V. I. Lenin
LETTER TO V. M. MOLOTOV
[March 23, 1922]
FOR THE PLENARY MEETING
OF THE C.C., R.C.P.(B.)
WITH THE PLAN OF THE POLITICAL REPORT
FOR THE ELEVENTH PARTY CONGRESS
in Pravda No. 201,
August 30, 1928
Published according to
From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1966
Vol. 33, pp. 251-53.
Translated from the Russian
Edited by David Skvirsky
and George Hanna
Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, firstname.lastname@example.org (September 1998)
March 23, 1922
Please will you convey to the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee:
1. My request to be excused from attending the Plenary Meeting on account of ill health (I shall not be able to manage both the sittings of the Plenary Meeting and the report at the Congress).
2. If my presence at the Plenary Meeting is necessary to explain the following plan of the report, I shall certainly come, and could arrive within two or three hours of being summoned.
3. Plan of the Political Report of the Central Committee that I propose to deliver at the Congress:
In the main repeat and in several points enlarge on what I said in my speech at the Metalworkers' Congress on March 6, 1922. Very briefly about Genoa. At somewhat greater length about NEP and the concept of "state capitalism".
Checking the (economic) retreat and the task of regrouping our forces. The warning given us by the bourgeoisie as expressed by the Smena Vekh writer Ustryalov, who said that NEP was not the "tactics" but the "evolution" of Bolshevism.
What we lack most is culture, administrative ability. Illustrate this by a few examples. Economically and politically NEP makes it fully possible for us to lay the foundations of socialist economy. It is "only" a matter of the cultural forces of the proletariat and of its vanguard.
What our revolution has won irrevocably and what still remains undone.
The possibility of intervention. The danger of a financial crisis. Take advantage of the "respite": concentrate on choosing men and on executive control.
The gulf between the magnitude of the tasks already undertaken and our material and cultural poverty.
Supplementary to the report, deal with the functions of the two Deputy Chairmen of the Council of People's Commissars and of the Council of Labour and Defence; refer to my correspondence on this subject with A. D. Tsyurupa beginning from the end of January 1922; to the regulations we three (plus Rykov) are now drafting on the reorganisation of this work and the need for the maximum verification of fulfilment.
Relieve the Council of People's Commissars of minor matters; demarcate its functions more precisely from those of the Council of Labour and Defence and of the Narrow Council of People's Commissars. Enhance the prestige of the Council of People's Commissars by enlisting the co-operation of leading comrades, the People's Commissars, and not only the Deputy Commissars.
In this connection and in conformity with Comrade Kalinin's repeated verbal statements and Comrade Yenukidze's written communication enclosed herewith, the Central Committee should recommend that the Congress approve the plan outlined above and the convocation of
the All-Russia Central Executive Committee for longer sessions than usual for the purpose of discussing the main questions of legislation and for a systematic review of the work of the People's Commissariats and of the Council of People's Commissars.
Lastly, it is necessary to delimit much more precisely the functions of the Party (and of its Central Committee) from those of the Soviet government; to increase the responsibility and independence of Soviet officials and of Soviet government institutions, leaving to the Party the general guidance of the activities of all state bodies, without the present, too frequent, irregular and often petty interference.
Draw up an appropriate resolution for endorsement by the Party Congress.
4. I request that the Central Committee Plenary Meeting appoint a supplementary rapporteur on behalf of the C.C., for my report will be too general. Moreover, I am not quite certain that I shall be able to deliver it. But the main thing is that I am months behind the current work of the Political Bureau.
With communist greetings,