it is a problem for a whole epoch, and you have a special report devoted to this question.

Does anyone really believe that by a mere stroke of the pen, by taking comrades, who have created the best form of organisation in one or another of the most important departments, and transferring them to the Council of Labour and Defence, you will be getting a new department with indefinite powers that will not perform economically unifying functions. When the practical question arose in the Council of Labour and Defence as to what was economic and what was not, not only the Foreign Trade Commissariat, but the Finance Commissariat as well claimed that it was an economic commissariat. And can you conduct any economic work without the Commissariat for Public Health. Of course, when we shall have made big progress in economic reconstruction the relation of economic commissariats to non-economic ones may become different after we have achieved important successes in the work of changing our economic foundations. At present we have nothing of   the kind. Therefore, to treat the departmental question as lightly as Gusev does-in other parts of the booklet, by the way, he repeats some of the excellent ideas expressed in his previous booklet[9]—is absolutely wrong.

I shall say nothing about Ryazanov’s speech, which has been sufficiently refuted by Kamenev. I shall merely mention that both Ryazanov and Gusev, who has followed his bad example, have been talking about having heard, perhaps from me in the Council of People’s Commissars, that I wanted to, one said drown myself, the other said shoot myself. If comrades are going to take a man at his angry word, uttered when he is very tired, and make him speak about it before an audience of a thousand, I don’t think these people can expect their speeches to be taken seriously. ( Applause.)

It’s quite possible that we have a lot of vermicelli affairs in the Council of People’s Commissars-that’s true. If Maximovsky has made this an object on which to display his oppositionist bent and made a special point of it, I must say there is not and cannot be any government institution which does not have to deal with vermicelli affairs. You omitted to mention that the C.C. dealt with questions involving policy. So long as the ruling Party governs, so long as this Party has to decide all questions concerned with various appointments, you will not allow important state appointments to be made by anyone but the ruling party. When all is said and done, the question of who is to make this or that policy is of secondary importance. Hasn’t the C. C. vermicelli affairs? Plenty of them. Aren’t there agendas, on completing which and running through a dozen items of business, you would not only say you’d be glad to drown yourself, but something worse still. I repeat, to catch me at this sort of statement is not very difficult, but to come out here and make it an object for an oppositionist stand and speak against vermicellism is frivolous.

If, in a body which in general establishes only principles, we attempted to set up a separate body to deal with petty, practical, vermicelli affairs, we would only make things worse. Because we would be tearing generalisation away from the facts of life, and such a break would be sheer day-dreaming and frivolity. Questions in the Central Committee   cannot be divided into questions of principle and trivial questions, because in every trifle a principle may be involved.

It is not a question of Ivan or Sidor. It is not a question of putting Sidor in Ivan’s place or vice versa. What if they refuse? What if this Ivan and Sidor are both people’s commissars—what’s to be done then? The C.C. has a Secretariat, an Orgbureau, a Politbureau, finally, plenums of the Central Committee are held, and very often questions come before the Central Committee Plenum that are as trivial and tedious as anything, and some that you sit over for several hours until you feel like drowning yourself. But to draw a line between trivial questions and questions of principle is to undermine the very foundation of democratic centralism. At the same time it cannot be said that the Central Committee dumps its vermicelli onto other institutions. So far we have not been able to alter the Constitution and have been working autonomously. The fact that on some questions we have arrived at a agreement and on others there have been debates is only natural and inevitable, considering the apparatus we have. The fact that the C.C. is becoming an organ of control, and that in the general distribution of work it has fallen to Comrade Kalinin to supervise agitation and verification, and that he is required to give his personal impressions obtained during his trips and at work—this gives no grounds for shouting about the Council of People’s Commissars referring all questions to the C.C and vice versa. It means introducing further confusion and turmoil while things remain essentially unchanged. The higher bodies are needed for the purpose of control and for turning down certain questions.

People here have spoken and complained about the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee being swamped with business, and though it is our highest body, it is swamped with purely vermicelli affairs. But I would ask all those present here, how many of you have read a dozen reports of our proceedings? Who has read them from beginning to end? Probably no one, because they are dull, you can’t wade through them. I must say that every member of our Party and every citizen of the Republic has a right to bring any question, any circumstance, however trivial, before the All-Russia Central Executive Committee. This   question will go through the whole ladder, through the bureau, etc. till it gets to the C.E.C. Presidium, where it will be examined. And so it will be until the complete communist re-education of the working people, which will come within several decades after electrification has been finally completed. In this respect we are not afraid of changes.

I shall now deal with some of the notes. Comrade Minkin writes:

Did Comrade Shlyapnikov inform the Council of People’s Commissars of the disgraceful goings on at the Commissariat for Foreign Trade, or was this being kept for announcement at the Congress? If he did make such a statement, what has been done to eliminate them?

To answer this question I consulted Comrade Serebryakov who is better informed than I am. He was appointed by the Central Committee to the commission, the other members of which were Dzerzhinsky, Krestinsky and Lezhava, set up to take steps towards improving the relations between the Commissariat for Foreign Trade and the Commissariat for Internal Affairs, since our representatives abroad had information that these relations were anything but satisfactory. At my request Serebryakov gives the following answer to the note of delegate Minkin: “Comrade Minkin states ...” (reads).

After this commission a subcommission was set up. It is very easy to play at opposition, since there are disgraceful goings on with us in every commissariat, and the infelicitous mention of guarantees and 30,000 employees in the commissariat’s technical publishing house is very characteristic in the sense that you can always find scandalously disgraceful things here. You will find the same thing in any division of the Red Army. Nevertheless our Red Army has been winning victories all the time.

The thing is to apply in good time to the institution that has to remedy matters, and not talk about it here, where we cannot collect accurate information about what Comrade Ryazanov has heard of this or that person and has not checked it or discovered the true facts. Is that democratic centralism? It is not at all democratic, and not at all centralism, but disorder and the introduction of chaos. Complaints should be lodged with Party bodies. If that   body does not fulfil its duty it should be made to give a strict account of itself.

Among the notes that have been sent up there is the question of reducing the army. On this subject Comrade Trotsky will make a special statement, and you will decide whether this question should be dealt with today or at the next special meeting of the R.C.P. group. I can tell you that after an ad hoc commission on demobilisation headed by Trotsky and Dzerzhinsky was set up, the C.C. decided to start demobilisation, and this is now going on. It is being dealt with by the military department, and you will receive an exact report.

Is the Council of Labour and Defence regarded as an interim body called upon to unite the economic commissariats and then to be abolished, or i it the basis of a future integrated economic plan? Also, on what apparatus does the Council rely locally?

This question has not been settled, and we believe that to raise it now would be a waste of time. The order of the day now is a check-up of the organisation of the commissariats. The Council of People’s Commissars has set up an organisational body which is to revise the apparatus of the People’s Commissariats with a view to the tasks confronting them, and in this connection, to examine the question of staffs. To busy ourselves at the present time with setting up another apparatus in place of the Council of Labour and Defence is impossible until the question of electrification is settled. Various material on electrification will soon be handed out to you, and the Council of Labour and Defence will have to reckon with what the verification of this material and the reports will have to say. We now have an organ that we need, and, good or bad, we have in any case been working with it and coping with the tasks confronting us. We have no intention of embarking on reforms until we have practically tested how the integrated economic plan will be carried out. This is definitely a case of look before you leap.

Who is going to conclude concession contracts in the Far East, we or the buffer state, in either case—why?

This, comrades, is a delicate question. Buffer state[10]—it is such an embarrassing definition when we are asked:   You or the buffer? On the one hand we have the buffer, on the other, the corresponding Party Bureau of the R.C.P. The buffer’s a buffer, it’s to enable us to win time and then beat the Japanese. I don’t know whom Kamchatka belongs to. Actually the Japanese are in possession, and they do not relish the idea of our giving it away to the Americans. We, are consulted, our directives are complied with, and nobody has protested against our negotiations with Vanderlip, no single group of Party comrades has considered the question important enough to demand its being discussed at the plenum of the Central Executive Committee and examined in the Control Commission. This is the right of every Party member, and no one has used this right. The person who has learned the facts which led to the postponement of an agreement till March will not try to make use of this right.

What is your view of the trade unions at the present moment in connection with the concessions? Is it true that you stand for the organisation of a trade union of peasants?

I must say that the Party’s Programme mentions the necessity of seeking new forms of trade unions that would unite the poor sections of the peasantry.[11] This task has been posed in the Party’s Programme and I have often pointed out that although we are not in a position at present to solve this problem, we must not give it up. We must not confine ourselves to the work of Vserabotzem,[12] which is so weak, and which cannot give us outstanding workers. So long as we have a levelling process taking place among the peasantry, a levelling and unification of the working peasants, the non-kulak section of the peasantry, this problem cannot be removed from the order o the day of socialist construction. To strengthen the work of the trade unions we must extend them not only to the rural proletariat, but to all the working peasantry. How this is to be done we do not know yet. We have set this task in the Party’s Programme, we shall return to it many times and get it settled in a practical manner from different aspects. That is all I can say now on this question.

With the granting of concessions, the trade unions, naturally, will have important tasks imposed upon them-those   or checking, supervising, and maintaining contact with the workers who will be employed in these concessions. How this task will be handled in practice, I cannot say at the moment. To raise this question at the present time would be inadvisable, as the trade unions have more important tasks facing them.

In our fight against bureaucratism we certainly need the help of the trade unions. We must rely on them. This is basically provided for in the Party’s Programme.[13] This shows what a long struggle is needed and what systematic work faces us. When we shall have data that in such-and-such a workmen’s settlement the business of supervision is organised in such-and-such a way and definite results have been achieved, while in such-and-such a block, uyezd, etc. things are different-then we shall be able to weigh things, get them moving, and there will not only be talk about the “agitpotato” but we shall be in a position to check what steps have been taken in practice and on this ground apply practical measures that have already yielded results.

First published in 1963 in the Fifth Russian Edition of the Collected Works, Vol. 42
Printed from the shorthand record


Speech On Addenda To The Bill Of The C.P.C.
“On Measures To Consolidate And Develop
Peasant Farming”
Delivered To The B.C.?. Group
Of The Eighth Congress Of Soviets

December 27

Comrades, the Central Committee today has examined the decision adopted by the group concerning the deletion of the words “individual householders” from the point of the resolution on agriculture which deals with improvement and premiums. The C.C. has passed the following resolution and authorised me to defend it.[14] (Reads.) There, comrades, you have the text of the C.C.’s decision. Allow me now to   give the reasons why we simply could not agree with the group’s decision. We had no doubts, and this was particularly stressed at the C.C. meeting, that the principal reasons the group was guided by in its decision to reject the idea of premiums for individual householders were the fear that we would give premiums to the kulak, and the desire to give priority to the village commune, the volost, the collective unit—to common labour, not the individual. With this we are in perfect agreement. We consider, however, that it would be wrong to let ourselves reject altogether the idea of premiums for individual farmers for reasons, which in themselves are quite correct, fundamentally indisputable to any Marxist and especially valuable from the point of view of the peasantry.

Allow me to give you some information from the history of the origin of this bill. I have been following its progress through the Council of People’s Commissars fairly closely and must say that in the first draft, tabled by the Food Commissariat, the main accent, generally speaking, was on the hardworking farmer. The gist of Comrade Sereda’s proposals was that it would be wrong to stake on the hard-working farmer, and that we should stake on the village commune, the collective body. The Council’s attitude on this question-at least, mine-was that we had to weigh all the pros and cons and consult the local people. Indeed, it seemed wrong to me to reject premiums for individual farmers, but that the village commune had to be given priority-this might be all right if the local people with practical experience confirmed that it could and should be done. From this conflict of two points of view there emerged the formulation that was adopted for the bill of the Council of People’s Commissars, namely, that both be retained and a ratio established between the two kinds of premiums. The details, as defined in the Council, were to be covered by instructions. In fact the decision of the Council says that the instructions are to be drawn up within a definite stated period by the Commissariat for Agriculture, co-ordinated with the Commissariat for Food and endorsed by the Council of People’s Commissars. As an exception to the general procedure, when instructions are endorsed by a single order of the People’s Commissar concerned,   we arranged not only for verification—the participation of two People’s Commissars-but specially added that the Council of People’s Commissars demanded that the instructions be submitted to it for endorsement. Obviously, a great deal depended on the instructions.

After certain explanations given by comrades your decision not to give premiums to individual farms became clear to us. The Central Committee saw the point. The point is fear of unfair premiums, the giving of premiums to kulaks. Obviously, the best-run farms are those of the well-to-do peasants and the kulaks, and there are still plenty of these in the villages, on that score we haven’t the slightest doubt. If we, in paying a premium for an efficient farm, did not take care to find out how that efficiency was achieved, then, naturally, the kulak would prove to have the best-run farm. And if we ignore the question as to how, at what price, economic improvement is achieved, we shall find the kulak receiving unfair privileges. If we reward him with the means of production, that is, with things that make for farm expansion, we shall find ourselves indirectly, and perhaps even not quite indirectly, boosting the kulaks, because, in rewarding an industrious farmer without considering whether or not he achieved his good results by kulak practices, and what is more, rewarding him with things like the means of production, that is to say, things he can use to strengthen his influence with, we shall, of course, be running counter to the basic provisions of not only the agrarian, but of all Soviet policy, and infringing the basic principle—that of supporting the interests of the working people against those of the kulaks. In doing so we shall really be seriously undermining the principles and foundations of all Soviet policy in general, and not only of agrarian policy.

But if we are to draw from this the conclusion that individual farmers should not be rewarded, then take the following example: we give bonuses to individual workers at factories and mills, where collective, socialised, labour has reached an incomparably higher level than in agriculture. What is to be done about the peasantry then? In a peasant country, where individual peasant labour predominates to the extent of nine-tenths, probably ninety-nine per cent, where   we have twenty million peasant farms, we want to promote these farms and we must do so come what may. We know that their efficiency can he raised only after several long years of radical technical reform. We have learned something in our three years of practical work. We know how to build up the foundations of communism in agriculture—this can be done at the cost of a tremendous technical evolution. We clearly visualise that elaborated plan with located electric stations, we know the minimum-programme, the programme for the next ten years, but in this book on electrification we also have a maximum-programme, in which gigantic work is planned for years ahead. But now we have twenty million separate farms, which are run separately and cannot be run in any other way; and if we don’t encourage them to raise productivity this would be grossly wrong, it would be clearly overdoing it, it means a refusal to see facts of reality that strike the eye, facts that we have to reckon with and be guided by. It would be desirable, of course, to have these farms rise through collectivism, by whole volosts, communes, etc. But how far that is possible at present is a thing we have to reckon with. If you, working in the local areas, support progress in this direction and raise a whole commune or a whole volost—all the better; in that case give them all that is best in premium payments. But are you sure that you will manage it, that it is not sheer fantasy, which in the practical work will lead to the greatest blunders?

That is why we propose to you the last part of the C.C’s resolution reworded or amended as the practical workers may deem fit for inclusion in the resolution of the Congress of Soviets, so that this question should be decided by you and you should say here: premiums and rewards for individual farmers are acceptable under three known conditions. First, premiums for rural communes first and foremost, with householders coming second and receiving what remains—to this we agree. The second point says individual farmers who have achieved economic success by kulak practices should not be rewarded; it should not be a case of-you have made a go of it economically, you are to be rewarded. If anyone has achieved economic success, but employed a kulak method in doing so, whether in the form   of a loan, the hiring of labourers, or profiteering—kulak practices sometimes dodge the law-if anyone has employed the slightest kulak method to achieve success, he is to forfeit reward of any kind. This is the second restriction which goes still further to meet your principled point of view as to combating the kulaks and supporting the working middle peasants and poor peasants. The third restriction—what is to be issued as premiums. They may be given in the form of means of production—things like implements and machines that serve to expand and improve the farm; articles of consumption may be issued, household articles of adornment, things that make the home brighter and life more beautiful. We say: “Give the individual farmers only consumer and household goods, and, of course, medals.” You have already accepted the Order of the Red Banner.[15] As to the means of production, these may be given to individual farmers, but of such a type and on such conditions that they should not be usable for kulak purposes. No machines should be given, not even to the most hardworking farmer, not even if he has achieved success without the least resort to kulak practices. Machines should not be given, because by the very nature of their employment they require collective labour, and a farmer who receives a machine will not be able to use it by himself.

These are the considerations the C.C. was guided by and on the basis of which we have asked you to reconsider your decision, exchange opinions, and alter your decision if you deem it possible so as to allow individual farmers to be rewarded on the three conditions set forth above. If we do not accept this, we may not achieve needed results, since farm improvements cannot be carried out in a tired and ruined country without a special effort, and the hardworking farmers have to be rewarded. All hard work that contains no element of kulak practices should be rewarded. That is why we think that on considering these reasons you will agree to premiums subject to the three restrictive conditions mentioned above, which we think are really necessary in the interests of our economic development.

First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI
Printed from the shorthand record


Reply To Questions At The Meeting
Of The R.C.P. Group
Of The Eighth Congress Of Soviets

December 27

Before answering the notes it must be stated definitely whether a formal difference of opinion exists between the congress group and the Central Committee. Dealing with what the first speakers have said here: we adopted a definite decision, intending to fight the kulaks, but at that time you did not have the methods of struggle outlined by us in the three addenda. What did the comrades who, opposed these addenda say here? As a matter of fact they said nothing. The peasant Red Armyman who spoke here[16] said that the kulaks exist and they are growing, but we say definitely: if they are kulaks they will receive no reward. You are being asked to make that a law. Moreover, if the middle peasant achieves betterment individually, but may use it to become a kulak, he is not to receive a premium. What argument, then, has been advanced here against our reasons? None at all. It is reiterated that the kulak should not be rewarded. But we agree to that.

I shall deal now with the notes that have been sent up. The first one:

1) What will be the criterion for a “hardworking kulak” and a “hardworking middle peasant”?

2) If we do find that criterion here and work out a plan, how are we going to carry it out locally, all the more in places where the kulaks are still playing the leading role?

3) Where is the line to be drawn between rewarding a whole collective body and an individual farmer, or are both of them to be rewarded?

For one thing, the peasants know this better than we do. If the law bans any reward for people employing kulak practices, then this is broader than the notion of the kulak. The kulak is a man who generally uses kulak methods, and one or another kulak method is used by almost every middle peasant. That means we not only forbid premiums being given to kulaks but to any middle peasant as well, if he uses kulak methods, and these methods are endless   in their variety. That crude method by which an extra horse was bought for five poods is not the only one.[17] Would a premium be given to a kulak like that? What makes you think that people in the country will close their eyes to this? As to the criterion for a hardworking kulak and a hard-working middle peasant, the local people know this perfectly well. We have no intention of writing a law about this, as it would mean writing a whole volume describing kulak practices, and people locally know this perfectly well.

Secondly, haven’t we got uyezd committees of the Party, won’t this thing be handled by the rural commune, by the volost land departments, by the Party cell? How can we speak about fighting the kulaks in the local areas if there are no fighting cells there? This argument is beyond me.

Thirdly, the law says that priority is given to the collective body with the individual farmer coming second. The differentiation will be made in greater detail by the Uyezd Party Committee and all the other bodies that exist locally.

The second note:

In introducing its amendment does the CC. regard it as a political act, an incentive to the “hardworking peasants” to improve farming and industry in general so as to make it easier in the course of time to introduce collective cultivation? Will you please answer this?

In the first place, here is proof that there is nothing specially political in this question, something that should be kept from the non-Party peasants. Therefore I consider it quite right and think it should be made a custom to invite non-Party people to our group meetings on such questions. They will have no right of decision at the group meetings, but why not consult them? Our economic practice has shown that it is advisable to go over from individual to collective labour, but having experienced what this going means, we should not try to take it in our stride, but try to understand the need for doing it, the slower the going the better.

The third note:

I think the advocates of commune premiums ought to be asked whether they have enough ploughs and other implements to reward the commune with or not. If not, it’s not worth talking about.

This argument is incorrect. Generally speaking, we have few articles usable as premiums, and so few ploughs that,   as means of production, we shall not give them to individuals, but only to whole communes But why should we not, if we can, give a plough to a peasant who has worked hard to raise productivity? And who is to decide whether he is a kulak element or not? We must lend an ear to what people say lower down.

The next note:

Will you please, if possible, answer the following question right now on the back of this note. The Svyatiye Kresty Uyezd, Stavropol Gubernia, where I work, has had 10,000,000 poods of grain imposed on it for delivery by December 1,1920. We have delivered 3,200,000 poods. Owing to poor fulfilment we are widely practising confiscation of property from kulak elements, and so I ask you again, will you please tell us what we are to do? Should we carry out confiscation, or do it only as a last resort, so as not to ruin the farm?

This has no relation to the law we are discussing. Go on acting the way you have been doing. In strict conformity with the decree of the Soviet government and your own communist conscience go on freely acting the way you have been doing till now.

The next note.:

How is the “hardworking kulak” to be distinguished from the concept of “hardworking peasant”?

Our bill covers all that, and your asking this is an abuse of question time.

Next we are asked:

Who can define a hardworking peasant and how, say in any village? If this is to be done by elected or authorised persons in the village, it will mean an abuse of elected and authorised persons.

I have already said that we must make use of our Party. We have the Committees of Poor Peasants, and in the Ukraine we have their counterpart.

1) Please consider this. Peasant farmers were given a premium for delivering hemp in 1920. They received 100 arshins of textiles each, but the village poor haven’t received an arshin yet for 1920.

2) Is the fact taken into consideration that the system of premiums to individual farmers is an obstacle in the way of setting up collective farms and partly bolsters up the shaken foundations of capitalism in agriculture?

Comrades, you know that individual peasant farms with us are the foundations of capitalism, in a manner of speaking.   There is no doubt about that, and I pointed this out in my report, when I said straight out that the “Sukharevka” we had to fear was not the one that existed on Sukharevka Square or existed secretly on any other square, but the one that sits in the breast of every individual peasant farmer.* * See p. 247 of this volume.-Ed. Can we get away from this in a year or two years? We cannot. But farming has to be improved right now. You are guided by excellent communist motives, but you want to jump from this floor to that top, and we say-it won’t work, act more carefully and gradually


Why don’t the Food Commissariat and other institutions give food products for bonuses to workers of Group 3?

I don’t know why, but I should imagine it’s because we have terribly little food products available for bonus payments.

Will you kindly answer this question: What does the C.C. of the R.C.P. think of the idea of rewarding the more well-to-do peasants, i.e., those who have large allotments which they work themselves? And at the same time, how do the land-poor peasants stand who have no chance of giving a good account of themselves because they have so little land?

Why does he have a large allotment? If it is unfair, why does the commune or the Land Department let him keep it? Because others are not able to cultivate it. So why punish him, if he works hard on it? If he uses kulak methods, don’t let him do it, if he holds the allotment unfairly, take it away from him and give it to others, to those who will work it, but don’t blame a man for having a lot of land. In Russia there is no private property, the land is distributed by you yourselves and by, the commune. In Russia there are people who have large amounts of land. If the Party committee and the Soviet bodies see this and do nothing about it, they should be given the sack, but people should not be deprived of their premiums.

Two more notes. The first:

Will this point of the bill apply to the Ukraine?

I think it will, and I very much regret that not a single one of the comrades working in the Ukrainian Poor Peasants’ Committees has spoken here. I think the premature closing of the debate a great mistake.

The second one:

If the R.C.P. congress group rejects the resolution of the CC. shall we be worthy members of the R.C.P. or just showing our obstinacy?

My answer to this note is a document called “Rules of the Russian Communist Party”. In Clause 62 of this document we read: “On matters relating to its inner life and current work the group is autonomous.”[18] This means that all members of the group have the right and are bound to vote according to their conscience and not on the instructions of the C.C. If, in voting according to your conscience, you pass a second decision against the C.C’s proposal, we are obliged, on the basis of Clause 62, to summon the Central Committee, and we shall do so at once, and you will send your representatives to attend its meeting. A serious question like this were best discussed two or three times to iron out serious differences of opinion between us. That is how matters stand, that is how we have to act. You have to vote now, not because the higher Party body has issued directives, but because you have either been persuaded or you have not.

Comrades here were wrong to say that things must have been in a poor way if Lenin has been sent to speak up for them. This is not true. The Party Rules define your rights exactly. That’s one thing. Secondly, it isn’t true because there was not a single difference of opinion on this question in the Central Committee, which said outright: We have been carried away by our struggle against the kulaks and have forgotten measure. Let us remind people about measure.

The C.C. appointed two comrades because these two members of the C.C. had occasion, during the discussion of the bill, to take a more active part in it than others and spoke in the debates. I handled all the drafts, and so did Preobrazhensky. That’s why the two of us were appointed.

First published in 1963 in the Fifth Russian Edition of the Collected Works, Vol. 42
Printed from the shorthand record


Addenda To The Resolution On The Agrarian Question

Premiums to individual householders should,

first, come second compared with premiums to whole communes and collective bodies generally:

second, individual householders should be given premiums and generally rewarded only on the strict condition that the individual farmers have achieved their economic successes without the slightest use of kulak methods;

third, that individual householders receive premiums in the shape of medals, consumer goods, household goods, and so on; premiums in the shape of means of production are permissible for individual householders strictly on condition that only such means of production are issued as could under no circumstance be instrumental in turning the farmer into a kulak.[19]

Written December 27, 1920
First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI
Printed from the manuscript


[1] See Vol. 31 of this edition, p. 493.—Ed.

[2] The Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, Red Army and Cossack Deputies was held in Moscow from December 22 to 29, 1920. There was a record attendance of 2,537 delegates, of whom 1,728 had a vote and 809 a consultative voice. Of the total number of detcgates 91.7 per cent were Communists, 2.7 per cent sympathisers, 3.9 per cent non-Party people, 0.3 per cent Mensheviks, 0.3 per cent Bundists, 0.15 per cent Left S.Rs, 0.15 per cent anarchists, and 0.8 per cent from other parties. The questions on the agenda were: Report on the Work of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars; Electrification of Russia; Rehabilitation of Industry and Transport; Development of Agricultural Production and Assistance to Peasant Farming; Improving the Work of Soviet Agencies and Combating Bureaucratism. The principal questions on the agenda were discussed beforehand at meetings of the R.C.P. group. The congress set up three sections, on industry, agriculture and state organisation, to thrash out these problems.

At the plenary sessions of the congress Lenin delivered a report on December 22 on the work of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars, and a speech on December 23 winding up the debate on this question. He also took the floor six times at meetings of the Communist group of the congress (December 21, 22, 24 and 27) on the question of concessions and during the debate of the bill on measures to strengthen and develop peasant farming. See also present edition, Vol. 31, pp. 463-534.

[3] By a decision of the plenum of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) dated December 8, 1920, The Tenth Congress of the Party was to be convened in February 1921. In January, at the request of local organisations, the CC. decided to postpone the convocation of the Congress till March.

[4] Sukharevka—a market-place in Moscow. During the years of foreign military intervention and civil war it was a centre and symbol of black marketeering. It was closed down in 1932.

[5] Lenin is referring to the Decree of the Council of People’s Commissars on Concessions dated November 23, 1920. It was published in Izvestia No. 265 (1112) on November 25, 1920.

[6] Curzon’ a Note was a result of the successes of the Red Army, which had ousted the White Polish invaders from the Ukraine and Byelorussia in the summer of 1920. To hold up the advance of the Red Army and prevent a possible collapse of bourgeois Poland and defeat of Wrangel, the British Government sent a Note to Soviet Russia on July 11, 1920, signed by the British Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon. The Note in the form of an ultimatum demanded that the advance of the Red Army be stopped, that an armistice be concluded with Poland, and that the war with Wrangel should be terminated. The British Government offered to act as mediator and on behalf of the Allies’ Supreme Council threatened, in the event of the ultimatum being rejected, to assist Poland “with all the means at its disposal”.

In its reply, based on Lenin’s proposals, the Soviet Government firmly rejected Curzon’s mediation and insisted on direct negotiations with Poland. The Soviet Government protested against Britain’s attempt to annex the Crimea and agreed to guarantee the personal safety of Wrangel and his troops only on condition that they surrender immediately and completely.

[7] This refers to the booklet Yediny Icliozyaistvenny plan i yediny khozyaistvenny apparat (An Integrated Economic Plan and an Integrated Economic Apparatus) by S. I. Gusev, published in 1920 with a view to the forthcoming Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets.

[8] This figure gives the number of employees in all administrative, economic and cultural institutions, which were then run by the Moscow Soviet.

[9] Lenin is referring to Gusev’s booklet Ocherednige voprosy khozga- istvennogo stroitelstva (Immediate Problems of Economic Development. (On, CC., R.C.P. Theses.) Materials for the Ninth Party Congress published in 1920.

[10] This refers to the Far-Eastern Republic.

In the autumn of 1920 Washington Vanderlip, representing the U. S. Vanderlip Syndicate, conducted negotiations in Moscow for a concession on fishing and the prospecting and extraction of oil and coal in Kamchatka and other parts of Siberia east of the 160th meridian. At the end of October an agreement was drafted under which the Syndicate was to receive a concession for a term of sixty years. On the expiry of 35 years the Soviet Government was entitled to buy out all concession enterprises, and on the expiry of the agreed term the enterprises with their equipment in full running order were to be made over without compensation to the R.S.F.S.R. The Syndicate, however did not receive the support of the U.S. Administration and financial tycoons and the agreement was never signed.

[11] Lenin apparently has in mind the following section of the Programme of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). ,In all its work in the countryside the R.C.P. continues to rely on the proletarian and semi-proletarian elements, organises them first of all into an independent force by creating Party cells in the countryside, organisations of the poor peasants, a special type of trade unions with a membership of rural proletarians and semi-proletarians, and so on, bringing them as close together as possible to the urban proletariat and tearing them away from under the influence of the rural bourgeoisie and petty proprietary interests (The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee, Part I, 1954, p. 425).

[12] The full name is Vser’abotzemles, standing for Farm and Forest Workers’ Trade Union.

[13] Lenin is referring to the section of the Bolshevik Party Pragramme which says: “The participation of the trade unions in running the economy and drawing the broad masses into this activity is at the same time a chief means of struggle against the bureaucratisation of the economic apparatus of Soviet power and makes for a truly popular control over the results of production” (The C.P.S. U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Confe-rences and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee, Part I.

[14] During the discussion of the draft resolution of the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets, “On Measures to Consolidate and Develop Peasant Farming” the Communist group at the congress declared for the elimination of the points concerning personal premiums for individual farmers. On December 27, 1920, the C.C. at a plenary meeting, examined this question, pointed out that the congress group had adopted an erroneous decision and suggested that it be revised. The plenum adopted Lenin’s motion defining the conditions and principles for rewarding individual farmers (sec pp. 266-67 of this volume). The plenum authorised Lenin to deliver a report on this question before the congress group. After Lenin’s speech the group withdrew its former decision.

[15] The Order of the Red Banner was instituted by a decision of the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets as an award to groups of working people and individual citizens who displayed conspicu- ous devotion, initiative, industry and self-discipline in tackling economic problems.

[16] The person referred to was Yeryomin, a delegate to the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets.

[17] Lenin’s speech at the congress group meeting (see p. 257-61 of this volume) was followed by debates, in which Red Armyman Yeryomin, a middle peasant, tried to prove that the kulaks would be able all the same to take the poor peasants’ farming implements and horses away from them. He cited an example of Kozlov Uyezd, Tambov Gubernia, where the starving peasant poor were compelled to sell their horses to the kulaks for five poods of grain.

[18] See The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee. Part 1, 1954, p. 468.

[19] [PLACEHOLDER.] The points concerning ...

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