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, page 166.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Comrade Sklyansky:

On the question of making use of the Army for economic purposes.

This must always be borne in mind.

A systematic plan for such use should be thought-out, prepared and elaborated, and unswervingly implemented.

Two aspects of this matter stand out especially:

1) the current, most urgent economic works (guarding and extraction of salt; fuel supply, etc.);

2) the work in implementing the general state-economic plan over a number of years. The electrification plan for ten years (the first part of the works) calls for 370 million working days. This gives an annual (37 : 1.6)—24 working days, i.e., two days a month per armyman.

Of course, a host of difficulties will arise from the conditions of the Army’s billeting, the transportation to the place of work, etc., etc., but the Army still can and must (with the aid of the Universal Military Training Board) render vast assistance in this matter of electrification. The Army should be attached to this great undertaking—ideologically, organisationally and economically—and it should be an object of systematic effort.

Please raise this question in the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, by reading out this letter. I should be glad to hear the views of the Council members or at least to have their short comments on this question.[1]

V. Ulyanov (Lenin)
Chairman, C.L.D.


[1] On instructions from E. M. Sklyansky, copies of this letter were sent to members of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic. On June 16, 1921, the R.M.C. decided on the question “Comrade Lenin’s letter on the Army’s labour use” as follows: “To suggest to all the members of the R.M.C.R. to submit, within a seven-day period, their concrete considerations and proposals in writing to the R.M.C.R.” Lenin underlined this decision in the minutes of the R.M.C. sitting, and wrote: “Give me a reminder after the C.I. Congress” (Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the C.P.S.U. Central Committee).

On July 4, 1921, Lenin pointed out that the army’s economic work should be taken into account in drawing up the state national economic plan (see present edition, Vol. 32, pp. 497–98).

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