JV Stalinʹs speech on the report of VM Molotov. November 26, 1934

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JV Stalinʹs speech on the report of VM Molotov. November 26, 1934

A source: The tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession. Documents and materials Volume 4. 1934 ‐ 1936. Moscow ROSSPEN p. 320‐326

Archive: RGASPI. F. 558. Op. 11.D. 1118. L. 42‐61. Uncorrected transcript. No. 117

Stalin . Comrades, it is not customary to applaud in our Central Committee. This is not a meeting or conference.

I took the floor in order to clarify several questions, as I understand them, due to the fact that the speakers, apparently, do not quite understand, did not quite understand the meaning and significance of the introduction of this reform.

What is the meaning of the whole policy of canceling the card system? First of all, we want to strengthen the monetary economy. I will give the roughest formulations so that the comrades do not think that something is being hushed up here. Strengthen the monetary system in the Soviet conditions and does expand trade, replacing the system of turnover or policies of the current or the current policy of the mechanical distribution of products when deemed no longer a need for the region and not with human beings, but with an abstract person, is not considered a consumer 1*. I distributed so many goods, so many breads, take it while it is whole, you will not take it, it will still be lost. This principle needs to be changed. We stood on the basis of trade turnover. We have already stood on the basis of commodity circulation, but we must firmly stand with both feet on the basis of accounting for living people, on the basis of moving towards the consumer. Our consumer is not considered a person now. They gave you rations ‐ live as you know, good or bad. This principle, in my opinion, is stupid, which had its justification, while we did not have enough bread, now it should be banned.

We need to develop in full swing trade in all our economic activity, in our entire sphere through the money economy. Trade turnover is not just trade, not exchange. We need to strengthen the monetary economy. The money economy is one of the few bourgeois economic apparatus that we socialists must use to the bottom. It is still far from being used, this apparatus. He is very flexible, we need him, we will turn him in our own way so that he pours water into our mill, and not the mill of capitalism. To expand trade, to expand Soviet trade, to strengthen the monetary economy — this is the main meaning of the reform we are undertaking.

We, so to speak, have a fairly well‐organized industry, we can produce food, goods, we also have a fairly well‐organized agriculture, we can have agricultural products. But all this is not enough. It is necessary to establish a meeting of these products, an exchange between town and country. And it is unthinkable to establish exchange between town and country without commodity circulation under our conditions, without buying and selling. We have separate ʺleftistʺ and left‐wing radical bourgeois elements in the party who think that it is possible to go from place to career straight to product exchange. It is nonsense. How many times have individual comrades tried to do this and each time they smashed their foreheads? We are now at the stage when the link between industry and agriculture, the exchange of goods and products  between town and country, can be produced only through commodity circulation. We are at this stage, and we have not yet used this stage. Only after we use this stage to the bottom, then the question of product exchange can be raised. We did not even use a third of the opportunities for commodity circulation through the money economy, which it provides so that what is produced by industry and produced by agriculture does not go to waste in vain but reaches the consumer. Trade turnover is a necessary link between industrial products and agricultural products. This is the stage at which we are standing, which we must develop if we want to really move our economy forward — I mean the entire national economy. how we use this stage to the bottom, after that the question of product exchange can be raised. 

The abolition of the rationing system means that in the field of grain products and cereals, obviously, we will do the same for potatoes, and for sugar we will do the same for manufactory. This means that with regard to the bond, the commodity bond between town and country, mechanical, blind, clerical distribution, and the distribution of food rations, an end is being put. Tastes, needs, wishes of individual regions, individual consumers should be taken into account by our trading organizations, tastes, both in terms of obtaining a certain amount of goods, and especially the quality of these goods, all various conditions are taken into account.  Until this was done, until the third part of this turnover was not used, to talk about the destruction of the money economy, about the replacement of commodity turnover with product exchange, means talking nonsense, absolutely anti‐Leninist, antiMarxist, having nothing to do with Marxism.

So, precisely for the purpose of turning the turnover of goods, for strengthening the money economy in our Soviet conditions, with trade without capitalists and without speculators, it is for this, first and foremost, that the abolition of the rationing system is introduced. The card system, it undermines the foundations of commodity circulation, it replaces trade with simple distribution, it does not take into account the prices in the market, it does not take into account at all. It turns all the possibilities of commodity circulation upside down and, thus, it prevents us from establishing a normal, living, organic connection between town and country, between industry and agriculture, between urban and agricultural products. Here is the first meaning.

It may seem strange that the socialists who have come to power, who have already organized a socialist industry, organized a socialist economy, having such production capabilities, are grasping at the old instrument of the bourgeoisie ‐ trade. But there is nothing strange about that. We used not one or two instruments of the bourgeoisie, of the bourgeois economy. And this tool, the most tenacious in the monetary economy, we use with might and main, if we do not have any card systems. This is now the crux of the question.

So, I repeat, in order to further turn the trade turnover, which provides a link between town and country, trade links, and in order to strengthen the monetary economy in our conditions, since trade turnover is unthinkable without money, we first of all destroy the rationing system for bread, according to these basic goods, because bread pulls everything else along with it. It is with this link that you need to start. This is the first and main meaning.

The second meaning of the reform that we are introducing is to put on a real basis, on a real living real basis, the policy of reducing prices for all goods and for all products. How are we now? Every trading organization tries to make a cape everywhere. If itʹs a difficult matter, they want to solve everything in order to raise prices. This chaos, rather, this whole orgy in the price policy must be ended. The meaning of the reform is that we are beginning to put on a real basis the policy of reducing prices for all goods and for all products. This reform itself, it lowers the price of bread. Here Comrade Razumov spoke and spoke about the prices of rations. Is this the price, Comrade Razumov, the ration price? Our ration for black bread a year and a half ago cost 12 kopecks. in Moscow.

Molotov. Even 8 kopecks. 3 years ago.

Stalin. And the price on the market was two hundred times higher. Market prices do not in any way take into account the prices of rations, because, in fact, this is not a price, but a gift from the state to the working class. This is a social class ration for the working class. The ration price is an add‐on, but in the strictly economic sense it is not the price of bread, so the market does not consider this. Subsequently, we raised it to 50 kopecks, to 25 kopecks. first, then up to 50 kopecks. ration price per kilo of black bread. For commercial sales they sold for 2 rubles. And what did the market take into account (all these peasants who export grain), with the ration price? Of course not. They focused on the market, on a commercial price, a little higher than a commercial one, a little lower, but it revolved around a commercial price. If, Comrade Razumov, you want to know what the price of bread is, inquire at the market and in commercial stores. Hereʹs the price. As for the ration price, this is not a price, and no one considers it. Nobody. And if the commercial price of bread is 2 rubles. and 1.5 rubles, and now we, this price, are reducing it to 90 kopecks, to 1 ruble, 10 kopecks and so on, and only in the Far East, where there is no own grain, transport conditions are imported, there is only 1 ruble. 30 kopecks ‐ 1 rub. 40 kopecks, this means that we are starting a real real policy of lowering prices for bread, we are starting this reform of lowering prices with bread, because prices for bread are added up in the market, and the market does not take into account the ration price that was not the actual price, it represented our class policy of giving towards the working class at the expense of the peasant. They took cheap bread, sold it cheaply, did not sell it, but gave it away. So, you have to understand. 

This means that the second meaning of the reform is that we are starting a real, real policy of grain prices. In the future, we will continue to reduce prices for bread and all other goods. You will see, in January the month. trade in bread without rations will begin in our country ‐ the price of bread on the market will drop by half. Just remember how the peasant sells bread now, and how he will sell it then ‐ compare. There will certainly be a decline in the prices of bread on the market, the man will first of all reduce it. Consequently, we are organizing a genuine, real policy of lowering prices, starting with grain, and further along the entire line, this policy must go with us. We shouldnʹt have the old orgy of jumping along the price line anymore. The reform is the setting of a base for the price policy, starting with bread, and for all other products. This is the meaning of this policy.

This is very important for us both from the point of view of animal husbandry and from the point of view of resolving the meat problem. The peasants will only begin to engage in livestock raising when the prices of grain fall, when they realize that it is better to carry grain through livestock and sell their meat than to sell grain. Only after a drop in prices, only after a drop in prices for bread, only after that does the very production of bread develop properly, and the transition from selling bread to selling meat begins, i.e., the consumption of bread will begin for feeding livestock, real feeding for livestock. So, from this point of view, the policy of lowering the prices of bread, it also ricochets the good result that we are laying a real basis for the development of animal husbandry in view of the fact that grain will also be used for the development of animal husbandry. Here is the second result of the price reduction policy.2 * (inaudible ).

What is the third meaning? The third meaning is that the possibilities of bread speculation are undercut. When there are two or three prices for bread in life, speculation is obligatory, it is absolutely inevitable. Pricing policy is a very interesting thing, we do not do this very much. When we sold kerosene to MTS for 10 kopecks. a kilo, and a peasant through cooperation for 70 kopecks, of course, all MTS speculated, bought kerosene from us for 10 kopecks, sold for 70 kopecks. After we set one price for kerosene, the kerosene speculation was undermined. Itʹs the same here. There is a commercial price for bread 1 rub. 50 kopecks, and the worker pays 50 kopecks per kilo, then, of course, he sells part of the grain. Even if he sells for a ruble, then 50 kopecks. wins. And the workers do it. I donʹt blame them, because the system itself is like this, the system of two or three prices is like this, that the most honest person should sell bread and that turns out to be the most honest person. Thatʹs how rotten the rationing system has become. Take Leningrad, the best workers, you know this from experience, commercial grain is sold there ten times less than it was before. Bread is sold less than in Kharkov, although the population is twice as large. Whatʹs the matter? The workers compete with the state: rationed bread is sold much cheaper than the state, and there is no longer such a need for commercial bread. And this is everywhere, both in Moscow and everywhere in large cities. Petty speculation is enlivened by this system, petty speculation creates rich soil for petty and theft in general, creates the basis for all speculation, both for large and for small: since I buy bread here for cheaper, I sell it at a higher price there, and I profit from it. Cancellation of cards means setting one price for bread within such and such a zone. Two or three prices for the same type of bread will not be within this zone. Are we 6 ‐ 7?

Voice. Eight (92).

Stalin. Within each zone, the price for bread of such and such kind is the same, the same price. Here speculation is difficult. This is the third meaning of this reform ‐ to make it difficult to speculate. And then, do not push honest people from the workers into speculation, because there are a lot of prices ‐ that means pushing the most honest people into speculation in order to turn around and make money. Here are the three main meanings of the economic order, which I wanted to point out because, apparently, comrades, not everyone clearly understands why we are destroying the rationing system.

How will this affect the health of our trading organizations? It is clear that our trade organizations will have to clean up. You canʹt do business as dirty as it was up to now: they brought you rations ‐ you want to take it, you donʹt want it, but if you donʹt take it, you will lose it.

Kosior. In Chekhovʹs way ‐ burp what they give.

Stalin. Pop what they give, otherwise they wonʹt give it.

It will have to be a new way, and the quality of the bread will have to be posed the question, so that it is fresh, so that it can be brought in in the morning, there will be many protests and anything, and we will scratch all trade organizations if they do not abandon operations with an abstract consumer, if they will not reckon with a living person who will buy bread for money at the real price.

Kosior. For your own money.

Stalin. So, money will be used, the fashion for money will go, which we have not had for a long time, and the monetary economy will be strengthened. The exchange rate of the ruble will undoubtedly become more stable, and to strengthen the ruble means to strengthen all our planning and cost accounting. No cost accounting is inconceivable without a somewhat stable ruble exchange rate, there is nothing absolute in the world, I am not talking about absolute stability, but there must be some more or less minimal stable ruble exchange rate if you want us to have economic accounting, if you like, so that our planning is not clerical, but real. This will give a huge plus, and this is the fourth thing we get from this reform. This is a huge plus.

Voice. Right.

Stalin. A huge economic plus for our entire economy, for our entire planning, for the organization of industry and agriculture, for everything.

And the fifth plus ‐ the fact that our organizations will clean up, begin to work more carefully and begin, finally, to respect the consumer, to recognize him as a person, not an animal ‐ this is also a big plus. Until trade organizations learn to respect a person in our consumer, that worker and peasant about whom they talk a lot, we will not have any basis for product exchange.

Some employees from the State Bank are talking about how we will benefit in money from such a reform. In my opinion, it is not correct, this is nonsense. It is not true, as if two or even three billion. Now Comrade Maryasin refuses ‐ “I don’t say, they say,” but he did. The Peopleʹs Commissariat of Finance calculates that people think that the workers will buy the same amount of bread as they bought ration, is wrong. The rationed bread did what the workers and employees recruited relatives, assigned them to cards and sold half of the bread. Now there will be no two prices. There is no need for them to recruit relatives. Now you have to buy with money. They will spend more economically, and they will buy less.

If we take industrial workersʹ centers ‐ Moscow, Leningrad, Kharkov, Kiev, etc., Baku, say, where there are really more or less skilled workers, people with taste who want to live, know how to live, earn as they should, they will buy less grain because now they need to count the money, not what they used to buy for nothing, they will buy less. Therefore, on this we are losing. You raise prices for bread from the point of view of the ration. Firstly, we will compensate for this, although it is not fully compensated on 3 / 4 minimum, and secondly, they buy less bread, then we have minus. And our bankers believe that our worker will buy the same amount. This is not true. He will buy less.

Who will buy more? Those workers and employees who live in the provinces, who did not live according to a special list, not according to the first list, who did not receive 800 g, but less. They bought commercial bread, and they win. They paid one and a half rubles, now they will pay one ruble, 90 kopecks. They will buy more, but at a price less than commercial bread. Again, we get a minus. These people lived on commercial bread. Now, perhaps, they will take twice as much grain, but at a low price, at a ruble or 90 kopecks. Again, a minus.

Iʹm not even talking about the fact that we have to compensate producers of industrial crops 1 *. What are we winning here, how much are we losing? In general, nothing can be calculated in advance, so guessing, in my opinion, is to write with a pitchfork on the water.

Voice. Right.

Stalin. We also discussed this with Molotov. He was surrounded by all sorts of materials about the fact that we are winning, but when we examined the materials, it turns out nonsense.

Molotov. We do not have such a goal and cannot be.

Stalin. What changes will take place in the market, what will happen to buyers, how will they buy, how much will they buy? One thing is clear that the provincial consumer who turned around in the commercial market will buy more.

Postyshev . He will also save money.

Stalin. No, Iʹm talking about the benefits of the state from the reform. There may be benefits, but most likely there will be no benefits. You canʹt guess here.

And now about those areas that have lagged behind in terms of baking. Here is Comrade Kabakov, then Comrade Nosov ‐ he did not sign up, Ivanovo‐Voznesensk Region. In some places we have lagged behind. This is very bad, comrades. We must make up for this business. Comrade Here Kabakov read a report 3 * that he is not given one, another, a third. We do not give anything at all, comrade Kabakov, but it is taken, one must be able to take it. And even more so you are in the Urals, with your capabilities, after all, it is nonsense to build a middle type of bakery, bakery, this is nonsense, although the bakery is also not God knows. Uralmashzavod was built, you see, but they cannot organize bakery. This means very little concern for the worker in the Urals.

Voroshilov. Right.

Stalin. In general, I must say, I am one of the few members of the Central Committee who respect Comrade Kabakov as a good organizer, but I must say that whatever you take up in the Urals, everything says that there is no concern for the workerʹs life, Well, you just wonder how people live there? How much dirt! What a terrible life, medieval. Comrade Kabakov, you canʹt live like that. If you wanted, given the opportunities offered by the Urals industry, you would have many more bakeries and bakeries than in Moscow, which had fewer opportunities (applause).

1  * So in the text.

2  * Sharpen the document.

3  * Speech by I.D. Kabakov at the plenum see: RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 2.D. 536.L. 12‐13.

92 The resolution of the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars ʺOn the abolition of the rationing system for baked bread, flour and cereals and the system for the supply of industrial crops with breadʺ dated December 7, 1934 (see note No. 100) established 8 price zones for bread: 1) Central Asian republics, a number of regions of Kazakhstan and

Kyrgyzstan; 2) most of Ukraine, the North Caucasus, the Volga region, Western Siberia, with the exception of 2 regions of the Narym okr, referred to the 7th belt, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; 3) central and western regions, Crimea, Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa regions, Chelyabinsk region, ZSFSR, BSSR, most of the Obsko‐Irtysh region; 4) Leningrad, Sverdlovsk region, East Siberian region, except for BM ASSR, Chita region. and national districts; 5) Karelian ASSR,

Murmansk environs, part of the Northern Territory; 6) BuryatMongolian ASSR; 7) most of the DVK, areas of the Northern Territory and the islands of the Arctic Ocean and the White Sea, a number of areas of the Narym, Yamalo‐Nenets environs; 8) a number of national regions and districts of the DCK.

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