Vladimir Lenin

Draft Of Telegram To All Soviets Of Deputies Concerning The Worker-Peasant Alliance[1]

Delivered: 16 August, 1918.
First Published: 1931; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1965, page 58
Translated (and edited): Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters
Online Version: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive, 2002

The Poor Peasants’ Committees are necessary to fight the kulaks, the rich, the exploiters, who shackle the working peasants. But between the kulaks, who are a small minority, and the poor or semi-proletarians there is the section of the middle peasants. The Soviet government has never declared or conducted any struggle against them. Any steps or measures to the contrary must be condemned most vigorously and stopped. The socialist government must pursue a policy of agreement with the middle peasants. The Soviet government has time and again shown by its actions that it is firmly resolved to pursue this policy. The most important of such actions are the adoption by a Communist (Bolshevik) majority of the law on the socialisation of land and its strictly faithful enforcement, followed by the trebling of grain prices (decree of August..., 1918). The purport of the decree on agricultural machinery,[2] etc., is the same. The policy set forth above is strictly binding on everyone.


[1] 24 The draft of the telegram was written by Lenin after re ports from the localities had mentioned distortions by Party and government bodies of the policy towards the Poor Peasants’ Committees. In a number of areas the slogan calling for the organisation of the Committees was taken to mean that the poor peasants should be opposed to the rest of the peasants, that is, to the kulaks and the middle peasants. The latter were barred from elections to the Poor Peasants’ Committees and there were even cases of the Committees being appointed by volost Soviets instead of being elected. On August 17, the telegram based on this draft and signed by Lenin and Tsyurupa, the People’s Commissar for Food, was sent to all the gubernia Soviets and food committees. On August 18 it was published in Izvestia.

[2] On August 6, 1918, the Council of People's Commissars adopted a decision to raise grain procurement prices and a decree On the Supply of Agriculture with Implements and Metal. The draft of the decree submitted to the Council of People's Commissars for approval was supplemented by Lenin and in this final form was endorsed on April 24. Three days later it appeared in Izvestia.