V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on June 5, 1921
Published: First published in 1932 in Lenin Miscellany XX. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 176b-177a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 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


Comrade Frumkin:

I blame both the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade (what a scandal!) and you for this absurd affair with the fund for the South-Eastern Economic Council.[1] You did nothing but whimper, although you should have brought your precise proposals to the C.L.D. back in April: 1) such-and-such a calendar programme for the shipment of gold; 2) such-and-such for wool, etc.

What you did, however, was to whimper from April to June.

We now have to complete what has not been done.

A calendar programme of detailed measures, which is elaborated with the greatest precision, must be placed before the C.L.D. by Wednesday (I can appoint the commission tomorrow, 6/VI—it can be appointed by agreement between the People’s Commissars).

Make arrangements about this with Khinchuk (he seems to know something about trade. No one at the People’s Commissariat for Food does).

Write me at once whether you can pledge now to get things going and what exactly.

Will you manage to arrange efficient trade with Constantinople? Or will you run into another Ancona?[2] into   speculators, swindlers (and bankrupts: there are hordes of them in Constantinople), and merely bring shame upon yourself and the entire “commodity-exchange operation” of the South-Eastern Economic Council?

The South-Eastern Economic Council must display more initiative, but also shoulder more responsibility.

(If you are not going there again, get Beloborodov or Kaganovich on the direct line and tell them everything I have written you about; it’s time you got things going and showed something for your effort.)

Let the South-Eastern Economic Council stop whimpering and start making timely business proposals to the C.L.D. and taking care not to be late with supervising their fulfilment.[3]

Awaiting your letter.

With communist greetings,


[1] On March 23, 1921, the C.L.D., in accordance with M. I. Frumkin’s report “On the Supply of the Northern Caucasus with Raw Materials and Money”, put the duty on the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade and the Supreme Economic Council to submit their opinion on this question to the Narrow C.P.C. On March 24, the latter made it obligatory upon the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade to place at the disposal of the   Commissariat’s agent in the south-east, not later than April 15, 10 million gold rubles worth of currency, valuables and raw materials for the purchase, on foreign markets in the south, of the goods required for commodity exchange in the Northern Caucasus. It turned out at the end of April that the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade had failed to carry out the C.L.D. assignment.

On June 3, after repeated discussions of the matter in the C.L.D. and the C.P.C., the C.L.D. authorised a commission, consisting of L. M. Khinchuk, D. I. Kursky and V. A. Smolyaninov, to inquire into the failure to fulfil the C.L.D. decision of March 24 and immediately to lake the necessary measures to ensure the commodity exchange operations in the south-east. Having heard the commission’s report, the C.L.D. recognised, on June 8, the need to increase the commodity fund for the south-east, and instructed the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade to submit a report on execution of the decision by ail departments.

[2] A reference to the inquiry into the case of an agreement concluded with the owners of the cargo on board the Italian ship Ancona. This agreement was concluded without the sanction of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade, and M. I. Frumkin, in his capacity as the Deputy People’s Commissar, was empowered to annul it, but had failed to do so. As a result, goods of inferior quality were received, and Frumkin was given a reprimand.

[3] In a reply letter of June 7, 1921, M. I. Frumkin explained that the P.C.F.T. had failed to carry out the C.P.C. decision of March 24, 1921, on a commodity-exchange fund for the south-east, because L. B. Krasin and A. M. Lezhava had been unwilling to give the South-Eastern Territorial Economic Council the opportunity of trading independently with foreign markets. Frumkin said that contrary to Moscow’s instructions, the Economic Council had concentrated an export fund valued at 2.5 million gold rubles and had concluded an agreement with the French “Optorg” for the purchase of goods for the south-east o;i the Constantinople market (see Note 187). On Frumkin’s letter Lenin wrote: “To the archives. NB. Important” (Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism Leninism of the C.P.S.U. Central Committee).

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