V. I.   Lenin



To Comrades Workers, Fishermen of the Aral Sea

Written: Written on October 7, 1921
Published: First published in 1942 in Lenin Miscellany XXXIV. Printed from a typewritten text signed by Lenin.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 325b-327a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Dear Comrades:

You must have heard by now about the great disaster, the unprecedented famine which has hit the whole of the Volga area and a part of the area west of the Urals. The drought has almost entirely scorched the cereals and the grasses everywhere from Astrakhan Gubernia and all the way up to the Tatar Republic and Perm Gubernia. Millions of people—toiling peasants and workers—and millions of head of cattle are already dying or are about to die.

Russian and Moslem, nomad and settler—all are equally faced with cruel death unless help comes from their comrades—workers, toiling peasants, shepherds and fishermen from the more prosperous localities. Of course, the Soviet power, for its part, hastens to help the starving. It has already urgently sent them more than 12 million poods of grain for winter sowing, and is now sending them food, organising eating places, etc. But all of this is not enough. The disaster is so great, and the Soviet Republic has been so ruined by the tsarist war and the whiteguards, that   hardly a quarter of the needy can somehow be fed from state resources until the next harvest.

Nor can we expect help from the wealthy capitalists. It is true that the capitalists who now govern the strongest states in the world—like Britain, America and France— have told us that they allegedly want to help our starving peasants, but on terms which are tantamount to handing over to them all power over our Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic. We can well understand this. Has a bloodsucker, a capitalist and a usurer, ever helped a toiler without expecting something in return? The capitalist class has always used the toiling man’s hunger to enslave him, body and soul. They now want to make use of our famine to destroy the freedom we have won at the price of our blood, to wrest power from the workers and peasants for ever, and to saddle them once again with the tsar, the landowner, the master, the police officer and the official.

The only hope of the starving in Kazan, Ufa, Samara and Astrakhan lies in the great proletarian solidarity (sympathy) of toiling men, like themselves, with toil-hardened hands, earning their daily bread by their own hard work, and not sucking anyone’s blood. You have a good catch of fish on the Aral Sea, and you will be able to live without great need. So please set aside part of your catch for the old men and women bloated by starvation, for the 8  million exhausted toilers, who, after all, will have to do all the heavy work in tilling the land on an empty stomach for almost a whole year, and finally, for the 7 million children who may be the first to die.

Dear comrades, fishermen and workers of the Aral Sea, I urge you to give with a generous hand! In so doing you will not only be acting in human conscience, but will be strengthening the cause of the working-class revolution. For you will demonstrate to the whole world, and to all the working people above all, the invincible strength of the Soviet workers’ state, built on the broadest mutual assistance between proletarians in areas most remote from each other.

Let the whole working class rise as a man to heal this deep wound of the Volga area, and the fertile Volga area will repay us with its grain in future years, That is the   only way for us to preserve the Soviet power and safeguard the freedom we have won against all the villainous attempts of the capitalists of the world.

V. Ulyanov (Lenin)
Chairman, Council of People’s Commissars


[1] In 1927, this document was handed in by a worker to the Aralsk District Party Committee, which at once sent it on to the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the C.P.S.U. Central Committee.

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