J. V. Stalin

Concerning the Question of the Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Communists1

March 14, 1923

Source : Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). 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.

This article is based on the lectures "On the Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Communists" that I delivered at different times at the workers' club in the Presnya District and to the Communist group at the Sverdlov University. 2 I have decided to publish it not only because I think it is my duty to meet the wishes of the Presnya and Sverdlov comrades, but also because it seems to me that the article itself will be of some use for our new generation of Party workers. I consider it necessary to say, however, that this article does not claim to present anything new in substance compared with what has already been said several times in the Russian Party press by our leading comrades. The present article must be regarded as a condensed and schematic exposition of the fundamental views of Comrade Lenin.

Preliminary Concepts

1. Two Aspects of the Working-Class Movement

Political strategy, as well as tactics, is concerned with the working-class movement. But the working-class movement itself consists of two elements: the objective or spontaneous element, and the subjective or conscious element. The objective, spontaneous element is the group of processes that take place independently of the conscious and regulating will of the proletariat. The economic development of the country, the development of capitalism, the disintegration of the old regime, the spontaneous movements of the proletariat and of the classes around it, the conflict of classes, etc.—all these are phenomena whose development does not depend on the will of the proletariat. That is the objective side of the movement. Strategy has nothing to do with those processes, for it can neither stop nor alter them; it can only take them into account and proceed from them. That is a field which has to be studied by the theory of Marxism and the programme of Marxism.

But the movement has also a subjective, conscious side. The subjective side of the movement is the reflection in the minds of the workers of the spontaneous processes of the movement; it is the conscious and systematic movement of the proletariat towards a definite goal. It is this side of the movement that interests us because, unlike the objective side, it is entirely subject to the directing influence of strategy and tactics. Whereas strategy is unable to cause any change in the course of the objective processes of the movement, here, on the contrary, on the subjective, conscious side of the movement, the field of application of strategy is broad and varied, because strategy can accelerate or retard the movement, direct it along the shortest path or divert it to a more difficult and painful path, depending on the perfections or shortcomings of strategy itself.

To accelerate or retard the movement, facilitate or hinder it—such is the field and the limits within which political strategy and tactics can be applied.

2. The Theory and Programme of Marxism

Strategy itself does not study the objective processes of the movement. Nevertheless, it must know them and take them into account correctly if gross and fatal errors in the leadership of the movement are to be avoided. The objective processes of the movement are studied, in the first place, by the theory of Marxism and also by the programme of Marxism. Hence, strategy must base itself entirely on the data provided by the theory and programme of Marxism.

From a study of the objective processes of capitalism in their development and decline, the theory of Marxism arrives at the conclusion that the fall of the bourgeoisie and the seizure of power by the proletariat are inevitable, that capitalism must inevitably give way to socialism. Proletarian strategy can be called truly Marxist only when its operations are based on this fundamental conclusion of the theory of Marxism.

Proceeding from the data of theory, the programme of Marxism determines the aims of the proletarian movement, which are scientifically formulated in the points of the programme. The programme may be designed to cover the whole period of capitalist development and have in view the overthrow of capitalism and the organisation of socialist production, or only one definite phase of the development of capitalism, for instance, the overthrow of the survivals of the feudal-absolutist system and the creation of conditions for the free development of capitalism. Accordingly, the programme may consist of two parts: a maximum and a minimum. It goes without saying that strategy designed for the minimum part of the programme is bound to differ from strategy designed for the maximum part; and strategy can be called truly Marxist only when it is guided in its operations by the aims of the movement as formulated in the programme of Marxism.

3. Strategy

The most important function of strategy is to determine the main direction which ought to be taken by the working-class movement, and along which the proletariat can most advantageously deliver the main blow at its enemy in order to achieve the aims formulated in the programme. A strategic plan is a plan of the organisation of the decisive blow in the direction in which the blow is most likely to achieve the maximum results.

The principal features of political strategy could easily be described by drawing an analogy with military strategy: for instance, in the fight against Denikin during the Civil War. Everybody remembers the end of 1919, when Denikin's forces were standing near Tula. At that time an interesting dispute arose among our military men about the point from which the decisive blow at Denikin's armies should be delivered. Some military men proposed that the line Tsaritsyn-Novorossiisk be chosen for the main direction of the blow. Others, on the contrary, proposed that the decisive blow be delivered along the line Voronezh-Rostov, to proceed along this line and thus cut Denikin's armies in two and then crush each part separately. The first plan undoubtedly had its merits in that it provided for the capture of Novoros-siisk, which would have cut off the retreat of Denikin's armies. But, on the one hand, it was faulty because it assumed our advance through districts (the Don Region) which were hostile to Soviet power, and thus would have involved heavy casualties; on the other hand, it was dangerous because it opened for Denikin's armies the road to Moscow via Tula and Serpukhov. The only correct plan for the main blow was the second one, because, on the one hand, it assumed the advance of our main group through districts (Voronezh Gubernia-Donets Basin) which were friendly towards Soviet power and, therefore, would not involve any considerable casualties; on the other hand, it would disrupt the operations of Denikin's main group of forces which were moving towards Moscow. The majority of the military men declared in favour of the second plan, and this determined the fate of the war against Denikin.

In other words, determining the direction of the main blow means deciding in advance the nature of operations during the whole period of the war, i.e., deciding in advance, to the extent of nine-tenths, the fate of the whole war. That is the function of strategy.

The same must be said about political strategy. The first serious, collision between the political leaders of the Russian proletariat on the question of the main direction of the proletarian movement took place at the beginning of the twentieth century, during the Russo-Japanese war. At that time, as we know, one section of our Party (the Mensheviks) held the view that the main direction of the proletarian movement in its struggle against tsarism should be along the line of a bloc between the proletariat and the liberal bourgeoisie; the peasantry was omitted, or almost entirely omitted from the plan as a major revolutionary factor, while the leading role in the general revolutionary movement was assigned to the liberal bourgeoisie. The other section of the Party (the Bolsheviks) maintained, on the contrary, that the main blow should proceed along the line of a bloc between the proletariat and the peasantry, and that the leading role in the general revolutionary movement should be assigned to the proletariat, while the liberal bourgeoisie should be neutralised.

If, by analogy with the war against Denikin, we depict our whole revolutionary movement, from the beginning of this century to the February Revolution in 1917, as a war waged by the workers and peasants against tsarism and the landlords, it will be clear that the fate of tsarism and of the landlords largely depended upon which of the two strategic plans (the Menshevik or the Bolshevik) would be adopted, and upon which direction would be chosen as the main direction of the revolutionary movement.

Just as during the war against Denikin military strategy, by deciding the main direction of the blow, determined to the extent of nine-tenths the character of all subsequent operations, including the liquidation of Denikin's armies, so here, in the sphere of the revolutionary struggle against tsarism, our political strategy, by deciding that the main direction of the revolutionary movement should follow the Bolshevik plan, determined the character of our Party's work during the whole period of the open struggle against tsarism, from the time of the Russo-Japanese war down to the February Revolution in 1917.

The function of political strategy is, primarily, on the basis of the data provided by the theory and programme of Marxism, and taking into account the experrience of the revolutionary struggle of the workers of all countries, correctly to determine the main direction of the proletarian movement of the given country in the given historical period.

4. Tactics

Tactics are a part of strategy, subordinated to and serving it. Tactics are not concerned with the war as a whole, but with its individual episodes, with battles and engagements. Strategy strives to win the war, or to carry through the struggle, against tsarism let us say, to the end; tactics, on the contrary, strive to win particular engagements and battles, to conduct particular campaigns successfully, or particular operations, that are more or less appropriate to the concrete situation of the struggle at each given moment.

A most important function of tactics is to determine the ways and means, the forms and methods of fighting that are most appropriate to the concrete situation at the given moment and are most certain to prepare the way for strategic success. Consequently, the operation and results of tactics must be regarded not in isolation, not from the point of view of their immediate effect, but from the point of view of the aims and possibilities of strategy.

There are times when tactical successes facilitate the achievement of strategic aims. Such was the case, for instance, on the Denikin front at the end of 1919, when our troops liberated Orel and Voronezh, when the successes of our cavalry at Voronezh and of our infantry at Orel created a situation favourable for delivering the blow at Rostov. Such was the case in August 1917 in Russia, when the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets came over to the side of the Bolsheviks and thereby created a new political situation, which subsequently facilitated the blow delivered by our Party in October.

There are also times when tactical successes, brilliant from the point of view of their immediate effect but not corresponding to the strategic possibilities, create an "unexpected" situation, fatal to the whole campaign. Such was the case with Denikin at the end of 1919 when, carried away by the easy success of a rapid and striking advance on Moscow, he stretched his front from the Volga to the Dnieper, and thereby prepared the way for the defeat of his armies. Such was the case in 1920, during the war against the Poles, when, under-estimating the strength of the national factor in Poland, and carried away by the easy success of a striking advance, we undertook a task that was beyond our strength, the task of breaking into Europe via Warsaw, which rallied the vast majority of the Polish population against the Soviet forces and so created a situation which nullified the successes of the Soviet forces at Minsk and Zhitomir and damaged the Soviet Government's prestige in the West.

Lastly, there are also times when a tactical success must be ignored and when tactical losses and reverses must be deliberately incurred in order to ensure future strategic gains. This often happens in time of war, when one side, wishing to save its army cadres and to withdraw them from the onslaught of superior enemy forces, begins a systematic retreat and surrenders whole cities and regions without a fight in order to gain time and to muster its forces for new decisive battles in the future. Such was the case in Russia in 1918, during the German offensive, when our Party was forced to accept the Brest Peace, which was a tremendous setback from the point of view of the immediate political effect at that moment, in order to preserve the alliance with the peasants, who were thirsting for peace, to obtain a respite, to create a new army and thereby ensure strategic gains in the future.

In other words, tactics must not be subordinated to the transient interests of the moment, they must not be guided by considerations of immediate political effect, still less must they desert firm ground and build castles in the air. Tactics must be devised in accordance with the aims and possibilities of strategy.

The function of tactics is primarily to determine— in accordance with the requirements of strategy, and taking into account the experience of the workers' revolutionary struggle in all countries—the forms and methods of fighting most appropriate to the concrete situation of the struggle at each given moment.

5. Forms of Struggle

The methods of warfare, the forms of war, are not always the same. They change in accordance with the conditions of development, primarily, in accordance with the development of production. In the time of Genghis Khan the methods of warfare were different from those in the time of Napoleon III; in the twentieth century they are different from those in the nineteenth century.

The art of war under modern conditions consists in mastering all forms of warfare and all the achievements of science in this sphere, utilising them intelligently, combining them skilfully, or making timely use of one or another of these forms as circumstances require.

The same must be said about the forms of struggle in the political sphere. The forms of struggle in the political sphere are even more varied than the forms of warfare. They change in accordance with the development of economic life, social life and culture, with the condition of classes, the relation of the contending forces, the kind of government and, finally, with international relations, and so forth. The illegal form of struggle under absolutism, combined with partial strikes and workers' demonstrations; the open form of struggle when "legal possibilities" exist, and workers' mass political strikes; the parliamentary form of struggle at the time, say, of the Duma, and extra-parliamentary mass action which sometimes develops into armed uprising; lastly, state forms of struggle, after the proletariat has taken power and obtains the opportunity to utilise all the resources and forces of the state, including the army—such, in general, are the forms of struggle that are brought to the fore by the practical experience of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat.

It is the task of the Party to master all forms of struggle, to combine them intelligently on the battlefield and skilfully to intensify the struggle in those forms which are specially suitable in the given situation.

6. Forms of Organisation

The forms of organisation of armies and the different arms of the service are usually adapted to the forms and methods of warfare. When the latter change, the former change. In a war of manoeuvre the issue is often decided by massed cavalry. In positional warfare, on the contrary, cavalry plays either no part at all, or plays a subordinate part; heavy artillery and aircraft, gas and tanks decide everything.

The task of the art of war is to ensure having all arms of the service, bring them to perfection and skilfully combine their operations.

The same can be said about the forms of organisation in the political sphere. Here, as in the military sphere, the forms of organisation are adapted to the forms of the struggle. Secret organisations of professional revolutionaries in the period of absolutism; educational, trade-union, co-operative and parliamentary organisations (the Duma group, etc.) in the period of the Duma; factory and workshop committees, peasant committees, strike committees, Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, revolutionary military committees, and a broad proletarian party which unites all these forms of organisation, in the period of mass action and insurrection; finally, the state form of organisation of the proletariat in the period when power is concentrated in the hands of the working class—such, in general, are the forms of organisation on which, under certain conditions, the proletariat can and must rely in its struggle against the bourgeoisie.

The task of the Party is to master all these forms of organisation, bring them to perfection and skilfully combine their operations at each given moment.

7. The Slogan. The Directive

Skilfully formulated decisions which express the aims of the war, or of individual engagements, and which are popular among the troops, are sometimes of decisive importance at the front as a means of inspiring the army to action, of maintaining its morale, and so forth. Appropriate orders, slogans, or appeals to the troops are as important for the whole course of a war as first-class heavy artillery, or first-class fast-moving tanks.

Slogans are still more important in the political sphere, when one has to deal with tens and hundreds of millions of the population, with their diverse demands and requirements.

A slogan is a concise and clear formulation of the aims of the struggle, near or remote, given by the leading group, let us say, of the proletariat, by its party. Slogans vary in accordance with the different aims of the struggle, aims embracing either a whole historical period or individual stages and episodes of the given historical period. The slogan "Down with the autocracy" which was first advanced by the "Emancipation of Labour" group 3 in the ‘eighties of the last century, was a propaganda slogan, since its aim was to win over to the Party individuals and groups of the most steadfast and sturdy fighters. In the period of the Russo-Japanese war, when the instability of the autocracy became more or less evident to large sections of the working class, this slogan became an agitation slogan, for it was designed to win over vast masses of the toilers. In the period just before the February Revolution of 1917, when tsarism had already become completely discredited in the eyes of the masses, the slogan "Down with the autocracy" was transformed from an agitation slogan into an action slogan, since it was designed to move vast masses into the assault on tsarism. During the February Revolution this slogan became a Party directive, i.e., a direct call to seize certain institutions and certain positions of the tsarist system on a definite date, for it was already a matter of overthrowing and destroying tsarism. A directive is the Party's direct call for action, at a certain time and in a certain place, binding upon all members of the Party and, if the call correctly and aptly formulates the demands of the masses, and if the time is really ripe for it, it is usually taken up by the broad masses of the toilers.

To confuse slogans with directives, or an agitation slogan with an action slogan, is as dangerous as premature or belated action, which is sometimes fatal. In April 1917, the slogan "All power to the Soviets" was an agitation slogan. The well-known demonstration which took place in Petrograd in April 1917 under the slogan "All power to the Soviets," and which surrounded the Winter Palace, was an attempt, premature and therefore fatal, to convert this slogan into an action slogan.4 That was a very dangerous example of the confusion of an agitation slogan with an action slogan. The Party was right when it condemned the initiators of this demonstration, for it knew that the conditions necessary for the transformation of this slogan into an action slogan had not yet arisen, and that premature action on the part of the proletariat might result in the defeat of its forces.

On the other hand, there are cases when the Party is faced with the necessity of cancelling or changing "overnight" an adopted slogan (or directive) for which the time is ripe, in order to guard its ranks against a trap set by the enemy, or with the necessity of postponing the execution of the directive to a more favourable moment. Such a case arose in Petrograd in June 1917, when, because the situation had changed, the Central Committee of our Party "suddenly" cancelled the workers' and soldiers' demonstration, which had been carefully prepared and fixed to take place on June 10.

It is the Party's duty skilfully and opportunely to transform agitation slogans into action slogans, or action slogans into definite and concrete directives, or, if the situation demands it, to display the necessary flexibility and determination to cancel the execution of any given slogan in good time, even if it is popular and the time is ripe for it.

The Strategic Plan

1. Historic Turns. Strategic Plans

The Party's strategy is not something constant, fixed once and for all. It alters in accordance with the turns in history, with historic changes. These alterations in strategy find expression in the fact that with each separate turn in history a separate strategic plan is drawn up corresponding to that turn, and effective during the whole period from that turn to the next. The strategic plan defines the direction of the main blow to be delivered by the revolutionary forces and the corresponding disposition of the vast masses on the social front. Naturally, a strategic plan suitable for one period of history, which has its own specific features, cannot be suitable for another period of history, which has entirely different specific features. Corresponding to each turn in history is the strategic plan essential for it and adapted to its tasks.

The same may be said about the conduct of war. The strategic plan that was drawn up for the war against Kolchak could not have been suitable for the war against Denikin, which called for a new strategic plan, which, in its turn, would not have been suitable for, say, the war against the Poles in 1920, because the direction of the main blows, as well as the disposition of the main fighting forces, could not but be different in each of these three cases.

The recent history of Russia knows of three main historic turns, which gave rise to three different strategic plans in the history of our Party. We consider it necessary to describe them briefly in order to show how the Party's strategic plans in general change in conformity with new historic changes.

2. The First Historic Turn and the Course Towards the Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution in Russia

This turn began at the beginning of the present century, in the period of the Russo-Japanese war, when the defeat of the tsar's armies and the tremendous political strikes of the Russian workers stirred up all classes of the population and pushed them into the arena of the political struggle. This turn came to an end in the days of the February Revolution in 1917.

During this period two strategic plans were at issue in our Party: the plan of the Mensheviks (Plekhanov-Martov, 1905), and the plan of the Bolsheviks (Comrade Lenin, 1905).

The Menshevik strategy planned the main blow at tsarism along the line of a coalition between the liberal bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Proceeding from the fact that at that time the revolution was regarded as a bourgeois revolution, this plan assigned the hegemony (leadership) of the movement to the liberal bourgeoisie and doomed the proletariat to the role of "extreme left opposition," to the role of "prompter" to the bourgeoisie, while the peasantry, one of the major revolutionary forces, was entirely, or almost entirely, left out of account. It is easy to understand that since this plan left out of account the millions of peasants in a country like Russia it was hopelessly utopian, and since it placed the fate of the revolution in the hands of the liberal bourgeoisie (the hegemony of the bourgeoisie) it was reactionary, for the liberal bourgeoisie was not interested in achieving the complete victory of the re

The Bolshevik strategy (see Comrade Lenin's book Two Tactics 5) planned the revolution's main blow at tsarism along the line of a coalition between the proletariat and the peasantry, while the liberal bourgeoisie was to be neutralised. Proceeding from the fact that the liberal bourgeoisie was not interested in the complete victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, that it preferred a deal with tsarism at the expense of the workers and peasants to the victory of the revolution, this plan assigned the hegemony of the revolutionary movement to the proletariat as the only completely revolutionary class in Russia. This plan was remarkable not only because it took into account correctly the driving forces of the revolution, but also because it contained in embryo the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat (the hegemony of the proletariat), because it brilliantly foresaw the next, higher phase of the revolution in Russia and facilitated the transition to it.

The subsequent development of the revolution right up to February 1917 fully confirmed the correctness of this strategic plan.

3. The Second Historic Turn and the Course Towards the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Russia

The second turn began with the February Revolution in 1917, after tsarism was overthrown, when the imperialist war had exposed the fatal ulcers of capitalism all over the world; when the liberal bourgeoisie, incapable of taking in its hands the actual government of the country, was compelled to confine itself to holding formal power (the Provisional Government); when the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, after getting actual power into their hands, had neither the experience nor the will to make the necessary use of it; when the soldiers at the front and the workers and peasants in the rear were groaning under the burdens of the war and economic disruption; when the "dual power" and "contact committee" 6 regime, torn by internal contradictions and capable neither of waging war nor of bringing about peace, not only failed to find "a way out of the impasse" but confused the situation still more. This period ended with the October Revolution in 1917.

Two strategic plans were at issue in the Soviets at that time: the Menshevik-Socialist-Revolutionary plan, and the Bolshevik plan.

The Menshevik-Socialist-Revolutionary strategy, vacillating at first between the Soviets and the Provisional Government, between revolution and counter-revolution, took final shape at the time of the opening of the Democratic Conference (September 1917). It took the line of the gradual but steady removal of the Soviets from power and the concentration of all power in the country in the hands of the "Pre-parliament," the prototype of a future bourgeois parliament. The questions of peace and war, the agrarian and labour questions, as well as the national question, were shelved, pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, which, in its turn, was postponed for an indefinite period. "All power to the Constituent Assembly"—this was how the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks formulated their strategic plan. It was a plan for the preparation of a bourgeois dictatorship, a combed and brushed-up, "perfectly democratic" dictatorship it is true, but a bourgeois dictatorship for all that.

The Bolshevik strategy (see Comrade Lenin's "Theses," published in April 1917 7 ) planned the main blow along the line of liquidating the power of the bourgeoisie by the combined forces of the proletariat and the poor peasants, along the line of organising the dictatorship of the proletariat in the shape of a Soviet Republic. Rupture with imperialism and withdrawal from the war; liberation of the oppressed nationalities of the former Russian Empire; expropriation of the landlords and capitalists; preparation of the conditions for organising socialist economy—such were the elements of the Bolsheviks' strategic plan in that period. "All power to the Soviets"—this was how the Bolsheviks then formulated their strategic plan. This plan was important not only because it took into account correctly the actual driving forces of the new, proletarian revolution in Russia, but also because it facilitated and accelerated the unleashing of the revolutionary movement in the West.

Subsequent developments right up to the October Revolution fully confirmed the correctness of this strategic plan.

4. The Third Historic Turn and the Course Towards the Proletarian Revolution in Europe

The third turn began with the October Revolution, when the mortal combat between the two imperialist groups in the West had reached its climax; when the revolutionary crisis in the West was obviously growing; when the bourgeois government in Russia, bankrupt and entangled in contradictions, fell under the blows of the proletarian revolution; when the victorious proletarian revolution broke with imperialism and withdrew from the war, and thereby made bitter enemies in the shape of imperialist coalitions in the West; when the new Soviet Government's decrees on peace, the confiscation of the landlords' land, the expropriation of the capitalists and the liberation of the oppressed nationalities earned for it the confidence of millions of toilers throughout the world. This was a turn on an international scale, because, for the first time, the international front of capital was breached, the question of overthrowing capitalism was for the first time put on a practical footing. This transformed the October Revolution from a national, Russian force into an international force, and the Russian workers from a backward detachment of the international proletariat into its vanguard, which by its devoted struggle rouses the workers of the West and the oppressed countries of the East. This turn has not yet come to the end of its development, for it has not yet developed on an international scale, but its content and general direction are already sufficiently clear.

Two strategic plans were at issue in political circles in Russia at that time: the plan of the counter-revolutionaries, who had drawn into their organisations the active sections of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the plan of the Bolsheviks.

The counter-revolutionaries and active Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks planned along the line of uniting in one camp all the discontented elements: the old army officers in the rear and at the front, the bourgeois-nationalist governments in the border regions, the capitalists and landlords who had been expropriated by the revolution, the agents of the Entente who were preparing for intervention, and so forth. They steered a course towards the overthrow of the Soviet Government by means of revolts or foreign intervention, and the restoration of the capitalist order in Russia.

The Bolsheviks, on the contrary, planned along the line of internally strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia and extending the sphere of operation of the proletarian revolution to all countries of the world by combining the efforts of the proletarians of Russia with the efforts of the proletarians of Europe and with the efforts of the oppressed nations of the East against world imperialism. Highly noteworthy is the exact and concise formulation of this strategic plan given by Comrade Lenin in his pamphlet The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, namely: "To do the utmost possible in one country (one's own— J. St.) for the development, support and awakening of the revolution in all countries." The value of this strategic plan lies not only in that it took into account correctly the driving forces of the world revolution, but also in that it foresaw and facilitated the subsequent process of transformation of Soviet Russia into the focus of attention of the revolutionary movement throughout the world, into the banner of liberation of the workers in the West and of the colonies in the East.

The subsequent development of the revolution all over the world, and also the five years' existence of Soviet power in Russia, have fully confirmed the correctness of this strategic plan. The fact that the counterrevolutionaries, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Menshe-viks, who made several attempts to overthrow the Soviet Government, are now emigres, while the Soviet Government and the international proletarian organisation are becoming the major instruments of the policy of the world proletariat, and other facts of this kind, are obvious testimony in favour of the Bolsheviks' strategic plan.


Pravda, No. 56, March 14, 1923


1. J. V. Stalin's article "Concerning the Question of the Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Communists " was published on March 14, 1923, in Pravda, No. 56, which was devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), and also in Petrogradskaya Pravda, Nos. 57, 58 and 59, of March 14, 15 and 16, 1923 and in the magazine Kommunisticheskaya Revolutsia, No. 7 (46), of April 1, 1923. Later, a part of this article, under the heading: "The October Revolution and the Strategy of the Russian Communists" was published in the book: Stalin, The October Revolution, Moscow 1932.

2. The Sverdlov University—the Workers' and Peasants' Communist University named after Y. M. Sverdlov.

In 1918, on the initiative of Y. M. Sverdlov, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee organised short-term courses for agitators and propagandists. In January 1919, these courses were renamed the School for Soviet Work. By a decision adopted at the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), the school was made the basis for setting up the Central School for Soviet and Party Work. In the latter half of 1919 this school was transformed into the Sverdlov Workers' and Peasants! Communist University.

3. The "Emancipation of Labour" group—the first Russian Marx- ist group, formed in Geneva, in 1883, by G. V. Plekhanov. (Concerning the activities of this group and the historical role it played, see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1952, pp. 23-34.)

4. During the mass political demonstration in Petrograd on April 20-21, 1917, a group of members of the Petrograd Committee of the Bolshevik Party (Bagdatyev and others), despite the Central Committee's instructions that the demonstration was to be a peaceful one, put forward the slogan of the immediate overthrow of the Provisional Government. The Central Committee condemned the action of these "Left" adventurers (see V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 24, pp. 181-82).

5. V. I. Lenin, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution (see Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 9, pp. 1-119).

6. The "Contact Committee," consisting of Chkheidze, Steklov, Sukhanov, Filippovsky and Skobelev (and later Chernov and Tsereteli), was set up by the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies on March 7, 1917, for the purpose of establishing contact with the Provisional Government, of "influencing" it and of "supervising" its activities. Actually, the "Contact Committee" helped to carry out the Provisional Government's bourgeois policy and tried to restrain the masses of the workers from waging a revolutionary struggle to transfer all power to the Soviets. The "Contact Committee" existed until May 1917, when representatives of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries actually entered the Provisional Government.

7. V. I. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution" (see Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 24, pp. 1-7).