V. I. Lenin

Recorded Speeches[1]

Recorded: 25 April, 1921
First Published: 1921; Various places and dates
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, pages 366-370
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

The Tax In Kind

The surplus-food appropriation system has been replaced by a tax in kind. The All-Russia Central Executive Committee has issued a decree to that effect. In pursuance of this decree, the Council of People’s Commissars has issued a law introducing the tax in kind.[2] It is now the duty of all Soviet institutions to inform the peasants of the law as broadly as possible and explain what it means.

Why was it necessary to substitute a tax in kind for the surplus-grain appropriation system? It is because the surplus appropriation system proved to be extremely inconvenient and onerous for the peasants, whose want and ruin were further aggravated by the 1920 crop failure. Furthermore, the fodder shortage led to greater loss of cattle; less firewood was transported from the forests; and there was a slowdown in the factories producing the goods to be exchanged for the peasants’ grain. The workers’ and peasants’ government had to take steps immediately to alleviate the condition of the peasants.

The tax in kind amounts to only about one-half of the surplus-grain appropriation rate: grain, for example, will amount to 240 million poods instead of 423 million. Every peasant will know the exact amount of tax he has to pay beforehand, that is, in the spring. This will reduce the abuses in tax collection. It will be an incentive for the peasant to cultivate a larger area, to improve his farm, and try to raise yields.

This country has been devastated unbelievably first by the tsarist war, and then by the Civil War, that is, by the landowners’ and capitalists’ invasion against the Soviet power of workers and peasants. The national economy must be put on its feet at all costs. And the first thing to do is to restore, consolidate and improve peasant farming.

The tax in kind will help to improve peasant farming. The peasants will now set to work on their farms with greater confidence and with a will, and that is the main thing.

N. Lenin

April. 25, 1921

First published in 1924; Published according to the manuscript

Concessions And The Development Of Capitalism

The Soviet government is inviting foreign capitalists to obtain concessions in Russia.

What is a concession? It is a contract between the government and a capitalist who undertakes to organise or improve production (for example, felling and floating timber, extracting coal, oil, ore, etc.) and to pay the government a share of the product obtained, keeping the rest as his profit.

Is it right for the Soviet government to invite foreign capitalists after expelling the Russian landowners and capitalists? Yes, it is, because, seeing that the workers’ revolution in other countries is delayed, we have to make some sacrifices in order to achieve a rapid and even immediate improvement in the condition of the workers and peasants. The sacrifice is that over a number of years we shall be giving away to the capitalists tens of millions of poods of valuable products. The improvement in the condition of the workers and peasants is that we shall immediately obtain additional quantities of petroleum, paraffin oil, salt, coal, farming implements, and so forth. We have no right to forego the opportunity of immediately improving the condition of the workers and peasants, for our impoverishment makes it essential, and our sacrifices will not be fatal.

But is it not dangerous to invite the capitalists? Does it not imply a development of capitalism? Yes, it does imply a development of capitalism, but this is not dangerous, because power will still be in the hands of the workers and peasants, and the landowners and capitalists will not be getting back their property. A concession is something in the nature of a contract of lease. The capitalist becomes, for a specified period, the lessee of a certain part of state property under a contract, but he does not become the owner. The state remains the owner.

The Soviet government will see to it that the capitalist lessee abides by the terms of the contract, that the contract is to our advantage, and that, as a result, the condition of the workers and peasants is improved. On these terms the development of capitalism is not dangerous, and the workers and peasants stand to gain by obtaining a larger quantity of products.

N. Lenin

April 25, 1921

First published in 1924; Published according to the manuscript

Consumers’ and Producers’ Co-Operative Societies

Consumers’ co-operative societies are associations of workers and peasants for the purpose of supplying and distributing the goods they need. Producers’ co-operative societies are associations of small farmers or artisans for the purpose of producing and marketing products, whether agricultural (such as vegetables, dairy produce and the like) or non-agricultural (all sorts of manufactured goods, woodwork, ironware, leather goods, and so forth).

The substitution of the tax in kind for the surplus appropriation system will give the peasants grain surpluses which they will freely exchange for all sorts of manufactured goods.

Producers’ co-operatives will help to develop small industry, which will supply the peasants with greater quantities of necessary goods. Most of these do not have to be transported by rail over long distances and do not need large factories for their manufacture. Everything must be done to foster and develop producers’ co-operatives, and it is the ditty of Party and Soviet workers to render them every assistance, for this will give the peasants immediate relief and improve their condition. At the present time, the revival and restoration of the national economy of the workers.’ and peasants’ stale depends most of all on the improvement of peasant life and farming.

There must also be support and development of consumers’ co-operative societies, for they will ensure swift, regular and low-cost distribution of products. It remains for the Soviet authorities to supervise the activity of the cooperative societies to see that there are no fraudulent practices, no concealment from the government, no abuses. In no circumstances should they hamper the co-operative societies but should help and promote them in every way.

Written on April 25, 921 First published in 1924; Published according to a transcript from the record


[1] Sixteen of Lenin’s speeches were recorded by the Central Periodicals Administration from 1919 to 1921. After the only record factory in Russia was restored, Lenin showed great interest in propaganda through records and in many ways helped to organise it. His first speeches were recorded in a specially equipped room at the Kremlin and the last, at the Central Periodicals Administration. Recording time was three minutes, and Lenin was always pleased when he managed to stay within limits. Sales ran to tens of thousands of records with special popularity enjoyed by his speeches, “On the Middle Peasants”, “What is the Soviet Power?” and “On the Tax in Kind”. The speeches published in this volume were recorded on April 25, 1921.

[2] Under a resolution of the Tenth Party Congress (March 21, 1921) the All-Russia Central Executive Committee issued a decision (March 23) on the substitution of a tax in kind for the surplus appropriation system. In pursuance of that decision, the Council of People’s Commissars approved on March 28 and published on March 29 two decrees: “The Amount of the Tax in Kind for 1921-22” and “On Free Exchange, Purchase and Sale of Farm Produce in Gubernias Fulfilling Appropriations”. On April 21 and later, the Council of People’s Commissars adopted decisions on the tax rate for grain, potatoes, oil seeds and other farm produce.