V. I. Lenin

To the Communists of Turkestan[1]

Delivered: 22 November, 1919
First Published: Turkestansky Kommunist, Izvestia TsIK Sovetov Turhestanskoi Respubliki and Krasny Front (Jubilee edition) November 7-10, 1919; Published according to the newspaper text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 30, pages 138
Translated: George Hanna
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Comrades, permit me to address you not as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Council of Defence, but as a member of the Party.

It is no exaggeration to say that the establishment of proper relations with the peoples of Turkestan is now of immense, epochal importance for the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.

The attitude of the Soviet Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic to the weak and hitherto oppressed nations is of very pradtical significance for the whole of Asia and for all the colonies of the world, for thousands and millions of people.

I earnestly urge you to devote the closest attention to this question, to exert every effort to set an effective example of comradely relations with the peoples of Turkestan, to demonstrate to them by your actions that we are sincere in our desire to wipe out all traces of Great-Russian imperialism and wage an implacable struggle against world imperialism, headed by British imperialism. You should show the greatest confidence in our Turkestan Commission and adhere strictly to its directives, which have been framed precisely in this spirit by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee.

I would very much appreciate a reply to this letter indicating your attitude.

Wilh communist greetings,

V. Ulyanov (Lenin)


[1] This letter was written by Lenin in connection with the dispatch to Turkestan of a commission of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissar,;. The commission included G. I. Bokia, F. I. Goloshchokin, V. V. Kuibyshev, Y. E. Rudzutak, M. V. Frunze and S. Z. Eliava. It was veste d with the powers of a state and Party body. Its main tasks were to strengthen the union of the peoples of Turkestan with Soviet Russia,to consolidate Soviet power,to rectify mistakes in the national policy in Turkestan, and to improve Party work. The members of the commission were to follow the instruction of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of October 8, 1919, which pointed out that self-determination of the peoples of Turkestan and the abolition of all national inequality and of the privileges of one nationality group at the expense of another form the basis of the policy of the Soviet Government of Russia and serve as the guiding principle in the entire work of all its bodies. Only by such work can we overcome the old mistrust of the local working masses of Turkestan for the workers and peasants of Russia due to the many years of the rule of Russian tsarism. The working people of Turkestan welcomed this decision of the All-Russia C.E.C. and C,P.C. The joint meeting of the Territorial Committee of the Communist Party of Turkestan, Territorial Moslem Bureau of the C.P.T. and the Presidium of the Turkestan C.E.C. studied Lenin’s letter and heard the report by Eliava, chairman of the commission, and adopted a resolution, which read as follows: “We promise to carry out all the tasks with which history has presented us in accordance with the instructions of the C.C. of our Party and the Third International,” In January 1920 Lenin’s letter was discussed at the Fifth General Territorial Conference of the Communist Party of Turkestan. The Conference sent a letter to Lenin in which the Communists promised to rectify their blunders and render unanimous support to the Turkestan commission.