V. I. Lenin


Dictated December 30-31, 1922 Published in 1956 in the journal
Kommunist No. 9 and as a pamphlet


Printed from
the shorthand notes

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1966

Vol. 36, pp. 605-11.

Translated from the Russian
by Andrew Rothstein
Edited by Yuri Sdobnikov

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (May 2000)
(Corrected October 2003)



THE QUESTION OF NATIONALITIES OR "AUTONOMISATION" (Continued ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



page 713


  [655] Autonomisation -- the idea to unite the Soviet Republics through their entry into the R.S.F.S.R. on the principle of autonomy. This was at the basis of the "Draft Resolution on Mutual Relations of the R.S.F.S.R. and Independent Republics", which was proposed by Stalin and adopted, in September 1922, by a C.C. commission set up to work out for the C.C. plenum the question of further relationships between the R.S.F.S.R., the Ukrainian Republic, the Byelorussian Republic and the Transcaucasian Federation. In a letter to the members of the Political Bureau on September 26, 1922, Lenin seriously criticised the project. He proposed a totally different solution of the question, namely, voluntary union of all the Soviet Republics, including the R.S.F.S.R., in a new state entity, the Union of Soviet Republics, based on complete equality.
    He wrote: "We recognise ourselves equal with the Ukrainian Republic, and the others, and join the new union, the new federation together with them and on an equal footing. . . ." The C.C. Commission, in accordance with Lenin's instructions, revised the draft resolution, which was approved by a Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee in October 1922. Preparatory work for the unification of the Republics was started on the basis of the C.C. decision. On December 30, 1922, the First Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R. adopted its historic decision on the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

page 714

    Lenin attached exceptional importance to the correct conduct of national policy and the implementation of the Declaration and Treaty, adopted by the Congress of Soviets. On December 30 and 31, he dictated his letter "The Question of Nationalities or 'Autonomisation'". It was read out at a meeting of leaders of delegations to the Twelfth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) in April 1923. The Congress adopted a resolution, "On the National Question", based on Lenin's injunctions.    [p. 605]

  [656] The plenary meetings of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.) held in October and December 1922 had on their agenda questions of the formation of the U.S.S.R.    [p. 605]