V. I.   Lenin

Notes on Measures for
Combating Famine and Stepping Up Economic Work[3]

Written: Written in July, not later than 9, 1921
Published: First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 330-331.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
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

If an area affected by crop failure and famine embraces a territory with a population of twenty-five million, should we not, by a number of revolutionary measures, take young men into the army from this particular area to the number of about 500,000 (or even perhaps up to I million?).

Purpose: to help out the famine-stricken population to some extent, as we shall feed some of them and perhaps help others by means of parcels which the men will send home. That is one thing. Secondly: locate these half a million in the Ukraine, where they can help to step up food supply work, in which. they are deeply concerned, keenly aware as they are of the injustice of the gluttony practised by the rich peasants in the Ukraine.

The harvest in the Ukraine is estimated roughly (Rakovsky) at 550-650 million poods. Deducting 150 million poods for sowing and 300 (15 x 20 = 300) for feeding the family and the farm animals, we get a balance (550-450=1 0 0; 650—450 = 2 0 0) at an average of about 1 5 0 million poods. If we post an army from the famine-stricken gubernias in the Ukraine this balance (tax 4- barter + .special requisitions from the rich to help the starving) could be collected in full.

Measures should immediately be stepped up in the famine-stricken gubernias to collect raw materials (hides, hoofs, horns, bristles, etc., etc.) and it should be made a rule, incidentally, that not a pood of relief should be rendered either for seed or food unless payment is made in one or another form of raw materials or fallen wood fuel or similar stuff.[1]

To revive the work of the gubernia, uyezd and district economic conferences of Petrograd, Moscow, Ivanovo-Voznesensk and a few principal industrial centres not far from the two capital cities, could not, 2-4 top-level workers of the   central departments be assigned to each of these economic conferences? These groups of, say, four people, could work together as a team, being selected from among the staff of one and the same central institution or being well acquainted with each other, and they could do regular work in these economic councils, say, an hour a day each, making 3-4 hours a day together?

The complete or partial transfer of workers of the non-economic commissariats to economic work could be arranged in this way: their work at the commissariat could be shifted to the extent of three-fourths or nine-tenths to third-rate assistants, whom they could supervise.

In Moscow (and afterwards in other places) all top-level Party workers should be mobilised for economic work in this way:

every top-level Party worker of a non-economic commissariat takes a low-level economic job, for which purpose he joins some factory committee (or house or block committee)—no organisation higher titan that (in order to work at low-level)—and undertakes to devote no less than two hours a day to this work. Priority is to be given to the work of distributing foodstuffs, raising the level of the economic branch concerned, and fuel supply.

It is important that each worker’s assignment should be precisely defined.

Should we not, simultaneously with the registration of top-level Party workers on 1.VII.1921, organise the registration of all members of the R.C.P. in Moscow (and perhaps in Petrograd as well?)? Enlist for this the services of the Gubernia Statistical Bureau. Obtain exact figures on the Party.[2]


[1] In the manuscript this paragraph has been crossed out by Lenin.—Ed.

[2] This paragraph in the manuscript has been crossed out by Lenin.—Ed.

[3] In view of the famine that attacked the Volga region and south Ukraine in 1921, the Politbureau on July 9, 1921, passed a decision for the transfer of a maximum number of Communists to food supply work.

Lenin’s “Notes” were written apparently in preparation for the discussion of this question at the meeting of the Politbureau.

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