V. I.   Lenin

Notes Concerning the Decree on Work Rations[1]

Written: April 27, 1920
Published: First published in 1945 in Lenin Miscellany XXXV. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Printing, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 188-189a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). 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



1). Title to be changed.

2) General public norm to be abolished.

3) The work ration, i.e., for number of days worked, to be made the basic ration.

4) The work ration to be divided into categories according to the lightness or heaviness of the work.

5) 1st category: mental and office work

6) 2nd “ manual work

7) 3rd “ heavy work, etc.

8) “Shock groups” (i.e., trades and enterprises of special importance for production) transferable, by decision of the C. P.C. (sometimes by special rules) and the Council of Defence, to categories 2, 3, and so on.

9) A special low norm to be fixed for non-working people, unemployed, traders, etc. Exemptions.

10) Special exemptions for children and the sick.


Title suggestions:

Decree on Greater Uniformity of Food Rations and Work Rations As the Basis of the Whole Food System” .

What was formerly called “general public norm” to be changed to

norm for unemployed and small proprietors” or: self-employed citizens, people not working, etc. (or “small proprietors”), “people not working in Soviet enterprises or offices“.

Advantage: (1) simplifies things tremendously in capital cities and all non-farming, industrial towns (as the bulk there work in Soviet enterprises or Soviet offices).

(2) In non-industrial towns we clearly set apart the population that is not working in Soviet enterprises or Soviet offices, and this population should gradually be taken off rations (either start a vegetable garden of your own or go to work in Soviet enterprises or Soviet offices).


We shall not feed those who do not work in Soviet enterprises or Soviet offices.

Figure out under what system there will be less food coupons and the system itself more simple.




[1] The Decree on the Introduction of Work Rations was adopted by the Council of People’s Commissars on April 30, 1920 and published on May 4 in Izvestia No. 94.

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