Written: Written on January 17, 1922
Published: First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany VIII. Printed from the typewritten text signed by V. I. Lenin.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 35, pages 533-534.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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People’s Commissariat of Justice
I have received two communications from the People’s Commissariat of Justice—of November 14 and December 20—on the “fulfilment” of my instruction to organise a systematic campaign against red tape.
In the first communication you write:
“It involves a great deal of labour to single out the processes in which this organisational defect (viz., the ponderousness and bureaucratic complexity of our apparatus, inter-departmental relations, friction, etc.) does not have such a decisive effect, and red tape is the result of the activity of persons, and not, an objective consequence of the insufficiently smooth working of our apparatus.”
With such an approach, of course, nothing will come of the struggle against red tape. It is the responsible persons who are to blame for these “organisational defects”; these, and no others, are the ones we must learn to prosecute and punish with exemplary severity. You will never catch a saboteur engaged in red tape.
The second communication from the People’s Commissariat of Justice, signed by Krasikov, and the attached reports of the investigators of “exceptionally important cases”—Vyukov, Roizman and Kedrov, a member of the staff of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection—truly discover America. These reports, in a pretty illiterate form, set forth standard platitudes about bureaucracy, complexity of apparatus, etc., etc.
In a word, it is obvious that the struggle against red tape has not moved ahead one iota.
In essence, I have not received an exhaustive reply to a single one of the five tasks which I laid down.
I suggest that you once again examine the question and organise the struggle against red tape in business-like fashion, according to all the rules of war.
I ask you by the 20th of each month, without any preliminary reminders, to send me a report on the course of the campaign.
V. Ulyanov (Lenin)
Chairman, Council of People’s Commissars