V. I. Lenin

Main Propositions Of The Decree On Food Dictatorship[1]

Written: 8 May, 1918
First Published: 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVIII Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 356-357
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

The draft decision to be revised in the following way:

1) delete the references to the international situation;

2) insert that after peace with the Ukraine we shall be left with only just enough grain to save us from famine;

3) insert that decisions of the dictator will be checked by his collegium, which has the right, without holding up implementation, to appeal to the Council of People's Commissars;

4) insert that decisions which by their nature are connected with the Commissariat for Ways of Communication or the Supreme Economic Council are to be adopted by consultation with the appropriate departments;

5) give a more precise legal formulation of the rights of the Commissar for Food;

6) emphasise more strongly the basic idea of the necessity, for salvation from famine, of conducting and carrying through a ruthless and terrorist struggle and war against peasant or other bourgeois elements who retain surplus grain for themselves;

7) lay down precisely that owners of grain who possess surplus grain and do not send it to the depots and places of grain collection will be declared enemies of the people and will be subject to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years, confiscation of all their property and expulsion for ever from the community;

8) insert an addition on the duty of working peasants who are propertyless and do not possess surpluses to join forces for ruthless struggle against the kulaks;

9) define precisely the relation of the delegate committees to the gubernia food committees and the rights and duties of the former in carrying out food work.


[1] Lenin’s proposals werw endorse at a meeting of the Council of People’s Commissars on May 8, 1918, during the discussion on the report of the People’s Commissar for Food A. D. Tsyurupa and on the decree granting the Commissar emergency powers. The document is an instruction to the commission set up by the Council of People’s Commissars to revise decree submitted by the People’s Commissariat for Food Granting emergency powers.

Based on Lenin’s propositions, the devree was approved on May 9, 1918 by the Council of People’s Commissars, and on May 13, by the All-Russia C.E.C. It was published on May 14, in Izvestia VTsIK No. 94 (see Decrees of the Soviet Government, Russian edition, Volume 2, 1959, pages 261-266).