V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on April 9, 1921
Published: First published in 1925 in the book: M. D. Orakhelashvili, Lenin i R.S.F.S.R. (Documents), Tiflis. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, page 483.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Cipher what is marked in blue pencil[1]


I have received your cipher message about the desperate food situation in Transcaucasia. We have taken a number of steps, given a little gold to Armenia, confirmed all kinds of instructions to the Commissariat of Food. But I must warn you that we are in great need here, and will not he able to help. I urgently require that you should set up a regional economic body for the whole of Transcaucasia, make the utmost effort with concessions, especially in Georgia; try and buy seed, even if it be abroad, and push forward irrigation in Azerbaijan with the help of the resources of Baku, in order to expand agriculture and cattle-breeding, and also try and develop commodity exchange with the North Caucasus. Have you and the Georgian comrades grasped the significance of our new policy in connection with the tax in kind[2]? Read this to them and keep me more frequently informed; read my letter to Serebrovsky in Baku.



[1] Lenin marked the following passages: “about the desperate food situation ... will not be able to help” and “with concessions, especially in Georgia”.—Ed.

[2] Reference is to NEP (Now Economic Policy)—the policy of the proletarian stale during the period of transition from capitalism to socialism. This policy was “new” in contrast to the economic policy which had been conducted in Soviet Russia in the period of foreign military intervention and the Civil War, known in history as the policy of War Communism (1918–20). The latter was made necessary by war-time conditions, and its characteristic features were extreme centralisation of production and distribution of goods, prohibition of free trading, and food requisitioning which compelled the peasants to turn in all surplus produce to the state. When the New Economic Policy was adopted, commodity-money relations became the basic, form of relations between socialist industry and the small-peasant economy. When food requisitioning was abolished and replaced by the tax in kind, the peasants were able to dispose of their surplus produce as they chose,   i.e., sell them at the market, and through the market obtain the industrial goods they required.

The New Economic Policy was calculated to achieve a firm economic and political alliance between the working class and the peasantry for the building of socialism, for the development of the productive forces along socialist lines. It provided for a certain measure of capitalism while the basic economic positions remained in the hands of the proletarian state. It assumed the struggle of the socialist elements against the capitalist elements, the victory of the socialist elements, the elimination of the exploiting classes, and the building of socialism in the U.S.S.R.

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