V. I.   Lenin

Letter to P. I. Popov

Re Consumption by the Population of the R.S.F.S.R. Before and After the October Revolution[1]

Written: Written Late December 1919
Published: First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXIV. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 155b-156.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). 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.README


Comrade Popov,

Will you please-if i is not too much trouble to you—return the enclosed table to me with your remarks:

on the basis of statistical science and its modern data on Russia

(aa) could such a table be drawn up or not (on the strength, at least, of insufficient data)?

(bb) if it could, what would be the chief corrections?

(cc) would any of your specialists undertake to draw up such a table (even if with a wider amplitude of fluctuations)?




Assuming (in a round figure, for the sake of simplification and easy memorising) that the population of the R.S.F.S.R. 50 million


How do they eat? (today) % of the population How did they eat be-fore the war (before 1914-191 7)?
a) 10 mill, workers = 50- 60% of norm 20% on the average, say, for 10 or 15 years before the war
b) 20 mill, poor peasants 40% 50-60% of norm
c) 15 mill. middle peasants 90-100% of norm 30% 60-70% of norm [or 90%?]
d) 4 mill. rich peasants = 120-150% of norm 8% 100% of norm 100 of norm
e) I mill, former land -owners, capitalists, high officials, etc. % of the population 2% —- 100% 150-200% of norm


The norm to be considered the amount of bread, meat, 1. milk, eggs, and so on, a person needs according to science, i.e., the norm is not the amount of calories, but the amount of food of a definite quality.

By workers is to be understood industrial workers, the non-worker urban population coming under the corresponding groups c and d.

Social types: a) proletarian and semi-proletarian urban population b) ditto-rural c) middle peasantry and generally petty-bourgeois population nearest to it d) rich peasants and urban middle bourgeoisie e) higher classes.


[1] The data given by the Central Statistical Board were used by Lenin in the Central Committee—s report to the Ninth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) (see present edition, Volume 30, p. 460).

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