V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on January 22, 1922
Published: First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 444b-446a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Sunday, 22/I.

Comrade Sokolnikov:

Concerning your letter of 18/I.[2]

About Basha and the State Depository of Valuables. I very much fear that you have been carried away here by the apparent “harmony” of the reorganisation plans. Basha, who had been recommended to me by reliable men, and who has proved his ability to safekeep, can (I felt) only safekeep, safeguard and no more. That is enough. That is a great deal. Under Trotsky’s general supervision and pressure, let them safekeep, safeguard, fight stealing and realise. That is enough. That is very much.

Why then “reorganise Gokhran”? Why reorganise it into a “gold—currency—administration”?

I very much fear that reorganisation will be the death of us, without bringing any of the practical jobs to completion.

Let Trotsky and Basha carry out the State Depository of Valuables job to the end: which is to collect, to safeguard and to realise.

The currency administration must be separate. It was in Litvinov’s charge. There is some mix-up between him and Krasin—the most painful question which caused a Politbureau decision a few days ago.[3]

At all costs this mix-up should be eliminated and their (Litvinov’s and Krasin’s) work made concerted swiftly, immediately.

If Litvinov is unable to devote himself entirely to this (because of the diplomacy), and if (you) intend to have Krasnoshchekov head the currency administration, why not bring this up before the Politbureau: the State Depository of Valuables—safekeeps, collects and assigns for realisation; Krasnoshchekov—currency administration (instead of Litvinov or together with Litvinov?)?

I am in mortal fear of reorganisations. We are always reorganising things, instead^ of getting on with the practical business. You will do well to bear my words in mind: if the Commissariat for Finance does have a bitter enemy, it is the overdoing of reorganisation, and the underdoing of the practical business.

I cannot agree with you that the restructuring of our budget is at the centre of our work. Trade and restoration of the ruble is at the centre.

It is true (as you write) that Larin is “undoubtedly” the “father” of the monstrous confusion of the budget. It is also true that Preobrazhensky is the second guilty one. And what about O. Y. Schmidt? He has not got Preobrazhensky’s excuses! This O. Y. Schmidt should be removed. He is a most harmful fumbler, and is the more dangerous because he fumbles with “pomposity” and is “superklug”[1] ....

I think you should not engage in “restructuring” on the question of the budget: hand nine-tenths of it to the State Planning Commission and reduce all this to practical,   prudent amendments. Otherwise, the “restructuring” will run away with you, and in any case it is impossible just now, right away, to have a tolerable budget, and we shall perish because of the collapse of the monetary system, scattering our attention on tasks which are not feasible just now.

At the centre of everything just now is trade, first, domestic, and then, foreign trade; in connection with trade and on the basis of trade—a restoration of the ruble.

All attention should be concentrated on this. The important, the most important, the basic task is to make a practical start on this.

Development of trade, organisation of the State Bank’s trade department, to have it moving the whole of trade, instead of sleeping—is the main thing.

What I mortally fear is that you, now actually in charge of the most important People’s Commissariat, will be carried away with restructuring, reorganisation, and the theoretical line (you do have a weakness on this score)— instead of practice, practice and practice: raising trade, increasing and collecting taxes, restoring the ruble. Really and truly I am in mortal fear of this; do not succumb to this weakness, otherwise we shall collapse. Go on promoting Krasnoshchekov: he appears to be a practitioner.

With communist greetings,


[1]too clever”.—Ed.

[2] In the letter here mentioned, G. Y. Sokolnikov argued the need to reorganise Gokhran (the State Depository of Valuables of the R.S.F.S.R.) into a Currency Administration. With this in mind, he suggested the appointment as its head an executive of greater stature than the head of Gokhran, N. A. Basha. Sokolnikov also dealt with various aspects of restructuring the budget.

[3] A reference to the Politbureau of the R.C.P.(B.) C.C. decision of January 20, 1922, on the delay in the purchase of food abroad.

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