Comrade Chicherin


The Foreign Political Significance of
the Russian Agricultural Exhibition

Speech of Comrade Chicherin at the Exhibition in Moscow

(27 October 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 68 [44], 27 October 1923, pp. 769–770.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive

Every passing day makes the immense importance of our Exhibition for the international position of Russia more and more evident The impression being made by our Exhibition in other countries becomes daily deeper and clearer. If we peruse the reports of the foreign press, and note the opinions expressed by the political functionaries of other countries, we see that the Exhibition is completely revolutionizing our relations to foreign lands. A few months ago we experienced a certain deterioration of our international position, to be attributed to what may ire termed an “economic disappointment”. Those business circles anxious to enter into relations with us, or to receive concessions from us, had found the process of development of our economic position too slow for their taste.

Such radical changes have now come about in this sphere that it may be confidently asserted that the Exhibition is the beginning of a new era in our international relations. The exhibition has shown to the whole world, for the first time, that the social order of a workers’ and peasants’ government is creative and constructive. Hitherto there has been a widespread opinion that we are living upon old stock, and that we should find ourselves in a state of complete economic bankruptcy as soon as these stocks were exhausted.

Our Exhibition has. however, proved that our reconstructive activity is again on the upgrade. Foreigners are so amazed at the picture unfolded before their eyes that they declare unanimously that they had no idea of the gigantic amount of positively creative work going on in the Soviet Republics. The organization and equipment of the Exhibition alone serve to demonstrate to the foreigner the enormous organizatory possibilities latent in our country. Some foreigners, for instance die American Senator LaFolette, the most prominent personality in the so-called progressive group, declared that in Moscow he had been astonished most of all by the spirit of organization evident everywhere, and expressed in the increasingly organized condition of the entire society. Apart from its tremendous pedagogic importance, our exhibition forms an excellent example of that natural fraternization between peoples which results from our form of society.

We have always maintained that example is more important than theory, deeds more important than words. Our republic is a model example of the solidarity of different peoples, and in this respect our Exhibition plays a great agitational role throughout the world.

And, from our own point of view, our Exhibition permits us to look optimistically into the future, for it has disclosed the possibilities latent in our Republic; this evidence of the magnificent natural resources still awaiting development, is simply amazing to the visitors from abroad. The must influential newspapers of the world are already taking up this matter, and the relation of foreigners to us is changing proportionately, Representatives of all countries have here the opportunity of seeing what natural riches we actually possess, in what condition our forestry is maintained and how it can develop in the immediate future, what economic support we can expect from our agriculture, our cotton and silk production, and all the other various branches of our economy which we are now just beginning to develop, and which will unfold hitherto unknown possibilities with the application of new scientific methods and offer fresh and inexhaustible wealth, not only to our Republic, but to the whole world.

Our Exhibition offers the whole world, and offers us too, an extraordinarily encouraging indication of the remarkable economic development soon to take place in our country. So much the more ready we must be to defend the social order which has given us all these magnificent possibilities on the basis of the emancipation of labor, so much the more ready to repel every fresh attack made by international reaction upon our State. And when we see how the clouds are gathering over Germany, we cannot but be surprised at the indifference with which the French Government regards the possibility of an internal crisis in Germany. This indifference is explained by the fact that reactionary circles in France have made certain plans, unknown to us, to be executed in the event of great happenings in Germany.

The fact that the extreme monarchists, those who do not recognize the German Republic, assemble in Nuremberg and proclaim a national war quite openly, shows that these monarchist forces in Germany itself have, in course of preparation, some plan which they had not up to now, and which they are basing on the extraordinary aggravation of the internal crisis in Germany. This crisis itself is the result of the European crisis expressed in the Ruhr adventure.

We must not forget that a seizure of power by extreme reaction in Germany, which would be supported by international reaction, would mean fresh dangers to us. And we must prepare ourselves for fresh dangers and fresh struggles. This contradictory position is characteristic of the present moment. On the one hand there appears to be a complete change for the better in our relations with all other countries: business circles are realizing that we are doing actual productive work, are desirous of establishing business connections with us, and of maintaining more friendly political relations. But, on the other hand extreme reaction is raising its head, and is preparing, amid the acutest aggravation of the crisis throughout Europe, to take fresh action.

And we, who although we are prepared to meet the economic advances of other countries, and are of the opinion that this rapprochement is not merely useful to us, but even indispensable, are still obliged to keep in mind at the same time the fact that, presently we may possibly have to rise in defence of all the revolutionary rights and liberties which the workers’ and peasants’ state has won for us. We must be on our guard, and observe with the utmost watchfulness the actions oi international and German reaction, their common plans and intrigues.

We must never forget for an instant that we are the sole Red Republic, or, more strictly speaking, the sole Union of Red Republics in a world of capitalist states, that the danger is by no means over, and that we shall still have to sacrifice much in defence of our Revolution.

But the immense powers of vitality displayed by the creative work of the Soviet Republics, are the best guarantee that the toiling masses of the Soviet Republics will be able to withstand these possible fresh trials, as they have victoriously withstood those of the past. Holding fast to our faith in the future, and reassured by the proofs of our wealth as evinced at this Exhibition, we may state with full confidence that we have already won for ourselves a new social order, the order of the emancipation of labor, and that our order will speedily prevail in other countries as well. We know that the power of the workers has come into its own, and that it will not disappear again!

Last updated on 4 May 2023