July / August 1928
J. V. Stalin
Report to a Meeting of the Active of the Leningrad Organisation of the C.P.S.U.(B.)
July 13, 1928
J. V. Stalin, Works, Moscow, 1954, Vol. 11.
the plenum of the Central Committee which has just concluded concerned itself with two sets of questions.
The first set consists of questions relating to major problems of the Communist International in connection with the impending Sixth Congress.
The second set consists of questions relating to our constructive work in the U.S.S.R. in the sphere of agriculture -- the grain problem and grain procurements -- and in the sphere of providing a technical intelligentsia, cadres of intellectuals coming from the ranks of the working class, for our industry.
Let us begin with the first set of questions.
What are the major problems which confront the Sixth Congress of the Comintern at the present time?
If one looks at the stage passed through between the Fifth and Sixth Congresses, it is necessary first of all to consider the contradictions which have ripened in this interval within the imperialist camp.
What are these contradictions?
At the time of the Fifth Congress very little was said about the Anglo-American contradiction as the principal one. It was even the custom at that time to speak of an Anglo-American alliance. On the other hand quite a lot was said about contradictions between Britain and France, between America and Japan, between the victors and the vanquished. The difference between that period and the present period is that, of the contradictions in the capitalist camp, that between American capitalism and British capitalism has become the principal one. Whether you take the question of oil, which is of decisive importance both for the development of the capitalist economy and for purposes of war; whether you take the question of markets, which are of the utmost importance for the life and development of world capitalism, because goods cannot be produced if there is no assured sale for them; whether you take the question of spheres of capital export, which is one of the most characteristic features of the imperialist stage; or whether, lastly, you take the question of the lines of communication with markets or sources of raw material -- you will find that all these main questions drive towards one principal problem, the struggle between Britain and America for world hegemony. Wherever America, a country where capitalism is growing gigantically, tries to butt in -- whether it be China, the colonies, South America, or Africa -- everywhere she encounters formidable obstacles in the shape of Britain's firmly established positions.
This, of course, does not do away with the other contradictions in the capitalist camp: between America and Japan, Britain and France, France and Italy, Germany and France and so on. But it does mean that these contradictions are linked in one way or another with the principal contradiction, that between capitalist Britain, whose star is declining, and capitalist America, whose star is rising.
With what is this principal contradiction fraught? It is very likely fraught with war. When two giants come into collision, when they find the earth too small for both of them, they strive to cross swords in order to decide their dispute over world hegemony by war.
That is the first thing to bear in mind.
A second contradiction is that between imperialism and the colonies. This contradiction existed at the time of the Fifth Congress too. But only now has it assumed an acute character. We did not at that time have such a powerful development of the revolutionary movement in China, such a powerful shaking up of the vast masses of the Chinese workers and peasants as occurred a year ago and as is occurring now. And that is not all. We did not at that time, at the time of the Fifth Congress of the Comintern, have that powerful stirring of the labour movement and the national-liberation struggle in India which we have now. These two major facts bring squarely to the fore the question of the colonies and semi-colonies.
With what is the growth of this contradiction fraught? It is fraught with national wars of liberation in the colonies and with intervention on the part of imperialism.
This circumstance also must be borne in mind.
There is, lastly, a third contradiction -- that between the capitalist world and the U.S.S.R., one that is growing not less but more acute. Whereas at the time of the Fifth Congress of the Comintern it could be said that a certain equilibrium, unstable, it is true, but more or less prolonged, had been established between the two worlds, the two antipodes, the world of Soviets and the world of capitalism, now we have every ground for affirming that the days of this equilibrium are drawing to a close.
It goes without saying that the growth of this contradiction cannot fail to be fraught with the danger of armed intervention.
It is to be presumed that the Sixth Congress will take this circumstance also into consideration.
Thus all these contradictions inevitably lead to one principal danger -- the danger of new imperialist wars and intervention.
Therefore, the danger of new imperialist wars and intervention is the main question of the day.
The most widespread method of lulling the working class and of diverting it from the struggle against the danger of war is present-day bourgeois pacifism, with its League of Nations, its preaching of "peace," its "prohibition" of war, its talk of "disarmament" and so forth.
Many think that imperialist pacifism is an instrument of peace. That is absolutely wrong. Imperialist pacifism is an instrument for the preparation of war and for disguising this preparation by hypocritical talk of peace. Without this pacifism and its instrument, the League of Nations, preparation for war in the conditions of today would be impossible.
There are naïve people who think that since there is imperialist pacifism, there will be no war. That is quite untrue. On the contrary, whoever wishes to get at the truth must reverse this proposition and say: since imperialist pacifism and its League of Nations are flourishing, new imperialist wars and intervention are certain.
And the most important thing in all this is that Social-Democracy is the main channel of imperialist pacifism within the working class -- consequently, it is capitalism's main support among the working class in preparing for new wars and intervention.
But for the preparation of new wars pacifism alone is not enough, even if it is supported by so serious a force as Social-Democracy. For this, certain means of suppressing the masses in the imperialist centres are also needed. It is impossible to wage war for imperialism unless the rear of imperialism is strengthened. It is impossible to strengthen the rear of imperialism without suppressing the workers. And that is what fascism is for.
Hence the growing acuteness of the inherent contradictions in the capitalist countries, the contradictions between labour and capital.
On the one hand, preaching of pacifism through the mouths of the Social-Democrats in order more effectively to prepare for new wars; on the other hand, suppression of the working class in the rear, of the Communist Parties in the rear, by the use of fascist methods, in order then to conduct war and intervention more effectively -- such are the ways of preparing for new wars.
Hence the tasks of the Communist Parties:
Firstly, to wage an unceasing struggle against Social-Democratism in all spheres -- in the economic and in the political sphere, including in the latter the exposure of bourgeois pacifism with the task of winning the majority of the working class for communism.
Secondly, to form a united front of the workers of the advanced countries and the labouring masses of the colonies in order to stave off the danger of war, or, if war breaks out, to convert imperialist war into civil war, smash fascism, overthrow capitalism, establish Soviet power, emancipate the colonies from slavery, and organise all-round defence of the first Soviet Republic in the world.
Such are the principal problems and tasks confronting the Sixth Congress.
These problems and tasks are being taken into account by the Executive Committee of the Comintern, as you will easily see if you examine the agenda of the Sixth Congress of the Comintern.
Closely linked with the question of the main problems of the international working-class movement is the question of the programme of the Comintern.
The cardinal significance of the programme of the Comintern is that it scientifically formulates the basic tasks of the communist movement, indicates the principal means of accomplishing these tasks, and thus creates for the Comintern sections that clarity of aims and methods without which it is impossible to move forward with confidence.
A few words about the specific features of the draft programme of the Comintern submitted by the Programme Commission of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. At least seven such specific features might be noted.
1) The draft provides a programme not for particular national Communist Parties, but for all Communist Parties taken together, covering what is common and basic to all of them. Hence it is a programme based on principle and theory.
2) It was the custom formerly to provide a programme for the "civilised" nations. The draft programme differs from this in that it is intended for all the nations of the world -- both white and black, both of the metropolitan countries and of the colonies. Hence its all-embracing, profoundly international character.
3) The draft takes as its point of departure not some particular capitalism of some particular country or portion of the world, but the entire world system of capitalism, counterposing to it the world system of socialist economy. Hence its distinction from all hitherto existing programmes.
4) The draft proceeds from the uneven development of the capitalist countries and draws the conclusion that the victory of socialism is possible in separate countries, thus envisaging the prospect of the formation of two parallel centres of attraction -- the centre of world capitalism and the centre of world socialism.
5) Instead of the slogan of a United States of Europe, the draft puts forward the slogan of a federation of Soviet Republics which consists of advanced countries and colonies that have dropped, or are dropping, out of the imperialist system, and which is opposed in its struggle for world socialism to the world capitalist system.
6) The draft stresses opposition to Social-Democracy as the main support of capitalism in the working class and as the chief enemy of communism, and holds that all other trends in the working class (anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, guild socialism, etc.) are in essence varieties of Social-Democratism.
7) The draft puts in the forefront the task of consolidating the Communist Parties both in the West and in the East as a preliminary condition for ensuring the hegemony of the proletariat, and then also the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The plenum of the Central Committee approved in principle the draft programme of the Comintern, and charged comrades having amendments to the draft to submit them to the Programme Commission of the Sixth Congress.
So much for questions concerning the Comintern.
Now let us turn to questions concerning our internal development.
Permit me to give a little historical information.
What was the position by January 1 of this year? You know from the Party documents that by January 1 of this year we had a deficit of 128,000,000 poods of grain as compared with the corresponding period last year. I shall not dilate on the reasons for this: they are set forth in the Party documents published in the press. The important thing for us now is that we bad a deficit of 128,000,000 poods. Yet only two or three months remained until the spring thaw on the roads. We were thus faced with the alternative: either to make up for lost time and establish a normal rate of grain procurement in future, or to face the inevitability of a serious crisis of our entire national economy.
What had to be done to make up for lost time? It was necessary, in the first p]ace, to strike at the kulaks and speculators who were forcing up grain prices and threatening the country with hunger. It was necessary, in the second place, to consign the maximum quantity of manufactured goods to the grain-growing regions. It was necessary, lastly, to rouse all our Party organisations into activity and bring about a radical change in all our grain procurement work by putting an end to the practice of allowing things to go of their own accord. Thus we were compelled to resort to emergency measures. The measures we took proved effective, and by the end of March we had been able to secure 275,000,000 poods of grain. We not only made up for lost time, we not only averted a crisis of our whole economy, we not only caught up with last year's rate of grain procurement; we also had every possibility of emerging from the procurement crisis painlessly, if we maintained any normal rate of procurement in the subsequent months (April, May and June).
Owing, however, to the failure of the winter crops in the South Ukraine, and partly in the North Caucasus, the Ukraine completely, and the North Caucasus partially, dropped out as supplying regions, depriving the Republic of 20,000,000-30,000,000 poods of grain. This circumstance, combined with the fact that we had permitted an over-expenditure of grain, faced us with the un avoidable necessity of pressing harder on the other regions and thus of encroaching on the peasants' emergency stocks, and this could not but worsen the situation.
Whereas we had succeeded in January-March in securing nearly 300,000,000 poods affecting only the peasants' manoeuvring stocks, in April-June we failed to secure even a hundred million poods, owing to the fact that we had to encroach on the peasants' emergency stocks, and at a time, moreover, when the harvest prospects were not yet clear. Nevertheless, grain had to be secured. Hence the renewed recourse to emergency measures, the arbitrary administrative measures, the infringements of revolutionary law, the house-to-house visitations, the unlawful searches and so on, which worsened the political situation in the country and created a threat to the bond.
Was this a rupture of the bond? No, it was not. Was it, perhaps, some trifling matter not worthy of consideration? No, it was not a trifling matter. It was a threat to the bond between the working class and the peasantry. That, in fact, explains why some of our Party workers lacked the calmness and firmness necessary for appraising the situation soberly and without exaggeration.
The subsequent good harvest prospects and the partial withdrawal of the emergency measures helped to calm the atmosphere and improve the situation.
What is the nature of our difficulties on the grain front? What is the basis of these difficulties? Is it not a fact that we now have a grain crop area nearby as large as before the war (only five per cent smaller)? Is it not a fact that we are now producing nearly as much grain as before the war (about 5,000 million poods, or only 200,000,000-300,000,000 poods less)? How is it that, in spite of this, we are producing only half as much marketable grain as in the pre-war period?
It is because of the highly scattered character of our agriculture. Whereas before the war we had about 16,000,000 peasant farms, now we have not less than 24,000,000; moreover, the splitting up of the peasant households and peasant holdings is showing no tendency to cease. And what is small-peasant farming? It is the form of husbandry that produces the smallest marketable surplus, is the least remunerative, and is in the highest degree a natural, consuming form of husbandry, yielding a surplus of only 12-15 per cent of marketable grain. Yet our towns and industry are growing rapidly, construction is developing and the demand for marketable grain is growing at incredible speed. That is the basis of our difficulties on the grain front.
Here is what Lenin said on this score in his speech on "The Tax in Kind":
"If peasant farming can develop further, we must firmly assure its transition to the next stage too, and this transition to the next stage will inevitably consist in the small, isolated peasant farms, the least profitable and most backward, gradually uniting to form socially-conducted, large farms. That is how Socialists have always conceived it. That is how our Communist Party conceives it" (Vol. XXVI, p. 299).
There, then, is the basis of our difficulties on the grain front.
What is the way out?
The way out is, firstly, to improve small- and middle-peasant farming, giving it every encouragement to expand its yield, its productivity. Our task is to replace the wooden plough by the steel plough, to supply pure seed, fertiliser and small types of machines, to embrace the individual peasant farms in a broad co-operative network by concluding agreements (contracts) with whole villages. There exists the method of concluding contracts between agricultural co-operatives and entire villages, the purpose of which is to supply the peasants with seed and thus obtain higher crop yields, to ensure the prompt delivery of grain by the peasants to the state, giving them in return a bonus in the shape of a certain addition to the contractual price, and to create stable relations between the state and the peasantry. Experience shows that this method is productive of tangible results.
There are people who think that individual peasant farming has exhausted its potentialities and that there is no point in supporting it. That is not true, comrades. These people have nothing in common with the line of our Party.
There are people, on the other hand, who think that individual peasant farming is the be-all and end-all of agriculture. That also is not true. More, these people are obviously sinning against the principles of Leninism.
We need neither detractors nor eulogisers of individual peasant farming. We need sober-minded politicians capable of obtaining from individual peasant farming the maximum that can be obtained from it, and at the same time capable of gradually transferring individual farming to collectivist lines.
The way out, secondly, is gradually to unite the isolated small- and middle-peasant farms into large collective and co-operative farms, which should be absolutely voluntary associations operating on a new technical basis, on the basis of tractors and other agricultural machines.
In what does the advantage of collective farms over small farms consist? In the fact that they are large farms and are therefore able to utilise all the results of science and technology; they are more remunerative and stable; they are more productive and yield larger marketable surpluses. It should not be forgotten that the collective farms yield a surplus of from 30 to 35 per cent of marketable grain, and that their yield is sometimes as high as 200 poods per dessiatin or more.
The way out, lastly, is to improve the old state farms and establish new large state farms. It should be remembered that the state farms are the economic units which produce the largest marketable surpluses. We have state farms which yield a surplus of not less than 60 per cent of marketable grain.
The task is correctly to combine all these three tasks and to work strenuously along all these three lines.
The specific feature of the present moment is that fulfilment of the first task, that of improving individual small- and middle-peasant farming, while it is still our chief task in the sphere of agriculture, is already insufficient for the solution of the problem as a whole.
The specific feature of the present moment is that the first task must be supplemented by two new practical tasks: promotion of collective farming and improvement of state farming.
But besides the basic causes, there were also specific, temporary causes which converted our procurement difficulties into a procurement crisis. What are these causes? The resolution of the plenum of the Central Committee includes among them the following:
a) a disturbance of market equilibrium, aggravated by a more rapid increase of the peasants' effective demand than of the supply of manufactured goods, owing to the rise of rural incomes resulting from a series of good harvests, and especially to the rise of incomes of the well-to-do and kulak strata;
b) an unfavourable relation between grain prices and the prices of other agricultural produce, which lessened the incentive to sell grain surpluses, and which the Party, however, could not change in the spring of this year without damaging the interests of the economically weaker strata of the rural population;
c) mistakes in planned management, chiefly as regards the timely consignment of manufactured goods to the countryside and the incidence of taxation (the low tax on the wealthier strata of the rural population), and also as regards proper expenditure of grain stocks;
d) defects of the Party and Soviet procurement organisations (no united front, lack of energetic action, reliance on things going of their own accord);
e) infringement of revolutionary law, arbitrary ad ministrative measures, house-to-house visitations, partial closing of local markets, etc.;
f) exploitation of all these unfavourable factors by the capitalist elements of town and country (kulaks, speculators) in order to undermine grain procurement and worsen the political situation in the country.
While it will require several years to put an end to the general causes, it is quite possible to do away at once with the specific, temporary causes and thus avert the possibility of a repetition of the grain procurement crisis.
What is required in order to put an end to these specific causes?
a) putting an immediate stop to the practice of house to-house visitations, unlawful searches and all other infringements of revolutionary law;
b) putting an immediate stop to any kind of reversion to the surplus-appropriation system and to all attempts whatsoever to close peasant markets, with the adoption by the state of flexible forms of regulating trade;
c) a certain increase of grain prices, differentiated according to region and kind of grain;
d) proper organisation of tbe consignment of manufactured goods to the grain procurement areas;
e) proper organisation of the supply of grain, not permitting over-expenditure;
f) formation, without fail, of a state grain reserve.
An honest and systematic carrying out of these measures, taking into account this year's favourable harvest, should create a situation that will rule out the necessity of resorting to emergency measures of any kind in the coming grain procurement campaign.
It is the immediate task of the Party to see to it that these measures are carried out faithfully.
The grain difficulties have faced us with the question of the bond, of the future of the alliance between the workers and peasants, of the means of strengthening this alliance. Some say that the bond no longer exists, that the bond has been replaced by estrangement. That, of course, is foolish and worthy only of panicmongers. When there is no bond, the peasant loses faith in the morrow, he retires into himself, he ceases to believe in the stability of the Soviet Government, which is the chief purchaser of peasant grain, he begins to reduce his crop area, or at any rate does not risk enlarging it, fearing that there will again be house-to-house visitations, searches and so on and that his grain will be taken away from him.
But what do we find in reality? We find that the spring crop area has been enlarged in all areas. It is a fact that in the principal grain-growing areas the peasant has enlarged his spring crop area by from 2 per cent to 15 and 20 per cent. Is it not clear that the peasant does not believe that the emergency measures will be permanent, and has every ground for believing that grain prices will be raised. Does that look like estrangement? This, of course, does not mean that there is no threat, or that there has been no threat, to the bond. But to conclude from this that there is estrangement is to lose one's head and become a slave to elemental forces.
Some comrades think that, in order to strengthen the bond, the main stress must be shifted from heavy industry to light industry (textiles), believing that textiles are the principal and exclusive "bond" industry. That is not true, comrades. It is quite untrue!
Of course, the textile industry is of enormous importance for the establishment of goods exchange between socialist industry and peasant farming. But to think for this reason that textiles are the exclusive basis of the bond is to commit a very gross error. Actually, the bond between industry and peasant farming is maintained not only through cotton goods, which the peasant requires for his personal consumption, but also through metals and through seed, fertiliser and agricultural machines of all kinds, which the peasant requires as a producer of grain. That is apart from the fact that the textile industry itself cannot develop or exist unless heavy industry, machine-building, develops.
The need for the bond is not in order to preserve and perpetuate classes. The bond is needed in order to bring the peasantry closer to the working class, to re-educate the peasant, to remould his individualist mentality, to remake him in the spirit of collectivism, and thus pave the way for the elimination, the abolition of classes on the basis of a socialist society. Whoever does not realise this, or refuses to recognise it, is not a Marxist, not a Leninist, but a "peasant philosopher," who looks backward instead of forward.
And how is the peasant to be remade, remoulded? First and foremost, he can be remoulded only through new technical equipment and through collective labour.
Here is what Lenin says on this score:
"The remaking of the small tiller, the remoulding of his whole mentality and habits, is a work of generations. As regards the small tiller, this problem can be solved, his whole mentality can be put on healthy lines, so to speak, only by the material base, by technical means, by introducing tractors and machines in agriculture on a mass scale, by electrification on a mass scale. That is what would remake the small tiller fundamentally and with immense rapidity" (Vol. XXVI, p. 239).
Quite clearly, he who thinks that the bond can be guaranteed only through textiles, and forgets about metals and machines, which transform peasant farming through collective labour, helps to perpetuate classes; he is not a proletarian revolutionary, he is a "peasant philosopher."
Here is what Lenin says in another passage:
"Only if we succeed in practice in showing the peasants the advantages of common, collective, co-operative, artel cultivation of the soil, only if we succeed in helping the peasant by means of co-operative, artel farming, will the working class, which holds state power in its hands, actually prove to the peasant the correctness of its policy and actually secure the real and durable following of the vast masses of the peasantry" (Vol. XXIV, p. 579)
That is how to ensure that the vast masses of the peasantry are really and durably won over to the side of the working class, to the side of socialism.
It is sometimes said that to guarantee the bond we have only one reserve -- concessions to the peasantry. On this assumption the theory of continuous concessions is sometimes advanced, in the belief that the working class can strengthen its position by making continuous concessions. That is not true, comrades. It is quite untrue! Such a theory can only ruin matters. It is a theory of despair.
In order to strengthen the bond, we must have at our disposal, besides the reserve of concessions, a number of other reserves, in the shape of economic strong points in the countryside (developed co-operatives, collective farms, state farms), and also in the shape of political strong points (energetic work among the poor peasants and assured support on the part of the poor peasants).
The middle peasantry is a vacillating class. If we do I not have the support of the poor peasant, if the Soviet Government is weak in the countryside, the middle peasant may swing towards the kulak. And, on the contrary, if we have the sure support of the poor peasant, it may be said with certainty that the middle peasant will swing towards the Soviet Government. Hence, systematic work among the poor peasants and ensuring them both seed and low-cost grain is an immediate task of the Party
Let us pass now to the question of providing our industry with new cadres of a technical intelligentsia.
This question concerns our difficulties in industry, difficulties which came to light in connection with the Shakhty affair.
What is the essence of the Shakhty affair from the point of view of the improvement of industry? The essence and significance of the Shakhty affair lies in the fact that we proved to be practically unarmed and absolutely backward, scandalously backward, in the matter of providing our industry with a certain minimum of experts devoted to the cause of the working class. The lesson of the Shakhty affair is that we must expedite the formation, the training, of a new technical intelligentsia consisting of members of the working class devoted to the cause of socialism and capable of technically directing our socialist industry.
That does not mean that we shall discard those experts who are not Soviet-minded or not Communists, but who are willing to co-operate with the Soviet Government. It does not mean that. We shall continue to strive with might and main to enlist the co-operation of non-Party experts, non-Party technicians, who are prepared to work hand in hand with the Soviet Government in building our industry. We by no means demand that they should renounce their social and political opinions at once, or change them immediately. We demand only one thing, and that is that they should co-operate with the Soviet Government honestly, once they have voluntarily agreed to do so.
But the point is that such old experts who are prepared to work hand in hand with the Soviet Government are becoming relatively fewer and fewer. The point is that it is absolutely necessary to have a new force of young experts to succeed them. Well, the Party considers that the new replacements must be brought into being at an accelerated rate if we do not want to be faced with new surprises, and that they must come from the working class, from among the working people. That means creating a new technical intelligentsia capable of satisfying the needs of our industry.
The facts show that the People's Commissariat of Education has failed to cope with this important task. We have no reason to believe that, if left to itself, the People's Commissariat of Education, which has very little connection with industry, and which is inert and conservative into the bargain, will be able to cope with this task in the near future. The Party, therefore, has come to the conclusion that the work of speedily forming a new technical intelligentsia must be divided among three People's Commissariats -- the People's Commissariat of Education, the Supreme Council of National Economy and the People's Commissariat of Transport. The Party considers that this is the most expedient way of ensuring the required speed in this important work. That is why a number of technical colleges have been transferred to the Supreme Council of National Economy and the People's Commissariat of Transport.
This, of course, does not mean that transfer of technical colleges is all that is required for speedily forming new cadres of a technical intelligentsia. Undoubtedly, material provision for the students will be a highly important factor. The Soviet Government has therefore decided to rate the expenditure on the training of new cadres on the same level of importance as expenditure on the capital development of industry, and has decided to allocate annually an additional sum of over 40,000,000 rubles for this purpose.
It must be admitted, comrades, that we have always learned from our difficulties and blunders. At any rate, it has been the case so far that history has taught us and tempered our Party in the school of difficulties, of crises of one kind or another, of mistakes of one kind or another that we have committed.
So it was in 1918, when, as a result of our difficulties on the Eastern Front, of our reverses in the fight against Kolchak, we realised at last the necessity of creating a regular infantry, and really did create it.
So it was in 1919, when, as a result of the difficulties on the Denikin Front, of Mamontov's raid into the rear of our armies, we realised at last the necessity of having a strong regular cavalry, and really did create it.
I think that this is more or less the case today. The grain difficulties will not have been without their value for us. They will stir Bolsheviks into action and impel them to tackle in earnest the work of developing agriculture, especially of developing grain farming. Had it not been for these difficulties, it is doubtful whether the Bolsheviks would have tackled the grain problem seriously.
The same must be said of the Shakhty affair and the difficulties resulting from it. The lessons of the Shakhty affair will not and cannot be without their value for our Party. Tthink that these lessons will impel us to face squarely the problem of creating a new technical intelligentsia capable of serving our socialist industry.
By the way, you see that we have already taken the first serious step towards the solution of the problem of creating a new technical intelligentsia. Let us hope that this step will not be the last. (Stormy and prolonged applause.)