(Prolonged applause.) Comrades, allow me to declare the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party open. We have passed through a very eventful year both in international and in our own internal history. To begin with the international situation, let me say that this is the first time we have met in conditions in which the Communist International has ceased to be a mere slogan and has really been converted into a mighty organisation with foundations—real foundations—in the major advanced capitalist countries. What had only been a set of resolutions at the Second Congress of the Communist International has been successfully implemented during the past year and has found expression, confirmation and consolidation in such countries as Germany, France and Italy. It is enough to name these three countries to show that the Communist International, since its Second Congress in Moscow last summer, has become part and parcel of the working-class movement in all the major advanced countries of Europe—more than that, it has become the chief factor in international politics. This is such a great achievement, comrades, that however difficult and severe the various trials ahead of us—and we cannot and must not lose sight of them—no one can deprive us of it!
Furthermore, comrades, this is the first congress that is meeting without any hostile troops, supported by the capitalists and imperialists of the world, on the territory of the Soviet Republic. The Red Army’s victories over the past year have enabled us to open a Party Congress in such conditions for the first time. Three and a half years of unparalleled strugg]e, and the last of the hostile armies has been driven from our territory—that is our achievement! Of course, that has not won us everything, not by a long shot; nor have we won all that we have to—real freedom from imperialist invasion and intervention. On the contrary, their warfare against us has taken a form that is less military but is in some respects more severe and more dangerous. The transition from war to peace—which we hailed at the last Party Congress and in the light of which we have tried to organise our work—is still far from completed. Our Party is still confronted with incredibly difficult tasks, not only in respect of the economic plan—where we have made quite a few mistakes—or the basis of economic construction, but also the basis of relations between the classes remaining in our society, in this Soviet Republic. These relations have undergone a change, and this—you will all agree—should be one of the chief questions for you to examine and decide here.
Comrades, we have passed through an exceptional year, we have allowed ourselves the luxury of discussions and disputes within the Party. This was an amazing luxury for a Party shouldering unprecedented responsibilities and surrounded by mighty and powerful enemies uniting the whole capitalist world.
I do not know how you will assess that fact now. Was it fully compatible with our resources, both material and spiritual? It is up to you to appraise this. At all events, however, I must say that the slogan, task and aim which we should set ourselves at this Congress and which we must accomplish at all costs, is to emerge from the discussions and disputes stronger than before. (Applause.) You, comrades, cannot fail to be aware that all our enemies—and their name is legion—in all their innumerable press organs abroad repeat, elaborate and multiply the same wild rumour that our bourgeois and petty-bourgeois enemies spread here inside the Soviet Republic, namely: discussion means disputes; disputes mean discord; discord means that the Communists have become weak; press hard, seize the opportunity, take advantage of their weakening. This has become the slogan of the hostile world. We must not forget this for a moment. Our task now is to show that, to whatever extent we have allowed ourselves this luxury in the past, whether rightly or wrongly, we must emerge from this situation in such a way that, having properly examined the extraordinary abundance of platforms, shades, slight shades and almost slight shades of opinion, that have been formulated and discussed, we at our Party Congress could say to ourselves: at all events, whatever form the discussion has taken up to now, however much we have argued among ourselves—and we are confronted with so many enemies—the task of the dictatorship of the proletariat in a peasant country is so vast and difficult that formal cohesion is far from enough. (Your presence here at the Congress is a sign that we have that much.) Our efforts should be more united and harmonious than ever before; there should not be the slightest trace of factionalism—whatever its manifestations in the past. That we must not have on any account. That is the only condition on which we shall accomplish the immense tasks that confront us. I am sure that I express the intention and firm resolve of all of you when I say: at all events, the end of this Congress must find our Party stronger, more harmonious, and more sincerely united than ever before. (Applause.)
Comrades, the question of the Central Committee’s political work, as you are, of course, aware, is so closely bound up with the whole work of the Party and Soviet institutions, and with the whole course of the revolution, that in my view, at any rate, there can be no question of a report in the full sense of the word. Accordingly, I take it to be my task to try to single out some of the more important events which, I think, represent the cardinal points of our work and of Soviet policy over the past year, which are most typical of what we have gone through and which provide most food for thought concerning the reasons for the course taken by the revolution, the significance of our mistakes—and these have been many—and the ]essons for the future. For no matter how natural it is to report on the events of the past year, no matter how essential it is for the Central Committee, and no matter how interesting such a report in itself may be for the Party, the tasks of the current and forthcoming struggle are so urgent, difficult and grave, and press so hard upon us that all our attention is unwittingly concentrated on how to draw the appropriate conclusions from past experience and how best to solve present and future problems on which all our attention is focused.
Of all the key problems of our work in the past year, which chiefly hold our attention and with which, in my opinion, our mistakes are mainly connected, the most important is the transition from war to peace. All, or possibly most of you, will recall that we have attempted this transition several times during the past three and a half years, without once having completed it; and apparently we shall not accomplish it this time either because international capitalism is too vitally interested in preventing it. I recall that in April 1918, i.e., three years ago, I had occasion to speak to the All-Russia Central Executive Committee about our tasks, which at the time were formulated as if the Civil War had in the main come to an end, when in actual fact it had only just begun. You will all recall that at the pre vious Party Congress we based all our plans on the transition to peaceful construction, having assumed that the enormous concessions then made to Poland would assure us of peace. As early as April, however, the Polish bourgeoisie, which, with the imperialists of the capitalist countries, interpreted our peaceful stand as a sign of weakness, started an offensive for which they paid dearly: they got a peace that was much worse. But we were unable to switch to peaceful construction and had once again to concentrate on the war with Poland and subsequently on wiping out Wrangel. That is what determined the substance of our work in the year under review. Once again all our work turned on military problems.
Then followed the trunsition from war to peace when the last enemy soldier was finally driven from the territory of the R.S.F.S.R.
This transition involved upheavals which we had certainly never foreseen. That is undoubtedly one of the main causes of all our mistakes in policy during the period under review, from which we are now suffering. We now realise that some of the tasks we had grossly underrated were posed by the demobilisation of the army, which had to be created in a country that had suffered unparalleled strains and stresses, and that had gone through several years of imperialist war. Its demobilisation put a terrible strain on our transport facilities, and this was intensified by the famine due to the crop failure and the fuel shortage, which largely brought the railways to a standstill. That is largely the source of the series of crises—economic, social and political—that hit us. At the end of last year I had occasion to point out that one of the main difficulties of the coming spring would be that connected with the demobilisation of the army. I also pointed this out at the big discussion on December 30, which many of you may have attended. I must say that at the time we had scarcely any idea of the scale of these difficulties. We had not yet seen the extent of the possible technical difficulties; but then neither had we realised the extent to which the demobilisation would intensify all the misfortunes which befell the Soviet Republic, exhausted as it was by the old imperialist war and the new civil war. To some extent it would be right to say that the demobilisation brings out these difficulties to an even greater degree. For a number of years, the country had been dedicated to the solution of war tasks and had glven its all to solve them. It had ungrudgingly sacrificed all it had, its meagre reserves and resources, and only at tho end of the war were we able to see the full extent of that devastation and poverty which now condemn us to the simple healing of wounds for a long time to come. But even to this we cannot devote ourselves entirely. The technical difficulties of army demobilisation show a good part of the depth of that devastation which inevitably breeds, apart from other things, a whole series of economic and social crises. The war had habituated us—hundreds of thousands of men, the whole country—to war-time tasks, and when a great part of the army, having solved these military tasks, finds very much worse conditions and incredible hardships in the countryside, without any opportunity—because of this and the general crisis—to apply its labour, the result is something midway between war and peace. We find that it is a situation in which we cannot very well speak of peace. For it is the demobilisation—the end of the Civil War—that makes it impossible for us to concentrate on peaceful construction, because it brings about a continuation of the war, but in a new form. We find ourselves involved in a new kind of war, a new form of war, which is summed up in the word “banditism”—when tens and hundreds of thousands of demobilised soldiers, who are accustomed to the toils of war and regard it almost as their only trade, return, impoverished and ruined, and are unable to find work.
Failure to reckon with the scale of the difficulties connected with the demobilisation was undoubtedly a mistake on the part of the Central Committee. It must, of course, be said that we had nothing to go on, for the Civil War was so arduous an effort that there was only one guiding principle: everything for victory on the Civil War front, and nothing else. It was only by observing this principle, and by the Red Army’s unparalleled efforts in the struggle against Kolchak, Yudenich and others, that we could hope to, achieve victory over the imperialists who had invaded Soviet Russia.
From this crucial fact, which determined a whole series of mistakes and intensified the crisis, I should like to turn to the question of how a whole number of even more profound discrepancies, erroneous calculations or plans were brought to light in the work of the Party and the struggle of the entire proletariat. These were not only mistakes in planning, but in determining the balance of forces between our class and those classes in collaboration with which, and frequently in struggle against which, it had to decide the fate of the Republic. With this as a starting-point, let us turn to the results of the past, to our political experience, and to what the Central Committee, as the policy-making body, must understand and try to explain to the whole Party. These questions range from the course of our war with Poland to food and fuel. Our offensive, our too swift advance almost as far as Warsaw, was undoubtedly a mistake. I shall not now analyse whether it was a strategic or a political error, as this would take me too far afield. Let us leave it to future historians, for those of us who have to keep beating off the enemy in hard struggle have no time to indulge in historical research. At any rate, the mistake is there, and it was due to the fact that we had overestimated the superiority of our forces. It would be too difficult to decide now to what extent this superiority of forces depended on the economic conditions, and on the fact that the war with Poland aroused patriotic feelings even among the petty-bourgeois elements, who were by no means proletarians or sympathisers with communism, by no means giving unconditional support to the dictatorship of the proletariat; sometimes, in fact, they did not support it at all. But the fact remains that we had made a definite mistake in the war with Poland.
We find a similar mistake in food. With regard to surplus food appropriation and its fulfilment there can be no doubt that the year under review was more favourable than the previous one. This year the amount of grain collected is over 250 million poods. By February 1, the figure was estimated at 235 million poods, as against the 210 million poods for the whole of the previous year; that is to say, more was collected in a much shorter period than for the whole of the previous year. It turned out, however, that of these 235 millions collected by February 1, we had used up 155 million poods within the first six months, that is, an average of 25 million or even more poods a month. Of course, we must on the whole admit that we were unable to space out our reserves properly, even when they were better than last year’s. We failed to see the full danger of the crisis approaching with the spring, and succumbed to the natural desire to increase the starving workers’ ration. Of course, it must be said that there again we had no basis for our estimates. All capitalist countries, in spite of the anarchy and chaos intrinsic to capitalism, have as a basis for their economic planning, the experience of many decades which they can compare, for they have the same economic system differing only in details. From this comparison it is possible to deduce a genuinely scientific law, a certain regularity and uniformity. We cannot have and have not had anything of the kind, and it was quite natural that when at the end of the war the possibility finally arose to give the starving population a little more, we were unable all at once to establish the correct proportion. We should have obviously limited the increase in the ration, so as to create a certain reserve fund for a rainy day, which was due to come in the spring, and which has now arrived. That we failed to do. Once again it is a mistake typical of all our work, a mistake which shows that the transition from war to peace confronted us with a whole number of difficulties and problems, and we had neither the experience, the training, nor the requisite material to overcome them, and this worsened, intensified and aggravated the crisis to an extraordinary extent.
We undoubtedly had something similar in fuel. It is crucial to economic construction. The output estimates and proper distribution of fuel had, of course, to be the basis for the entire transition from war to peace—to economic construction—which was discussed at the previous Party Congress and which has been the main concern and the focal point of all our policy during the year under review. There can be no question of overcoming our difficulties or rehabilitating our industry without it. In this respect, we are clearly in a better position now than we were last year. We used to be cut off from the coal and oil districts, but we got the coal and oil after the Red Army’s victories. In any case, our fuel resources have increased. We know that the fuel resources with which we entered upon the year under review were greater than before. Accordingly, we made the mistake of immediately permitting such a wide distribution of fuel that these resources were exhausted and we were faced with a fuel crisis beIore we had put everything in proper working order. You will hear special reports on all these problems, and I cannot even give you any approximate figures. But in any case, bearing in mind the experience of the past, we must say that this mistake was due to a wrong understanding of the state of affairs and the rapid pace of transition from war to peace. It turned out that the transition could only be made at a much slower pace than we had imagined. The lesson driven home to us over the past year is that the preparations had to be longer, and the pace slower. It is a lesson that the whole Party will need particularly to learn in order to determine our main tasks for the year ahead, if we are to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
I must add that the crop failure aggravated these mistakes and especially the resultant crises. I have pointed out that the food effort during the year under review gave us very much better food reserves, but that too was one of the main sources of the crises, because the crop failure had led to an acute feed shortage, a great loss of cattle and widespread ruin among the peasants, so that these grain procurements fell mainly in places where the grain surplus was not very large. There are far greater surpluses in various outlying areas of the Republic, in Siberia and in the Northern Caucasus, but it is there that the Soviet power was less stable, the Soviet government apparatus least efficient, and transportation from over there was very difficult. That is why it turned out that we collected the increased food reserves from the gubernias with the poorer crops and this went to intensify the crisis in the peasant economy considerably.
Here again we clearly see that our estimates were not as accurate as they should have been. But then we were in such a tight corner that we had no choice. A country which, after a devastating imperialist war, survived such a thing as a long civil war, could not, of course, exist without giving the front everything it had. And, once ruined, what could it do but take the peasants’ surpluses, even without compensating them by any other means. We had to do this to save the country, the army, and the workers’ and peasants’ government. We said to the peasants: “Of course, you are lending your grain to the workers’ and peasants’ state, but unless you do, you cannot expect to save the country from the landowners and the capitalists.” We could do nothing else in the circumstances forced upon us by the imperialists and the capitalists through their war. We had no choice. But these circumstances led to such a weakening of the peasant economy after the long war that the crop failure was due also to the smaller sown area, worsening equipment, lower crop yields, shortage of hands, etc. The crop failure was disastrous, but the collection of surplus grain, which was rather better than we had expected, was accompanied by an aggravation of the crisis that may bring us still greater difficulties and calamities in the months to come. We must carefully reckon with this fact when analysing our political experience of the past year, and the political tasks we set ourselves for the year ahead. The year under review has left the following year with the same urgent problems.
I shall now deal with another point from a totally different sphere—the trade union discussion, which has taken up so much of the Party’s time. I mentioned it earlier on today, and could naturally only venture the cautious remark that I thought many of you would consider this discussion as being too great a luxury. I must add, for my part, that I think it was quite an impermissible luxury, and we certainly made a mistake when we allowed it, for we had failed to realise that we were pushing into the forefront a question which for objective reasons cannot be there. We allowed ourselves to indulge in this luxury, failing to realise how much attention we distracted from the vital and threatening question before us, namely, this question of the crisis. What are the actual results of this discussion, which has been going on for so many months and which must have bored most of you? You will hear special reports on it, but I should like to draw your attention to one aspect of the matter. It is that in this case the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining”, has been undoubtedly justified.
Unfortunately, there was rather a lot of cloud, and very little silver lining. (Laughter.) Still, the silver lining was there, for although we lost a great deal of time and diverted the attention of our Party comrades from the urgent tasks of the struggle against the petty-bourgeois elements surrounding us, we did learn to discern certain relationships which we had not seen before. The good thing was that the Party was bound to learn something from this struggle. Although we all knew that, being the ruling party, we had inevitably to merge the Party and government leadership— they are merged and will remain so—the Party nevertheless learned a certain lesson in this discussion which cannot be ignored. Some platforms mostly got the votes of the “top” section of the Party. Some platforms which were sometimes called “the platforms of the Workers’ Opposition”, and sometimes by other names, clearly proved to be an expression of a syndicalist deviation. That is not just my personal opinion, but that of the vast majority of those present. (Voices : “That’s right.”)
In this discussion, the Party proved itself to have matured to such an extent that, aware of a certain wavering of the “top” section and hearing the leadership say: “We cannot agree—sort us out,” it mobilised rapidly for this task and the vast majority of the more important Party organisations quickly responded: “We do have an opinion, and we shall let you know it.”
During the discussion we got a number of platforms. There were so many of them that, although in view of my position I should have read them all, I confess I had not. (Laughter.) I do not know whether all those present had found the time to read them, but, in any case, I must say that this syndicalist, and to a certain degree even semi-anarchist, deviation, which has crystallised, gives food for thought. For several months we allowed ourselves to wallow in the luxury of studying shades of opinion. Meanwhile, the demobilisation of the army was producing banditry and aggravating the economic crisis. The discussion should have helped us to understand that our Party, with at least half a million members and possibly even more, has become, first, a mass party, and, second, the government party, and that as a mass party it reflects something of what is taking place outside its ranks. It is extremely important to understand this.
There would be nothing to fear from a slight syndicalist or semi-anarchist deviation; the Party would have swiftly and decisively become aware of it, and would have set about correcting it. But it is no time to argue about theoretical deviations when one of them is bound up with the tremendous preponderance of peasants in the country, when their dissatisfaction with the proletarian dictatorship is mounting, when the crisis in peasant farming is coming to a head, and when the demobilisation of the peasant army is setting loose hundreds and thousands of broken men who have nothing to do, whose only accustomed occupation is war and who breed banditry. At the Congress, we must make it quite clear that we cannot have arguments about deviations and that we must put a stop to that. The Party Congress can and must do this; it must draw the appropriate lesson, and add it to the Central Committee’s political report, consolidate and confirm it, and make it a Party law and duty. The atmosphere of the controversy is becoming extremely dangerous and constitutes a direct threat to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
A few months ago, when I had occasion to meet and argue with some comrades in a discussion and said, “Beware, this constitutes a threat to working-class rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat,” they replied, “This is intimidation, you are terrorising us.” On several occasions I have had to hear my remarks being labelled in this manner, and accusations of intimidation thrown about, and I replied that it would be absurd for me to try to intimidate old revolutionaries who had gone through all sorts of ordeals. But when you see the difficulties the demobilisation is producing you can no longer say it was an attempt at intimidation, or even an unavoidable exaggeration in the heat of the controversy; it was, in fact, an absolutely exact indication of what we now have, and of our need for unity, discipline and restraint. We need all this not only because otherwise a proletarian party cannot work harmoniously, but because the spring has brought and will bring even more difficult conditions in which we cannot function without maximum unity. These two main lessons, I think, we shall still be able to learn from the discussion. I think it necessary to say, therefore, that whilst we did indulge in luxury and presented the world with a remarkable example of a party, engaged in a most desperate struggle, permitting itself the luxury of devoting unprecedented attention to the detailed elucidation of separate points of platforms—all this in face of a crop failure, a crisis, ruin and demobilisation—we shall now draw from these lessons a political conclusion—not just a conclusion pointing to some mistake, but a political conclusion—concerning the relations between classes, between the working class and the peasants. These relations are not what we had believed them to be. They demand much greater unity and concentration of forces on the part of the proletariat, and under the dictatorship of the proletariat they are a far greater danger than all the Denikins, Kolchaks and Yudeniches put together. It would be fatal to be deluded on this score! The difficulties stemming from the petty-bourgeois elemont are enormous, and if they are to be overcome, we must have great unity, and I don’t mean just a semblance of unity. We must all pull together with a single will, for in a peasant country only the will of the mass of proletarians will enable the proletariat to accomplish the great tasks of its leadership and dictatorship.
Assistance is on its way from the West-European countries but it is not coming quickly enough. Still it is coming and growing.
I pointed out this morning that one of the most important factors of the period under review, one closely related to the work of the Central Committee, is the organisation of the Second Congress of the Comintern. Of course, compared with last year, the world revolution has made considerable headway. Of course, the Communist International, which at the time of last year’s Congress existed only in the form of proclamations, has now begun to function as an independent party in each country, and not merely as an advanced party—communism has become central to the working-class movement as a whole. In Germany, France and Italy the Communist International has become not only the centre of the working-class movement, but also the focus of political life in these countries. Any German or French newspaper you picked up last autumn contained abuse of Moscow and the Bolsheviks, who were called all sorts of names; in fact, the Bolsheviks and the 21 conditions for admission to the Third International were made the central issue of their entire political life. That is an achievement no one can take away from us! It shows how the world revolution is growing and how it is paralleled by the aggravation of the economic crisis in Europe. But in any case, it would be madness on our part to assume that help will shortly arrive from Europe in the shape of a strong proletarian revolution, and I am sure no one here is making such an assumption. In these last three years, we have learned to understand that placing our stake on the world revolution does not mean relying on a definite date, and that the accelerating pace of development may or may not lead to a revolution in the spring. Therefore, we must be able to bring our work in line with the class balance here and elsewhere, so as to be able to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat for a long time, and, however gradually, to remedy all our numerous misfortunes and crises. This is the only correct and sober approach.
I shall now turn to an item concerning the work of the Central Committee during the present year which is closely related to the tasks facing us. It is the question of our foreign relations.
Prior to the Ninth Party Congress, our attention and all our endeavours were aimed at switching from our relations of war with the capitalist countries to relations of peace and trade. For that purpose we undertook all sorts of diplomatic moves and bested men who were undoubtedly skilled diplomats. When, for instance, the representatives of America or of the League of Nations proposed that we halt hostilities against Denikin and Kolchak on certain stated terms, they thought we would land in difficulties. In actual fact, it was they who landed in difficulties and we who scored a great diplomatic victory. They were made to look silly, they had to withdraw their terms, and this was subsequently exposed in all the diplomatic writings and press of the world. But we cannot rest content with a diplomatic victory. We need more than that: we need genuine trade relations. However, only this year has there been some development in trade relations. There is the question of trade relations with Britain, which has been central since the summer of last year. In this connection, the war with Poland was a considerable setback for us. Britain was ready to sign a trade agreement. The British bourgeoisie wanted it, but court circles in Britain were against it and hampered it, and the war with Poland delayed it. It so happens that the matter has not been settled yet.
Today ’s papers, I think, say that Krasin has told the press in London that he expects the trade agreement to be signed shortly.] I do not know whether these hopes are fully justified. I cannot be certain that it will actually take place, but for my part I must say that we in the Central Committee have devoted a great deal of attention to this question and considered it correct for us to compromise in order to achieve a trade agreement with Britain. Not only because we could obtain more from Britain than from other countries—she is, in this respect, not as advanced as, say, Germany or America. She is a colonial power, with too great a stake in Asian politics, and is sometimes too sensitive to the successes of the Soviet power in certain countries lying near her colonies. That is why our relations with Britain are especially tenuous. This tenuousness arises from such an objective tangle of causes that no amount of skill on the part of the Soviet diplomatists will help. But we need a trade treaty with Britain owing to the possibility opening up for a treaty with America, whose industrial capacity is so much greater.
The concession issue is bound up with this. We devoted far more attention to it last year than before. A decree of the Council of People’s Commissars issued on November 23 set out the concession question in a form most acceptable to foreign capitalists. When certain misinterpretations or insufficient understanding of this problem arose in Party circles, a number of meetings of senior Party workers were held to discuss it. On the whole, there was not a great deal of disagreement, although we did hear of many protests from workers and peasants. They said: “We got rid of our own capitalists, and now they want to call in some foreign capitalists.” Of course, the Central Committee had no statistics at its disposal to decide to what extent these protests were due to ignorance, or expressed the hopes of the kulak or outright capitalist section of the non-Party people who believe they have a legitimate right to be capitalists in Russia, and not like the foreign capitalists who are invited in without any power, but with real power. Indeed, it is most unlikely that statistics on such factors are available anywhere in the world. But this decree was, at any rate, a step towards establishing relations with a view to granting concessions. I must add that in practice—and this is something we must never forget—we have not secured a single concession. The point at issue is whether we should try to get them at all costs. Whether we get them or not does not depend on our arguments or decisions, but on international capital. On February 1 of this year, the Council of People’s Commissars took another decision on the concessions. Its first clause says: “To approve in principle the granting of oil concessions in Grozny and Baku and at other working oilfields and to open negotiations which should be pressed forward.”
There was some difference of opinion on this point. Some comrades thought it was wrong to grant concessions in Grozny and Baku, as this would arouse opposition among the workers. The majority on the Central Committee, including myself, took the view that there were possibly no grounds for the complaints.
The majority on the Central Committee and I myself took the view that it was essential to grant these concessions, and we shall ask you to back it up with your authority. It is vital to have such an alliance with the state trusts of the advanced countries because our economic crisis is so deep that we cannot, on our own, rehahilitate our ruined economy without machinery and technical aid from abroad. Getting the equipment out here is not enough. We could grant concessions to the biggest imperialist trusts on a wider basis: say, a quarter of Baku, a quarter of Grozny, and a quarter of our best forest reserves, so as to assure ourselves of an essential basis by the installation of the most modern machinery; on the other hand, in return for this we shall be getting badly needed machinery for the remaining part. In this way we shall be able to close a part—say, a quarter or a half—of the gap between us and the modern, advanced trusts of other countries. No one, with anything like a sober view of the present situation, will doubt that unless we do this we shall be in a very difficult position indeed, and shall be unable to overtake them without a superhuman effort. Negotiations with some of the largest world trusts have already begun. Naturally, for their part they are not simply doing us a good turn: they are in it only for the fantastic profits. Modern capitalism—as a non-belligerent diplomat would put it—is a robber, a ring. It is not the old capitalism of pre-war days: because of its monopoly of the world market its profit margins run to hundreds of per cents. Of course, this will exact a high price, but there is no other way out because the world revolution is marking time. There is no other way for us to raise our technology to the modern level. And if one of the crises were to give a sharp spur to the world revolution, and if it were to arrive before the concession terms ran out, our concession obligations would turn out to be less onerous than they appear on paper.
On February 1, 1921, the Council of People’s Commissars decided to purchase 18,500,000 poods of coal abroad, for our fuel crisis was already in evidence. It had already become clear by then that we would have to expend our gold reserves not only on the purchase of machinery. In the latter case, our coal output would have increased, for we would have boosted our production if, instead of coal, we had bought machines abroad to develop our coal industry, but the crisis was so acute that we had to opt for the worse economic step and spend our money on the coal we could have produced at home. We shall have to make further compromises to buy consumer goods for the peasants and workers.
I should now like to deal with the Kronstadt events. I have not yet received the latest news from Kronstadt, but I have no doubt that this mutiny, which very quickly revealed to us the familiar figures of whiteguard generals, will be put down within the next few days, if not hours. There can be no doubt about this. But it is essential that we make a thorough appraisal of the political and economic lessons of this event.
What does it mean? It was an attempt to seize political power from the Bolsheviks by a motley crowd or alliance of ill-assorted elements, apparently just to the right of the Bolsheviks, or perhaps even to their “left”—you can’t really tell, so amorphous is the combination of political groupings that has tried to take power in Kronstadt. You all know, undoubtedly, that at the same time whiteguard generals were very active over there. There is ample proof of this. A fortnight before the Kronstadt events., the Paris newspapers reported a mutiny at Kronstadt. It is quite clear that it is the work of Socialist-Revolutionaries and whiteguard émigrés, and at the same time the movement was reduced to a petty-bourgeois counter-revolution and petty-bourgeois anarchism. That is something quite new. This circumstance, in the context of all the crises, must be given careful political consideration and must be very thoroughly analysed. There is evidence here of the activity of petty-bourgeois anarchist elements with their slogans of unrestricted trade and invariable hostility to the dictatorship of the proletariat. This mood has had a wide influence on the proletariat. It has had an effect on factories in Moscow and a number of provincial centres. This petty-bourgeois counter-revolution is undoubtedly more dangerous than Denikin, Yudenich and Kolchak put together, because ours is a country where the proletariat is in a minority, where peasant property has gone to ruin and where, in addition, the demobilisation has set loose vast numbers of potentially mutinous elements. No matter how big or small the initial, shall I say, shift in power, which the Kronstadt sailors and workers put forward—they wanted to correct the Bolsheviks in regard to restrictions in trade—and this looks like a small shift, which leaves the same slogans of “Soviet power” with ever so slight a change or correction. Yet, in actual fact the whiteguards only used the non-Party elements as a stepping stone to get in. This is politically inevitable. We saw the petty-bourgeois, anarchist elements in the Russian revolution, and we have been fighting them for decades. We have seen them in action since February 1917, during the great revolution, and their parties’ attempts to prove that their programme differed little from that of the Bolsheviks, but that only their methods in carrying it through were different. We know this not only from the experience of the October Revolution, but also of the outlying regions and various areas within the former Russian Empire where the Soviet power was temporarily replaced by other regimes. Let us recall the Democratic Committee in Samara. They all came in demanding equality, freedom, and a constituent assembly, and every time they proved to be nothing but a conduit for whiteguard rule. Because the Soviet power is being shaken by the economic situation, we must consider all this experience and draw the theoretical conclusions a Marxist cannot escape. The experience of the whole of Europe shows the practical results of trying to sit between two stools. That is why in this context we must say that political friction, in this case, is a great danger. We must take a hard look at this petty-bourgeois counter-revolution with its calls for freedom to trade. Unrestricted trade—even if it is not as bound up initially with the whiteguards as Kronstadt was—is still only the thin end of the wedge for the whiteguard element, a victory for capital and its complete restoration. We must, I repeat, have a keen sense of this political danger.
It shows what I said in dealing with our platforms discussion: in face of this danger we must understand that we must do more than put an end to Party disputes as a matter of form—we shall do that, of course. We need to remember that we must take a much more serious approach to this question.
We have to understand that, with the peasant economy in the grip of a crisis, we can survive only by appealing to the peasants to help town and countryside. We must bear in mind that the bourgeoisie is trying to pit the peasants against the workers; that behind a façade of workers’ slogans it is trying to incite the petty-bourgeois anarchist elements against the workers. This, if successful, will lead directly to the overthrow of the dictatorship of the proletariat and, consequently, to the restoration of capitalism and of the old landowner and capitalist regime. The political danger here is obvious. A number of revolutions have clearly gone that way; we have always been mindful of this possibility and have warned against it. This undoubtedly demands of the ruling party of Communists, and of the leading revolutionary elements of the proletariat a different attitude to the one we have time and again displayed over the past year. It is a danger that undoubtedly calls for much greater unity and discipline; it undoubtedly requires that we should all pull harder together. Otherwise we shall not cope with the dangers that have fallen to our lot.
Then there are the economic problems. What is the meaning of the unrestricted trade demanded by the petty-bourgeois elements? It is that in the proletariat’s relations with the small farmers there are difficult problems and tasks we have yet to solve. I am-speaking of the victorious proletar iat’s relations with the small proprietors when the proletarian revolution unfolds in a country where the proletariat is in a minority, and the petty bourgeoisie, in a majority. In such a country the proletariat’s role is to direct the transition of these small proprietors to socialised and collective work. Theoretically this is beyond dispute. We have dealt with this transition in a number of legislative acts, but we know that it does not turn on legislative acts, but on practical implementation, which, we also know, can be guaranteed when you have a very powerful, large-scale industry capable of providing the petty producer with such benefits that he will see its advantages in practice.
That is how Marxists and all socialists who have given thought to the social revolution and. its tasks have always regarded the question in theory. But Russia’s most pronounced characteristic of which I have spoken is that we have, on the one hand, not only a minority, but a considerable minority of proletarians, and, on the other, a vast majority of peasants. And the conditions in which we have had to defend the revolution made the solution of our problems incredibly difficult. We have not been able to show all the advantages of large-scale production, for it lies in ruins, and is dragging out a miserable existence. It can only be rehabilitated by demanding sacrifices from these very same small farmers. To get industry on its feet you need fuel; if you need fuel, you must rely on firewood; and if you rely on firewood, you must look to the peasant and his horse. In conditions of crisis, the fodder shortage and the loss of cattle, the peasant must give his produce on credit to the Soviet power for the sake of a large-scale industry which has not yet given him a thing. That is the economic situation which gives rise to enormous difficulties and demands a deeper analysis of the conditions of transition from war to peace. We cannot run a war-time economy otherwise than by telling the peasants: “You must make loans to the workers’ and peasants’ state to help it pull through.” When concentrating on economic rehabilitation, we must understand that we have before us a small farmer, a small proprietor and producer who will work for the market until the rehabilitation and triumph of large-scale production. But rehabilitation on the old basis is impossible; it will take years, at least a decade, and possibly longer, in view of the havoc. Until then we shall have to deal, for many long years, with the small producer as such, and the unrestricted trade slogan will be inevitable. It is dangerous, not because it covers up the aspirations of the whiteguards and Mensheviks, but because it may become widespread in spite of the peasants’ hatred for the whiteguards. It is apt to spread because it conforms to the economic conditions of the small producer’s existence. It is out of such considerations that the Central Committee adopted its decision to start a discussion on the substitution of a tax for surplus food appropriation and today placed this question squarely before the Congress, a motion which today’s resolution approves. The tax and appropriation problem had been brought up in our legislation a long time ago, back in late 1918. The tax law was dated October 30, 1918. The law on a tax in kind on the farmer was enacted, but never became operative. A number of instructions were issued in the few months after its promulgation, but it was never applied. On the other hand, the confiscation of surpluses from the peasants was a measure with which we were saddled by the imperative conditions of war-time, but which no longer applies to anything like the peace time conditions of the peasant’s economy. He needs the assurance that, while he has to give away a certain amount, he will have so much left to sell locally.
The whole of our economy and its various branches were affected throughout by war-time conditions. With this in mind, our task was to collect a definite quantity of food, regardless of what it did to the national turnover. As we turn from problems of war to those of peace, we take a different view of the tax in kind: we see it not only from the standpoint of meeting the needs of the state, but also those of the small farms. We must try to understand the economic forms of the petty farmer’s indignation against the proletariat which has been in evidence and which is being aggravated in the current crisis. We must try to do our utmost in this respect for it is a matter of vital importance. We must allow the peasant to have a certain amount of leeway in local trade, and supplant the surplus food appropriation by a tax, to give the small farmer a chance to plan his production and determine its scale in accordance with the tax. We know quite well, of course, that in our conditions this is a very difficult thing to do. The sown area, the crop yield, and the farm implements have all been reduced, the surpluses have undoubtedly decreased, and in very many cases have disappeared altogether. These circumstances must be regarded as a fact. The peasant will have to go hungry for a while in order to save the towns and factories from famine. That is something quite understandable on a country-wide scale, but we do not expect the poverty-stricken lone-wolf farmer to understand it. And we know that we shall not be able to do without coercion, on which the impoverished peasants are very touchy. Nor must we imagine that this measure will rid us of the crisis. But we do regard it as our task to make the maximum concessions, to give the small producer the best conditions to come into his own. Up to now, we have been adapting ourselves to the tasks of war; we must now adapt ourselves to the conditions of peace. The Central Committee is faced with this task—the task of switching to the tax in kind in conditions of proletarian power, and it is closely bound up with the question of concessions. You will be having a special discussion on this problem, and it requires your special consideration. By granting concessions, the proletarian power can secure an agreement with advanced capitalist states. On it depends our industrial growth, without which we cannot hope to advance towards communism. On the other hand, in this period of transition in a country where the peasants predominate, we must manage to go over to measures giving economic security to the peasants, and do the most we can to ease their economic condition. Until we have remoulded the peasant, until large-scale machinery has recast him, we must assure him of the possibility of running his economy without restrictions. We are now in a transitional phase, and our revolution is surrounded by capitalist countries. As long as we are in this phase, we are forced to seek highly complex forms of relationships. Oppressed by war, we were unable to concentrate on how to establish economic relations between the proletarian state power, with an incredibly devastated large-scale industry, and the small farmers, and how to find forms of coexistence with them, who, as long as they remain small farmers, cannot exist without their small economy having some system of exchange. I believe this to be the Soviet Government’s most important question in the sphere of economics and politics at the present time. I believe that it sums up the political results of our work, now that the war period has ended and we have begun, in the year under review, to make the transition to peace.
This transition is bound up with such difficulties and has so clearly delineated this petty-bourgeois element, that we must take a sober view of it. We view this series of events in terms of the class struggle, and we have never doubted that the relations between the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie are a difficult problem, demanding complex measures or, to be more accurate, a whole system of complex, transitional measures, to ensure the victory of the proletarian power. The fact that we issued our tax in kind decree at the end of 1918 proves that the Communists were aware of this problem, but were unable to solve it because of the war. With the Civil War on, we had to adopt war-time measures. But it would be a very great mistake indeed if we drew the conclusion that these are the only measures and relations possible. That would surely lead to the collapse of the Soviet power and the dictatorship of the proletariat. When the transition to peace takes place in a period of economic crisis, it should be borne in mind that it is easier to build up a proletarian state in a country with large-scale production than in one with a predominantly small-scale production. This problem has to be approached in a whole number of ways, and we do not close our eyes to these difficulties, or forget that the proletariat is one thing, and the small-scale producer, another. We have not forgotten that there are different classes, that petty-bourgeois, anarchist counter-revolution is a political step to whiteguard rule. We must face this squarely, with an awareness that this needs, on the one hand, maximum unity, restraint and discipline within the proletarian party, and on the other, a series of economic measures which we have not been able to carry out so far because of the war. We must recognise the need to grant concessions, and purchase machinery and equipment to satisfy agriculture, so as to exchange them for grain and re-establish relations between the proletariat and the peasants which will enable it to exist in peace-time conditions. I trust that we shall return to this problem, and I repeat that, in my view, we are dealing here with an important matter, and that the past year, which must be characterised as a period of transition from war to peace, confronts us with some extremely difficult problems.
Let me say a few words in conclusion about combating bureaucratic practices, the question which has taken up so much of our time. It came up before the Central Committee last summer; in August the Central Committee sent a circular to all organisations, and the matter was put before a Party conference in September. Finally, at the December Congress of Soviets, it was dealt with on a wider scale. We do have a bureaucratic ulcer; it has been diagnosed and has to be treated in earnest. Of course, in the discussion that we have had some platforms dealt with the problem quite frivolously, to say the least, and, by and large, from a petty-bourgeois viewpoint. There is no doubt that some discontent and stirrings have recently been in evidence among non-Party workers. Non-Party meetings in Moscow have clearly turned “democracy” and “freedom” into slogans leading up to the overthrow of the Soviet power. Many, or, at any rate, some representatives of the Workers’ Opposition have battled against this petty-bourgeois, counter-revolutionary evil, and have said: “We shall unite against this.” And in actual fact they have been able to display the maximum unity. I cannot tell whether all the supporters of the Workers’ Opposition group and other groups with semi-syndicalist platforms are like them. We need to learn more about this at the Congress, we need to understand that the struggle against the evils of bureaucracy is absolutely indispensable, and that it is just as intricate as the fight against the petty-bourgeois element. The bureaucratic practices of our state system have become such a serious malaise that they are dealt with in our Party Programme, because they are connected with this petty-bourgeois element, which is widely dispersed. This malaise can only be cured by the working people’s unity and their ability not only to welcome the decrees of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection (have you seen many decrees that have not been welcomed?) but to exercise their right through the Inspection, something you don’t find either in the villages, the towns, or even the capital cities. Those who shout loudest against the evils of bureaucracy very frequently do not know how to exercise this right. Very great attention needs to be paid to this fact.
In this area, we often see those who battle against this evil, possibly with a sincere desire to help the proletarian party, the proletarian dictatorship and the proletarian movement, actually helping the petty-bourgeois, anarchist element, which on more than one occasion during the revolution has shown itself to be the most dangerous enemy of the proletarian dictatorship. And now—and this is the main conclusion and lesson of the past year—it has once again shown itself to be the most dangerous enemy, which is most likely to have followers and supporters in a country like ours, to change the mood of the broad masses and to affect even a section of the non-Party workers. That is when the proletarian state finds itself in a very difficult position. Unless we understand this, learn our lesson, and make this Congress a turning-point both in cconomic policy and in the sense of maximum unity of the proletariat, we shall have to apply to ourselves the unfortunate saying: we have forgotten nothing of what—small and trifling at times—deserves to be forgotten, and have learned nothing of the serious things this year of the revolution should have taught us. I hope that will not be the case! (Stormy applause.)
 The Second Congress, which laid the programme, tactical and organisational foundations of the Comintern, was held from July 19 to August 7, 1920. It opened in Petrograd, but was transferred to Moscow on July 23. More than 200 delegates represented Communist Parties and workers’ organisations from 37 countries. Committed to World Socialist Revolution, with many of the manifestos written by Lenin and Trotsky, the 10th Congress of the R.C.P. dovetailed with the expections that the Russian Revolution, it's coming victory in the Civil War would lead to revolution in Europe, the international prerequesite for the construction of the sociaism.
At the first sitting, Lenin gave a report on the international situation and the main tasks of the Comintern. Later he made speeches on the Communist Party, the nationalities and colonial questions, parliamentarism and other questions. He took part in the work of most of the commissions.
The Congress adopted Lenin’s 21 conditions of affiliation to the Communist International, which was of great importance for creating and strengthening the new type of workers’ parties in the capitalist countries. The ideas in Lenin’s classic Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder served as the basis of the Congress’s resolutions. Lenin also took part in drafting a resolution “On the Role of the Communist Party in the Proletarian Revolution”, which stressed that the Communist Party was the principal instrument in the liberation of the working class. Lenin’s theses on the nationalities and colonial question and on the agrarian question were also adopted as resolutions.
The Congress stimulated the international communist movement. Lenin said that after the Congress “communism has become central to the working-class movement as a whole”.
 The Ninth Congress was held in Moscow from March 29 to April 5, 1920. It was attended by 715 delegates, the greatest number ever, who represented 611,978 Party members. Of them 553 had voice and vote, and 162, voice only. The delegates came from Central Russia, the Ukraine, the Urals, Siberia and other areas just liberated by the Red Army. Some delegates came straight from the front lines. The country was having a short respite after the defeat of Kolchak and Denikin.
Items on the agenda were: 1) Report of the Central Committee; 2) Current tasks of economic construction; 3) Trade union movement; 4) Organisational questions; 5) Tasks of the Communist International; 6) Attitude to co-operatives, 7) Transition to the militia system; 8) Election of the Central Committee; 9) Current business.
Lenin guided the work of the Congress. He made a report on the Central Committee’s political activity and a summing-up speech; he spoke on economic construction and the co-operatives; he proposed a list of candidates for election to the Central Committee. He also delivered the closing speech of the Congress.
In the resolution, “The Current Tasks of Economic Construction”, the Congress stated that “the main condition of the country’s economic rehabilitation is the undeviating implementation of an integrated economic plan projected for the immediate historical period ahead”. See K.P.S.S. v rezolutsiakh . . . (The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and C.C. Plenary Meetings, Part 1, 1954, p. 478). Lenin considered its key item—electrification—to be a great programme for a period of 10 or 20 years. The Congress’s directives served as the basis for GOELRO (the Plan of the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia), which was completed and adopted by the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets in December 1920.
The Congress also dealt with industrial management. The resolution on this question stressed the need to develop competent, firm and vigorous administration on the basis of one-man management.
The anti-Party group of Democratic Centralism (T. V. Sapronov, N. Osinsky, V. V. Obolensky], V. M. Smirnov) came out against the Party’s line in economic construction, but its proposals were condemned and rejected by the Congress.
The Congress discussed and approved the idea of labour emulation and communist subbotniks.
The Congress discussed the trade unions’ activity in helping to fulfil the economic tasks. It defined their role, their relationship with the Party and the state, the forms and methods of the Party’s leadership in the trade unions and their participation in economic construction.
At a closed session on April 4, the Congress elected 19 members and 12 alternate members of the new Central Committee.
 The reference is to the Party discussion of the trade unions’ role and tasks in socialist construction. Lenin analysed these problems in his articles: The Trade Unions, The Present Situation and Trotsky’s Mistakes; The Party Crisis; Once Again on the Trade Unions, The Current Situation and the Mistakes of Trotsky and Bukharin, and also in his speeches at the Second All-Russia Congress of Miners and at the Tenth Party Congress.
 The Soviet Government did its utmost to establish normal and good-neighbour relations with Poland. In 1919, it offered peace on many occasions, but received no answer from her bourgeois-landowner government, which continued in its hostile policy towards Soviet Russia.
On January 28, 1920, the Council of People’s Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R. sent the Polish Government and people a message re-emphasising its recognition of Poland’s independence and sovereignty, and offering to make sizable territorial concessions to Poland.
On February 2, 1920, the All-Russia Central Executive Committee once again offered peace to the Polish people. Their reactionary government was dependent on the imperialists of the Entente and considered the Soviet concessions a sign of weakness. It was preparing for aggression against the Soviet Republic and the negotiations failed.
 The 21 conditions for admission to the Comintern were adopted by its Second Congress on August 6, 1920. Lenin worked out 19 of the conditions, which were published before the Congress. He submitted the 20th to the Congress commission on July 25, 1920, and it was adopted. The 21st condition ran: “Members of the Party who reject the obligations and theses of the Communist International in principle should be expelled from the Party. This also applies to delegates of extraordinary Party congresses.”
 An international organisation set up at the Paris Peace Conference of victor powers in 1919. The League’s working organs were its Assembly, Council and Permanent Secretariat headed by a secretary-general. Its Covenant, a part of the Peace Treaty of Versailles, was signed by 44 states. It was so couched as to create the impression that the League served the purposes of peace and security, worked for a relluction of armaments, and opposed aggression. Actually, however, it pandered to the aggressors, and encouraged the arms drive and preparations for the Second World War.
From 1920 to 1934, the League’s activity was hostile to the Soviet state and in 1920 and 1921 the League was the organisational centre of armed intervention against it.
On September 15, 1934, on the initiative of French diplomats, 34 member-states sent the Soviet Union an invitation to join the League. In joining, the U.S.S.R. tried to create a peace front, but the reactionary circles of the Western powers resisted its efforts. When the war broke out, the League actually ceased to operate, although it was formally dissolved in April 1946, under a special Assembly decision.
 The trade agreement between Britain and Soviet Russia was signed on March 16, 1921.
 The counter-revolutionary mutiny in Kronstadt which began on February 28, 1921, was organised by the S.R.s, Mensheviks and whiteguards. It involved newly recruited sailors, most of whom came from the countryside and were politically ignorant and discontented with the gurplus appropriation system. The mutiny was sparked off by the economic hardships and facilitated by the fact that the Kronstadt Bolshevik organisation was weakened.
The counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie did not dare come out against the Soviet power openly and used a new tactic. In an attempt to deceive the people the leaders of the mutiny put torward the slogan “Soviets without the Bolsheviks”, hoping to drive out the Bolsheviks from the Soviets and re-establish capitalist rule in Russia.
On March 2, the mutineers arrested the fleet command and got in touch with foreign imperialists who promised them military and financial aid. The events in Kronstadt were a threat to Petrograd.
Commissar of the Red Army, Leon Trotsky, gave orders to Red Army units under M. N. Tukhachevsky to storm Kronstadt. With participation of over 300 delegates of the Tenth Party Congress who had military experience, led by K. Y. Voroshilov, The Red Army was able to crush the revolt on March 18. There was no dissension by any faction or tendency of the 10th Congress in this discision.
 On June 8, 1918, Samara was occupied by the mutinous Czechoslovak corps which set up a whiteguard-S.R.-Menshevik government, the so-called Komuch (A Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly). By August 1918, Komuch had, with the aid of Czechoslovak units, occupied some gubernias on the Volga and in the Urals area, but that autumn it was defeated by the Red Army and ceased to exist.
 The substitution of a tax in kind for the surplus appropriation system was discussed on February 8, 1921, at the C.C. Political Bureau, when N. Osinsky gave a report on “The Sowing Campaign and the Condition of the Peasants”. A special commission was set up to work out proposals for improving the peasants’ condition. For this commission Lenin wrote the Rough Draft of Theses Concerning the Peasants and defined the main principles on which the tax in kind was to be substituted for surplus appropriation.
Under a Political Bureau decision of February 16, a discussion on the question was started in Pravda, the first articles appearing on February 17 and 26.
On February 24, a C.C. Plenary Meeting approved a draft resolution on this question, which was then edited by a new commission. On March 3, Lenin tabled three amendments to it. On March 7, the C.C. Plenary Meeting discussed the draft once again and referred it for final editing to a commission headed by Lenin. It was adopted by the Tenth Congress on March 15, 1921.
 The Central Committee’s circular letter, “To All Party Organisations and Party Members”, published in Izvestia of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on September 4, 1920, exposed the causes of the bureaucratic practices and other shortcomings in the Party, and outlined changes in Party work to develop inner-Party democracy. The measures were approved in a resolution, “The Current Tasks of Party Organisation”, of the Ninth All-Russia Party Conference. See K.P.S.S v rezolutsiakh . . . (The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and C.C. Plenary Meetings, Part 1, 1954, p. 512). On December 28, the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets discussed the report, “Improvement of the Work of Central and Local Soviet Bodies and the Struggle Against the Evils of Bureaucracy”.