V. I.   Lenin



Published: Published in full in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXIII. First published, but not in full, in Izvestia No. 18, January 22, 1927. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 528-529.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
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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October 24, 1921

Comrade Semashko,

After signing today the decision of the Narrow Council of People’s Commissars on the 2,000 millions (I think that is the Figure?[1] I don’t remember it exactly) for cleaning up Moscow, and after reading the “Regulations” of the People’s Commissariat of Health for the week of housing sanitation (Izvestia of July 12), I have come to the conclusion that my suspicions (about the complete inadequacy of the organisation of the whole business) are increasing.

The thousand millions will be taken, stolen and pilfered but the job won’t be done.

We must secure model (or at least, as a beginning, tolerable) cleanliness in Moscow, for one cannot even imagine a greater scandal than “Soviet” dirt in the “first” Soviet houses. What then is to be expected in houses which are not first?

Please send me the most brief but precise, business-like, factual report on what has been achieved by the week of sanitation, and where? Is there any gubernia where something has been done without muddle?

Further. What is being done (and what has been done?) in Moscow? Who answers for this work? Is it only “officials” with a pompous Soviet title, who don’t understand a thing, who don’t know the business and only sign papers? Or are there business-like people in charge? Who in particular?

The most important thing is to secure personal responsibility.

V. I. Lenin watches the trials of the first Soviet electric plough at the training and experimental farm of the Moscow Zootechnics Institute. October 22, 1921

What has been done to secure personal responsibility?

Checking is done by whom?

By inspectors? How many are there? Who are they?

By youth detachments (Young Communist League)? Do such exist? How many? Where and how have they given examples of their work?

What other methods for real checking are there?

Is money being spent on buying valuable articles ( carbolic? cleaning equipment? how much has been bought?) or is it being spent on maintaining new “official” loafers?

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


[1] This refers to the decision of the Narrow Council of People’s Commissars on the allocation of 2,000 million rubles for repairing houses in Moscow, passed on October 21, 1921.

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