J. V. Stalin
Source: Works, Vol. 9, December-July, 1927, pp. 179-181
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
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.
Your inquiry of March 1, 1927, is in my opinion based on a misunderstanding. And for the following reasons.
1) I did not in my report1 speak of the formation of an “autocratic system” in Russia, but of the formation of centralised multi-national states in Eastern Europe (Russia, Austria, Hungary). It is not difficult to understand that these are two different subjects, although they cannot be regarded as being unconnected.
2) Neither in my report, nor in my theses2 did I say that a centralised state was formed in Russia “not as a result of economic development, but in the interest of the struggle against the Mongols and other Oriental peoples” (see your letter). It is you that must answer for making this contrast, not I. All I said was that, owing to the requirements of defence, the process of formation of centralised states in Eastern Europe was more rapid than the process of the constitution of people into nations, as a result of which multi-national states were formed in these parts before the abolition of feudalism. This, as you see, is not what you incorrectly ascribe to me.
Here is a quotation from my report:
“In Eastern Europe, on the contrary, the process of formation of nations and of the liquidation of feudal disunity did not coincide in time with the process of formation of centralised states. I have in mind Hungary, Austria and Russia. In those countries capitalism had not yet developed; it was, perhaps, only just beginning to develop; but the needs of defence against the invasion of the Turks, Mongols and other Oriental peoples called for the immediate formation of centralised states capable of checking the onslaught of the invaders. Since the process of formation of centralised states in Eastern Europe was more rapid than the process of the constitution of people into nations, mixed states were formed there, consisting of several peoples who had not yet formed themselves into nations, but who were already united in a common state.”3
And here is a quotation from my theses, adopted by the Tenth Party Congress:
“Where the formation of nations on the whole coincided in time with the formation of centralised states, the nations naturally assumed state forms, they developed into independent bourgeois national states. That is what happened in Britain (excluding Ireland), in France and Italy. In Eastern Europe, on the contrary, the formation of centralised states, accelerated by the needs of self-defence (invasion by Turks, Mongols, etc.), took place before feudalism was liquidated; hence, before the formation of nations. As a consequence, the nations here did not, and could not, develop into national states; instead, several mixed, multi-national bourgeois states were formed, usually consisting of one strong dominant nation and of several weak, subject nations. Examples: Austria, Hungary, Russia.”4
I would request you to give attention to the words emphasised in these passages.
3) If you examine the whole of my report at the Tenth Congress, and also the theses on the national question (the first part), you will have no difficulty in convincing yourselves that the theme of the report is not the formation of an “autocratic system,” but the formation of multi-national centralised states in Eastern Europe and the factors which accelerated that process.
With communist greetings,
March 7, 1927
Published for the first time.
1. J. V. Stalin, Vol. 9
2. This refers to J. V. Stalin’s theses on “The Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question” submitted to the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B) (see Works, Vol. 5, pp. 16-30).
3. See J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 5, p. 34.
4. See J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 5, pp. 16-17.