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 177b-179a.
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.
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Comrade Lezhava:

Things are thoroughly bad with the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade.

During your illness, Krasin once again tried out his weak side: excessive self-assurance, sometimes verging on adventurism.

He seems to say: “I can get away with everything, there is nothing I can’t do.”

He has that sort of trait.

Yet, despite his “good luck”, and his dexterity and skill, and art, I would not wager that one fine day this will not land him in a great scandal with ignominious dismissal.

It’s not right. Krasin was over here; he saw that you were ill but did nothing.

He left one man, Voikov, who was clearly unfit, rather, unable to cope.

On 3/VI, things at the C.L.D. were close to collapse. On 25/111, 1921, the C.L.D. decided that the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade had the duty to supply the South-Eastern Economic Council with 7 million in gold by 15/IV.

Nothing has been done. Voikov keeps referring, to statements he had allegedly heard Krasin make that it is impossible to trade with Constantinople: he says it is full of swindlers.

If Krasin has said this, it will one day land him in the dock. It was Krasin’s duty either strictly to implement the C.L.D. decision of 25/111, or table a proposal at the C.C. to have the C.L.D. decision rescinded, or satisfy the South-Eastern Economic Council in some other way, not through Constantinople (this No. 3 in the hope of his “luck”).

By failing to do either the first, or the second, or the third, Krasin is committing a breach of the law and is disrupting all the work. We can’t have that sort of thing.

I ask you to:

1) send a copy of this (or the original) to Krasin, 

2) have a personal talk with Frumkin and Khinchuk, 

3) check up personally on the execution of C.L.D. decisions, without relying on Voikov, 

4) give serious thought to replacing Voikov by Taratuta or Paikes, or any other person you may find who is an efficient and conscientious executive.

Concerning Serebrovsky and Baku, I very much fear now that the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade will repeat the South-East story.

That is something I will absolutely refuse to tolerate.

I propose that Serebrovsky and Rabinovich should be sent the following telegram in my name. Please let me know at once of your objections or amendments.

Serebrovsky, Baku; Copies to Rabinovich and Orjonikidze, Baku or Tiflis.

I am extremely anxious about the agreement concluded by Serebrovsky with Socifross, and am surprised that this was reported by Rabinovich, unfortunately, without comments or practical proposals, while Serebrovsky himself   has failed to report it.[2] This agreement is a strange one. Where is the guarantee that Socifross will not cheat us? How can it be allowed to have a monopoly? I do not at all object to Azvneshtorg and Azneftkom trading directly with Constantinople, I am prepared to support Baku’s autonomy within considerable limits, but we must have guarantees. Please reply at once whether a detailed list of everything Serebrovsky has bought in Constantinople has been,sent by reliable courier; when exactly it was sent, and the details of the agreement and when. I put Serebrovsky under an obligation to send me a letter with every courier, informing me by telegram of his name and date of departure. What exactly has now been ordered from Socifross? All three addressees must reply to me by telegram.[3] The secret sections in code.[1]

Chairman, C.L.D.”

Any news from Sammer? What is going on there? Is he sending you his reports? How frequently? Are they detailed or short? Drop me a line.

With communist greetings,


[1] Lenin underlined the words “The secret sections in code” and added: “(Code the underlined words).”—Ed.

[2] A reference to the agreement between the Azerbaijan Oil Committee and the Société Commerciale Industrielle financière pour la Russie (Socifross), concluded at Constantinople on May 9, 1921.

Upon receiving the documents from A. P. Serebrovsky, Lenin instructed a special commission to study the agreement and make the necessary corrections.

[3] On June 11, 1921, A. P. Serebrovsky sent Lenin by messenger the documents relating to the purchases and agreements with the Socifross and a French company for trade with Russia.

On Serebrovsky’s telegram Lenin wrote: “To Smolyaninov. Confidential. Read. Remember. Get hold of the messenger without losing an hour. 11/VI. Lenin” (Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the C.P.S.U. Central Committee).

Reply telegrams were also received from G. K. Orjonikidze and F. Y. Rabinovich, agent of the C.L.D. and the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade in the Transcaucasian republics.

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