V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on February 28, 1922
Published: First published in 1949 in the journal Bolshevik No. 1. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 567-568.
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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February 28

Comrade Sheinman,

Your words that the State Bank is now a “powerful apparatus” (Feb. 22) made me laugh. Let me say in confidence: this is the height of childishness, the height of Communist-mandarin childishness.

A “powerful apparatus”! The “powerful apparatus”= transferring from one state pocket into another such remarkable “real values” as Soviet rubles.... Current accounts expressed in gold rubles (and even that falsely, not at the real parity) 2.8–7.9–10.3 million rubles (on Dec. 16, Jan.  16, and Feb. 1). Ha-ha! And how are they made up? 90–98 per cent are revenues from our state trusts, i.e., the same official bits of paper from the same bureaucrats!

At present the State Bank=a bureaucratic paper game. There is the truth for you, if you want to hear not the sweet communist-official lies (with which everyone feeds you as a high mandarin), but the truth.

And if you don’t want to look at this truth with open eyes, through all the communist lying, you are a man who has perished in the prime of life in a swamp of official lying. Now that is an unpleasant truth, but it is the truth.

Either to seek and gradually to find (testing and checking one hundred times) people capable of organising trade on behalf of the State Bank, checking on trade, encouraging business-like traders, closing down allegedly commercial, but in reality communist-bureaucratic trading and factory “Potemkin villages”[1]—or the entire State Bank and all its work is zero, worse than zero, self-deception with a new bureaucratic rattle.

And until you prove to me by acts, backed up by experience, that the State Bank has begun to find such men, inspectors, agents, etc., until then there is nothing to talk about: I won’t believe a word you say.

Please don’t be angry for this frankness.



[1] Potemkin villages—an early 19th-century expression denoting window-dressing. During a tour of the south of Russia by the Empress Catherine II in 1787, the Governor-General of the Yekaterinoslav Vicegerency, G. A. Potemkin, gave her the impression of exceptional welfare among the population by stage-mounting various decorative villages, arches, parks, etc.

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