V. I.   Lenin


To:   D. I. KURSKY[1]

Written: Written on May 4, 1918
Published: First published in Krasnaya Gazeta No. 260 November 7, 1928. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, page 331.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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.README

It is essential immediately, with demonstrative speed, to introduce a Bill stating that the penalty for bribery ( extortion, graft, acting as an agent for bribery, and the like)!

shall be 

not less than

ten years’ imprisonment and, in addition, ten years of compulsory labour.[2]


[1] Kursky, D. I. (1874–1932)—member of the Bolshevik Party from 1904, People’s Commissar for Justice of the R.S.F.S.R., 1918–28.

[2] Lenin was prompted to write this letter by an incorrect decision taken by the Moscow Revolutionary Tribunal, which on May 2, 1918 heard the case against four members of the Moscow Commission of Investigation charged with bribery and blackmail and passed a sentence of only six months’ imprisonment. On May 4 Lenin proposed to the C.C. of the R.C.P.(B.) that the judges who had passed such a lenient sentence should be expelled from the Party. Acting on the instructions given by Lenin in this letter, the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a decision obliging the People’s Commissariat of Justice “immediately” to draw up a Bill stipulating a “heavy minimum sentence for bribery and any connivance in bribery”. The Commissariat of Justice’s Bill was discussed by the C.P.C. on May 8 and amended by Lenin before it finally became law.

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