V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on September 3, 1921
Published: First published in Pravda No. 30, February 6, 1927. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 521-522.
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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September 3

Comrade Kursky, People’s Commissar for Justice,
and his deputy, and also all the members of the Collegium

Typed on headed notepaper to copies to {{ (1) the addressee (2) me (3) Avanesov (4) Gorbunov and Smolyaninov

I have sent you through the Office Manager of the Council of People’s Commissars a statement from Professor Graftio with astonishing documents about red tape.[1]

This red tape is just what is to be expected, especially in the Moscow and central institutions. But all the more attention should be given to fighting it.

My impression is that the People’s Commissariat of Justice is purely formal, i.e., radically wrong, in its attitude to this question.

What is needed is:

(1) to bring this matter before the courts;

(2) to secure the disgrace of those guilty, both in the press and by strict punishment;

(3) to stiffen up the judges through the Central Committee, so that they punish red tape more severely;

(4) to arrange a conference of the Moscow People’s Judges, members of tribunals, etc., to work out effective measures for fighting red tape;

(5) without fail, this autumn and winter of 1921–22, to bring up for trial in Moscow 4–6 cases of Moscow red tape, selecting the more “vivid” cases, and making each trial a political affair;

(6) to find some, if only 2–3, sensible “experts” on questions of red tape, among the more fierce and militant Communists (get bold of Sosnovsky), so as to train people to hound out red tape;

(7) to publish a good, intelligent, non-bureaucratic letter (a circular of the People’s Commissariat of Justice) on the struggle against red tape.

I impose this most important task on the People’s Commissar and his deputy, on their personal responsibility, and request that I be given regular information as to its fulfilment.

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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