Stalinʹs letter about Bukharinʹs article ʺThe Economy of the Soviet Country.ʺ

Marx-Engels |  Lenin  | Stalin |  Home Page

    Stalin- Transcripts from Soviet Archives

Stalinʹs letter about Bukharinʹs article ʺThe Economy of the Soviet Country.ʺ

A source: The tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession. Documents and materials Volume 4. 1934 ‐ 1936. Moscow ROSSPEN p. 200‐201

Archive: RGASPI. F. 558. Op. 11.D. 1118.L. 37‐39. Copy.

No. 74

JV Stalinʹs letter to the members and candidates of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All‐Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) about NI Bukharinʹs article ʺThe Economy of the Soviet Countryʺ 66.

Members and candidates of the Politburo of the Central Committee: vols. Andreev, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Kalinin, Kirov, Kosior St., Kuibyshev, Mikoyan, Molotov, Ordzhonikidze, Petrovsky, Postyshev, Rudzutak, Stalin, Chubar Tov. Zhdanov Tov. Bukharin and Stetsky

Izvestia, dated May 12, 1934, published Comrade Bukharinʹs article ʺThe Economy of the Soviet Country.ʺ The article caused criticisms tons. Stetsky, circulated to members of the Politburo of 16 May 67 . In view of my proposal to Comrade Bukharin, the latter sent at the end of June to my name ʺReply to Comrade Stetsky,ʺ to which Comrade Stetskyʹs counter‐reply ʺOn Comrade Bukharinʹs New Critical Exercisesʺ followed.

I think these latest documents deserve to be sent to the members of the Politburo.

Sending them to the members of the Politburo, I consider it necessary to note that in the dispute between Comrades. Bukharin and Stetsky, Comrade Stetsky is right, not Bukharin.

1.                   Industrialization cannot be reduced to the creation of ʺfundsʺ in general, as Comrade Bukharin does 68 , since such a reduction obscures the difference between the ʺfundsʺ of heavy industry, which are leading and reorganizing the entire national economy, and the ʺfundsʺ of other branches of the national economy. that are neither leading nor reorganizing. For our policy, the whole point is in this difference.

2.                   It is impossible to make even a remote hint that our heavy industry has developed ostensibly through some or partial devouring of light industry and agriculture. It is impossible, since it does not correspond to reality, gives slander and discredits the policy of the party. And such, it is true, a distant hint is certainly found in Comrade Bukharinʹs article 69 .

In this regard, it should be noted that the former right‐wingers sometimes try to reduce the difference in the attitudes of the party and the right to the fact that the party was going to the goal, ostensibly with a frontal blow, and the right‐wingers went to the same goal in a roundabout, but less painful way, as if they had given the right opportunity, they would arrive at the goal with fewer sacrifices. There is no need to prove that such a ʺtheoryʺ has nothing to do with Marxism. In fact, the right‐wingers did not go ʺtowards the same goalʺ, but into a trap set by the class enemy, and if the workers obeyed the rightwingers, they would sit in a trap ... 1 * It seems to me that the vestiges of                 precisely this         counter‐revolutionary    ʺtheoryʺ                from      which, apparently, Comrade Bukharin has not yet freed himself, played a role in his article ʺThe Economy of the Soviet Country.ʺ

3.                   It is impossible to reduce the policy of collectivization to the concept of ʺagrarian revolutionʺ, as Comrade Bukharin does 70 . It is impossible, since such an ʺoperationʺ obscures the main thing that distinguishes the collectivization policy favorably from any other ʺagrarianʺ policy towards the peasantry. For our party, the whole point is in this difference. This is, of course, not an argument about ʺwords.ʺ This is a question of clarity and certainty in the wording. The strength of the Bolsheviks is that they do not neglect the demands of clarity and certainty.

4.                   You cannot talk about ʺclassicalʺ and non‐classical NEP 71 . You canʹt, as it confuses the issue and can confuse people. ʺNewʺ words are needed if they are caused by necessity, create clarity, and give clear advantages. They are harmful if they are not caused by necessity and give off artificiality. The Bolsheviks do not need to play with ʺnew wordsʺ.

I. Stalin.

1 * Outline of the document.

66                  NI Bukharinʹs article ʺThe Economy of the Soviet Countryʺ, published on May 12, 1934 in the newspaper ʺIzvestiaʺ, sums up the results of the countryʹs economic development, defines the characteristic features of the economy in that period. Bukharin believed that the most characteristic feature of the economy was the elimination of economic diversity. The socialist structure, according to the author, is “not only a leading principle,” “commanding height,” “dynamically decisive value,” etc. He is “the overwhelming colossus of the entire national economy. He is everything, minus the individual peasant and an insignificant number of artisans. ʺ Bukharin considered the problem of new fixed assets and the creation of heavy industry to be one of the most important difficulties in building a socialist economy.

Noting the imbalances in the development of the national economy (a shift towards heavy industry), Bukharin wrote about the difficulties of building socialism in agriculture, about the very significant ʺcostsʺ in the reorganization of agriculture. At the same time, he emphasized that “it would be extremely wrong to regard both“ halves ”of the economic whole as separate and isolated forces,” the rise of heavy industry led to an acceleration in the rate of development of the entire socialist economy as a whole. The ratio between production and consumption in the second five‐year plan, according to Bukharin, is changing towards consumption, which meant ʺestablishing a real connection between both industriesʺ, ʺthe interests of production and the interests of consumption, separated in capitalist society, merge under socialism.ʺ

Thus, the internal tendencies in the development of socialist society lead to an ʺunusually efficient societyʺ, ʺa tremendous increase in the productivity of social labor.ʺ

67                  In a letter dated May 13, 1934, addressed to I.V. Stalin, L.M. Kaganovich, A.A. Zhdanov, Stetsky accused N.I. Bukharin that the article “The Economy of the Soviet Country” “abounds in theoretically incorrect formulations, some provisions represent a relapse of rightwing opportunistic confusion on major issues. ʺ

Stetsky believed that the mention of NI Bukharin in the article of Leninʹs definition of the economy of pre‐revolutionary Russia as a multistructured one is an absurd formulation leading to confusion. Further Stetsky noted that the problem of industrialization has been replaced by the ʺproblem of new fixed assetsʺ, which in Bukharin include the funds of industry and transport, and agriculture, and this, according to the author of the letter, smears the clear policy of industrialization ʺand allows you to invest whatever content you wantʺ into it.

According to Stetsky, ʺComrade Bukharinʹs exposition of the sources of accumulation gives off a bad spirit.ʺ In particular, Bukharinʹs indication that ʺthe percentage of the accumulated part turned out to be extremely highʺ (due to a decrease in the percentage of consumption), which also meant ʺthe export of consumer goods for the import of means of production.ʺ

Stetsky also believed that Bukharin absolutely wrongly replaced the policy of collectivization and liquidation of the kulaks as a class with the term ʺagrarian revolutionʺ, an extremely general term and which, as Stetsky wrote, ʺdoes not directly express the work done by the party for the socialist remaking of the countryside.ʺ And, finally, Stetsky criticized that part of Bukharinʹs article that spoke of the NEP period. Here the author of the letter did not particularly like Bukharinʹs phrase: ʺThe turn towards NEP was a retreat.ʺ Stetsky wrote that in this and other provisions of the article, ʺthe assertion of Comrade Bukharinʹs former views on NEPʺ is manifested.

Summing up his criticism, the head of the department of culture and propaganda of Leninism of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) wrote in conclusion: “Apparently, Comrade Bukharin decided to again act as the theorist setting the tone. Op is original and tries to say, ʺnew wordsʺ. However, these words sound in the old way, in Bukharinʹs way. Comrade Bukharin should draw serious conclusions from this clearly unsuccessful and confusing article ʺ(RGASPI. F. 329. Op. 2. D. 2. L. 115 ‐ 117).

68                  Apparently, JV Stalin had in mind the following provision of NI Bukharinʹs article: “One of the most important and central difficulties in building a socialist economy was, of course, the problem of new fixed assets (new means of production), or still in capitalist language, the problem of fixed capital. ʺTechnical reconstructionʺ, ʺsocialist accumulationʺ, ʺnew fixed capitalʺ, ʺre‐equipment of the entire economyʺ, etc. ‐ all these are different formulas to designate, in essence, one question, one task, which boiled down to the movement of productive forces on a new, socialist basis. ʺ

69                  NI Bukharinʹs article contains the following remark about the development of heavy industry, which, apparently, is criticized by JV Stalin: “... the percentage of the accumulated part of the national economy turned out to be extremely high (and because ʺ), The redistribution of productive forces was partially due to other sectors (including agriculture), the ratio between production and consumption developed towards a decisive preponderance of the former ...ʺ

70                  NI Bukharin wrote about collectivization: “It was a gigantic agrarian revolution carried out by the proletarian dictatorship with the expropriation of the means of production of the kulaks, a revolution in economic forms, a radical regrouping of class forces. from the industry, i.e., revolution in the technical basis of agriculture”.

71                  Bukharin mentions the era of ʺclassicalʺ NEP in connection with the consideration of market problems: ʺThe market of the era ofʺ classical ʺNEP had as its deepest basis a small individual peasant economy, fragmented labor, a peasant household.ʺ


“Transcripts from the Soviet Archives”, 14 Volume, Svitlana M, Erdogan A