V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1949 in Bolshevik No. 1. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 547-548.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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February 15, 1922

Copy to Comrade Tsyurupa and Comrade Kamenev

Comrade Sokolnikov,

Should not the main attention be directed to the development of trade, and to supervision of it through the Trade Department of the State Bank?

Should we not organise this matter so as to find two or three dozen (or even less, if our damned bureaucratic machine cannot cope with such a “difficult” task) representatives of the Trade Department of the State Bank, and so that these representatives should receive bonuses in proportion to the growth of commercial turnover in those enterprises or territorial regions which have been “entrusted” to them?

It would seem to me that this would be more realistic than selling up special commissions or institutions which, given our rotten customs (with pretensions to “true communism”), will inevitably degenerate into bureaucratic stupidity. Meanwhile the Trade Department of the State Bank must be given a clear practical task—to develop internal trade and take it under its own control. And for the development of operations let both the representatives and the members of the board (if there are members of the board in the Trade Department of the State Bank) receive their bonuses—but only for the development of operations.

Judging by what Gorbunov has told me about the results of his “troubles” over the Belov and GUM[1] affair, it is clear that the Trade Department of the State Bank is at fault here. They slept in, they missed the bus, they waited, like   real jack-in-office scoundrels, for an order “from above”. I think the Trade Department should be punished at once for this, where it hurts most, with the warning: one more such yawn, one more such display of sleepiness—and it means prison.

Another practical means, it would seem to me, is the registration of private commercial deals arid a tax on them, by means of a stamp duty or something similar. How does this question stand? Cannot private trade be placed in such a way (or begin to be placed) under the control of the People’s Commissariat of Finance and the State Bank?

I think that the success of the work of the entire People’s Commissariat of Finance should be measured 99 per cent by the development of state trade and of the Trade Department of the State Bank (in the granting of credit to private trade). Everything else counts only 1 per cent.

With communist greeting,


[1] GUM—a state department store in Moscow, of which Belov was director at the time.

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