V. I. Lenin

Rough Draft Of Rules For The Administration Of Soviet Institutions[1]

Written: 12 December, 1918
First Published: 1928; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 28, pages 338-348
Translated: Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive May, 2002

Collective discussion and decision of all questions of administration in Soviet institutions must be accompanied by the precisely defined responsibility of every person holding any Soviet post for the performance of definite, and clearly and explicitly specified, functions and practical jobs.

Henceforth, this rule, without which it will be impossible to select the most suitable people for each office and job or to exercise effective control, must be unreservedly obeyed.

Accordingly, every Soviet body and every Soviet institution without exception shall immediately:

First, adopt a decision precisely distributing the work and responsibilities among all their members or officials;

Second, define the exact responsibility of all persons entrusted with the performance of any duties whatever, especially such as concern the speedy and proper collection and distribution of material and products.

This rule is binding on all Soviet institutions, and in particular on local, uyezd, urban and other Economic Councils and Economic Departments of Executive Committees. Such Departments and Economic Councils shall immediately assign responsibility to definite persons for the speedy and proper collection of each of the raw materials and products needed by the population.

All leading Soviet bodies-Executive Committees, gubernia and city Soviets, etc.-shall immediately reorganise their work with a view to giving prime place to effective control for actual fulfilment of the decisions of the central authorities and of local institutions. Other kinds of work are to be turned over, as far as possible, to sub-committees consisting of a small number of members of that given body.


With a view to eliminating red tape and to the more effective disclosure of abuses, and also to the exposure and removal of dishonest officials ensconced in Soviet institutions, the following rules are hereby established:

Every Soviet institution shall post notices of its reception days and hours outside as well as inside its premises, for all to see without having to obtain passes. The premises assigned for the reception of the public shall be freely accessible without any passes whatever.

Every Soviet institution shall keep a register for recording in brief the name of every visitor, the nature of his business, and to whom it has been entrusted.

Sundays and holidays shall be reception days.

State Control officials shall have the right to be present at all receptions, and it shall be their duty to attend from time to time during reception hours, to examine the visitors’ register, and to draw up a report of their visit and the result of their examination of the register and interrogation of the public.

The Commissariats of Labour, State Control and Justice shall everywhere organise information bureaus, which shall be open to all without passes and free of charge, reception on Sundays being compulsory; the said Commissariats shall widely announce to the public the days and hours the bureaus are open.

It shall be the duty of these information bureaus, not only to give all information requested, orally or in writing, but also to draw up written declarations free of charge for persons who are illiterate or unable to draw up such declarations properly themselves. It shall be obligatory to enlist the services for work on these bureaus of members of all parties represented on the Soviets, as well as of parties which are not represented in the government, and also members of the non-party trade unions and non-party unions of intellectuals.


The task of defending the Soviet Republic imperatively calls for the greatest economy of forces and the most productive utilisation of manpower.

With these ends in view it is ordered-in the first place in regard to all Soviet institutions, later to be extended to every enterprise and body-that:

I. Every more or less independent department of every Soviet institution without exception shall within three days submit to the local Executive Committee (and in Moscow to the People’s Commissariat of Justice as well) brief information on the following: (a) name of institution; (b) name of department; (c) nature of its work, in brief; (d) number of sub-departments, sections, or other divisions, with a list of such; (e) number of employees, male and female; (1) volume of work, calculated as far as possible, for example, in number of cases handled, volume of correspondence, or other indices.

Local Executive Committees (in Moscow, the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies in agreement with the People’s Commissariat of Justice and the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee) shall immediately: () take measures to verify whether the above rule is being promptly and properly observed; (2) draw up within one week after the aforesaid information has been received a plan for co-ordinating, uniting and merging departments which are engaged in similar or kindred affairs.

The commissions which the above-mentioned institutions charge with this task shall include representatives of the Departments for the Interior, Justice, State Control and Labour, as well as of other departments, if need be. The commissions shall submit to the Council of People’s Commissars and the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee brief weekly reports on what has been done to merge kindred departments and to economise labour.

2. In every town in which there are kindred departments or institutions-central, regional, town, gubernia or uyezd, the highest institution shall immediately set up a commission for the purpose of coordinating and amalgamating all these institutions, with a view to the maximum economy of forces; this commission to be guided by the rules and schedule indicated in Clause I.

3. These same commissions (clauses I and 2) are instructed, and on the same grounds, to take urgent measures to substitute female labour for male labour to the utmost and to draw up a list of males who can be transferred to work in the army or for the army, or to other work of an operative and practical and not of an office nature.

4. These same commissions (clauses I and 2) are instructed, in agreement with the local organisations of the Russian Communist Party, to make such alteration in staffs as to leave members of the R.C.P. (of not less than two years’ standing) only in leading and responsible posts; all other posts to be filled by non-Party people, or by members of other parties so as to release as large a number of members of the R.C.P. as possible for other work.


[1] Lenin wrote these rules for discussion at the Council of Defence. e also drew up a list of comrades to whom they should be forwarded-L. B. Krasin, N. N. Krestinsky, G. I. Petrevsky, . I. Kursky, Y. M. Sverdlov, V. A. Avanesov, J. V. Stalin and . I. Lander. In the accompanying note Lenin wrote: “Request you to read this draft which I am proposing for the Council of Defence, show it to comrades and have it discussed by Saturday, December 14. It is desirable to have the amendments in writing by the same date. 12.12.18.”