V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on October 10, 1921
Published: First published in 1965 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 53. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 330b-331a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Received after Politbureau sitting.
Please circulate urgently to all members
of Politbureau for a written vote


Comrade Molotov:

I have an arrangement with Comrade Unschlicht to delay execution of the sentence on Nazvanov, and am taking the question to the Politbureau.

In the summer of 1921, I had a letter about Nazvanov from Krasin (before Nazvanov’s arrest). Krasin requested that this very valuable engineer, as he put it, should be recruited for our work.

Krzhizhanovsky told me that ho, being acquainted with Nazvanov, had repeatedly had sharp arguments with him after 25.X. 1917, and had very nearly thrown him out of the house for his anti-Soviet views. He said, however, that in the spring or summer of 1921 he had noticed a change in Nazvanov, and had taken him to work at the Stale Planning Commission.

After this I had two comrades from the C.C. of the sugar industry workers who, in reply to my question, gave a positive opinion of Nazvanov, an opinion which they   confirmed in writing as well. On the strength of the aforementioned, I am taking the matter to the Politbureau.

I propose: if necessary, Krasin’s letter and a written reference of the two workers should be found. I shall find both these documents if the Politbureau so decides.

For my part I propose: to cancel the Petrograd Gubernia Cheka’s sentence and apply the sentence proposed by Agranov (it is here in the record of the case), i.e., two years with the possibility of conditional release.[1]

With communist greetings,


[1] M. K. Nazvanov, a technological engineer, a specialist in the sugar industry, and the State Planning Commission’s consultant, was arrested by the Petrograd Gubernia Cheka, together with a group of professors and engineers, on charges of having connections with V. N. Tagantsev, head of a counter-revolutionary combat organisation in Petrograd. Nazvanov was sentenced to be shot.

Lenin must have learned about the case from a letter sent in by Nazvanov’s father on June 26, 1921, requesting clemency for his son (Central Party Archives). Another request for Nazvanov’s release came from G. M. Krzhizhanovsky in his letter of September 18.

Members of the Politbureau of the R.C.P.(B.) Central Committee who took a vote on October 10 came out for Lenin’s proposal. On October 14, the Politbureau confirmed its decision of October 10 to have the decision of the Petrograd Gubernia Cheka reversed. On December 17, after the investigation of the Tagantsev case was completed, Nazvanov was released. On January 26, 1922, Lenin phoned an assignment to his secretary to ask V. A. Smolyaninov to check up whether Nazvanov had been given a job at the State Planning Commission, and to require it to submit a report within two months about Nazvanov’s work and to remind him about this.

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