Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

On The Draft Of The Eleventh Party Congress

Resolution On Work In The Countryside[1]

Letter To Comrade Osinsky

Written: 1 April, 1922
First Published: 1925; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd Printing, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1973, Volume 33, pages 327-329
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
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

April 1, 1922

Comrade Osinsky,

Alter thinking over the conversation I had with you about the work of the Agricultural Section of the Party Congress, I have arrived at the conclusion that the most urgent thing at the present time is:

not to tie our (neither the Party's nor the Soviet Government's) hands by any orders, directives or rules until we have collected sufficient facts about economic life in the localities and until we have sufficiently studied the actual conditions and require-ments of present-day peasant farming;

under no circumstances to permit what would be most dangerous and harmful at the present time, and what the local authorities may easily slip into-superfluous, clumsy and hasty regulation that has not been tested by experience.

The recent Congress of Soviets laid down the line. The task of the Party Congress, in my opinion, is to discuss in the Agricultural Section the application of this line in the light of practical experience in the localities; to instruct the Central Committee of the R.C.P. and the People's Commissariat of Agriculture (the Soviet government bodies in general) more thoroughly to collect detailed facts that can be used as verification material; to order, or rather, to give directions to the Communist group at the next session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee to the effect that in working out the details of the decision of the Congress of Soviets, i.e., in converting this decision into new and more detailed laws, to be as cautious as pos-sible so as not to hinder the successful development of agricultural production by clumsy interference.

What we must fear most of all, I think, is clumsy inter-ference; for we have not yet made a thorough study of the actual requirements of local agricultural life and the actual abilities of the machinery of local administration (the abil-ity not to do evil in the name of doing good).

Hence, it seems to me that it is desirable that something approximating the following be included in the resolution of the Party Congress based on the proceedings of the Agri-cultural Section:

1) The Party Congress, having heard the report of the proceedings of the Agricultural Section, accepts it as information; it finds that the material so far collected on the experience of the localities is inade-quate and that the primary task of the Party and of Communist groups in all Soviet bodies is to collect carefully and make a close study of local practical experience.

2) The Congress regards the dissolution (or hasty reorganisation?) of the agricultural co-operative organ-isations as a mistake, and recommends the greatest caution in this matter.

3) On the question of the conditions on which hired labour may be employed on the farms, and of the terms on which land may be rented, the Party Congress recommends all officials engaged in this field of work not to restrict either of these transactions by unnec-essary formalities, but to confine themselves to putting into effect the decisions of the recent Congress of Soviets and to studying the practical measures it would be expedient to adopt to curb all tendencies to go to extremes and harmful excesses in these matters.

4) The Congress considers that the primary and main object of all Party activities among the peasantry is to render practical assistance in immediately extending the area planted to crops, bringing fresh lands under the plough, increasing the output of farm produce and in alleviating the hardships of the peasantry. All efforts and resources must be devoted to assisting and encouraging the poor section of the peasantry, and every effort must be made to devise measures that in practice will prove suitable for this purpose oven under the present difficult conditions.

With communist greetings,



[1] The suggestions made in Lenin's letter were used as the basis for the Eleventh Party Congress resolution “On Work in the Country- side”. The Congress instructed the Central Committee to set up a permanent commission at the C.C. to direct work in the country-side.