From letters of Stalin to L.M. Kaganovich in connection with the development and implementation of the law of August 7, 1932

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From letters of Stalin to L.M. Kaganovich in connection with the development and implementation of the law of August 7, 1932

A source: The tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession. Documents and materials Volume 3. End of 1930 ‐ 1933. Moscow ROSSPEN 2000. Pp. 418‐420

Archive: RGASPI. F. 81. Op. 3.D. 99.L. 106‐113, 117, 121‐123, 144‐145, 151; D. 100.L. 1‐7. No. 151

Kaganovich, Molotov

July 20

... Recently , theft of goods by rail has become more frequent, firstly 1 * (plundered by tens of millions of rubles); secondly, the theft of cooperative and collective farm property. Thefts are organized mainly by the kulaks (dispossessed) and other anti‐Soviet elements who seek to undermine our new system. According to the law, these gentlemen are considered ordinary thieves, receive two to three years in prison (formal), but in fact, after 6 to 8 months they are amnestied. Such a regime for these gentlemen, which cannot be called socialist, only encourages them, in fact, a real counter‐revolutionary ʺWorkʺ. To endure such a situation is unthinkable. I propose to issue a law (to remove or abolish existing laws), which would:

a)  equated in its importance railway cargo, collective farm property and cooperative property to state property 

b) punish for embezzlement (theft) of property of these categories at least ten years in prison, and, as a rule, with the death penalty;  

c)  abolish the application of amnesty to criminals of such ʺprofessionsʺ.

Without these (and similar) draconian socialist measures, it is impossible to establish a new social discipline, and without such discipline it is impossible to defend and strengthen our new system. I think that we should not hesitate to pass such a law .

The ʺdecree on collective farm tradeʺ will undoubtedly revive to a certain extent the kulak elements and speculators‐resellers, he wrote. The former will try to embarrass the collective farmer and incite him to leave the collective farm. The latter will get into the crowd and try to transfer trade on their own tracks. It is clear that we must eradicate this scum. I propose to instruct the OGPU and its local bodies:

a) take under strict supervision the village and all active preachers against the new collective farm system, active preachers of the idea of leaving the collective farm ‐ to seize and send to concentration camps;

c) take under strict surveillance bazaars, markets and all speculators and resellers .., seize, confiscate and send to concentration camps. Without these (and similar) measures, it is impossible to strengthen the new system and the new, Soviet trade.

The OGPU and its organs must immediately set about preparing their forces for the study of the enemy. You can start operations in a month, not earlier ... Hello!

I. Stalin


July 26, 1932

Greetings , Comrade Kaganovich!

... I think that it would be more expedient to combine in one law the issue of protecting collective farm and cooperative property , as well as railway cargo, with the issue of protecting the collective farms themselves, that is, the fight against those elements that use violence and threats or preach the use of violence and threats against collective farmers in order to force the latter to leave the collective farm in order to violently destroy the collective farm.

The law can be divided into three sections, of which the first section will deal with the goods of railroad and water transport, with the designation of the appropriate punishment, the second ‐ on the collective farm and cooperative property (property) and the corresponding punishment, the third ‐ on the protection of the collective farms themselves from violence and threats from parties of kulak and other antisocial elements, indicating that crimes in such cases will be punished in prison for 5 to 10 years, followed by imprisonment in concentration camps for 3 years and without the right to apply an amnesty.


I. Stalin


4 August 1932

Hello, Comrade Kaganovich!

I am returning the draft decree. As you can see, Iʹve expanded it a bit. Publish it soon ...

Outrages are happening on the railways ... The OGPU TO bodies are asleep ... Give the OGPU TO directive to have armed people on the line and shoot hooligans on the spot.


I. Stalin

11 August 1932

Hello, Comrade Kaganovich!

... Decree on the protection of public property, of course, is good, and he will soon take on a momentum its action. The decree against speculators is also good and timely (it should be issued soon). But all this is not enough. We also need a decree from the Central Committee to the party and judicial‐punitive organs on the meaning of these two decrees and the methods of their implementation. This is absolutely essential. Tell who should be prepared to draft such a letter. Iʹll be in

Moscow soon and see ...


I. Stalin


17 August 1932

Hello, Comrade Kaganovich!

... Pravda is behaving stupidly and bureaucratic‐blindly, not launching a broad campaign on the question of enforcing the law on the protection of public property. The campaign must be started immediately. It is necessary:

a)   explain the meaning of the law point by point;

b)  criticize and expose those regional, city and district organizations (as well as rural ones) that are trying to shelter the law, without giving it a course in practice;

c)   to pin down those judges and prosecutors who show liberalism in relation to plunderers of goods, collective farm crops, collective farm stocks, cooperative property, etc., to a pillory;

d)  publish sentences in such cases in a prominent place;

e)   mobilize their correspondents, accordingly, instructing them and print their correspondence;

f)    praise and encourage those organizations that try to implement the law in good faith, etc. etc. This campaign should be systematic and long‐term.

We must systematically hammer at one point in order to force our workers to turn ʺface to the lawʺ on the protection of public property.


I. Stalin

1 * Here and below, the words underlined by the author of letters are italicized.

From the speeches of S.V. Kosior, B.P.Sheboldaev, F.I. Goloshchekin, I.V. Stalin

From the speeches of S.V. Kosior, B.P.Sheboldaev, F.I. Goloshchekin, I.V. Stalin at the joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the CPSU (b). January 7‐12, 1933

A source: The tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession. Documents and materials Volume 3. End of 1930 ‐ 1933. Moscow ROSSPEN 2000. Pp. 625‐631

Archive: RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 2. File 514. Issue I. Sheet 19 ob. ‐ 21 ob., 43 ob. ‐ 44. Verbatim record. Typographic text; Stalin I.V. Op. T. 13.P. 216219, 223, 224, 229, 230, 233.

No. 254

From the speech of S. V. Kosior

... This fact alone, that the Soviet power in this five‐year plan saved our working class from unemployment, that we have got rid of that scourge and horror called unemployment forever ‐ this alone puts our achievements on an absolutely immeasurable height from the point of view of a radical improvement of the workers class. This alone covers up all the shortcomings that we still have in the sense of shortcomings in the supply of workers, etc.

The same is true of the material position of the main mass of the peasantry. Due to lack of time, I will give only one example. You all know that the Right Bank of Ukraine, the former Podolsk and Volyn provinces, have always been the sources of thousands of emigration, resettlement, due to the unprecedented poverty that existed in these places. The colossal overpopulation created unprecedented conditions of need in these areas. Everyone knows that the agricultural proletarians and semi‐proletarians who worked in the landownersʹ estates in Podolia and Volyn were in the most downtrodden, in the most beggarly position. These people were in the most poverty‐stricken position, who tried to escape from poverty and moved to the North, moved to America and wherever they wanted. It is completely different now. If at the beginning of the five‐year plan we had a conversation about resettlement from these areas, about how that we still have a large overpopulation, now this question has been completely removed by life, by a radical change in the position of the peasant masses. In a region that used to be subjected to this terrible scourge of overpopulation and poverty, we are now in a position where we can hardly recruit a certain number of workers to our enterprises. All of this population found a job, improved their financial situation, especially after a complete collectivization. We have created a solid foundation for the stable material position of the collective farm peasant and a solid foundation for further raising his material and cultural level. now we are in such a position that with great difficulty we can recruit a certain number of workers to our enterprises. All of this population found a job, improved their financial situation, especially after a complete collectivization. We have created a solid foundation for the stable material position of the collective farm peasant and a solid foundation for further raising his material and cultural level. now we are in such a position that with great difficulty we can recruit a certain number of workers to our enterprises. All of this population found a job, improved their financial situation, especially after a complete collectivization. We have created a solid foundation for the stable material position of the collective farm peasant and a solid foundation for further raising his material and cultural level.

Especially on this question, on the question of the position of the working class and the peasant‐collective farm masses, it is necessary with special persistence to expose all kinds of liars, counterrevolutionaries, enemies of the Party who are trying to slander our Party.

... In his speech, Tomsky generally gives approximately the following hint: as far as industry is concerned, the issue has been resolved, the matter is so clear that, as they say, one cannot argue against facts. Here, they say, you have succeeded in industry, but as for the countryside, something is wrong, things are going very badly. It is no accident that it is precisely on this issue that the repentant, but not completely disarmed, stumble every time. It is every time when we have any difficulties with the village, conversations begin, conversations begin that something will definitely happen, and suddenly we fail, and suddenly there will be trouble. And again, the question of agricultural degradation is being raised. And due to the fact that Ukraine, in particular, is now a topic for all kinds of conversations, I would like to dwell on this specially.

... We have strong, growing and developing collective farms in Ukraine, and this is what gave us the opportunity, despite the difficult conditions of the last year, to keep Ukrainian agriculture at a certain level, which in all respects is much higher than with individual farming. In relation to the marketability of agriculture in the Ukraine, we have an increase of one and a half to two times in comparison with what we had at the beginning of complete collectivization. This is what gave us the opportunity in past years to increase grain procurements so strongly and significantly, and all the mistakes of the past year, even the difficulties with the grain procurement campaign of this year, all this cannot shake the fact that, after all, the strength and level of agriculture now it is much larger, stronger and more durable than it was at the beginning of collectivization, at the beginning of the five‐year plan.

... It has already been said about the struggle for the grain procurement plan. If earlier individual farms gave 500 ‐ 600 million poods. bread, now we are talking about 1200‐1400 million poods. Is there more or less grain in Ukraine now than it was under individual farming or at the beginning of collectivization? I must say that now we have more bread than there was then. But, if despite the large amount of bread, it is still difficult for us to take it, then there are a number of other reasons. And above all, the reason is that in a number of sectors, in a number of regions, we have to some extent missed the penetration of hostile elements into collective farms, the contamination of party organizations, missed the activation of nationalist counterrevolutionary elements that took advantage of the well‐known possibilities of our national republic, penetrated our institutions, MTS, collective farms, etc. and even managed to plant their cells here and there.

To eliminate this cause, we are now conducting a most severe attack on these elements, in order to expose them, to expose them, in order to destroy and render harmless.

... Although we have more grain, the trouble is that the collective farm bread is being devoured by the parasites and idlers still on the collective farms, as well as a large number of parasites that live in the village, do not sow, do not reap, but feed on stolen collective farm grain. You can see, especially in large villages, which have 1000 ‐ 1500 households, that there are necessarily 100‐150 households of so‐called individual farms that are not engaged in agriculture. How do these parasitic elements live? They live on stolen collective farm grain. Due to the fact that our collective farmers have not yet cultivated a socialist attitude towards social good, due to the fact that we have not yet been able to enforce the fruitful protection of public collective farm property, as a result, a huge amount of collective and state farm grain is plundered, reducing our resources.

From the speech of B.P. Sheboldaev

... Of tremendous importance is Comrade Stalinʹs instruction that the class struggle is taking place under new conditions, that the class struggle is being waged by the enemy by new methods, which are basically characterized by sabotage and sabotage. I say this because we have seen this in practice in the North Caucasus. It was to us that the Central Committee was forced to point out that the sabotage organized by the kulaks in the Kuban requires special and special measures. In what is the most vivid expression of this sabotage in our Kuban, elements of which are undoubtedly present in other regions of our region, and are probably also in a number of other regions of our Union? First of all, the fact that the collective farms do not work in the way they might require from the collective farms, from the collective farmers. Return to work, labor productivity, production rate, quality of work,

... Eismont and someone else from this group of Smirnov are interested in the North Caucasus, they go to see how things are there. In one of his conversations, essentially counter‐revolutionary conversations, he announced that there must be an uprising in the North Caucasus in the spring of 1933. This alone is enough to make it clear what the enemy is saying. We have penetrated so deeply, so thoroughly into all the pores of the village that there can be no talk of the collapse of collective farms, of any protests, uprisings. This is nonsense! We may still have some breakthroughs in the work of some of our collective farms, in certain areas, but to agree to such nonsense means not seeing anything, not seeing all the work that has been done in the countryside, not understanding that there is no turning back.

... And we have a lot of communists who, say, when we are conducting an offensive against sabotage, breaking this sortie of the class enemy, although the grain procurement plan has not been fulfilled, they say: “How can you take seeds. We will leave the farm without seeds. We must first create funds, and then fulfill our obligations to the state ”. They go to deception, go to all sorts of tricks in order to deceive the state.

... There is one more breed of communists in the village. These are the communists who have lost their fighting capacity, who are unable to fight, who swear by the formulas of our general party line, but in practice they will not strike a finger for the fulfillment of the grain procurement plan, for sowing, for all sorts of measures. We consider them not only a ballast, but we also consider it a hidden form of the same sabotage of the right opportunist struggle against our party.

... I end by being deeply convinced and I think that this is the opinion of our organization, that, firstly, all the measures that we are carrying out on the instructions of the Central Committee in the matter of breaking down the resistance of the Communists and sabotaging the organized kulaks, that these these measures are supported by the main decisive cadres of our workers and the bulk of the collective farmers. This is absolutely certain. Undoubtedly, this decision raised the vigilance, fighting efficiency and political armament of our organization. With Leninʹs perspicacity, our Central Committee and Comrade Stalin grasped the political essence of what was happening, or rather was just beginning to emerge, in the collective farms and villages of the Kuban, and quickly mobilized our organization into an offensive against the class enemy. This is one of the examples of that real Leninist analysis of the conditions of the class struggle and the bold decisive and firm implementation of the necessary measures that ensured our party and the working class under the leadership of the Central Committee and the leader of the party, comrade Stalin, the greatest, world‐wide historical significance, victories of the first fiveyear plan, the consequences of which we can hardly fully assess now. It is this leadership that will provide us with even greater victories in the future.

From a speech by F. I. Goloshchekin

When summing up the results of the first five‐year plan and those colossal achievements that our party has, our country is of great importance for our party what gave the five‐year plan in such backward national outskirts as Kazakhstan was and is a part of. Those results, those huge shifts that are achieved by the five‐year plan in Kazakhstan, are a vivid indicator of how, on the basis of resolving the main tasks of the proletarian dictatorship in the Union, simultaneously, simultaneously solving the problem with respect to the formerly oppressed nationalities, are a vivid indicator of the correct consistent implementation of the national policy of our party. These results are a striking indicator striking at the opportunists, nationalists, against their counter‐revolutionary slander, emphasizing certain negative phenomena that inevitably appear in very complex processes, taking place in Kazakhstan, obscuring the huge achievements, huge shifts that we have in Kazakhstan over these five years. This is the main method of the nationalists in the struggle against the party line, against the socialist reorganization of the Kazakh aul, which are thus the conductors of the Bai interests.

... We have achieved even more striking changes in agriculture. The sown area increased from 4 million hectares in 1928 to 5.5 million hectares in 1932 by 130%. The area of industrial crops increased by 219%. Areas of oilseed crops increased by 395%; area of forage crops by 383%. A very sharp change and socio‐economic shifts have also been made towards the exclusive prevalence of socialist agriculture and animal husbandry. In 1928 we did not have a single state farm, in 1932 we have 232 state farms with 22.5 million hectares of land, against the plan of 3.5 million.

Chubar. Nobody measured them.

Goloshchekin. Nobody measured, because there was land management ( movement in the hall). Does it strike you?

Kosior. It is amazing.

Goloshchekin. So much the better if it even amazes you.

... Collectivization covers in our country up to 60% of the poor and middle peasants of the Kazakh population, with fluctuations in agricultural areas up to 65% and more, and in nomadic and seminomadic regions up to 30%. On the basis of this collectivization, a policy of liquidating the kulaks and bays as a class was carried out.

We can confidently assert that semi‐feudal relations in the Kazakh auls have been destroyed, and a severe blow has been dealt to the remnants of clan relations. Of course, in the Kazakh auls there is still a Bai influence and their sabotage work, a struggle against the socialist reorganization of auls, a struggle to preserve clan survivals, to preserve the conditions for the manifestation of their exploitative tendencies. We will still have to fight hard with all this, but we have already created conditions that ensure the victory of the working Kazakh masses over the bayism. On the basis of all the measures indicated above, with the help of the proletarian state, we carried out and are carrying out the settling of the Kazakh population.

... We are entering the second five‐year plan fortified ‐ we have found a way. The Central Committee helps us a lot, it is very attentive to the tasks of Kazakhstan.

From the speech of I. V. Stalin

... What is the main shortcoming of our work in the countryside in the last year, in 1932?

The main drawback is that grain procurements in this year were more

difficult with us than in the previous year, than in 1931.

There is no way to explain this by the poor state of the harvest, because our harvest this year was not worse, but better than in the previous year. No one can deny that the gross grain harvest in 1932 was greater than in 1931, when a drought in the five main regions of the northeast of the USSR significantly reduced the countryʹs grain balance. Of course, in 1932 we also had some yield losses due to unfavorable climatic conditions in the Kuban and Terek, as well as in some regions of Ukraine. But there can be no doubt that these losses do not even account for half of the losses that took place in 1931 due to the drought in the north‐eastern regions of the USSR. Consequently, in 1932 we had more grain in our country than in 1931. And yet, despite this circumstance, grain procurements in our country in 1932 took place with greater difficulties than in the previous year.

Whatʹs the matter here? Where are the reasons for this lack of our work? How can the discrepancy be explained?

1) This is explained primarily by the fact that our local comrades, our village workers have failed to take into account the new situation in the countryside created by the announcement of collective farm trade in grain.

... In order not to disrupt the assignments of the Soviet power, the communists had to under this new situation from the very first days of harvesting, in July 1932, they had to intensify and accelerate grain procurement in every possible way. This was required by the situation. What did they do in practice? Instead of speeding up grain procurements, they began to speed up the formation of all kinds of funds in the collective farms, thereby increasing the restraint of grain suppliers in fulfilling their obligations to the state.

... Did the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars and the Central Committee take into account this new situation, which had developed in connection with the collective farm trade in grain, in their well‐known resolution on the development of collective farm trade? Yes, we did. This resolution explicitly states that collective farm trade in grain can be opened only after the grain procurement plan has been fully and completely fulfilled and the seeds have been collected. It is said so bluntly that only after the end of grain procurements and the filling of seeds, by about January 15, 1933, only after these conditions are fulfilled will it be possible to open collective farm trade in grain. With this resolution, the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars and the Central Committee seemed to be telling our village workers: do not obscure your attention with concern for funds and supplies of all kinds, do not be distracted from the main task, expand grain procurements from the very first days of harvesting and force them,

... The Party can no longer confine itself to individual acts of interference in the process of agricultural development. It must now take the leadership of the collective farms into its own hands, assume responsibility for the work and help the collective farmers lead their economy forward on the basis of the data of science and technology.

... Without systematic intervention on the part of the Soviet government in the work of collective farm development, without its systematic assistance, it is impossible to establish such an economy.

... The face of the class enemy has changed in recent years, the tactics of the class enemy in the countryside have changed, and that accordingly it is necessary to change their tactics in order to achieve success. The enemy understood the changed situation, understood the strength and might of the new system in the countryside and, realizing this, reorganized himself, changed his tactics, switched from a direct attack against the collective farms to working on a sly. But we didn’t understand this, we didn’t see the new situation and we continue to look for the class enemy where he no longer exists, we continue to carry out the old tactics of a simplified struggle against the kulaks, while this very tactic has long been outdated.

They are looking for a class enemy outside the collective farms, looking for him in the form of people with a brutal physiognomy, with huge teeth, with a thick neck, with an image in their hands. Looking for the fist as we know it from the posters. But such fists have long since disappeared from the surface. The current kulaks and podkulachniki, the current anti‐Soviet elements in the countryside are for the most part ʺquietʺ, ʺsweetʺ people, almost ʺsaints.ʺ They do not need to be looked for far from the collective farm, they sit in the collective farm itself and occupy the positions of storekeepers, bookkeepers, secretaries, etc. They will never say ʺdown with the collective farms.ʺ She is in favor of collective farms. But they are doing such sabotage work on the collective farms that the collective farms will not be happy with them.

... In order to discern such a clever enemy and not succumb to demagoguery, one must possess revolutionary vigilance, one must possess the ability to tear the mask off the enemy and show the collective farmers his real, counter‐revolutionary face. But how many Communists in our village do we have with these qualities? Communists often not only fail to expose such class enemies, but, on the contrary, succumb to their fraudulent demagogy and lag behind them.

... I think that the political departments of the MTS and state farms are one of the decisive means by which it will be possible to eliminate these shortcomings in the shortest possible time. ( Stormy, long‐lasting applause .)