V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1932 in Lenin Miscellany XX. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 131b-134a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Comrade Zinoviev:

In view of the extremely unsatisfactory quality of the “specimen copy” of the Atlas of Russia (although it has taken many months to prepare), please let me know the names of all those responsible for the work, those who had been doing it before and are doing it now. Here is a short list of the defects.

I received a “specimen copy” of the Atlas of Russia yesterday. (The First State Cartographic Establishment, former owner Ilyin.)

The Atlas of Russia should and must become a school atlas.

But this calls for a number of corrections and additions, because the specimen copy is highly unsatisfactory.

I list the main defects, requiring unconditional correction.

1. There is no text “from the publisher” (there used to be one before). Such a text should be written, saying that on the model of “Railways”, the present school atlas has been compiled in accordance with such-and-such a plan.

2. The maps are not numbered, and there are no symbols (they were there before). These should be added. The maps should not be by railways or not only by railways, but by gubernias as well. The numeration of the maps should contain a list of the gubernias included in full. And the gubernias entered in the list should be given on the map in full.

Map No. 1 does not contain gubernias in full: Petrograd, Pskov and others. Cherepovets and other gubernias are not designated.

There are similar defects in the other maps. Correct this.

3. The boundaries of the republics (the Ukraine) and the autonomous regions should be specifically shown. This has mostly not been done, Neither for the Ukraine, nor for Byelorussia. (The German Commune? Mari Region? All the Caucasian republics?)

4. The railway lines have not been verified for a given date (say, 1.I.1921). Their indication is incorrect. The finished lines are not specified. The ones under construction are not shown. Correct this.

5. Every map should have a small explanatory text (on the other side or as an inset): state boundaries under suchand-such a treaty (when approved and ratified). Autonomous regions established on such-and-such a date. The population of the gubernias and the chief cities, in accordance with the census of August 1920. Etc.

6. On account of a ludicrous oversight, the old numeration   of the maps has been taken, i.e., left: No. X—Moscow, No. XII—the Crimea, and others!! There should be a new numeration.

7. Neither the Tatar Republic nor the Bashkirian Republic are given in full in No. XIV. They should be given in full. The same applies to all autonomous regions. The national make-up of the autonomous regions should be given according to the latest data (in the explanatory text).

8. Of the old maps these have been omitted:
Saratov and the surrounding gubernias
Simbirsk, Penza and the surrounding gubernias
Rostov-on-Don and the surrounding gubernias
Smolensk and the surrounding gubernias (Byelorussia)
The Ukraine on the right bank of the Dnieper
The Caucasus (the boundaries of all the new republics must be shown without fail).

The Atlas must be a full one. All the gubernias should be there. An incomplete atlas is of no use at all, and the specimen copy is outrageously incomplete.

9. Instead of additions (in bold type) below and in the margin: the distance by rail (this is taken from the old atlas)—there should be short distances not only by rail.

10. Add: a map with the plan for electrification (from the book Plan for Electrification Submitted to the Eighth Congress of Soviets).

11. Add a map of institutions of higher learning (universities, etc.) and educational establishments by gubernias (at least on the strength of the information already available).

12. Add: a map of radio stations.

13. Historical maps (the two new ones at the end) are no good. Incomplete. They contain mistakes. Instead of these two, there should be:

(a) one of the same size: a historical map of Soviet Russia.

Front lines by date (for instance: V.1918; XII.1918; V or VI.1919; XI or XII.1919; I and XI 1920) with these remarks: the names of the fronts on the given date.

The state boundary of the whole of the R.S.F.S.R. and of all the neighbouring republics (which had been within the empire).

(b) A map of the whole of the R.S.F.S.R. with Siberia, even if of small size, on one map.[1]

24.IV.1921. N. Lenin


[1] On the publication of the school atlas, see also V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, Document 283; Vol. 44, Documents 650, 673; Fifth (Russian) Edition, Vol. 52, Document 410, present volume, Document 223, Lenin Miscellanies XX, pp. 321–22, and XXXVI, pp. 120–21; 315, 399–400.—Ed.

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