V. I.   Lenin


To:   A. A. JOFFE

Published: First published in part in 1956 in Pravda No. 193. Published in full in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 297-298a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
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.README


Comrade Joffe:

You will find that today’s Politbureau decision (which I enclose) largely meets your dispatch of 9/IX.[2]

Please be so kind as to send me a written report with more details.

In addition, as a personal request, to enable me to sort things out in this matter, I ask you to devote special attention (in your report or in a special annex to your report) to the question of protection of native interests against “Russian” (Great-Russian or colonialist) exaggerations.

What is the attitude of the natives to Safarov? Facts, facts and more facts.

Who are the natives themselves (Safarov’s supporters)? Names? Record? Prestige? (Facts, facts....)

Will they he able to stand up for themselves? Is that sure? Even against such a subtle and firm and stubborn man as Tomsky?

How many of them are there?

The Union of the Poor” (set up by Safarov?)—its composition? importance? strength? role? Is it true that the natives were “forcibly” stratified?

Cotton? Its future? Is it true that Safarov is ruining the cotton? Facts, facts.

The fronts in Ferghana? The Basmachi? Their attitude to the Tomsky and the Safarov “line”? Facts and exact decisions by Turkestan C.E.C. concerning the Basmachi? The facts on what and when Tomsky and Safarov or their supporters differed in this question? (Extracts from relevant decisions, to show exactly when and on what precisely the formal differences occurred.)

There are some differences on this question inside the C.C.

More exact information is highly important.

I personally very much suspect “Tomsky’s line” (perhaps it would be more correct to say Peters’s line? or Pravdin’s line? etc.) of engaging in Great-Russian chauvinism, or, to put it more correctly, in deviating in that direction.

It is terribly important for all our Weltpolitik[1] to win the confidence of the natives; to win it over again and again; to prove that we are not imperialists, that we shall not tolerate any deviation in that direction.

This is a world-wide question, and that is no exaggeration.

There you must be especially strict.

It will have an effect on India and the East; it is no joke, it calls for exceptional caution.

With communist greetings,


[1] World policy.—Ed.

[2] A telegram from A. A. Joffe dated September 9, 1921, said that the differences between M. P. Tomsky, Chairman of the Turkestan Commission of the All-Russia C.E.C., and G. I. Safarov, a member of the Turkestan Bureau, tended to incite hostility between the Russians and the local population, and between individual nationalities. On September 13, the Politbureau of the R.C.P.(B.) Central Committee decided to discuss the question of policy in Turkestan after receiving Joffe’s written report, and after the Politbureau members had studied all the material. Having discussed the work in Turkestan, on October 14, 1921, the Politbureau appointed a new Turkestan Bureau and a Turkestan Commission and outlined the principal tasks of Party and Soviet government work in Turkestan. It emphasised the need for circumspection in implementing the New Economic Policy in Turkestan, which was to ensure the task of involving the toiling masses in socialist construction.

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