V. I. Lenin

Appeal To The International Proletariat[1]

Written: 2 August, 1921
First Published: Pravda No. 172, August 6, 1921; Published according to the Pravda text collated with the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, page 502
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Several gubernias in Russia have been hit by a famine whose proportions are apparently only slightly less than those of the 1891 calamity.

It is the painful aftermath of Russia’s backwardness and of seven years of war, first, the imperialist, and then, the Civil War, which was forced upon the workers and peasants by the landowners and capitalists of all countries.

We need help. The Soviet Republic of workers and peasants expects this help from the working people, the industrial workers and the small farmers.

The mass of both the former and the latter are themselves oppressed by capitalism and imperialism everywhere, but we are convinced that they will respond to our appeal, despite their own hard condition caused by unemployment and the rising cost of living.

Those who have suffered from capitalist oppression all their lives will understand the position of the workers and peasants of Russia, they will grasp or, guided by the instinct of working and exploited people, will sense the need of helping the Soviet Republic, whose lot it was to be the first to undertake the hard but gratifying task of overthrowing capitalism. That is why the capitalists of all countries are revenging themselves upon the Soviet Republic; that is why they are planning a fresh campaign, intervention, and counter-revolutionary conspiracies against it.

All the greater, we trust, will be the vigour and the self-sacrifice with which the workers and the small labouring farmers of all countries will help us.

N. Lenin

August 2, 1921


[1] Lenin’s Appeal to the International Proletariat in connection with the famine which hit almost 33 million people in the Volga area and South Ukraine met with a broad response among the working people of all countries. An “Ad hoc Foreign Committee for Assistance to Russia” was set up on the initiative of the Comintern in August 1921. French revolutionary trade unions called on the workers to contribute a day’s earnings for the famine stricken population of Russia. Henri Barbusse and Anatole France played an active part in organising assistance, and the latter contributed to the fund the Nobel Prize he was awarded in 1921. About one million francs were collected in France. Czechoslovakia contributed 7,5 million korunas in cash and 2 million korunas’ worth of food; the German Communist Part collected 1.3 million marks in cash and I million marks’ worth of food; Dutch Communists collected 100,000 guilders; the Italians, about 1 million liras; the Norwegians, 100,000 krones; the Austrians, 3 million krones; the Spaniards, 50,000 marks; the Poles, 9 million marks; the Danes, 500,000 marks, etc. By December 20, 1921, Communist organisations had bought 312,000 poods of food and collected 1 million gold rubles. The organisations of the Amsterdam International bought 85,625 poods of food and collected 485,000 gold rubles.