J. V. Stalin

Reply to Kushtysev

December 28, 1928

Source: Works, Vol. 11, January, 1928 to March, 1929
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.

Comrade Kushtysev,

I have received your letter of December 11, 1928.

Your question might at first sight appear to be correct. Actually, it will not stand the slightest criticism. It should be easy to understand that when Lenin says that "Soviet power plus electrification is communism," he does not mean by this that there will be any kind of political power under communism, nor does he mean that if we have seriously set about electrifying the country we have thereby already achieved communism.

What did Lenin mean to say when making this statement? In my opinion, all he meant to say was that Soviet power alone is not enough for the advance towards communism, that in order to advance towards communism the Soviet power must electrify the country and transfer the entire national economy to large-scale production, and that the Soviet power is prepared to take this course in order to arrive at communism. Lenin's dictum implies nothing more than the readiness of the Soviet power to advance towards communism through electrification.

We often say that our republic is a socialist one. Does this mean that we have already achieved socialism, done away with classes and abolished the state (for the achievement of socialism implies the withering away of the state)? Or does it mean that classes, the state, and so on, will still exist under socialism? Obviously not. Are we entitled in that case to call our republic a socialist one? Of course, we are. From what standpoint? From the standpoint of our determination and our readiness to achieve socialism, to do away with classes, etc.

Perhaps, Comrade Kushtysev, you would agree to listen to Lenin's opinion on this point? If so, then listen:

"No one, I think, in considering the question of the economy of Russia has ever denied its transitional character. Nor, I think has any Communist denied that the term Socialist Soviet Republic signifies the determination of the Soviet power to achieve the transition to socialism, and not at all that the new economic order is a socialist order" (Vol. XXII, p. 513).

Clear, I think.

With communist greetings,

J. Stalin

December 28, 1928