V. I.   Lenin


To:   I. K. YEZHOV

Published: Published in full in Pravda No. 30, February 6, 1927. First published, but not in full, in Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn No. 95, January 25, 1924. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 523-524.
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 27, 1921

Comrade Yezhov, Head of Central Stores Board,
Supreme Economic Council

Comrade Yezhov,

I have received and looked through the papers about the store.

Transfer to the Supreme Economic Council has now been decided.[1]

I will expect you to let me have brief but precise reports on whether in practice any improvement in the stores business is being achieved, how the struggle against pilfering is going, as regards this store and other stores.

I am obliged to charge you, too, with red tape: “We’ve been shouting for three years”, “I took the matter through to the end nearly ten times, it seemed,” you write. But the whole trouble is that not once did you take the matter through to the end, without any “it seemed”.

You know the Constitution of the R.S.F.S.R. and the Rules of the R.C.P. “To the end” means up to the session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee (if there is no Congress of Soviets). In the Party line, it means the plenary meeting of the Central Committee.

You have not once taken the matter through to the end.

(1) A brief, “telegraphic”, but clear and precise statement to members of the C.C. and members of the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee;

(2) an article in the press;

(3) an initiative by the local or neighbouring unit of the R.C.P., its opinion, its question asked at the Moscow Soviet 

these are three measures which arc obligatory in the struggle against red tape.

This is a difficult struggle, that goes without saying.

But the difficult is not the impossible.

You gave up in despair, you did not fight, you did not exhaust all the means of fighting.

The stores business requires much more insistence in the struggle against red tape—checking “from below” and “by those below”—publicity in the press—checking again and again—etc.

I should like to hope that, having now had a painful and melancholy but useful experience, you will set about, this battle with red tape in such a way as to really take the matter through “to the end”.

From time to time one must know the results of this struggle.

With communist greetings,

P.S. Will you not send on some occasion, together with brief, quite brief information about the course of the struggle (with red tape), brief data about your staff (the number of people, how many of them are Communists, their qualifications; responsible, purely executive, office workers, etc.) and a brief plan of your work?

Write briefly, in cablese, separating out special points, if necessary. I won’t read a long document at all, that’s certain.

If there are practical proposals, put them down on a separate sheet, extremely brief, like a telegram, with a copy to my secretary.



[1] Reference is apparently to the transfer of Store No. 11 from the People’s Commissariat of Railways to the Supreme Economic Council.

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