V. I. Lenin

Speech On The Financial Question At The Session Of The All-Russia C.E.C.

April 18, 1918

Written:April 18, 1918
First Published:Brief newspaper report published on April 19, 1918 in Izvestia VTsIK, No. 77; First Published in full in 1920 in the book Minutes of the Sessions of the All-Russia C.E.C., 4th Convocation. Verbatim Report, Moscow Published according to the text of the book
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 227 to 228
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

One thing is clear at the present time: we shall not solve the financial problem in the immediate future, and shall not restore the financial machinery to its usual channels. That is clear to all. It must be said, however, that so far unfortunately none of us are doing anything in this department to find even the landmarks by which it will be possible to bring the financial apparatus on to the proper course. Comrade Gukovsky has proposed a plan to us. I shall not dwell upon whether this plan is good or bad. One thing only is clear to me: at the present time it is impossible to fulfill even the best plan in the financial sphere because as a matter of fact the machinery has not been organised for fulfilling it. If we were to try to carry out any kind of taxation, we would immediately come up against the fact that at present individual regions impose taxation according as someone takes it into his head to do so, as lie has occasion to do so, and as local conditions allow him. In this respect the Soviets, which have power locally, are not connected with one another at the present time. On the one hand, they are therefore divorced from the central authority and, on the other hand, they are insufficiently organised to be able actually to carry out what we draw up here. Let us take an example. I have personally had occasion to see Soviets which not only could not put into effect this financial plan that we are outlining, but which even in their own localities very often do not possess the power that they should have. Very often, owning to the policy which we see in operation just now, these Soviets do not make use of their power, are unable to use it, because power is actually in the hands of certain groups which are often hostile to the Soviets, do not obey the Soviets and which, unfortunately, have a definite armed force at their disposal. In order not to speak abstractly, I shall cite an example. Not far from Moscow, in Ryazan Gubernia, I observed the following. There is a Soviet. Alongside it there is a Revolutionary Military Committee. The latter regards itself as autonomous In relation to the Soviet and itself imposes taxes, without even rendering any account to the Soviet. The Soviet itself also imposes taxes. As you see, if under such circumstances we try to carry out a plan from here, of course, it will not work and, of course, nothing will come of it, because even there, locally the Revolutionary Military Committee does not obey the Soviet and consequently, too, the Soviet cannot do anything for the central government. Hence something has to be done. It is necessary to set up a different organisation so that all the decrees published do not remain merely decrees, and so that they can be put into effect and not left hanging in the air.