Written: Written on July 20, 1921
Published: First published in 1923 in the book: Chetvyortoye soveshchaniye TsK R.K.P. s otvetstvennymi rabotnikami natsionalnykh respublik i oblastei (Stenografichesky otchot) (Fourth Conference of the C.C. of the R.C.P. with Responsible Workers of the National Republics and Regions [Stenographic Report]), Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, page 541.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein


To the first question—yes.

To the second—for a long time yet.

To the third—not “pedagogues and nurse-maids”, but helpers.

To the fourth—please let me have exact, brief, clear information on the “two tendencies”.

[1] The note was in reply to a letter from S. G. Said-Galiev, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, who raised four questions:

“1. Is there need for the existence of small autonomous republics within the Russian Soviet Federation in general, and of the Tatar Republic in particular?

“2. If the answer is ‘yes’, then for how long, or, in other words, until the fulfilment of what tasks or the attainment of what goals?

“3. Is it right to say that the Communists of the formerly dominant nation, as having a higher level in every respect, should play the part of pedagogues and nurses to the Communists and all other working people of the formerly oppressed nationalities, whose name has been given to the said autonomous republic (region, commune), and that the former should give up their places to the latter as they grow?

“4. In all autonomous republics, the Tatar Republic in this case, there are two clearly distinct trends (groupings) among the native Communists (Tatars): one of them takes the standpoint of class struggle and works for further class differentiation of the sections of the native population, and the other has a shade of petty-bourgeois nationalism....

“Is it right ... that the former should enjoy the full and all-round support of the whole of the R.C.P.(B.) and its supreme organs, whereas the latter (insofar as they are sincere and have a burning desire to work for the proletarian revolution and insofar as they are useful because of their work) should merely be made use of and simultaneously educated in a spirit of pure internationalism, without, however, being given preference over the former, as has been recently the case not only in the Tatar Republic?”