First published in part in 1945 In Lenin Miscellany XXXV.
Published in full In 1965 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 54.
Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 432-433a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Comrade Unschlicht, All-Russia Cheka
and Comrade Fomin, People’s Commissariat for Railways
Copy to N. P. Gorbunov
A few days ago, I had occasion to see for myself the state of the All-Russia Cheka railway trolleys, which are apparently in the joint charge of the All-Russia Cheka and the P.C.R. I think that railway trolleys are absolutely indispensable for the All-Russia Cheka, and the People’s Commissariat for Defence (I have heard that the All-Russia Cheka has two) at the Moscow Junction for very fast assignments, for highly urgent and highly secret dispatch of small (5–10 men) detachments, etc.
I found the railway trolleys in the worst state possible, I saw utter neglect, semi-ruin (very many things have been stolen!), total disorder, the fuel appears to have been stolen, there is water in the kerosene, the engine running excruciatingly, stoppages on the way every minute, the traffic wretched, delays at the stations, station-masters completely uninformed (apparently without any idea at all that the Ail-Russia Cheka trolleys should have special travelling warrants, and that they should go through with maximum speed not in the sense of running speed—these machines are apparently “Soviet”, i.e., are very bad ones— but in the sense of the shortest possible delays and waste of time, with military precision), there is chaos, slovenliness and absolute disgrace. Fortunately, being incognito on the trolley, I was able to hear and did hear, frank and truthful (and not the officially honeyed and lying) talk of the officials, and I understood from their talk that this was no exception, but that the whole organisation was incredibly disgraceful, with complete dislocation and clumsiness.
This was the first time I travelled along the railway lines not as a “dignitary”, getting all and sundry to hustle with dozens of special telegrams, but as an unknown person travelling with All-Russia Cheka men, and the impression I got was one of depressing hopelessness. If such is the state of a special small gear in the mechanism under the special supervision of the All-Russia Cheka itself, I can well imagine the state of things in the P.C.R. in general! The disorder there must he incredible.
I propose: to appoint at once, by agreement between the All-Russia Cheka and the P.C.R. (perhaps also getting the People’s Commissariat for Defence to join, if it has any trolleys?), a responsible person who would be close to the actual thing, and not a high-ranking official. This person to be strictly responsible for any negligence.
Issue a short military-worded instruction about the All-Russia Cheka trolleys, about their secret and rapid movements, maintenance in good repair, storage of fuel, traffic without delays along the Circular Road, the junction and everywhere, etc., etc. Add to the instruction, by the way, that at the request of N. P. Gorbunov (who will be doing this only with my consent) a railway trolley is to be made available promptly and run to the place he designates.
Send detailed report on execution to N. P. Gorbunov, C.P.C. business manager.
I also authorise Gorbunov to verify execution from time to time, i.e., make unannounced trips on railway trolleys, noting down the minutes required for each operation (summons, running time, stops, etc.) and inspection.
V. Ulyanov (Lenin)