V. I. Lenin

Speech On

Local Economic Bodies

Delivered At A Sitting Of The All-Russia Central Executive Committee

May 30, 1921 [1]

Written: 30 May, 1921
First Published: First published in full in I-IV sessii Vserossiskogo Tsemtralngo Isnolnittelnogo Kometeta VIII sozyvn. Stenografiafeski otchot (I-IV Sessions of the Eighth All-Russia Central Executive Committee. Verbatim Report). Moscow, 1922; Published according to the text of the book
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, pages 438-440
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

Comrades, I have very little to add to what Comrade Osinsky has said, for he has already explained the preliminary draft of the Instructions, copies of which you have, and the main idea underlying it. As there are details in this matter which virtually determine the whole issue, it was decided not to limit its examination to the Council of Labour and Defence and the Council of People’s Commissars, but to bring it before the Party conference, where the Instructions were approved in principle, and before the supreme legislative body-the Session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee. Local workers must make a careful verification of the methods by which this law is to be implemented, and it may be necessary at first to lay down a number of supplementary rules.

Care must be taken that this measure is not, in any circumstances, converted into just another source of increased red tape. This would not be unlikely if we were to receive too many reports, or if the methods of compiling them did not guarantee that they could be checked. Comrades, we must give thought to the methods of compiling the reports, and you may find it appropriate to elect a special commission which, guided by the suggestions that will be made here and the instructions and directives you give it, will put the matter of the reports into final shape. We already have a fair amount of material on this question. Naturally, if reports are to be submitted, they must come not only from the various economic bodies, but also from the People’s Commissariats, that is, including those which do not run branches of the economy but are nevertheless closely connected with economic work. One of the main objects of printing the reports is to bring them within reach of the non-Party masses, and of the population in general. We cannot use mass production methods and print these reports in large numbers, and so we must concentrate them in the libraries. That being the case, we must arrange for brief printed summaries of these reports, giving the gist of what is of most interest to the population. The technical facilities for this are available. Before coming here to speak I made inquiries of the representative of the Central Paper Board. He has sent me a precise report covering 339 uyezd centres, and showing that each of those has the printing facilities and the paper to print very brief reports. He has based his calculations on the assumption that the smallest of these uyezd centres would print 16 pages in octavo, once a month, of course. But once a month is too often. Whether you decide on once in two months, or in four, or perhaps even a longer period, will evidently be determined by the reports we get from the localities. He has assumed that there would be 1,000 copies, and has accordingly estimated that the required quantity of paper is now available. A thousand copies would enable us to supply these reports at least to every uyezd library and so bring them within the reach of all who are interested in them, particularly the masses of non-Party people. Of course, this will initially have to be an experiment; no one can guarantee that it will be successful at once, and that there will be no defects.

To conclude my brief supplementary remarks I should like to emphasise one other thing. One of the most important tasks confronting us at present is that of massive enlistment of non-Party people for this work, ensuring that apart from Party members and in any case officials of the department concerned, the largest possible number of non-Party people should have an interest in the work and be enlisted in it. It appeared to us that this could net he achieved in any way except by publishing the reports, at any rate, the more essential part of them. Some establishments send in extremely full reports. All the information that we have had on this question up to now shows that some local bodies are excellently organised. At all events, the work in the localities is constantly providing us with a great deal of very encouraging material. What we really lack is the ability to publicise the best examples-which are not many and set them up as models which all should be obliged to emulate. Our press does not publicise these really exemplary local organisations which have practical experience. Printing these reports and bringing them within the reach of the broad masses of the population, by supplying copies to every library, if only on the uyezd level, should help provided conferences of non-Party people are properly convened-to enlist far greater numbers in the economic drive. Any number of resolutions have been passed on this subject, lit some places, something has been done, but taking the country as a whole, certainly far too little is being done. By this method, however, we shall improve the work of the establishments and make it possible for every local worker in every responsible economic post to provide the centre with signed reports containing precise and definite information on his practical experience, which could he used as a model. This seems to he what we lack most at the present time.

Let us leave it to practice to decide how these reports are subsequently to be summarised and studied, and utilised at conferences, congresses and by establishments. Considering the available experience of local workers, the main thing now is to approve this decree and put it to the test and be sure to obtain results by the forthcoming All-Russia Congress (some time next December) which would show just how this measure could be developed, improved, modified and enlarged on the basis of experience.

These are the brief supplementary remarks that I should like to confine myself to for the time being.


[1] The Third Session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee met on May 30-31, 1921, to discuss M. I. Kalinin’s report on the activity of its Presidium; the sowing campaign; agencies co-ordinating the activity of economic Commissariats and local economic bodies; substitution of a tax in kind for appropriation; Potrograd industry, and reorganisation of tribunals. It. heard reports by the Tver Gubernia Executive Committee and the Siberian Revolutionary Committee. Lenin spoke on local economic agencies at the afternoon sitting, and made notes of the debate on the question (sea Lenin Miscellany XX, p. 91).