V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1965 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 54. Printed from a typewritten copy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 428c-429a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Comrade Molotov

Having learned from Kamenev that the C.P.C. has unanimously adopted Lunacharsky’s absolutely improper proposal to preserve the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet, I suggest that the Politbureau should resolve:

1. To instruct the Presidium of the All-Russia C.E.C. to rescind the C.P.C. decision.

2. Of the opera and ballet company, to leave only a few dozen actors for Moscow and Petrograd so that their   performances (both operatic and choreographic) should pay,[1] i.e., by eliminating all large expenses on properties, etc.

3. Of the thousands of millions saved in this way at least one-half to be allotted to wiping out illiteracy and for reading rooms.

4. To summon Lunacharsky for five minutes, to hear the last word of the accused, it being pointed out to him and to all People’s Commissars that in future introducing and putting to the vote of resolutions like the one now being rescinded by the C.C., will entail stricter measures on the part of the C.C.[2]




[1] For instance, through participation by opera singers and ballet dancers in all kinds of concerts, etc.—Lenin

[2] Lenin’s proposal sprang from the country’s grave financial position and the need to increase appropriations for schools and the wiping out of illiteracy.

That same day, January 12, 1922, the Politbureau of the R.C.P.(B.) Central Committee adopted a decision “To authorise the Presidium of the All-Russia C.E.C. to rescind the C.P.C. decision on preserving the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet”, arid by a subsequent decision on January 17 authorised the All-Russia C.E.C. “to examine Comrade Lunacharsky’s application in   substance”. On February 6, 1922, the Presidium of the All-Russia C.E.C. adopted the following decision: “To bring to the notice of the Politbureau of the R.C.P.(B.) Central Committee that the group of the Presidium of the All-Russia C.E.C., having examined Lunacharsky’s letter and heard the explanations given by Malinovskaya (Director of the Bolshoi Theatre.—Ed.), has found that it is economically inexpedient to close down the Bolshoi Theatre.” In connection with this proposal, the Politbureau instructed the People’s Commissariat for Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection “to submit an exact calculation of the maintenance of the Bolshoi Theatre in its present state, and of the reduction of expenditures which could be obtained on its closure”. On March  13, the Politbureau, having heard the report by V. A. Avanesov, Deputy People’s Commissar for Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection, decided to “satisfy the 6/11–22 petition of the All-Russia C.E.C.”

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