V. I.   Lenin

Letter to the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.)[1]

Written: Written March 18, 1922
Published: First published November 20, 1962 in Pravda No. 324. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 408b-409a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). 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 Molotov for members of the Politbureau

This is not the first time that the Moscow Committee (and Comrade Zelensky too) is showing indulgence towards communist criminals, who deserve to be hanged.

This is done “by mistake”. The danger of this “mistake”, however, is enormous. I move:

1. That Comrade Divilkovsky’s proposal be adopted.

2. That the Moscow Committee be severely reprimanded for being indulgent to Communists (the form of indulgence—a special commission).

3. That it be confirmed to all Gubernia Party Committees that for the slightest attempt to “influence” the courts in the sense of “mitigating” the responsibility of Communists, the C.C. will expel such persons from the Party.

4. That a circular be issued notifying the People’s Commissariat for Justice (copies to the Gubernia Party Committees) to the effect that the courts are obliged to punish Communists more severely than non-Communists.

People’s judges and members of the Board of the Commissariat for Justice who fail to observe this are to be dismissed from office.

5. That the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee be asked to inflict a reprimand on the Presidium of the Moscow Soviet in the press.

18.111. Lenin

P. S. It is a crying shame, disgraceful—the ruling Party defends “its own” scoundrels!!


[1] Lenin’s letter was written in connection with the following incident. Following numerous complaints of abuse practised in the Central Housing Department of the Moscow Soviet, an inspection of this department was undertaken. Similar complaints having been received addressed to Lenin, the inspection was carried out with the close co-operation of the C.P.C.’s Business Manager (A. A. Divilkovsky). The inspection revealed abuses practised by a number of top members of the staff of the Central Housing Department with the connivance of the Department Chief of the Moscow Communal Services Sovetnikov, a member of the Party. The Bureau of the Moscow Committee of the R.C.P.(B.), at a joint meeting with the Presidium of the Moscow Soviet on March 14, declared the findings of the inspection commission to be unfounded and decided to refer the matter to a new,   Party commission for revision. In his letter to N. P. Gorbunov dated March 15, copies of which were forwarded to all members of the Politbureau for their information, Divilkovsky stressed that this decision ran counter to Lenin’s instructions that “bureaucratic banditism, especially when practised by suspicious elements who have wormed their way into the Party” should he relentlessly prosecuted, and he asked that this decision be reversed and the guilty parties put on trial (Central Party Archives, Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the C.C., C.P.S.U.).

When sending his letter to Molotov for members of the Politbureau, Lenin wrote on it: “Gorbunov, forward immediately, show to Tsyurupa and Rykov.”

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