V. I.   Lenin

“Spare Cash”[2]

Published: Pravda No. 62, March 15, 1913. Signed: V.. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 601-602.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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The government newspapers, headed by the sycophantic Novoye Vremya, are extolling our government for the splendid results achieved by the national economy. Just think: 450 million rubles of “spare cash”! Bringing money into the house and not taking it out—that, please note, is how “we” manage our household.

And Novoye Vremya, newspaper of the Black-Hundred landlords and Octobrist merchants, comes to the conclusion that there is no risk at all even in waging war when you have such a nest-egg as 450 million rubles.

Let us, however, lock at the explanatory note of the Minister of Finance to the Budget for 1913. Perhaps we can find in it, besides self-praise (of which the note is chock-full!), exact data on the origin of the vaunted “spare cash”?

We open the Minister’s explanatory note and read (Part I, p. 15) that in the five years from 1908 to 1912 loans brought the Treasury 339,500,000 rubles. During the same period, loans were paid off to the value of 252,100,000 rubles.

Hence loans have increased by a total of 87,400,000 rubles. There you have the first “source” of the “spare cash”. It is a simple one, as you see.

But to proceed. It is known that on October 1, 1908, the price of state-monopoly vodka was raised to the limit, that is, from 8 rubles to 8.40 per vedro[1] (meaning the standard vedro, for the price per table vedro went up from 11 to 12 rubles).

As a result of this “financial measure”, the price of state-monopoly vodka in the five-year period 1908–12 averaged 8.48 rubles per vedro, i.e., exactly 42 kopeks more than in the previous four years (in 1904–07 it was 8.06 per vedro).

Altogether the Treasury sold 440,500,000 vedros of 40% vodka in five years (1908–12). The 42-kopek increase in profit per vedro added up to 185 million rubles.

There you have the second source of the “spare cash”!

The third source—the state railways—yielded in four years (1908–11) 53 million rubles of “net profit”, if one leaves out of account payment of interest and amortisation of Treasury capital expenditure, which totalled 2,250 million rubles!! Let us assume that in 1912 this “profit” was as high as in 1911, i.e., 105 million rubles. We get a “profit” of 158 million rubles during the five years. Obviously, a national “economy” in which interest and amortisation on thousands of millions spent are not taken into account is more like national juggling. Let us note that it was not some “Left wing journalist” (God forbid!) but the State Control itself that estimated at 397,600,000 rubles in four years (1908–11) the interest and amortisation on the investments made by the Treasury in the railway system. In terms of the five years from 1908 to 1912, it adds up to 500 million rubles! This is a specimen of predatory economy.

We shall now sum up the three sources of the “spare cash”:

(1) Loans 87,400,000 rubles
(2) Increased price of state-monop-
oly vodka
185,000,000 ”
(3) State railways (leaving out of
account 500 million rubles inter-
est and amortisation on capital
158,000,000 ”
Total 430,400,000 rubles

This would seem to he enough. No need to indicate the less important “sources”.

Is it not clear that our feudal-minded landlords are the greatest financial geniuses? Borrowing money, raising the price of vodka, “leaving out of account” interest and amortisation on thousands of millions spent (on the “economy”)—are not these indications of genius?

Are not they proof of the “stability” of our Budget?


[1] Twenty-one pints.—Tr.

[2] In the present edition, the article “Spare Cash” includes—between the phrase “national juggling” and the sentence “This is a specimen of predatory economy”—an insertion discovered in 1941, which was missing in the text of the article as it first appeared in Pravda No. 62, on March 15, 1913, and in the second and third editions of Lenin’s Collected Works.

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