Learning from Stalin means -
learning to be victorious
- also in the UKRAINE !!
J. V. STALIN
ON THE UKRAINE
collection of texts - up to the year 1936
arrangement based on the Russian original source:
THIS COLLECTION CONTAINS ALSO TEXTS
WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE "STALIN WORKS" !!
(these special texts are marked in blue color)
The Seventh (April) Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks)
April 24-29, 1917
Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
2. Report on the National Question
The national question should be the subject of an extensive report, but since time is short I must make my report brief.
Before discussing the draft resolution certain premises must be established.
What is national oppression? National oppression is the system of exploitation and robbery of oppressed peoples, the measures of forcible restriction of the rights of oppressed nationalities, resorted to by imperialist circles. These, taken together, represent the policy generally known as a policy of national oppression.
The first question is, on what classes does any particular government rely in carrying out its policy of national oppression? Before an answer to this question can be given, it must first be understood why different forms of national oppression exist in different states, why national oppression is severer and cruder in one state than in another. For instance, in Britain and Austria-Hungary national oppression has never taken the form of pogroms, but has existed in the form of restrictions on the national rights of the oppressed nationalities. In Russia, on the other hand, it not infrequently assumes the form of pogroms and massacres. In certain states, moreover, there are no specific measures against national minorities at all. For instance, there is no national oppression in Switzerland, where French, Italians and Germans all live freely.
How are we to explain the difference in attitude towards nationalities in different states?
By the difference in the degree of democracy prevailing in these states. When in former years the old landed aristocracy controlled the state power in Russia, national oppression could assume, and actually did assume, the monstrous form of massacres and pogroms. In Britain, where there is a certain degree of democracy and political freedom, national oppression is of a less brutal character. Switzerland approximates to a democratic society, and in that country the nations have more or less complete freedom. In short, the more democratic a country, the less the national oppression, and vice versa. And since by democracy we mean that definite classes are in control of the state power, it may be said from this point of view that the closer the old landed aristocracy is to power, as was the case in old tsarist Russia, the more severe is the oppression and the more monstrous are its forms.
However, national oppression is maintained not only by the landed aristocracy. There is, in addition, another force—the imperialist groups, who introduce in their own country the methods of enslaving nationalities learned in the colonies and thus become the natural allies of the landed aristocracy. They are followed by the petty bourgeoisie, a section of the intelligentsia and a section of the upper stratum of the workers, who also share the spoils of robbery. Thus, there is a whole gamut of social forces, headed by the landed and financial aristocracy, which support national oppression. In order to create a real democratic system, it is first of all necessary to clear the ground and remove these forces from the political stage. (Reads the text of the resolution.)
The first question is, how is the political life of the oppressed nations to be arranged? In answer to this question it must be said that the oppressed peoples forming part of Russia must be allowed the right to decide for themselves whether they wish to remain part of the Russian state or to secede and form independent states. We are at present witnessing a definite conflict between the Finnish people and the Provisional Government. The representatives of the Finnish people, the representatives of Social-Democracy, are demanding that the Provisional Government should restore to the people the rights they enjoyed before they were annexed to Russia. The Provisional Government refuses, because it will not recognize the sovereignty of the Finnish people. On whose side must we range ourselves? Obviously, on the side of the Finnish people, for it is inconceivable for us to accept the forcible retention of any people whatsoever within the bounds of a unitary state. When we put forward the principle that peoples have the right to self-determination we thereby raise the struggle against national oppression to the level of a struggle against imperialism, our common enemy. If we fail to do this, we may find ourselves in the position of bringing grist to the mill of the imperialists. If we, Social-Democrats, were to deny the Finnish people the right to declare their will on the subject of secession and the right to give effect to their will, we would be putting ourselves in the position of continuing the policy of tsa-rism.
It would be impermissible to confuse the question of the right of nations freely to secede with the question of whether a nation must necessarily secede at any given moment. This latter question must be settled quite separately by the party of the proletariat in each particular case, according to the circumstances. When we recognize the right of oppressed peoples to secede, the right to decide their political destiny, we do not thereby settle the question whether particular nations should secede from the Russian state at the given moment. I may recognize the right of a nation to secede, but that does not mean that I oblige it to do so. A people has the right to secede, but it may or may not exercise that right, according to the circumstances. Thus we are at liberty to agitate for or against secession in accordance with the interests of the proletariat, of the proletarian revolution. Hence, the question of secession must be determined in each particular case independently, in accordance with the existing situation, and, for this reason, recognizing the right of secession must not be confused with the expediency of secession in any given circumstances. For instance, I personally would be opposed to the secession of Transcaucasia, bearing in mind the common development in Transcaucasia and Russia, certain conditions of the struggle of the proletariat, and so forth. But if, nevertheless, the peoples of Transcaucasia were to demand secession, they would, of course, secede without encountering opposition from us. (Reads further the text of the resolution.)
Further, what is to be done with the peoples which may desire to remain within the Russian state? Whatever mistrust of Russia existed among the peoples was fostered chiefly by the tsarist policy. But now that tsarism no longer exists, and its policy of oppression no longer exists, this mistrust is bound to diminish and attraction towards Russia to increase. I believe that now, after the overthrow of tsarism, nine-tenths of the nationalities will not desire to secede. The Party therefore proposes to institute regional autonomy for regions which do not desire to secede and which are distinguished by peculiarities of customs and language, as, for instance, Transcaucasia, Turkestan and the Ukraine. The geographical boundaries of these autonomous regions must be determined by the populations themselves with due regard for economic conditions, customs, etc.
In contradistinction to regional autonomy there exists another plan, one which has long been recommended by the Bund, (1) and particularly by Springer and Bauer, who advocate the principle of cultural-national autonomy. I consider that plan unacceptable for Social-Democrats. Its essence is that Russia should be transformed into a union of nations, and nations into unions of persons, drawn into a common society no matter what part of the state they may be living in. All Russians, all Armenians, and so on, are to be organized into separate national unions, irrespective of territory, and only then are they to enter the union of nations of all Russia. That plan is extremely inconvenient and inexpedient. The fact is that the development of capitalism has dispersed whole groups of people, severed them from their nations and scattered them through various parts of Russia. In view of the dispersion of nations resulting from economic conditions, to draw together the various individuals of a given nation would be to organize and build a nation artificially. And to draw people together into nations artificially would be to adopt the standpoint of nationalism. That plan, advanced by the Bund, cannot be endorsed by Social-Democrats. It was rejected at the 1912 conference of our Party, and generally enjoys no popularity in Social-Democratic circles with the exception of the Bund. That plan is also known as cultural autonomy, because from among the numerous and varied questions which interest a nation it would single out the group of cultural questions and put them in the charge of national unions. The reason for singling out these questions is the assumption that what unites a nation into an integral whole is its culture. It is assumed that within a nation there are, on the one hand, interests which tend to disintegrate the nation, economic, for instance, and on the other, interests which tend to weld it into an integral whole, and that the latter interests are cultural interests.
Lastly, there is the question of the national minorities. Their rights must be specially protected. The Party therefore demands full equality of status in educational, religious and other matters and the abolition of all restrictions on national minorities.
There is § 9, which proclaims the equality of nations. The conditions required for its realization can arise only when the whole of society has been fully democratized.
We have still to settle the question of how to organize the proletariat of the various nations into a single, common party. One plan is that the workers should be organized on national lines—so many nations, so many parties. That plan was rejected by the Social-Democrats. Experience has shown that the organization of the proletariat of a given state on national lines tends only to destroy the idea of class solidarity. All the proletarians of all the nations in a given state must be organized in a single, indivisible proletarian collective.
Thus, our views on the national question can be reduced to the following propositions:
a) Recognition of the right of nations to secession;
b) Regional autonomy for nations remaining within the given state;
c) Special legislation guaranteeing freedom of development for national minorities;
d) A single, indivisible proletarian collective, a single party, for the proletarians of all nationalities of the given state.
The two resolutions are on the whole similar. Pyata-kov has copied all the points of our resolution except one—"recognition of the right of secession." One thing or the other: either we deny the nations the right of secession, in which case it must be stated explicitly; or we do not deny them this right. There is at present a movement in Finland for securing national freedom, and there is also the fight waged against it by the Provisional Government. The question arises, who are we to support? Either we are for the policy of the Provisional Government, the forcible retention of Finland and the reduction of her rights to a minimum—in which case we are annexa-tionists, for we are bringing grist to the mill of the Provisional Government; or we are for independence for Finland. We must express ourselves definitely one way or the other; we cannot limit ourselves to a statement of rights.
There is a movement for independence in Ireland. On whose side are we, comrades? We are either for Ireland or for British imperialism. And I ask: Are we on the side of the peoples which are resisting oppression, or on the side of the classes which are oppressing them? We say that inasmuch as the Social-Democrats are steering for a socialist revolution, they must support the revolutionary movement of the peoples, which is directed against imperialism.
Either we consider that we must create a rear for the vanguard of the socialist revolution in the shape of the peoples which are rising against national oppression — and in that case we shall build a bridge between West and East and shall indeed be steering for a world socialist revolution; or we do not do this—and in that case we shall find ourselves isolated and shall be abandoning the tactics of utilizing every revolutionary movement among the oppressed nationalities for the purpose of destroying imperialism.
We must support every movement directed against imperialism. Otherwise what will the Finnish workers say of us? Pyatakov and Dzerzhinsky tell us that every national movement is a reactionary movement. That is not true, comrades. Is not the Irish movement against British imperialism a democratic movement which is striking a blow at imperialism? And ought we not to support that movement?
First published in The Petrograd City and All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) in April 1917, Moscow and Leningrad, 1925
Bund — the General Jewish Workers' Union of Poland, Lithuania and Russia, founded in October 1897 (see J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 1, p. 394, Note 7).
the Peoples of Russia
August 13, 1917
Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
At the time of the revolution and democratic change the keynote of the movement was emancipation.
The peasants were emancipating themselves from the omnipotence of the landlords. The workers were emancipating themselves from the caprice of the factory managements. The soldiers were emancipating themselves from the tyranny of the generals. . . .
The process of emancipation could not but extend to the peoples of Russia who for ages had been oppressed by tsarism.
The decree on the "equality" of the peoples and the actual abolition of national disabilities, the congresses of Ukrainians, Finns and Byelorussians and the raising of the question of a federal republic, the solemn proclamation of the right of nations to self-determination and the official promises "not to create obstacles" all these were evidences of the great movement for emancipation of the peoples of Russia.
That was in the days of the revolution, when the landlords had departed from the scene and the imperialist bourgeoisie was forced to the wall by the onslaught of the democracy.
With the return to power of the landlords (generals!) and the triumph of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, the picture has completely changed.
The "grand words" about self-determination and the solemn promises "not to create obstacles" are being consigned to oblivion. Obstacles of the most incredible kind are being created, even to the extent of direct interference in the internal affairs of the peoples. The Finnish Diet(1) has been dissolved, with the threat of "declaring martial law in Finland, should the need arise" (Vecherneye Vremya, August 9). A campaign is being launched against the Ukrainian Rada and Secretariat, (2) with the manifest intention of beheading the autonomy of the Ukraine. Together with this we have a recrudescence of the old, contemptible methods of provoking national clashes and criminal suspicions of "treason," with the object of unleashing the counterrevolutionary chauvinistic forces, drowning in blood the very idea of national emancipation, digging gulfs between the peoples of Russia and sowing enmity among them, to the glee of the enemies of the revolution.
Thereby a mortal blow is being struck at the cause of welding these peoples into a united and brotherly family.
For it is self-evident that the policy of national "pinpricks" does not unite, but divides the peoples by fostering "separatist" tendencies among them.
It is self-evident that the policy of national oppression pursued by the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie holds out the menace of that very "disintegration" of Russia against which the bourgeois press is so falsely and hypocritically howling.
It is self-evident that the policy of inciting the nationalities against one another is that same contemptible policy which, by fomenting mutual distrust and enmity among the peoples, splits the forces of the all-Russian proletariat and undermines the very foundations of the revolution.
That is why all our sympathies are with the subject and oppressed peoples in their natural struggle against this policy.
That is why we turn our weapons against those who, under the guise of the right of nations to "self-determination," are pursuing a policy of imperialist annexations and forcible "union."
We are by no means opposed to uniting nations to form a single integral state. We are by no means in favour of the division of big states into small states. For it is self-evident that the union of small states into big states is one of the conditions facilitating the establishment of socialism.
But we absolutely insist that union must be voluntary, for only such union is genuine and lasting.
But that requires, in the first place, full and unqualified recognition of the right of the peoples of Russia to self-determination, including the right to secede from Russia.
It requires, further, that this verbal recognition should be backed by deeds, that the peoples should be permitted right away to determine their territories and the forms of their political structure in their constituent assemblies.
Only such a policy can promote confidence and friendship among the peoples.
Only such a policy can pave the way to a genuine union of the peoples.
Without a doubt, the peoples of Russia are not infallible and may well commit errors when arranging their lives. It is the duty of the Russian Marxists to point out these errors to them, and to their proletarians in the first place, and to endeavour to secure correction of the errors by criticism and persuasion. But nobody has the right forcibly to interfere in the internal life of nations and to "correct" their errors by force. Nations are sovereign in their internal affairs and have the right to arrange their lives as they wish.
Such are the fundamental demands of the peoples of Russia proclaimed by the revolution and now trampled upon by the counter-revolution.
These demands cannot be realized so long as the counter-revolutionaries are in power.
Victory of the revolution is the only way of emancipating the peoples of Russia from national oppression.
There can be only one conclusion, namely, that the problem of emancipation from national oppression is a problem of power. National oppression is rooted in the rule of the landlords and the imperialist bourgeoisie. The way to secure the complete emancipation of the peoples of Russia from national oppression is to transfer power to the proletariat and the revolutionary peasants.
Either the peoples of Russia support the workers' revolutionary struggle for power, and then they will secure their emancipation; or they do not support it, and then they will no more see their emancipation than the back of their heads.
Proletary, No. 1, August 13, 1917
1. The Finnish Diet, convoked towards the close of March 1917, demanded autonomy for Finland. On July 5, 1917, after long and fruitless negotiations with the Provisional Government, the Diet passed a Supreme Powers Law, extending the authority of the Diet to all Finnish affairs except foreign policy, military legislation and military administration, which were to be under the jurisdiction of the all-Russian authorities. On July 18, 1917, the Provisional Government dissolved the Diet on the grounds that in passing this law before the Constituent Assembly had expressed its will, it had usurped the latter's authority.
2. The Ukrainian Central Rada had been formed in April 1917 by Ukrainian bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties and groups. On the eve of the July days a General Secretariat of the Rada was instituted as the supreme administrative authority in the Ukraine. After the dispersal of the July demonstration in Petrograd, the Provisional Government, in pursuance of its policy of national oppression, severed the Donets Basin and the Yekaterinoslav and several other Ukrainian regions from the Ukraine. Supreme authority in the Ukraine was vested in a Commissar appointed by the Provisional Government. Notwithstanding this, the Rada leaders, out of fear of the approaching proletarian revolution, soon came to terms with the Provisional Government, and the Rada became a strong hold of bourgeois nationalist counter-revolution in the Ukraine.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
РЕЗОЛЮЦИЯ ПО ДОКЛАДУ ТОВ. СТАЛИНА „НАЦИОНАЛЬНОЕ ДВИЖЕНИЕ И НАЦИОНАЛЬНЫЕ ПОЛКИ"
Принята на конференции фронтовых и тыловых военных организаций РСДРП(б) в июне (июле) 1917 г.
Наметившееся в ходе революции национальное движение народов России (как, напр., финнов, украинцев и др.) является результатом, главным образом, недемократической политики Временного правительства, выразившейся в ряде «приказов» и «запрещений», и, наконец, в откладывании решения национального вопроса до Учредительного собрания.
Временное правительство, признавшее, с одной стороны, право наций на самоопределение (по отношению к полякам), а с другой стороны, мешающее украинцам провести в жизнь это право, противоречит само себе, обнаруживая тем самым свои империалистские вожделения.
Конференция фронтовых и тыловых военных организаций РСДРП утверждает, что теперь, когда контрреволюция мобилизует свои силы и натравливает народы друг на друга, подбивая правительство на репрессии, например, против Украины, — такая политика Временного правительства по отношению к народам России является особенно вредной и выгодной лишь врагам революции.
Конференция заявляет, что народы России имеют полное право на самоопределение и самостоятельное решение своей судьбы вплоть до отделения, что в частности Украина имеет полное право осуществить свою автономию, не дожидаясь Учредительного собрания.
Вместе с тем конференция, будучи убеждена в том, что образование национальных полков вообще не в интересах трудящихся масс, — хотя, конечно, право на образование таких
полков за каждой национальностью конференция не отрицает — конференция выражает твердую уверенность, что пролетариат Украины вместе с пролетариатом всей России, заинтересованный в замене постоянной армии всенародной милицией, будет бороться против превращения национальных полков Украины в постоянную отдельную от народа армию.
Конференция твердо убеждена, что только решительное и бесповоротное признание права наций на самоопределение, признание на деле, а не на словах только, могло бы укрепить братское доверие между народами России и тем проложить дорогу действительному их объединению, объединению добровольному, а не насильственному, в одно государственное целое.
«ВКП(б) в резолюциях», часть 1, Пиртиздат, 1933 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
The following text is published in German language
Resolution zur nationalen Frage
beschlossen von der VII. Allrussischen (April) Konferenz der SDAPR im April (Mai) 1917
Diese Resolution ist nicht in den Stalinwerken enthalten - Anmerkung der Komintern (SH)
Die Politik der nationalen Unterdrückung, ein Erbstück der Selbstherrschaft und der Monarchie, wird von den Gutsbesitzern, den Kapitalisten und dem Kleinbürgertum aufrechterhalten, um ihre Klassenprivilegien zu wahren und die Arbeiter der verschiedenen Völkerschaften zu entzweien. Der modeme Imperialismus, der die Bestrebungen zur Unterwerfung schwacher Völker verstärkt, ist ein neuer Faktor der Verschärfung der nationalen Unterdrückung.
Soweit die Beseitigung der nationalen Unterdrückung in der kapitalistischen Gesellschaft erreichbar ist, ist sie nur möglich bei einer konsequent-demokratischen republikanischen Staatsordnung und Staatsverwaltung, die die völlige Gleichberechtigung aller Nationen und Sprachen sichert.
Allen Nationen, die zu Rußland gehören, muß das Recht auf freie Lostrennung und Bildung eines selbständigen Staates zuerkannt werden. Die Verneinurig dieses Rechtes und die Unterlassung von Maßnahmen, die seine praktische Durchführbarkeit verbürgen, ist gleichbedeutend mit der Unterstützung der Eroberungs- oder Annexionspolitik. Nur die Anerkennung des Rechtes der Nationen auf Lostrennung seitens des Proletariats siehert die volle Solidarität der Arbeiter der verschiedenen Nationen und fördert die wirklich, demokratische Annäherung der Nationen.
Der gegenwärtig zwischen Finnland und der russischen Provisorischen Regierung ausgebrochene Konflikt zeigt besonders anschaulich, daß die Verneinung des Rechtes auf freie Lostrennung zur direkten Fortsetzung der Politik des Zarismus führt.
Die Frage des Rechtes der Nationen auf freie Lostrennung darf nicht verwechselt werden mit der Frage der Zweckmäßigkeit der Lostrennung dieser oder jener Nation in diesem oder jenem Augenblick.
Diese letztere Frage muß von der Partei des Proletariats in jedem einzelnen Fall vollkommen selbständig gelöst werden, und zwar vom Standpunkt der Interessen der ganzen gesellschaftlichen lEntwicklung und des Klassenkampfes des Proletariats für den Sozialismus.
Die Partei fordert eine weitgehende Gebietsautonomie, die Beseitigung der Überwachung von oben, die Abschaffung der obligatorischen Staatssprache und die Festlegung der Grenzen der Selbstverwaltungsgebiete und der autonomen Gebiete auf Grund der von der örtlichen Bevölkerung selbst festzustellenden Wirtschafts- und Lebensverhältnisse, der nationalen Zusammensetzung der Bevölkerung usw.
Die Partei des Proletariats lehnt die sogenannte "national-kulturelle Autonomie" entschieden ab, bei der das Schulwesen usw. der Zuständigkeit·des.Staates entzogen und in die Hände einer Art nationaler Landtage geIegt wird. Die Arbeiter, die an ein und demselben Ort wohnen und sogar in ein und denselben Betrieben arbeiten, werden durch die national-kulturelle Autonomie nach ihrer Zugehörigkeit zu dieser oder jener "nationalen Kultur" künstlich abgesondert, das heißt die Verbindung der Arbeiter mit der bürgerlichen Kultur der einzelnen Nationen wird gestärkt, während doch die Aufgabe der Sozialdemokratie darin besteht, die internationale Kultur des Weltproletariats zu stärken.
Die Partei fordert die Aufnahme eines grundlegenden Gesetzes in- die Verfassung, wonach alle wie immer gearteten Privilegien einer oder der anderen.Nation, alle wie immer gearteten Verstöße gegen die Rechte der nationalen Minderheiten für ungültig erklärt werden.
Die Interessen der Arbeiterklasse erfordern den Zusarnmenschluß der Arbeiter aller Nationalitäten Rußlands in einheitlichen proletarischen Organisationen, politischen, gewerkschaftlichen, genossenschaftlichen Bildungsorganisationen usw, Nur ein solcher Zusammenschluß der Arbeiter der verschiedenen Nationalitäten in einheitlichen Organisationen gibt dem Proletariat die Möglichkeit, einen siegreichen Kampf gegen das internationale Kapital und gegen den bürgerlichen Nationalismus zu führen.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
The following text is our own translation from Russian into German language
ERKLÄRUNG DER VÖLKER RUSSLANDS
Die Oktober- Revolution der Arbeiter und Bauern begann unter dem Banner der Befreiung.
Die Bauern haben sich von der Macht der Grundbesitzer befreit, der Grundbesitz ist abgeschafft. Die Soldaten und Matrosen haben sich von der Macht der autokratischen Generäle befreit, Generäle werden künftig gewählt und gegebenfalls wieder abgesetzt. Die Arbeiter haben sich von willkürlichen Launen der Kapitalisten befreit. Von nun an stehen die Fabriken und Werke unter der Kontrolle der Arbeiter/innen. Alle haben sichvon den Fesseln des verhassten Systems befreit.
Russische Volk wurde geboren in Unterdrückung und Tyrannei., Die Befreiung muss sofort beginnen, entschlossen und unwiderruflich.
In der Ära des zaristischen Russland wurden die Nationen systematisch Nationen gegeneinander aufgehetzt. Die Ergebnisse dieser Politik sind bekannt: Massaker und Pogrome , Sklaverei der Völker .
Diese schändliche Politik darf nicht wieder zugelassen werden. Von nun an sollte diese Politik durch eine Politik durch eine freiwillige und ehrlich Vereinigung der Völker Russlands ersetzt werden.
In der Zeit des Imperialismus , nach der Februarrevolution , als die Macht in die Hände der bürgerlichen Kadettengelang, gab es eklatante Anstiftungen zur feigen Politik des Misstrauens gegenüber den Völkern von Russland, politische Schikane und Provokation - verhüllt mit Slogans wie "Freiheit" und "Gleichheit" der Nationen. Die Ergebnisse dieser Politik sind bekannt: die Stärkung der nationalen Feindschaft , das Untergraben gegenseitigen Vertrauens
Dieses unwürdige Politik der Lügen und des Misstrauens , diese Schikanen und Provokationen müssen aufhören. Von nun an sollte dies durch eine offene und ehrliche Politik ersetzt werden, was zu einer kompletten gegenseitige Vertrauen der Völker Russlands beiträgt.
Nur als Folge eines solchen Vertrauen kann sich eine ehrliche und dauerhafte Vereinigung der Völker Russlands entwickeln.
Nur als Ergebnis einer solchen Vereinigung der Arbeiter und Bauern Russlands, beruhend auf ihre revolutionäre Kraft, kann jeder Angriff der imperialistischen Bourgeoisie und ihre Annexionsgelüste zurück geschlagen werden.
Auf der Grundlage dieser Bestimmungen verkündete der erste Kongress der Sowjets im Juni dieses Jahres das Recht der Völker Russlands auf Selbstbestimmung .
Der zweite Kongress der Sowjets, im Oktober dieses Jahres, bestätigt dieses unveräußerliche Recht der Völker Russlands.
Dem Willen dieser Kongresse entsprechend beschloss der Rat der Volkskommissare in der Frage der Nationalitäten Russlands:
1 . Gleichheit und Souveränität der Völker Russlands.
2 . Das Recht der Völker auf Selbstbestimmung Russlands, einschließlich des Rechts aif Lostrennung und die Bildung eines unabhängigen Staates.
3 . Abbrechen jeglicher nationalen und national-religiösen Privilegien und Einschränkungen.
4 . Kostenlose Entwicklung der nationalen Minderheiten und ethnographischen Gruppen, die das Gebiet von Russland bewohnen .
Daraus resultierende spezifische Verordnungen werden sofort nach der Schaffung einer Kommission für Nationalitäten entwickelt werden.
Im Namen der russischen Republik
Volkskommissar für Nationalitäten
Joseph Dschugaschwili - Stalin
Vorsitzender des Rates der Volkskommissare
V. Uljanow (Lenin)
2. November 1917
"Truth » № 178
3 (16) November 1917
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
ГЕНЕРАЛЬНЫЙ СЕКРЕТАРИАТ РАДЫ И КАДЕТСКО-КАЛЕДИНСКАЯ КОНТРРЕВОЛЮЦИЯ
Ниже найдет читатель ответ Генерального секретариата Центральной рады на ультиматум Совета народных комиссаров. Неприлично вызывающий тон Винниченко-Петлюры (авторов этого ответа), их сомнительная позиция, ведущая к прямой поддержке Каледина-Родзянко против трудового народа России, — ясны сами собой. Выставлять принцип самоопределения для того, чтобы поддержать бесчинства Каледина и политику разоружения революционных советских войск, как это делает теперь Генеральный секретариат, — это значит издеваться над самоопределением и элементарными принципами демократии. Не для того боролись рабочие и солдаты народов России, не для того они проливали кровь, чтобы обеспечить самодержавие Каледина. Советы вынесли всю тяжесть революции. Советы — оплот и надежда революции. Разоружать советы — это значит предать революцию во имя торжества Калединых и Родзянко. Дело тут не в республике Украины, которую завоевали советы и которую будут они за-щищать грудью. Дело также не в самоопределении народов, которое с первых же дней провозгласил Совет народных комиссаров и которое проведет он в жизнь во что бы то ни стало. Дело лишь в том, что в угоду Калединых разоружает Генеральный секретариат Рады войска революционных советов. Точь-в-точь так, как делали это Корнилов и Керенский, юнкера и ударники. Дело в том, что в угоду врагов революции, столпившихся теперь на юге, Генеральный секретариат Рады не пропускает революционных войск против Калединых и Родзянко. Только в этом дело. Между народами России, между русским и украинским народами нет никакого конфликта. Вместе боролись они против царизма и керенщины, вместе же доведут они нынешнюю революцию до полной победы. Кровью и борьбой спаянные, они пойдут вместе к победе социализма. Конфликт существует только между Советами рабочих, солдатских и крестьянских депутатов и Генеральным секретариатом Рады. Этот конфликт должен быть разрешен во что бы то ни стало. Но он может быть разрешен лишь совместной борьбой русского и украинского народов против контрреволюционных элементов Центральной рады.
Народный комиссар по делам национальностей
«Правда» № 209, 8 (21) декабря 1917 г.
Reply to Ukrainian Comrades
in the Rear and at the Front
December 12, 1917
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
Since our relations with the Ukrainian Rada (1) became strained I have been receiving numerous resolutions and letters from Ukrainian comrades on the subject of the conflict with the Rada. I consider it impossible and superfluous to answer each resolution and each letter separately, since the same things are repeated in almost all of them. I have therefore decided to single out the questions most frequently to be found in them and to reply with a clarity that will leave no room for doubt. These questions are generally known:
1) How did the conflict arise?
2) Over what issues did the conflict arise?
3) What measures are needed for a peaceful settlement of the conflict?
4) Can it really be that the fraternal peoples will shed each other's blood?
That is followed by a general assurance that the conflict between the two kindred peoples will be settled peacefully, without fratricidal bloodshed.
First of all, it should be observed that the Ukrainian comrades are labouring under a certain confusion of ideas. They sometimes represent the conflict with the Rada as a conflict between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. But that is not true. There is no conflict and there can be no conflict between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. The Ukrainian and Russian peoples, like the other peoples of Russia, consist of workers and peasants, of soldiers and sailors. Together, they all fought against tsarism and Kerenskyism, against the landlords and capitalists, against war and imperialism. Together, they all shed their blood for land and peace, for liberty and socialism. In the struggle against the landlords and capitalists they are all brothers and comrades. In the struggle for their vital interests there is no conflict and there can be no conflict between them. The enemies of the working people find it advantageous, of course, to represent the conflict with the Rada as a conflict between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, because that makes it easier for them to incite the workers and peasants of the kindred peoples against one another, to the glee of the oppressors of the peoples. But is it so difficult for the enlightened workers and peasants to understand that what is advantageous to the oppressors of the peoples is harmful for the peoples themselves?
It was not between the peoples of Russia and the Ukraine that the conflict arose, but between the Council of People's Commissars and the General Secretariat of the Rada.
Over what questions did the conflict arise?
It is said that the conflict arose over the question of centralism or self-determination, that the Council of People's Commissars does not allow the Ukrainian people to take power into their own hands and to decide their destiny freely. Is this true? No, it is not. The Council of People's Commissars is, in fact, striving to have all power in the Ukraine belong to the Ukrainian people, that is, to the Ukrainian workers and soldiers, peasants and sailors. Soviet power, that is, the power of the workers and peasants, the soldiers and sailors, without landlords or capitalists, is precisely that people's power for which the Council of People's Commissars is fighting. The General Secretariat does not want such a power, because it does not desire to get rid of the landlords and capitalists. That, and not centralism, is the crux of the matter.
The Council of People's Commissars stands, and has stood from the very first, for free self-determination. It would not even object if the Ukrainian people were to secede and form an independent state. It has declared this officially on several occasions. But when self-determination of the people is identified with the autocratic rule of Kaledin, when the General Secretariat of the Rada attempts to represent the counterrevolutionary revolts of Cossack generals as a manifestation of the self-determination of the people, the Council of People's Commissars cannot refrain from observing that the General Secretariat is making a pretence of self-determination, and is using this pretence to conceal its alliance with Kaledin and Rodzyanko. We stand for the self-determination of peoples, but we are opposed to self-determination being used as a camouflage for the surreptitious establishment of the autocratic rule of Kaledin, who only yesterday was campaigning for the strangulation of Finland.
It is said that the conflict arose over the question of the Ukrainian Republic, that the Council of People's Commissars does not recognize the Ukrainian Republic.
Is this true? No, it is not. The Council of People's Commissars officially recognized the Ukrainian Republic in the "Ultimatum" and in the "Reply" to the Petrograd Ukrainian Staff. (2) It is prepared to recognize a republic in any of the national regions of Russia should the working population of the given region desire it. It is prepared to recognize a federal structure for our country, should the working population of the regions of Russia desire it. But when a people's republic is identified with the military dictatorship of Kaledin, when the General Secretariat of the Rada endeavours to represent the monarchists Kaledin and Rodzyanko as pillars of the republic, the Council of People's Commissars cannot refrain from pointing out that the General Secretariat is making a pretence of a republic, and is using this pretence to conceal its complete dependence on monarchist plutocrats. We stand for a Ukrainian Republic, but we are opposed to the republic being used as a camouflage for sworn enemies of the people, the monarchists Kaledin and Rodzyanko, who only yesterday were campaigning for the restoration of the old regime and the death penalty for the soldiers.
No, the questions of centralism and self-determination have no bearing on the conflict with the Rada. It was not over these questions that the dispute arose. Centralism and self-determination have been dragged in by the General Secretariat artificially, as a strategical ruse designed to conceal from the Ukrainian masses the real reasons for the conflict.
It was not over the question of centralism or self-determination that the conflict arose, but over the three following concrete questions:
The conflict started with the orders issued to the front by member of the General Secretariat Petlura, orders which threatened to result in the complete disorganization of the front. Disregarding General Headquarters and the interests of the front, disregarding the peace negotiations and the cause of peace generally, Petlura began to issue orders for the return of all Ukrainian army and navy units to the Ukraine. It will be easily realized that if the Ukrainian units had obeyed Petlura's orders the front would have disintegrated instantaneously: the Ukrainian units in the North would have moved southward, the non-Ukrainian units in the South would have moved northward, the other nationalities would also have "hit the home trail," the railways would have been occupied exclusively with the transport of soldiers and equipment, food would have ceased to arrive at the front because there would have been no means of transporting it—and of the front nothing but a memory would have remained. This would have altogether wrecked the chances of an armistice and peace. No one denies that in ordinary times the place of the Ukrainian soldier is primarily at home, in the Ukraine. No one denies that "nationalization" of the army is an acceptable and desirable thing. This has been officially stated several times by the Council of People's Commissars. But in time of war, when peace has not yet been arranged, and the front is not constructed on national lines, and when, owing to the weakness of our transport system, immediate "nationalization" of the army would be fraught with the danger of the soldiers leaving their positions and of the front disintegrating, thus wrecking the chances of a peace and armistice — it need not be said that, in these conditions, there could be no question of the national units leaving their positions immediately. I do not know whether Petlura was aware that by his senseless orders he was breaking up the front and wrecking the cause of peace. But the Ukrainian soldiers and sailors realized it at once, because all of them, with rare exceptions, refused to obey Pet-lura and decided to remain at their posts until peace was concluded. The Ukrainian soldiers have thereby saved the cause of peace, and Petlura's ill-considered orders have for the time being lost their extreme gravity.
The conflict started by Petlura's orders was aggravated by the policy of the General Secretariat of the Rada when it began to disarm the-Ukrainian- Soviets of Deputies. In Kiev, armed detachments of the General Secretariat fell upon the Soviet troops at night and disarmed them. Similar attempts were made in Odessa and Kharkov, but there they failed because they encountered resistance. But we have reliable information to the effect that the General Secretariat is massing forces against Odessa and Kharkov with the object of disarming the Soviet troops. We have reliable information to the effect that in a number of other, smaller, towns the Soviet troops have already been disarmed and "sent home." The General Secretariat of the Rada has thus made it its object to carry out Kornilov's and Kaledin's, Alexeyev's and Rodzyanko's programme of disarming the Soviets. But the Soviets are the bulwark and hope of the revolution. Whoever disarms the Soviets disarms the revolution, wrecks the cause of peace and liberty, betrays the cause of the workers and peasants. It was the Soviets that saved Russia from the yoke of Kornilovism. It was the Soviets that saved Russia from the shame of Kerensky-ism. It was the Soviets that won land and an armistice for the peoples of Russia. The Soviets, and the Soviets alone, are capable of leading the people's revolution to complete victory. Therefore, whoever raises his hand against the Soviets helps the landlords and capitalists to strangle the workers and peasants of all Russia, helps the Kaledins and Alexeyevs to strengthen their "iron" rule over the soldiers and Cossacks.
Let no one try to tell us that the General Secretariat contains Socialists, and that they therefore cannot betray the cause of the people. Kerensky calls himself a Socialist, nevertheless he sent troops against revolutionary Petrograd. Gotz calls himself a Socialist, nevertheless he raised the military cadets and officers against the Petrograd soldiers and sailors. Savinkov and Avksen-tyev call themselves Socialists, nevertheless they introduced the death penalty for the soldiers at the front. Socialists should be judged not by their words, but by their deeds. The General Secretariat is disrupting and disarming the Ukrainian Soviets, thereby helping Kale-din to establish his bloody regime on the Don and in the coal basin—and that is a fact that no socialist flag can conceal. That is why the Council of People's Commissars affirms that the General Secretariat's policy is a counter-revolutionary policy. That is why the Council of People's Commissars hopes that the Ukrainian workers and soldiers, who in Russia were in the van of the fight for revolutionary Soviet power, will be able to call their General Secretariat to order, or elect another in its place in the interest of peace among nations.
demarcation and the like. The Council of People's Commissars fully recognizes the necessity for demarcation. But demarcation must be effected in fraternal, friendly fashion, by agreement, and not forcibly, not on the "principle" of "grab what you can," "disarm whomsoever you can," as the General Secretariat is now doing, seizing food supplies, appropriating freights, and condemning the army to starve and freeze.
The conflict reached a climax when the General Secretariat categorically refused to permit the passage of the revolutionary troops of the Soviets proceeding against Kaledin. Armed detachments of the General Secretariat hold up trains carrying revolutionary troops, dismantle tracks, threaten to open fire, and declare that they cannot permit the transit of "alien" troops through their territory. It is Russian soldiers, who only yesterday were fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainians against the hangmen-generals who were trying to crush the Ukraine, that now, it appears, are "aliens"! And this at a time when this same General Secretariat freely permits the transit to Rostov through its territory of Kaledin's Cossack units and counter-revolutionary officers who are flocking to Kaledin from all parts!
Kornilovites and Kaledinites are putting Rostov Red Guards to the sword, yet the General Secretariat of the Rada is preventing the sending of aid to our Rostov comrades! Kaledin's officers are shooting our comrades in the mines, yet the General Secretariat is preventing us from extending assistance to our comrades the miners! Is it any wonder that Kaledin, who yesterday was smashed, is today advancing further and further northward, seizing the Donets Basin and threatening Tsaritsyn? Is it not obvious that the General Secretariat is in alliance with Kaledin and Rodzyanko? Is it not obvious that the General Secretariat prefers an alliance with the Kornilovites to an alliance with the Council of People's Commissars?
It is said that there must be agreement between the Council of People's Commissars and the General Secretariat of the Rada. But is it difficult to understand that agreement with the present General Secretariat would be agreement with Kaledin and Rodzyanko? Is it difficult to understand that the Council of People's Commissars cannot agree to commit suicide? We did not begin the revolution against the landlords and capitalists in order to end it with an alliance with hangmen like Kaledin. The workers and soldiers did not shed their blood in order to surrender to the mercy of the Alexeyevs and Rod-zyankos.
One thing or the other:
Either the Rada breaks with Kaledin, extends a hand to the Soviets and allows free passage to the revolutionary troops proceeding against the counter-revolutionary hotbed on the Don —and then the workers and soldiers of the Ukraine and Russia will cement their revolutionary alliance with a new surge of fraternization;
Or the Rada refuses to break with Kaledin and allow passage to the revolutionary troops—and then the General Secretariat of the Rada will achieve what the enemies of the people tried in vain to achieve, namely, fratricidal bloodshed of the peoples.
It depends upon the enlightenment and revolutionary consciousness of the Ukrainian workers and soldiers to call their General Secretariat to order or to elect another in its place in the interest of a peaceful settlement of the dangerous conflict.
It depends upon the staunchness and determination of the Ukrainian workers and soldiers to compel the General Secretariat to declare definitely which alliance it now favours: an alliance with Kaledin and Rodzyanko against the revolution, or an alliance with the Council of People's Commissars against the counter-revolution of the Cadets and generals.
It is upon the people of the Ukraine that a peaceful settlement of the conflict depends.
December 12, 1917
1. The Ukrainian Central Rada was set up in Kiev in April 1917 by a bloc of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties and groups. After the victory of the October Socialist Revolution the Rada refused to recognize the Soviet Government and took the path of open struggle against Soviet power, supporting Kaledin and other whiteguard generals in the Don region. In April 1918 the German occupation forces deposed the Rada and set up a hetmanate under Skoropadsky.
2. The "Ultimatum" of the Council of People's Commissars, or "Manifesto to the Ukrainian People and Ultimatum to the Ukrainian Rada," which was drafted by V. I. Lenin, stated: ". . . we, the Council of People's Commissars, recognize the people's Ukrainian Republic and its right completely to secede from Russia or to make a treaty with the Russian Republic concerning federal or other similar relations between them.
"Everything that concerns the national rights and national independence of the Ukrainian people is recognized by us, the Council of People's Commissars, forthwith and without reservation or qualification" (see V. I . Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 26, pp. 323-25).
The "Reply" of the Council of People's Commissars to the Petrograd Ukrainian Staff (its full name was: Ukrainian Staff of the Rada of the Petrograd Military Area), which was negotiating with the Council of People's Commissars on behalf of the Central Rada, stated: "As to the Rada's stipula- tions, there has been no dispute or conflict concerning any of them that involve questions of principle (right to self-determination), since the Council of People's Commissars recognizes and practises these principles in their entirety" (see Izvestia, No. 245, December 7, 1917).
The Ukrainian Rada
Speech Delivered in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee
December 14, 1917
Source : Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
It may seem strange that the Council of People's Commissars, which has always resolutely upheld the principle of self-determination, should have entered into a conflict with the Rada, which also takes its stand on the principle of self-determination. To understand the origin of the conflict, it is necessary to examine the political complexion of the Rada.
The Rada starts out from the principle of a division of power between the bourgeoisie, on the one hand, and the proletariat and peasantry, on the other. The Soviets reject such a division, and want the whole power to belong to the people, without the bourgeoisie. This is why the Rada sets up in opposition to the slogan, "All power to the Soviets" (i.e., the people) its own slogan, "All power to the urban and rural local government bodies" (i.e., the people and the bourgeoisie).
It is said that the conflict arose over the question of self-determination. But that is not true. The Rada proposes the establishment of a federal system in Russia. The Council of People's Commissars, however, goes farther than the Rada and recognizes the right to secession. Consequently, the divergence between the Council of People's Commissars and the Rada is not over that question. Absolutely incorrect likewise is the Rada's assertion that centralism is the point of difference. Regional centres formed on the model of the Council of People's Commissars (Siberia, Byelorussia, Turkestan) applied to the Council of People's Commissars for directives. The Council of People's Commissars replied: you yourselves are the authority in your localities, and you yourselves therefore must draw up the directives. That, then, is not the point at issue. Actually, the divergence between the Council of People's Commissars and the Rada arose over the following three points.
First question: concentration of the Ukrainian units on the Southern Front. Unquestionably, national armies are the best fitted to protect their own territories. But at present our front is not built on national lines. In view of the dislocation of transport, reconstruction of the front on national lines would result in its complete disruption. This would wreck the chances of peace. The Ukrainian soldiers proved to have more sense and honesty than the General Secretariat, for the majority of the Ukrainian units refused to obey the Rada's orders.
Second question: disarmament of the Soviet troops in the Ukraine. By upholding the interests of the Ukrainian landlords and bourgeoisie and disarming the Soviet troops, the Ukrainian Rada is striking a blow at the revolution. Substantially, the actions of the Rada in this respect in no way differ from the actions of Kornilov and Kaledin. Needless to say, the Council of People's Commissars will oppose this counter-revolutionary policy of the Rada might and main.
Lastly, the third question: refusal to permit the passage of Soviet troops proceeding against Kaledin, around whom all the counter-revolutionary forces of Russia have rallied. The Rada justified its refusal to permit the passage of the Soviet troops on the grounds of its "neutrality" vis-a-vis the "self-determining" Kaledin. But the Rada substitutes the autocratic rule of Kaledin for the self-determination of the labouring Cossacks. By obstructing the passage of the Soviet troops, the Rada is assisting Kaledin's advance northward. At the same time the Rada freely permits the transit of Kaledin Cossack units to the Don. At a time when our comrades are being shot down in Rostov and the Donets Basin, the Rada is preventing us from sending them aid. Needless to say, this treacherous conduct of the Rada cannot be tolerated.
The Council of People's Commissars cannot give up the fight against Kaledin. Kaledin's counter-revolutionary nest must be destroyed. That is inevitable. If the Rada obstructs our advance against Kaledin and tries to act as a shield for him, the blows aimed at Kaledin will fall upon the Rada. The Council of People's Commissars will not hesitate to wage a determined fight against the Rada, because it is well aware that the Rada is in secret alliance with Kaledin. The Council of People's Commissars has intercepted a ciphered telegram which makes it clear that the Rada is in direct contact with the French Mission, with the aim of delaying peace until the spring, and, through the French Mission, with Kaledin. This alliance is directed against peace and the revolution. This alliance must and will be smashed.
We are reproached for conducting a resolute policy against the Rada. But it is precisely this resolute policy that has opened the eyes of the Ukrainian workers and peasants by revealing the bourgeois nature of the Rada. This is evident, for example, from the telegram reporting the formation in the Ukraine of a new Ukrainian revolutionary power (1) which recognizes the Soviet Government and is acting against the bourgeois Rada. (Applause.)
The telegram stated that a Central Executive Committee of Soviets, elected on December 13, 1917, by an All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and part of the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies, had assumed plenary power in the Ukraine (see Izvestia, No. 252, December 15, 1917).
What is the Ukrainian Rada ?
December 15, 1917
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
The reader will find below a ciphered telegram intercepted by the Soviet Government which exposes the real nature of the Rada and the real designs of the Military Missions of "our Allies" in the matter of peace. It will be seen from the telegram that something in the nature of an alliance has already been arranged between the French Mission and the Rada, and that "officials of the French Mission are working in direct contact with the Rada." It will be seen from the telegram, further, that the purpose of this alliance is to "maintain the semblance of a Russian front until February or March and delay the definite conclusion of an armistice until the spring." It will be seen from the telegram, lastly, that the French Mission has entered into "an agreement with the Cossack Assembly" (i.e., the Kaledin "government") with the object of "supplying coal and food to the Rumanian and South-Western fronts" (which according to plan are to be taken over by the Rada — J. St.).
In short, there exists, it appears, an alliance of the Rada, Kaledin and the French Military Mission with the purpose of torpedoing peace, of "delaying" it "until the spring." Furthermore the French Military Mission is not acting independently, but on "the urgent instructions of the French Government."
We have no desire to dwell here on the conduct of the Military Missions of "our Allies." Their role has been sufficiently elucidated: in August they helped Kor-nilov, in November they helped the Rada and Kaledin, in December they are supplying the rebels with armoured cars. And all this for the sake of "a war to a finish." We do not doubt that the coercive undertaking of the "Allies" will be thwarted by the struggle of the peoples of Russia for a democratic peace. The missions are behaving as if they were in Central Africa. But the "Allies" will soon have cause to learn that Russia is not Central Africa. . . . What chiefly interests us here is the ugly role assumed by the Rada.
Now we know why the Rada is concentrating the Ukrainian units on the Rumanian-South-Western Front: "nationalization" of the army is a camouflage with which it is trying to conceal its compact with the French Mission to delay an armistice until the spring.
Now we know why the Rada is not permitting the passage of Soviet troops proceeding against Kaledin: "neutrality" vis-a-vis Kaledin is a camouflage with which it is trying to conceal its alliance with Kaledin against the Soviets.
Now we know why the Rada protests against the "interference" of the Council of People's Commissars in Ukrainian internal affairs: talk of non-interference is only a camouflage with which it is trying to conceal the actual interference of the French Government in the affairs of the Ukraine and of all Russia, with the aim of liquidating the gains-of the revolution.
Ukrainian comrades frequently ask me. What is the Rada?
I reply :
The Rada, or rather its General Secretariat, is a government of traitors to socialism who call themselves Socialists in order to deceive the masses—just like the Government of Kerensky and Savinkov, who also called themselves Socialists.
The Rada, or rather its General Secretariat, is a bourgeois government which, in alliance with Kaledin, is fighting the Soviets. Formerly, the Kerensky Government, in alliance with Kornilov, disarmed the Soviets of Russia. Now the Rada Government, in alliance with Kaledin, is disarming the Soviets of the Ukraine.
The Rada, or rather its General Secretariat, is a bourgeois government which, in alliance with the British and French capitalists, is fighting to prevent peace. Formerly, the Kerensky Government delayed peace and condemned millions of soldiers to serve as cannon fodder. Now the Rada Government is endeavouring to prevent peace by "delaying an armistice until the spring."
For this, the Kerensky Government was overthrown by the joint efforts of the workers and soldiers of Russia.
We do not doubt that the Rada Government will likewise be overthrown by the efforts of the workers and soldiers of the Ukraine.
Only a new Rada, a Rada of the Soviets of the workers, soldiers and peasants of the Ukraine, can protect the interests of the Ukrainian people from the Kaledins and Kornilovs, the landlords and capitalists.
[translated by the Comintern (SH)]
The bourgeois newspapers are assiduously spreading rumours that “negotiations have started between the Rada and the Council of People’s Commissars.” Circles closely connected with the counter-revolutionaries are zealously spreading these rumours and stressing their “special” importance. Things have gone so far that many of our comrades are disposed to believe the tale about negotiations with the Kiev Rada, and many have already written to me inquiring whether i t is authentic.
I publicly declare:
1) The Council of People’s Commissars is not conducting and has no intention of conducting any negotiations with the Kiev Rada.
2) The Kiev Rada has definitely linked itself with Kaledin and is conducting treasonable negotiations with the Austro-German imperialists behind the back of the peoples of Russia—and such a Rada the Council of People’s Commissars can only implacably fight until the Ukrainian Soviets are completely victorious.
3) Peace and tranquility can come to the Ukraine only as a result of the complete liquidation of the Kiev bourgeois Rada, as a result of its replacement by another, a socialist Rada of Soviets, the nucleus of which has already been formed in Kharkov.
Pravda, No. 9,
January 13, 1918
Speeches Delivered at the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies
January 10-18, 1918
1. REPORT ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION
One of the questions that was particularly agitating Russia just now, the speaker said, was the national question.
Its importance was enhanced by the fact that the Great Russians did not constitute an absolute majority of the population of Russia and were surrounded by a ring of other, “non-sovereign” peoples, the inhabitants of the border regions.
The tsarist government realized the importance of the national question and tried to handle the affairs of the nationalities with a rod of iron. It carried out a policy of forcible Russification of the border peoples, and its method of action was the banning of native languages, pogroms and other forms of persecution.
Kerensky’s coalition government abolished these national
disabilities, but, because of its class character, it was incapable of a full solution of the national question.
The government of the early period of the revolution not only did not adopt the course of completely emancipating the nations, but in many instances it did not hesitate to resort to repressive measures to crush the national movement, as was the case with the Ukraine and Finland.
The Soviet Government alone publicly proclaimed the right of all nations to self-determination, including complete secession from Russia. The new government proved to be more radical in this respect than even the national groups within some of the nations.
Nevertheless, a series of conflicts arose between the Council of People’s Commissars and the border regions.
They arose, however, not over issues of a national character, but over the question of power. The speaker cited a number of examples of how the bourgeois nationalist governments, hastily formed in the border regions and composed of representatives of the upper sections of the propertied classes, endeavoured, under the guise of settling their national problems, to carry on a definite struggle against the Soviet and other revolutionary organizations.
All these conflicts between the border regions and the central Soviet Government were rooted in the question of power. And if the bourgeois elements of this or that region sought to lend a national colouring to these conflicts, it was only because it was advantageous to them to do so, since it was convenient for them to conceal behind a national cloak the fight against the power of the labouring masses within their region.
As an illustration, the speaker dwelt in detail on the Rada, convincingly showing how the principle of selfdetermination was being exploited by the bourgeois chauvinist elements in the Ukraine in their imperialist class interests.
All this pointed to the necessity of interpreting the principle of self-determination as the right to self-determination not of the bourgeoisie, but of the labouring masses of the given nation. The principle of self-determination should be a means in the struggle for socialism and should be subordinated to the principles of socialism.
On the question of a federal structure of the Russian Republic, the speaker said that the supreme organ of the Soviet Federation must be the Congress of Soviets.
In the intervals between congresses its functions should be vested in the Central Executive Committee.
2. DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE FEDERAL INSTITUTIONS OF THE RUSSIAN REPUBLIC
1) The Russian Socialist Soviet Republic is constituted on the basis of a voluntary union of the peoples of Russia, as a Federation of the Soviet Republics of these peoples.
2) The supreme organ of power in the Federation is the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies, convened not less frequently than once every three months.
3) The All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies elects an All-Russian Central Executive Committee. In the intervals between congresses the All-Russian Central Executive Committee is the supreme organ.
4) The Government of the Federation, the Council of People’s Commissars, is elected and replaceable in whole or in part by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets or the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.
5) The way in which the Soviet Republics of regions distinguished by a specific manner of life and national composition will participate in the federal government, as well as the demarcation of the spheres of activity of the federal and regional institutions of the Russian Republic, will be determined, immediately upon the formation of the regional Soviet Republics, by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Central Executive Committees of these republics.
3. REPLY TO THE DISCUSSION ON THE REPORT
ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION
Comrade Stalin wound up the discussion of the proposed resolution on the federal institutions of the Russian Republic.
He pointed out that the resolution was not intended as a law, but only outlined the general principles of the future Constitution of the Russian Federative Republic.
So long as the struggle between the two political trends—nationalist counter-revolution, on the one hand, and Soviet power, on the other—had not ended, there could be no question of a clear-cut Constitution that distinctly and precisely defined every detail of the state structure of the Soviet Republics.
The resolution set forth only the general principles of the Constitution. They would be submitted to the Central Executive Committee for detailed elaboration, and presented for final endorsement to the next Congress of Soviets.
Replying to the reproach that the Soviet Government was displaying excessive severity in its fight against the bourgeois Rada, Comrade Stalin pointed out that it was a fight against bourgeois counter-revolution clothed in a national-democratic garb.
Comrade Stalin stressed that the democratic flag employed by various political leaders of the Rada (such as Vinnichenko) was by no means a guarantee of a really democratic policy.
We judge the Rada not by its words, but by its deeds.
In what way did the “Socialists” of the Rada display their socialism?
They professed in their Universal6 to be in favour of the transfer of all the land to the people, but, actually, in their published explanation, they restricted the transfer by proclaiming part of the landlords’ land inviolable and not transferable to the people.
They professed their loyalty to the Soviets, but, actually, they waged a desperate struggle against them, disarming Soviet troops, arresting Soviet officials and making the continued existence of the Soviets absolutely impossible.
They professed their fidelity to the revolution, but, actually, they had proved themselves to be bitter enemies of the revolution.
They professed neutrality in the struggle with the Don, but, actually, they were rendering direct and active assistance to General Kaledin, helping him to shoot down Soviet troops and preventing the passage of grain to the North.
All these were generally known facts, and that the Rada was essentially bourgeois and anti-revolutionary in character was beyond all doubt.
That being so, what fight of the Soviets against democracy was Martov referring to here?
The speakers of the Right, especially Martov, evidently praised and defended the Rada because they saw in its policy a reflection of their own. In the Rada, which represented that coalition of all classes so dear to Messrs. the compromisers, they saw the prototype of the Constituent Assembly. No doubt, on hearing the speeches of the representatives of the Right, the Rada would just as assiduously praise them. It was not for
nothing that the proverb said: Birds of a feather flock together. (Laughter and applause.)
The speaker then dwelt on the question of self-determination
of the Caucasus, and cited exact data showing that the Caucasian Commissariat7 was pursuing a manifestly aggressive policy against the Caucasian Soviet organizations and the army Soviet, and at the same time was maintaining contact with the hero of the counter-revolutionary movement in the Caucasus, General Przhevalsky.
From all this it followed that it was necessary to continue the so-called civil war, which was actually a struggle between the trend which was striving to establish coalition, compromising governments in the border regions, and the other trend which was striving to establish socialist power, the power of the Soviets of the labouring masses of the workers’, soldiers’ and peasants’ deputies.
That was the nature and historical import of the bitter conflicts which were arising between the Council of People’s Commissars and the bourgeois-nationalist coalition governments in the border regions. The assertion of these governments that they were fighting to uphold national independence was nothing but a hypocritical cover for the campaign they were waging against
the working people. (Stormy applause.)
Replying to Martov’s reproach that the Soviet Government was guilty of a contradiction in demanding proletarian power in the Russian border regions and contenting itself with a referendum in Courland, Lithuania, Poland, etc., as advocated by Trotsky in Brest-Litovsk, Comrade Stalin remarked that it would be utterly absurd to demand Soviet power in the Western regions when they had not yet even Soviets, had not yet had a socialist revolution.
“If we acted on Martov’s prescription,” the speaker said, “we should have to invent Soviets where they do not yet exist, and what is more, where the road to them has not yet even been paved. To talk of self-determination through Soviets under such conditions is the height of absurdity.”
In conclusion, the speaker dwelt again on the fundamental
difference between the Right and Left wings of the democracy. Whereas the Left wing was striving to establish the dictatorship of the lower classes, the power of the majority over the minority, the Right wing recommended turning back to an already past stage, the stage of bourgeois parliamentarism. The experience of parliamentarism in France and America convincingly showed that the ostensibly democratic governments resulting from universal suffrage were actually coalitions with finance capital which were very remote from, and hostile to, genuine democracy. In France, that land of bourgeois democracy, the members of parliament were elected by the whole people, but the ministers were supplied by the Bank of Lyons. In America the suffrage was universal, but it was representatives of the billionaire Rockefeller who were in power.
“Is not that a fact?” the speaker asked. “Yes, we have indeed buried bourgeois parliamentarism, and it is in vain that the Martovs are trying to drag us back to the martovsky* period of the revolution. (Laughter and applause.) We, the representatives of the workers, want the people not only to vote, but to govern as well. It is not those who vote and elect that rule, but those who govern.” (Stormy applause.)
Pravda, Nos. 12 and 13,
January 17 and 18, 1918
* The Russian adjective martovsky is the adjectival form of
both “March” and “Martov.”—Tr.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
О КИЕВСКОЙ БУРЖУАЗНОЙ РАДЕ
Буржуазные газеты усиленно распространяют слухи якобы «об открывшихся переговорах между Радой и Советом народных комиссаров». Круги, близкие к контрреволюционерам, всячески муссируют эти слухи, подчеркивая их «особенное» значение. Дошло дело до того, что многие из товарищей непрочь поверить в сказку о переговорах с Киевской радой, причем многие из них уже обратились ко мне с письменным запросом об ее правдоподобности.
Заявляю во всеуслышание, что:
1. Никаких переговоров с Киевской радой Совет народных Комиссаров не ведет и вести не собирается.
2. С Киевской радой, окончательно связавшей себя с Калединым и ведущей изменнические переговоры с австро-германскими империалистами за спиной народов России, с такой Радой Совет народных комиссаров считает возможным вести лишь беспощадную борьбу до полной победы советов Украины.
3. Мир и успокоение на Украине может прийти лишь в результате полной ликвидации Киевской буржуазной Рады, в результате замены ее новой, социалистической Радой советов, ядро которой уже образовалось в Харькове.
Народный комиссар по делам национальностей
«Правда» № 9, 13 (26) января 1918 г.
TO THE PEOPLE’S SECRETARIAT,
UKRAINIAN SOVIET REPUBLIC
The People’s Secretariat of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic— the first Soviet Government of the Ukrainian Republic—was elected by the Ukrainian Central Executive Committee of Soviets from among its members in December 1917. In April 1918, in connection with the German occupation of the Ukraine, the People’s Secretariat was re-organized, and its chief task became to direct the popular insurrectionary struggle against the German occupationists and the Haydamak detachments.
Five days ago General Hoffmann announced that the term of the armistice had expired,
The armistice between Russia and the Quadruple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey) was signed in Brest-Litovsk on December 2, 1917, for a term of 28 days.
Owing to the protracted character of the peace negotiations, the armistice was prolonged. On February 18, 1918, the Germans violated the armistice and launched an offensive along the whole front.
and two days later he started hostilities. The Council of People’s Commissars intimated its willingness to resume peace negotiations, but no reply has yet been received. The German Government is evidently in no hurry to reply, its idea being to pillage the country to the limit and only then to open peace negotiations. The Germans have captured Dvinsk, Rovno, Minsk, Volmar and Gapsal and are advancing on Petrograd and Kiev. Obviously, the object of the campaign is not only conquest, but, chiefly, the suppression of the revolution and its gains.
The Council of People’s Commissars has decided to organize resistance from Petrograd and to mobilize the entire working population, and the bourgeoisie as well, and if the latter should refuse to dig trenches, to take them by force and compel them to do so under the control of the workers.
It is the general opinion of the comrades that you, in Kiev, should without a moment’s delay organize similar resistance from Kiev westward, muster every able-bodied person, set up artillery, dig trenches, force the bourgeoisie to do trench-digging under the control of the workers, proclaim a state of siege and act with the utmost severity. The general objective is to hold Petrograd and Kiev and check the German bands at all costs.
The situation is more serious than you might think.
We have not the slightest doubt that the German bandits want to promenade from Petrograd to Kiev and to start peace talks in these capitals, and in them alone. I believe you have not yet annulled the treaty concluded by the old Rada with the Germans.
The reference is to a treaty concluded after secret negotiations
by representatives of the Ukrainian Central Rada and the
Quadruple Alliance in Brest-Litovsk on January 27, 1918.
If so, we think you should be in no hurry to do so.
Once again: do not lose a single moment, set to work without wasting words, and demonstrate to all that the Soviet regime is capable of defending itself.
All our hope is in the workers, for the so-called army now being demobilized has proved capable only of panic and flight.
I await an immediate reply.
On behalf of the Council of People’s
February 21, 1918
First published in Documents on the Defeat of the German
Invaders in the Ukraine, 1918, Gospolitizdat, 1942
NOTE SENT BY DIRECT WIRE
TO THE PEOPLE’S SECRETARIAT,
UKRAINIAN SOVIET REPUBLIC
From People’s Commissar Stalin, on behalf of the Council of People’s Commissars.
The day before yesterday, February 22, we received the German Government’s peace terms. They are very severe, one might say ferocious, and the Germans insist on their acceptance within forty-eight hours. Meanwhile, German detachments are advancing on Revel and Pskov, threatening Petrograd, and our troops definitely fail to offer resistance. I do not know whether these terms are known to you. We broadcast them by radio. Here are the major points.
“Clause four. Russia shall immediately conclude peace with the Ukrainian People’s Republic. Russian troops and Red Guards shall be immediately withdrawn from the Ukraine and Finland.” “Russian warships in the Black Sea, etc., shall be immediately withdrawn to Russian ports and remain there until the conclusion of general peace, or be disarmed.” “Commercial navigation in the Black Sea and other seas shall be resumed, as was envisaged in the armistice agreement. Mine-sweeping operations shall be begun immediately.”
“Clause three. Russian troops and Red Guards shall be immediately withdrawn from Livonia and Estland, which shall be occupied by German police until the state of affairs in the country guarantees public security and order in these parts. All inhabitants arrested for political reasons shall be immediately set at liberty.”
“Clause five. Russia shall do all in her power to ensure
immediately the systematic restitution to Turkey of her eastern Anatolian provinces, and shall recognize the abolition of the Turkish capitulations.”
Then follow clauses concerning a trade agreement, patterned on the former Rada’s treaty with Austria-Hungary, with which you are familiar.
In general, it must be said that the terms are incredibly
ferocious. We believe that the clause on the Ukraine implies not the restoration of the Vinnichenko Government, which in itself is of no value to the Germans, but the exertion of very definite pressure on us with a view to compelling you and us to accept the treaty of the former Rada with Austria-Hungary, since what the Germans want is not Vinnichenko, but the exchange of manufactures for grain and ores.
We assess the present state of affairs arising out of the Germans’ advance and the flight of our troops as follows: after having overthrown our own imperialists, we have, owing to the slowness of the revolutionary movement in the West, the instability of our troops, and the unparalleled voracity of the German imperialists, temporarily fallen into the clutches of foreign imperialism, against which we must now muster our
forces for waging a patriotic war with the hope of an unleashing of the revolutionary forces in the West, which in our opinion is inevitable. In order to muster our forces we need a certain minimum respite, and this even a ferocious peace could provide. We must under no circumstances cherish illusions. We must have the courage to face the facts and admit that we have temporarily fallen into the clutches of German imperialism. It was by these considerations that the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets was guided when
it decided today at three in the morning to conclude peace on these ferocious terms and instructed the Council of People’s Commissars to send a delegation to Brest, which was done today. The C.E.C. decided that only in this way could the Soviet regime be preserved.
Meanwhile we must prepare, and thoroughly prepare, for waging a sacred war against German imperialism.
We are all of the opinion that your People’s Secretariat should send its own delegation to Brest and there declare that if Vinnichenko’s adventure is not supported by the Austrians and Germans, the People’s Secretariat will not object to the basic provisions of the treaty concluded by the former Kiev Rada. Such a step on your part would, firstly, stress the ideological and political brotherhood of the Soviets of the South and the North, and, secondly, preserve the Soviet regime in the Ukraine, which is an immense asset to the international revolution as a whole. We should like you to understand us and
agree with us concerning these cardinal issues of the unhappy peace.
I await an immediate reply on two points: will you send delegates today to Petrograd or, more simply, straight to Brest for joint negotiations with the Germans? — that is the first question. Secondly, do you share our view regarding the acceptability of the Vinnichenko treaty, but without Vinnichenko and his gang? I await a reply to these questions, so that I may prepare the credentials and arrange for your journey to Brest.
February 24, 1918
Published for the first time
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
НАРОДНОМУ СЕКРЕТАРИАТУ УКРАИНСКОЙ РАБОЧЕ-КРЕСТЬЯНСКОЙ РЕСПУБЛИКИ
Записка тов. Сталина по прямому проводу
По поручению Совета народных комиссаров, народный комиссар Сталин.
22 февраля мы получили от германского правительства согласие на заключение мира. Известны ли вам эти условия? Мы их передали всюду по радиотелеграфу. На всякий случай сообщаю главнейшие из них, касающиеся Украины:
п. 4. Россия заключает немедленный мир с Украинской народной республикой. Украина и Финляндия очищаются от русских войск; военные суда Черного моря и т. д. должны быть переведены в русские гавани и оставлены там до всеобщего заключения мира. Торговое мореплавание в Черном и других морях возобновляется, как это было предусмотрено в договоре о перемирии. Очистка от мин начинается немедленно.
п. 5. Россия по мере своих сил сделает все, чтобы обеспечить Турции планомерное возвращение ей восточных провинций, и признает отмену капитуляций.
Дальше идут пункты о торговом договоре, в основу которых положены известные вам договоры старой Рады с Австро-Венгрией.
ЦИК сегодня в 3 часа ночи решил заключить мир и поручил Совету народных комиссаров послать делегацию в Брест. Сообщите, согласны ли Вы принять участие в заключении мира.
«Вестник Украинской народной республики» № 31, 13 (26) февраля 1918 г.
THE UKRAINIAN KNOT
At the end of February, before the conclusion of the peace with Germany, the People’s Secretariat of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic sent a delegation to Brest with a declaration that it was prepared to sign the treaty concluded by the former Kiev Rada with the German coalition.
The notorious Hoffmann, representative of the German
command in Brest, refused to receive the delegation of the People’s Secretariat, declaring that he saw no necessity for peace negotiations with the latter.
Simultaneously, German and Austro-Hungarian shock troops, in conjunction with Petlura-Vinnichenko Haydamak detachments, began the invasion of the Soviet Ukraine.
Not peace, but war with the Soviet Ukraine—that was the meaning of Hoffmann’s reply.
Under the treaty signed by the former Kiev Rada, the Ukraine was to release 30 million poods of grain to Germany by the end of April. We say nothing of the “free export of ores” which Germany demanded.
The People’s Secretariat of the Soviet Ukraine was undoubtedly aware of this provision of the treaty and knew what it was doing when it officially consented to sign the Vinnichenko peace.
Nevertheless, the German Government, represented by Hoffmann, declined to enter into peace negotiations with the People’s Secretariat, which is recognized by all the Soviets of the Ukraine, urban and rural. It preferred an alliance with corpses, an alliance with the deposed and expelled Kiev Rada, to a peace treaty with the People’s Secretariat, which is recognized by the Ukrainian people and is alone capable of providing the “necessary quantity” of grain.
This means that the object of the Austro-German invasion is not only the securing of grain, but, and chiefly, the overthrow of Soviet power in the Ukraine and the restoration of the old bourgeois regime.
It means that the Germans not only want to pump millions of poods of grain out of the Ukraine, but are also trying to rob the Ukrainian workers and peasants of their rights by taking from them the power they have won at the cost of their blood and turning it over to the landlords and capitalists.
The Austrian and German imperialists are bringing on their bayonets a new and shameful yoke which is not a whit better than the old, Tatar yoke. Such is the meaning of the invasion from the West.
This, apparently, is realized by the Ukrainian people, and they are feverishly preparing to resist. Formation of a peasant Red Army, mobilization of a workers’ Red Guard, a number of successful skirmishes with the “civilized” bandits after the first outbreaks of panic, recapture of Bakhmach, Konotop, Nezhin and an approach to Kiev, mounting enthusiasm of the masses, who are marching in their thousands to give battle to the enslavers—that is how the people’s Ukraine is retaliating
to the bandit invasion.
To counter the foreign tyranny advancing from the West, the Soviet Ukraine is raising a war of liberation, a patriotic war—such is the meaning of the developments in the Ukraine.
This means that every pood of grain and scrap of metal the Germans get they will have to take in battle, in a desperate conflict with the Ukrainian people.
It means that the Germans will have to conquer the Ukraine outright before they can secure grain and put Petlura and Vinnichenko on the throne.
The “swift blow” with which the Germans reckoned to kill two birds with one stone (secure grain and smash the Soviet Ukraine) stands every chance of developing into a protracted war of the foreign enslavers against the Ukraine’s twenty millions, whose bread and liberty they want to take away.
Need it be added that the Ukrainian workers and peasants will not spare their energies in their heroic struggle against the “civilized” bandits?
Need it be demonstrated that the patriotic war begun in the Ukraine has every reason to count on the utmost support of all Soviet Russia?
And what if the war in the Ukraine assumes a protracted
character and turns in the end into a war of all that is upright and noble in Russia against the new tyranny from the West?
And what if the German workers and soldiers come to realize at last in the course of this war that the rulers of Germany are governed not by the aim of “defending the German Fatherland,” but simply by the insatiable appetite of a bloated imperialist beast, and, having realized this, draw the appropriate practical conclusions?
Is it not clear from this that in the Ukraine the major knot of the whole existing international situation is now being tied—the knot of the workers’ revolution begun in Russia, on the one hand, and the imperialist counter-revolution advancing from the West on the other?
The bloated imperialist beast meeting its doom in Soviet Ukraine—will this not be the outcome of the exorable logic of events? . . .
Izvestia, No. 47,
March 14, 1918
Signed: J. Stalin
THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE UKRAINE
Interviewed by our correspondent, Comrade Stalin, Chairman
of the Soviet peace delegation, whom the Council of People’s
Commissars has called from Kursk to Moscow to report, stated the following:
CONCLUSION OF AN ARMISTICE
The first objective of the Soviet peace delegation was to establish an armistice at the front, on the Ukrainian border. It was on these lines that our peace delegation began negotiations with the German-Ukrainian command. We have succeeded in securing a truce on the Kursk, Bryansk and Voronezh fronts. The next question is to secure a truce on the Southern Front.
Thus, the conclusion of an armistice and the establishment of a demarcation line constitute, in our opinion, the first stage of the peace negotiations.
Our next objective—the opening of the peace negotiations
themselves—was complicated by the fact that we had to wait a long time for the arrival of the delegation from the Central Rada. When it did at last arrive in Vorozhba, news was received of the coup d’état and the abolition of the Small and Grand Radas in the Ukraine, which, of course, hampered the establishment of an armistice and the preliminary arrangements for determining the time and place for opening the negotiations.
For the latter purpose, we have sent a special parliamentary to Konotop, the place proposed by the Ukrainian-German command, and where its general headquarters is located. Our delegate has been given wide powers in the matter of arranging the place of negotiations.
EFFECT OF THE COUP D’ÉTAT IN THE UKRAINE
It is difficult to say definitely what effect the coup d’état in the Ukraine will have on the peace negotiations, since we do not know the attitude of the new Ukrainian Government towards the peace negotiations. Nothing was said on this point in Hetman Skoropadsky’s manifesto.
Before the coup we had a definite peace programme of the Ukrainian Rada. But what the territorial programme of the new Ukrainian Government is, we do not know.
In general, however, the Ukrainian coup has so far had no adverse effect on the peace negotiations. On the contrary, there is reason to believe that the coup does not preclude the possibility of peace being arranged between the Soviet Government and the Ukrainian Government.
It should be observed that since the coup the vacillations and delays of the Ukrainians in respect to the preliminary arrangements for the peace negotiations have ceased.
CAUSES OF THE COUP D’ÉTAT
At the end of the interview Comrade Stalin touched on the
causes of the coup d’état in the Ukraine.
In my opinion, the coup was inevitable. The reasons for it lay in the self-contradictory position of the Central Rada: on the one hand, it played with socialism; on the other, it called in foreign troops to fight the Ukrainian workers and peasants. The Central Rada made itself dependent financially and militarily on Germany, and at the same time it handed out a heap of promises to the Ukrainian workers and peasants, with whom it was soon waging determined warfare. By this last step the Ukrainian Rada placed itself in a position in which, at the critical moment of the assault of the bourgeois and landlord
elements, it had nobody to rely on.
And, in fact, the Central Rada could not have remained in power long by virtue of the law of the class struggle, since in the process of a revolutionary movement only such elements can firmly establish themselves in power as are supported by one class or another. Only two possible outcomes were therefore conceivable in the Ukraine: either a dictatorship of the workers and peasants, which the Central Rada could not help to bring about owing to its petty-bourgeois nature; or a dictatorship of the bourgeois and landlord elements, to which also the Rada could not consent. It preferred a half-way position, and thereby signed its own death warrant.
Izvestia, No. 90,
May 9, 1918
THE DON AND THE NORTH CAUCASUS
(Machinations and the Facts)
At the first meeting of the peace conference in Kiev,
The reference is to the peace conference between representatives of the R.S.F.S.R. and of the Ukrainian Hetman Government which opened in Kiev on May 23, 1918.
the Ukrainian delegation announced that it had statements from the Don, North Caucasian and other “governments,”
declaring that they had seceded from Russia and had established friendly relations with the Ukrainian-German Government. “We are not opposed to negotiating with representatives of the Soviet Government,” Mr. Shelukhin, the Chairman of the Ukrainian delegation, said, “but we should like to know to what regions the authority of the Russian Federation extends, because I have statements from a number of governments (Don, North Caucasian, etc.), declaring that they do not wish to remain parts of Russia.”
Far from remonstrating against this move of the Ukrainians, the Turks and Germans, in a number of official statements, support the claims of the abovementioned semi-legal “governments,” and seize on them as a formal pretext for the “self-determination” (i.e., seizure) of new territories. . . .
But what are these mysterious “governments”? Where do they come from?
It is strange, in the first place, that the patron of these “governments” and the official sponsor of this whole campaign should be the Ukrainian Hetman Government, which came into being only yesterday by the grace . . . not of the people at any rate. By what right does the Ukrainian delegation venture to speak in this way to the Soviet power, which was freely chosen by tens of millions of inhabitants of the Russian Federation, and which, moreover, has rallied around itself the broad regional Soviets of the Don, Kuban, Black Sea and Terek, which were elected by millions of inhabitants of these regions? In face of this, what weight can the present Ukrainian Government have, which was not only not elected by the people, but is not even backed by a stage-managed Diet elected on a limited suffrage, in the nature, at least, of a Landtag representing the upper classes? Furthermore, it may be taken for granted that if the peace conference were taking place not in Kiev, but somewhere in neutral territory, the recently overthrown Ukrainian Rada would not fail to come forward and declare that a treaty with the Hetman Government cannot be binding on the Ukrainian people, who do not recognize this government. Two questions would then arise:
1) whose credentials in such a case should be recognized as the more valid, those of the Hetman Government, or those of the Ukrainian Rada? and
2) what could the present Ukrainian delegation, which sets such
high value on “declarations” of every kind, say in its own vindication? . . .
It is no less strange, in the second place, that Germany, which supports the statement of the Ukrainian delegation and is assiduously coquetting with the adventurist “governments” of the Don and the North Caucasus in the interests of “self-determination,” has not a single word to say about the self-determination of Polish Poznan, Danish Schleswig-Holstein, or French Alsace-Lorraine. Need it be shown that, in comparison with the mass protests of the Danes, Poles and French in
those regions, the adventurist declarations of the hastily
concocted “governments” of South Russia whom nobody recognizes lose all weight, all value, and all semblance of decency? . . .
But all this is a “trifle.” Let us pass to the main thing.
Well, then, how did these mythical South Russian “governments” originate?
“On October 21, 1917, in Vladikavkaz”—the Don “government”
says in its “Note”—“a treaty was signed establishing a new
federal state, the South-Eastern Federation, comprising the population of the territories of the Don, Kuban and Astrakhan Cossack troops, the highlanders of the North Caucasus and the Black Sea coast, and the free peoples of South-East Russia.”
We find almost the same thing said in a wireless message from the representatives of the North Caucasian “government,” Chermoyev and Bammatov, delivered to us on May 16:
“The peoples of the Caucasus lawfully elected a National
Assembly, which, meeting in May and September 1917, proclaimed the establishment of a Federation of Caucasian Highlanders.”
And further: “The Federation of Caucasian Highlanders has resolved to secede from Russia and form an independent state, whose boundaries will be: in the North—the geographical borders which the Daghestan, Terek, Stavropol, Kuban and Black Sea regions and provinces possessed in the former Russian Empire; in the West—the Black Sea; in the East—the Caspian Sea.”
It thus appears that on the eve of the victory of the October Revolution, which overthrew the Kerensky Government, groups of adventurers linked with that Government gathered in Vladikavkaz and, without even taking the trouble to ask the consent of the population, proclaimed that they were “authorized” governments, and that the South of Russia had seceded from Russia. Of course, in a free country like Russia no one is debarred from indulging in separatist dreams, and it will be readily admitted that the Soviet power could not, and was not obliged to, rush to follow the adventurist declarations of dreamers who had no link whatever with the peoples of South Russia. We have no doubt that if Germany were to grant the citizens the same liberty as that now enjoyed in Russia, then Poznan, Alsace-Lorraine, Poland, Courland, Estland, etc., would be covered by a network of national governments which would have far weightier grounds for calling themselves governments
than the Bogayevskys, Krasnovs, Bammatovs and Chermoyevs
who have been expelled by their own peoples and are now in exile. . . .
Such is the story of the origin of the mythical “governments”
of South Russia.
The “Note” of the Don “government” and Chermoyev’s wireless message refer to the past, to September and October 1917, and to Vladikavkaz, as the refuge of the retired generals. But nearly a year has passed since then. In the interval Don, Kuban-Black Sea and Terek Regional People’s Soviets have been formed, which unite around themselves millions of the population:
Cossacks and inogorodnie,* Abkhazians and Russians,
* The name given by the Cossacks to all those residing in
the Cossack regions but not belonging to the Cossack order.—Tr.
Chechens and Ingushes, Ossetians and Kabardinians, Georgians and Armenians. The inhabitants of these regions recognized the Soviet power long ago and widely exercise the right to self-determination granted them. As to Vladikavkaz, the former residence of the Karaulovs, Bogayevskys, Chermoyevs and Bammatovs, it has long ago proclaimed itself the seat of the Terek People’s Soviet. What value, then, can the fossil generals
and their adventurist declarations of the summer of 1917 have in face of these generally known facts? In September and October the Kerensky Government still existed in Russia and was fulminating against the Bolshevik Party, which had then been driven underground, but which is now in power. If September and October 1917 are of such sacramental significance to the Ukrainian delegation and the German Government, why do they not invite to the peace conference the remnants of the Kerensky Government, which was then still extant, as they are now inviting the remnants of the “government” of the Chermoyevs and Karaulovs, who were also extant in September and October 1917?
in what way exactly is September 1917 preferable to April 1918, when the Ukrainian Rada, which was about to send a delegation for negotiations with the Soviet Government, was hurled in one instant into political oblivion “on the basis” of the German “interpretation” of the principle of self-determination
of nations? . . .
Or, lastly: why is the declaration of Cossack General Krasnov, who has been expelled by the Cossacks, and who towards the end of 1917 was taken prisoner by the Soviet troops at Gatchina and then released by the Soviet Government on parole—why is his declaration considered “a political act of major importance,” while the declaration, for example, of the Crimean Council of People’s Commissars, which had rallied around itself hundreds of thousands of Russian and Tatar inhabitants, and which thrice proclaimed by radio the indissolubility of the tie between the Crimea and the Russian Federation, is considered of no political importance?
Why does General Krasnov, who has been expelled by the Cossacks, enjoy the special patronage of the Ukrainian-German rulers, while the members of the Crimean Council of People’s Commissars, which was freely elected by the population, have bean savagely shot? . . .
Obviously, the point here is not whether the “declarations”
are genuine or not, nor whether these “declarations” are supported by the masses. Nor, still less, is it the interpretation of “self-determination,” which is being barbarously defiled and distorted by official bandits. The point simply is that the “declarations” are highly useful to the Ukrainian-German lovers of imperialist machinations, because they are a convenient
camouflage for their efforts to seize and enslave new territories.
It is significant that of a whole series of delegations from the so-called Don government, delegations just as “lawful” as General Krasnov’s, the Ukrainian-Germans selected the latter, because none of the others adhered to the German “orientation.” Moreover, the fictitiousness and unreality of the Krasnov-Bogayevsky “government” is so obvious, that a number of Ministers appointed by Krasnov (Paramonov, Minister of Education, and Semyonov, Minister of Agriculture) offically declined on the ground that they “had been appointed Ministers by General Krasnov in their absence.” But the Ukrainian-German self-determinators are evidently not in the least put out by this, because Krasnov is a very convenient screen for them.
It is no less significant that the so-called South-Eastern Federation, which went to its eternal rest in January, suddenly returned to life in May somewhere in the Ukraine, or even in Constantinople, and, what is more, not all the peoples of the North Caucasus yet know that the “governments” which they had buried long ago continue to “exist” illegally, perhaps in Constantinople, or maybe in Kiev, from where they intend to enact laws for them. The Ukrainian-German selfdeterminators
are evidently not put out by this ingenuous machination either, since they can make capital out of it.
Such are the “affairs” of the power-lusting South Russian adventurers, on the one hand, and the political machinators, on the other.
But what is the attitude towards independence of the peoples of South Russia themselves, in whose name Messrs. the self-determinators pretend to be acting?
Let us begin with the Don. Already since February there exists an autonomous Don Soviet Republic, which is uniting around itself the overwhelming majority of the population of the region. It is no secret to anybody that the regional congress held in April and attended by more than 700 delegates, publicly confirmed the indissolubility of the tie with Russia, of which the Don Republic constitutes an autonomous part.
Here is what the Central Executive Committee of the Don Republic had to say of the claims of the newbaked Krasnov-Bogayevsky “government” in its resolution of May 28:
“The Central Executive Committee of the Don Soviet Republic
desires to inform the Council of People’s Commissars and
the peace conference in Kiev that there is no governmental authority in the Don except the Central Executive Committee and its Presidium. Any other persons who have proclaimed or may proclaim themselves the government are state criminals, who will be committed to trial by a people’s court for high treason. We have been informed that a delegation has appeared at the peace conference which professes to represent the Don government. We, as the state power, apprise the Council of People’s Commissars and the peace conference in Kiev that no delegates who are not furnished with credentials from the Soviet Government of the Don Republic should be allowed to take part in the peace negotiations, and if any such should have appeared, we declare that they are usurpers and impostors, who will be committed to trial as state criminals. The Central Executive Committee insists that this bogus delegation from the ‘Don government’ be ejected from the peace conference, since it is unlawful and must not be allowed to take part in the peace negotiations.
“Chairman, Central Executive Committee, V. Kovalyov “Secretary, V. Puzhilev “(Adopted May 28) Tsaritsyn.”
Let us pass now to the Kuban. Everyone knows that there is a Kuban-Black Sea Autonomous Soviet Republic which unites around itself 90 per cent of the population of all the departments and districts of the region without exception.
Everyone knows that in April of this year a largely attended congress of the Kuban-Black Sea region, in which Chechens and Ingushes took part, and at which Y. Poluyan, a Cossack, presided, solemnly confirmed the indissolubility of the region’s tie with Russia, and just as solemnly outlawed all adventure-seekers of the Filimonov and Krasnov type. Incidentally, the fact that tens of thousands of Kubanians are now under arms and staunchly defending Soviet Russia from Sukhum to Bataisk is eloquent testimony enough of the sentiments and sympathies of the Kuban and the Black Sea region.
We say nothing of the fleet, whose destruction the benefactors
of the Krasnovs and Filimonovs are awaiting so impatiently. . .
Lastly, the Terek region. It is no secret to anyone that there is a Terek Regional People’s Soviet which unites around itself all, or practically all (95 per cent), of the auls, stanitsas, villages and hamlets, to say nothing of the towns. At the first regional congress in January of this year, all the delegates without exception declared themselves in favour of the Soviet power and the indissolubility of the tie with Russia. The second congress, held in April, which was still broader and more
numerously attended than the first, solemnly confirmed the tie with Russia and proclaimed the region an Autonomous Soviet Republic of the Russian Federation. The third regional congress, now in progress, is going a step further and passing from word to deed, calling upon the citizens to take up arms in defence of the Terek, and not only the Terek, against the encroachments of uninvited guests. The so-called Note of the so-called Don
government talks a great deal about the “free peoples of the South-East,” who, it alleges, are anxious to secede from Russia. Believing that facts are the best refutation of “declarations,” we shall let the facts speak for themselves.
Let us first hear the resolution of the Terek People’s Soviet:
“The Terek People’s Soviet learns from telegraphic dispatches
that alleged delegates from the North Caucasus now in
Constantinople have proclaimed the independence of the North
Caucasus and have notified this to the imperial Turkish Government and other powers.
“The Terek People’s Soviet, comprising the Chechen, Kabardinian, Ossetian, Ingush, Cossack and inogorodnie groups, affirms that the peoples of the Terek region have never delegated anyone anywhere for the above-mentioned purpose, and that if any individuals now in Constantinople pretend to be delegates of the peoples of the Terek region and act in the name of these peoples, they are nothing but impostors and adventurers.
“The Terek People’s Soviet expresses its astonishment at the political shortsightedness and naïveté of the Turkish Government in allowing itself to be imposed upon by swindlers.
“The Terek People’s Soviet, comprising the above-mentioned
groups, declares that the peoples of the Terek region constitute an inalienable part of the Russian Federative Republic.
“The Terek People’s Soviet protests against the action of the Transcaucasian government in associating the North Caucasus with the proclamation of independence of Transcaucasia” (see Narodnaya Vlast, organ of the Terek People’s Soviet).
(Resolution adopted unanimously. May 9.)
And now let the Chechens and Ingushes, who are being calumniated by the usurpers and their patrons, have their say. Here is a resolution of their group, representing all, or nearly all, the Ingushes and Chechens:
“This special meeting of the Chechen-Ingush group of the Terek People’s Soviet, having considered the report that the North Caucasus has been proclaimed independent, unanimously
adopts the following resolution: Declaration of the independence
of the North Caucasus is an act of extreme importance which can
be made only with the knowledge and consent of the entire population
“The Chechen-Ingush group affirms that the Chechen-Ingush
people have not sent any delegates to conduct negotiations of any
kind with the Ottoman delegation in Trapezund or with the Ottoman
Government in Constantinople, and that the question of independence
was never discussed in any body or assembly expressing
the will of the Chechen-Ingush people.
“Consequently, the Chechen-Ingush group regards the persons
who have the impudence to speak in the name of the people,
who did not elect them, as impostors and enemies of the people.
“The Chechen-Ingush group declares that the only salvation
for all the North Caucasian highlanders and for the liberties won
by the revolution lies in close unity with the Russian revolutionary
“This is dictated not only by their innate love of liberty, but
also by those economic relations which in the last decades have
closely cemented the North Caucasus and Central Russia into
one inseparable whole.”
(Adopted May 9. See Narodnaya Vlast, organ of the Terek
And here is an excerpt from a fiery speech delivered by Comrade Sheripov, a representative of the Ingushes and Chechens, at the meeting of the Terek People’s Soviet, an excerpt explicit enough to put a stop to all insinuations against the Daghestanians:
“Thanks to the great Russian revolution, we have received
that fair and lovely liberty for which our ancestors fought for
centuries and, vanquished, threw themselves on the bayonet’s
point. Now that we have received a guarantee of the right to selfdetermination, the people will never surrender this right to anyone.
Today we hear talk of the independence of the North Caucasus
coming from the lips of landlords, princes, provocateurs and spies and all against whom Shamiel waged a mortal struggle for fifty years. Attempts are being made by these enemies of the people to declare the independence of the Caucasus and proclaim it an Imamate. But let me tell you that Shamiel cut off the heads of the ancestors of these princes, and that is how he would act now.
Our group, which represents the Ingush and Chechen people,
expressed its opinion on the declaration of independence of the
North Caucasus in the resolution it adopted at its special sitting.”
(See above. Reproduced from Narodnaya Vlast.)
Such are the facts.
Is all this known to the German-Ukrainian-Turkish self-determinators? Of course! Because the regional Soviets of South Russia act quite openly, in the eyes of all, and the agents of these gentry read our newspapers attentively enough not to miss generally known facts.
What, then, is the purpose of the above-mentioned statement of the Ukrainian delegation concerning the mythical “governments,” a statement which the Germans and Turks are supporting by word and deed?
Only one, namely: to use these bogus “governments” as a screen for the seizure and enslavement of new territories.
The Germans used the Ukrainian Rada as a camouflage when they advanced “on the basis of the Brest treaty” (oh, of course!) and occupied the Ukraine. But now, apparently, the Ukraine can no longer serve as a screen and camouflage, yet the Germans need to make another advance. Hence the demand for a new camouflage, a new screen. And since demand creates
supply, the Krasnovs and Bogayevskys, the Chermoyevs and Bammatovs were not slow in coming forward and offering their services. And it is not at all improbable that in the near future the Krasnovs and Bogayevskys, directed and supplied by the Germans, will advance against Russia, for the “liberation” of the Don, while the Germans once again vow and swear their fidelity to the Brest treaty. The same must be said of the Kuban, Terek, etc.
That is the whole point!
The Soviet Government would be burying itself alive if it did not muster every ounce of its strength to resist the invaders and enslavers.
And that is what it will do.
Pravda, No. 108,
June 1, 1918
The October Revolution and
the National Question
November 6 and 19, 1918
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
The national question must not be regarded as something self-contained and fixed for all time. Being only part of the general question of the transformation of the existing order, the national question is wholly determined by the conditions of the social environment, by the kind of power in the country and by the whole course of social development in general. This is being strikingly borne out in the period of revolution in Russia, when the national question and the national movement in the border regions of Russia are rapidly and obviously changing their character in accordance with the course and outcome of the revolution.
THE FEBRUARY REVOLUTION AND THE NATIONAL QUESTION
In the period of the bourgeois revolution in Russia (February 1917) the national movement in the border regions bore the character of a bourgeois liberation movement. The nationalities of Russia, which for ages had been oppressed and exploited by the "old regime," for the first time felt their strength and rushed into the fight with their oppressors. "Abolish national oppression"—such was the slogan of the movement. "All-national" institutions sprang up overnight throughout the border regions of Russia. The movement was headed by the national, bourgeois-democratic intelligentsia. "National Councils" in Latvia, the Estonian region, Lithuania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the North Caucasus, Kirghizia and the Middle Volga region; the "Rada" in the Ukraine and in Byelorussia; the "Sfatul Tsarii" in Bessarabia; the "Kurul-tai" in the Crimea and in Bashkiria; the "Autonomous Government" in Turkestan—such were the "all-national" institutions around which the national bourgeoisie rallied its forces. It was a question of emancipation from tsarism—the "fundamental cause" of national oppres-sion—and of the formation of national bourgeois states. The right of nations to self-determination was interpreted as the right of the national bourgeoisies in the border regions to take power into their own hands and to take advantage of the February Revolution for forming "their own" national states. The further development of the revolution did not, and could not, come within the calculations of the above-mentioned bourgeois institutions. And the fact was overlooked that tsarism was being replaced by naked and barefaced imperialism, and that this imperialism was a stronger and more dangerous foe of the nationalities and the basis of a new national oppression.
The abolition of tsarism and the accession to power of the bourgeoisie did not, however, lead to the abolition of national oppression. The old, crude form of national oppression was replaced by a new, refined, but all the more dangerous, form of oppression. Far from abandoning the policy of national oppression, the Lvov-Milyukov-Kerensky Government organized a new campaign against Finland (dispersal of the Diet in the summer of 1917) and the Ukraine (suppression of Ukrainian cultural institutions). What is more, that Government, which was imperialist by its very nature, called upon the population to continue the war in order to subjugate new lands, new colonies and nationalities. It was compelled to this not only because of the intrinsic nature of imperialism, but also because of the existence of the old imperialist states in the West, which were irresistibly striving to subjugate new lands and nationalities and threatening to narrow its sphere of influence. A struggle of the imperialist states for the subjugation of small nationalities as a condition for the existence of these states—such was the picture which was revealed in the course of the imperialist war. This unsightly picture was in no way improved by the abolition of tsarism and the appearance of the Milyukov-Kerensky Government on the scene. Since the "all-national" institutions in the border regions displayed a tendency to political independence, naturally they encountered the insuperable hostility of the imperialist government of Russia. Since, on the other hand, while establishing the power of the national bourgeoisie, they remained deaf to the vital interests of "their own" workers and peasants, they evoked grumbling and discontent among those. What were known as the "national regiments" only added fuel to the flames: they were impotent against the danger from above and only intensified and aggravated the danger from below. The "all-national" institutions were left defenceless against blows from without and explosions from within. The incipient bourgeois national states began to fade before they could blossom.
Thus, the old bourgeois-democratic interpretation of the principle of self-determination became a fiction and lost its revolutionary significance. It was clear that under such circumstances there could be no question of the abolition of national oppression and establishing the independence of the small national states. It became obvious that the emancipation of the labouring masses of the oppressed nationalities and the abolition of national oppression were inconceivable without a break with imperialism, without the labouring masses overthrowing "their own" national bourgeoisie and taking power themselves.
That was strikingly borne out after the October Revolution.
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE NATIONAL QUESTION
The February Revolution harboured irreconcilable inner contradictions. The revolution was accomplished by the efforts of the workers and the peasants (soldiers), but as a result of the revolution power passed not to the workers and peasants, but to the bourgeoisie. In making the revolution the workers and peasants wanted to put an end to the war and to secure peace. But the bourgeoisie, on coming to power, strove to use the revolutionary ardour of the masses for a continuation of the war and against peace. The economic disruption of the country and the food crisis demanded the expropriation of capital and industrial establishments for the benefit of the workers, and the confiscation of the landlords' land for the benefit of the peasants, but the bourgeois Milyukov-Kerensky Government stood guard over the interests of the landlords and capitalists, resolutely protecting them against all encroachments on the part of the workers and peasants. It was a bourgeois revolution, accomplished by the agency of the workers and peasants for the benefit of the exploiters.
Meanwhile, the country continued to groan under the burden of the imperialist war, economic disintegration and the breakdown of the food supply. The front was falling to pieces and melting away. Factories and mills were coming to a standstill. Famine was spreading through the country. The February Revolution, with its inner contradictions, was obviously not enough for "the salvation of the country." The Milyukov-Be-rensky Government was obviously incapable of solving the basic problems of the revolution.
A new, socialist revolution was required to lead the country out of the blind alley of imperialist war and economic disintegration.
That revolution came as a result of the October uprising.
By overthrowing the power of the landlords and the bourgeoisie and replacing it by a government of workers and peasants, the October Revolution resolved the contradictions of the February Revolution at one stroke. The abolition of the omnipotence of the landlords and kulaks and the handing over of the land for the use of the labouring masses of the countryside; the expropriation of the mills and factories and their transfer to control by the workers; the break with imperialism and the ending of the predatory war; the publication of the secret treaties and the exposure of the policy of annexations; lastly, the proclamation of self-determination for the labouring masses of the oppressed peoples and the recognition of the independence of Finland—such were he basic measures carried into effect by the Soviet power in the early period of the Soviet revolution.
That was a genuinely socialist revolution.
The revolution, which started in the centre, could not long be confined to that narrow territory. Once having triumphed in the centre, it was bound to spread to the border regions. And, indeed, from the very first days of the revolution, the revolutionary tide spread from the North all over Russia, sweeping one border region after another. But here it encountered a dam in the shape of the "National Councils" and regional "governments" (Don, Kuban, Siberia) which had been formed prior to the October Revolution. The point is that these "national governments" would not hear of a socialist revolution. Bourgeois by nature, they had not the slightest wish to destroy the old, bourgeois order; on the contrary, they considered it their duty to preserve and consolidate it by every means in their power. Essentially imperialist, they had not the slightest wish to break with imperialism; on the contrary, they had never been averse to seizing and subjugating bits and morsels of the territory of "foreign" nationalities whenever opportunity offered. No wonder that the "national governments" in the border regions declared war on the socialist government in the centre. And, once they had declared war, they naturally became hotbeds of reaction, which attracted all that was counter-revolutionary in Russia. Everyone knows that all the counter-revolutionaries thrown out of Russia rushed to these hotbeds, and there, around them, formed themselves into whiteguard "national" regiments.
But, in addition to "national governments," there are in the border regions national workers and peasants. Organized even before the October Revolution in their revolutionary Soviets patterned on the Soviets in the centre of Russia, they had never severed connections with their brothers in the North. They too were striving to defeat the bourgeoisie; they too were fighting for the triumph of socialism. No wonder that their conflict with "their own" national governments grew daily more acute. The October Revolution only strengthened the alliance between the workers and peasants of the border regions and the workers and peasants of Russia, and inspired them with faith in the triumph of socialism. And the war of the "national governments" against the Soviet power brought the conflict of the national masses with these "governments" to the point of a complete rupture, to open rebellion against them.
Thus was formed a socialist alliance of the workers and peasants of all Russia against the counter-revolutionary alliance of the bourgeois national "governments" of the border regions of Russia.
The fight of the border "governments" is depicted by some as a fight for national emancipation against the "soulless centralism" of the Soviet regime. But that is quite untrue. No regime in the world has permitted such extensive decentralization, no government in the world has ever granted to the peoples such complete national freedom as the Soviet power in Russia. The fight of the border "governments" was, and is, a fight of bourgeois counter-revolution against socialism. The national flag is tacked on to the cause only to deceive the masses, as a popular flag which conveniently conceals the counterrevolutionary designs of the national bourgeoisie.
But the fight of the "national" and regional "governments" proved an unequal one. Attacked from two sides — from without by the Soviet power of Russia, and from within by "their own" workers and peasants — the "national governments" were obliged to retreat after the very first engagements. The uprising of the Finnish workers and torppari (1) and the flight of the bourgeois "Senate"; the uprising of the Ukrainian workers and peasants and the flight of the bourgeois "Rada"; the uprising of the workers and peasants in the Don, Kuban, and Siberia and the collapse of Kaledin, Kornilov and the Siberian "government"; the uprising of the poor peasants of Turkestan and the flight of the "autonomous government"; the agrarian revolution in the Caucasus and the utter impotence of the "National Councils" of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan — all these are generally known facts which demonstrated the complete isolation of the border "governments" from "their own" labouring masses. Utterly defeated, the "national governments" were "obliged" to appeal for aid against "their own" workers and peasants to the imperiaIists of the West, to the agelong oppressors and exploiters of the nationalities of the world.
Thus began the period of foreign intervention and occupation of the border regions — a period which once more revealed the counter-revolutionary character of the "national" and regional "governments."
Only now did it become obvious to all that the national bourgeoisie was striving not for the liberation of "its own people" from national oppression, but for liberty to squeeze profits out of them, for liberty to retain its privileges and capital.
Only now did it become clear that the emancipation of the oppressed nationalities was inconceivable without a rupture with imperialism, without the overthrow of the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nationalities, without the transfer of power to the labouring masses of these nationalities.
Thus, the old, bourgeois conception of the principle of self-determination, with its slogan "All power to the national bourgeoisie," was exposed and cast aside by the very course of the revolution. The socialist conception of the principle of self-determination, with its slogan "All power to the labouring masses of the oppressed nationalities," entered into its own and it became possible to apply it.
Thus, the October Revolution, having put an end to the old, bourgeois movement for national emancipation, inaugurated the era of a new, socialist movement of the workers and peasants of the oppressed nationalities, directed against all oppression—including, therefore, national oppression—against the power of the bourgeoisie, "their own" and foreign, and against imperialism in general.
THE WORLD-WIDE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION
Having triumphed in the centre of Russia and embraced a number of the border regions, the October Revolution could not stop short at the territorial borders of Russia. In the atmosphere of the imperialist world war and the general discontent among the masses, it could not but spread to neighbouring countries. Russia's break with imperialism and its escape from the predatory war; the publication of the secret treaties and the solemn renunciation of the policy of annexations; the proclamation of the national freedom and recognition of the independence of Finland; the declaring of Russia a "federation of Soviet national republics" and the battle cry of a determined struggle against imperialism issued to the world by the Soviet Government —all this could not but deeply affect the enslaved East and the bleeding West.
And, indeed, the October Revolution is the first revolution in world history to break the age-long sleep of the labouring masses of the oppressed peoples of the East and to draw them into the fight against world imperialism. The formation of workers' and peasants' Soviets in Persia, China and India, modelled on the Soviets in Russia, is sufficiently convincing evidence of this.
The October Revolution is the first revolution in world history to provide the workers and soldiers of the West with a living, salvation-bringing example and to impel them on to the path of real emancipation from the yoke of war and imperialism. The uprising of the workers and soldiers in Austria-Hungary and Germany, the formation of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the revolutionary struggle of the subject peoples of Austria-Hungary against national oppression is sufficiently eloquent evidence of this.
The chief point is not at all that the struggle in the East and even in the West has not yet succeeded in shedding its bourgeois-nationalist features; the point is that the struggle against imperialism has begun, that it is continuing and is inevitably bound to arrive at its logical goal.
Foreign intervention and the occupation policy of the "external" imperialists merely sharpen the revolutionary crisis, by drawing now peoples into the struggle and extending the area of the revolutionary battles with, imperialism.
Thus, the October Revolution, by establishing a tie between the peoples of the backward East and of the advanced West, is ranging them in a common camp of struggle against imperialism.
Thus, from the particular question of combating national oppression, the national question is evolving into the general question of emancipating the nations, colonies and semi-colonies from imperialism.
The mortal sin of the Second International and its leader, Kautsky, consists, incidentally, in the fact that they have always gone over to the bourgeois conception of national self-determination, that they have never understood the revolutionary meaning of the latter, that they were unable or unwilling to put the national question on the revolutionary footing of an open fight against imperialism, that they were unable or unwilling to link the national question with the question of the emancipation of the colonies.
The obtuseness of the Austrian Social-Democrats of the type of Bauer and Renner consists in the fact that they have not understood the inseparable connection between the national question and the question of power, that they tried to separate the national question from politics and to confine it to cultural and educational questions, forgetting the existence of such "trifles" as imperialism and the colonies enslaved by imperialism.
It is asserted that the principles of self-determination and "defence of the fatherland" have been abrogated by the very course of events under the conditions of a rising socialist revolution. Actually, it is not the principles of self-determination and "defence of the fatherland" that have been abrogated, but the bourgeois interpretation of these principles. One has only to glance at the occupied regions, which are languishing under the yoke of imperialism and are yearning for liberation; one has only to glance at Russia, which is waging a revolutionary war for the defence of the socialist fatherland from the imperialist robbers; one has only to reflect on the present events in Austria-Hungary; one has only to glance at the enslaved colonies and semi-colonies, which have already organized their own Soviets (India, Persia, China)—one has only to glance at all this to realize the whole revolutionary significance of the principle of self-determination in its socialist interpretation.
The great world-wide significance of the October Revolution chiefly consists in the fact that:
1) It has widened the scope of the national question and converted it from the particular question of combating national oppression in Europe into the general question of emancipating the oppressed peoples, colonies and semi-colonies from imperialism;
2) It has opened up wide possibilities for their emancipation and the right paths towards it, has thereby greatly facilitated the cause of the emancipation of the oppressed peoples of the West and the East, and has drawn them into the common current of the victorious struggle against imperialism;
3) It has thereby erected a bridge between the socialist West and the enslaved East, having created a new front of revolutions against world imperialism, extending from the proletarians of the West, through the Russian revolution, to the oppressed peoples of the East.
This in fact explains the indescribable enthusiasm which is now being displayed for the Russian proletariat by the toiling and exploited masses of the East and the West.
And this mainly explains the frenzy with which the imperialist robbers of the whole world have now flung themselves upon Soviet Russia.
Pravda, Nos. 241 and 250, November 6 and 19, 1918
—landless peasants in Finland, who were forced to rent land from the big proprietors on extortionate terms.
The Ukraine is Liberating Itself
December 1, 1918
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
This article, with certain alterations, was also published as an editorial in Pravda, No. 261, December 1, 1918.
The Ukraine with its natural wealth has long been an object of imperialist exploitation.
Before the revolution the Ukraine was exploited by the Western imperialists quietly, so to speak, without "military operations." French, Belgian and British imperialists organized huge enterprises in the Ukraine (coal, metal, etc.), acquired the majority of the shares and proceeded to suck the blood out of the Ukrainian people in the usual, "lawful" and unobtrusive way.
After the October Revolution the picture changed. The October Revolution snapped the threads of imperialism and proclaimed the land and the factories the property of the Ukrainian people, making it impossible for the imperialists to exploit in the "ordinary," "unobtrusive" way. Imperialism was thus expelled from the Ukraine.
But imperialism had no desire to yield and positively refused to reconcile itself to the new situation. Hence the "necessity" for the forcible enslavement of the Ukraine, the "necessity" for its occupation.
The Austro-German imperialists were the first to undertake the occupation of the Ukraine. The "Rada" and the "Hetmanship," with their "independence," were only playthings and a convenient screen for this occupation, giving outward "sanction" to the exploitation of the Ukraine by the Austro-German imperialists.
Who is not familiar with the endless humiliations and tribulations undergone by the Ukraine during the Austro-German occupation, the destruction of workers' and peasants' organizations, the complete disruption of industry and railway transport, the hangings and shootings, which were such commonplace features of Ukrainian "independence" under the aegis of the Austro-German imperialists?
But the defeat of Austro-German imperialism and the victory of the German revolution have fundamentally changed the situation in the Ukraine. The road is now open for the liberation of labouring Ukraine from the imperialist yoke. The ruination and enslavement of the Ukraine are coming to an end. The fires of revolution now spreading in the Ukraine will consume the last remnants of imperialism and its "national" hangers-on. The "Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government" (2) which has risen on the tide of revolution will build a new life based on the rule of the Ukrainian workers and peasants. The "Manifesto" of the Ukrainian Soviet Government, which restores the landlords' land to the peasants, the mills and factories to the workers, and full liberty to the labouring and exploit-ed—this historic "Manifesto" will reverberate like thunder through the Ukraine, striking fear into the hearts of its enemies, and ring out like a joyful peal of bells, gladdening and consoling the oppressed sons of the Ukraine.
But the struggle is not yet over, the victory is not yet secure. The real struggle in the Ukraine has only just begun.
At a time when German imperialism is at its last gasp and the "Hetmanship" in its death agony, British and French imperialism is massing forces and preparing to land troops in the Crimea for the occupation of the Ukraine. They, the Anglo-French imperialists, want to fill the place left vacant by the German invaders of the Ukraine. At the same time, a "Ukrainian Directory" (3) is appearing on the scene, headed by the adventurer Petlura, with the slogan of the old "independence" in a "new" form—as a new screen, one more convenient than the "Hetmanship," for the new, Anglo-French, occupation of the Ukraine!
The real struggle in the Ukraine is still to come.
We have no doubt that the Ukrainian Soviet Government will be able to administer a fitting rebuff to the new uninvited guests—the would-be enslavers from Britain and France.
We have no doubt that the Ukrainian Soviet Government will be able to expose the reactionary role of the adventure-seekers of the Vinnichenko-Petlura camp who, willingly or unwillingly, are paving the way for the incursion of the Anglo-French enslavers.
We have no doubt that the Ukrainian Soviet Government will be able to rally around itself the workers and peasants of the Ukraine and lead them with credit to battle and victory.
We call upon all loyal sons of the Soviet Ukraine to come to the aid of the young Ukrainian Soviet Government and help it in its glorious fight against the stranglers of the Ukraine.
The Ukraine is liberating itself. Hasten to its aid!
Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 4 December 1, 1918
The Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Ukraine was set up in the latter part of November 1918, its seat being first Kursk, and then Sudja. K. E. Voroshilov and F. A. Sergeyev (Artyom) were among its members. On November 29, 1918, the Ukrainian Soviet Government issued a manifesto announcing the overthrow of the Hetman and the establishment of Soviet power in the Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Directory—a counter-revolutionary nationalist government formed in Kiev at the close of 1918 by Ukrainian nationalists headed by Petlura and Vinnichenko. It was overthrown by an insurrection of the Ukrainian workers and peasants in February 1919.
The Government's Policy on
the National Question
January 31, 1919
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
A year ago, and even before the October Revolution, Russia, as a state, presented a picture of disintegration. Side by side with the old "boundless Russian Empire" there were a whole series of new small "states" all pulling in different directions—such was the picture.
The October Revolution and the Brest Peace deepened and furthered the process of disintegration. People no longer spoke of Russia, but of Great Russia. The bourgeois governments formed in the border regions were imbued with hostility towards the socialist Soviet Government in the centre and declared war on it.
Parallel with this, there was undoubtedly a very strong urge on the part of the workers' and peasants' Soviets in the border regions for unity with the centre. But this urge was swamped, and later suppressed, by the counter-trend of the foreign imperialists who had begun to interfere in our internal affairs.
The Austro-German imperialists took the lead in this and skilfully exploited the disintegration of the old Russia, plentifully supplying the border governments with all they needed for their fight against the centre, occupying the border regions in certain parts, and generally contributing to the complete disintegration of Russia. The Entente imperialists had no wish to lag behind the Austro-Germans and adopted a similar course.
The enemies of the Bolshevik Party of course (of course!) laid the blame for the disintegration on the Soviet Government. But it will be easily understood that the Soviet Government could not, and had no wish to, counteract the inevitable process of temporary disintegration. The Soviet Government realized that the unity of Russia, forcibly maintained with imperialist bayonets, was bound to break down with the downfall of Russian imperialism. The Soviet Government could not maintain unity with the methods used by Russian imperialism without being false to its own nature. The Soviet Government was aware that not any sort of unity was needed for socialism, but only fraternal unity, and that such unity could come only in the shape of a voluntary union of the labouring classes of the nationalities of Russia, or not at all....
The rout of Austro-German imperialism changed the whole picture. On the one hand, there developed in the border regions which had experienced the horrors of occupation a powerful gravitation towards the Russian proletariat and its forms of state structure which overwhelmed the separatist efforts of the border governments. On the other, there was no longer that foreign armed force (Austro-German imperialism) which had prevented the labouring masses of the occupied regions from manifesting their own political complexion. The mighty revolutionary upsurge which followed in the occupied regions, and the formation of a number of worker and peasant national republics, left no doubt regarding the political aspirations of the occupied regions. To the requests for recognition made by the Soviet national governments, the Soviet Government of Russia replied by unreservedly recognizing the full independence of the newly-formed Soviet republics. In acting thus the Soviet Government was adhering to its old and tried policy, which rejects all coercion against nationalities and demands full freedom of development for their labouring masses. The Soviet Government realized that only on a basis of mutual confidence could mutual understanding arise, and that only on a basis of mutual understanding could a firm and indestructible union of the peoples be built.
Again the enemies of the Soviet Government did not fail to accuse it of making "another attempt" to dismember Russia. The more reactionary of them, realizing how powerfully the border regions were gravitating to the centre, proclaimed a "new" slogan: re-establishment of "Greater Russia"—by fire and sword, by the overthrow of the Soviet Government, of course. The Krasnovs and Denikins, the Kolchaks and Chaikovskys, who only yesterday had been trying to break Russia up into a number of separate counter-revolutionary hotbeds, now suddenly conceived the "idea" of an "all-Russian state." The agents of British and French capital, whose political instinct cannot be denied, and who only yesterday were gambling on the disintegration of Russia, now changed their play so abruptly that they formed not one, but two "all-Russian" governments simultaneously (in Siberia and in the South). All this speaks convincingly of the irrepressible gravitation of the border regions to the centre, which the home and foreign counter-revolutionaries are now trying to exploit.
It need scarcely be said that, after the year and a half of revolutionary work of the labouring masses of the nationalities of Russia, the counter-revolutionary appetites of the would-be restorers of the "old Russia" (together with the old regime, of course) are doomed to disappointment. But the more utopian the plans of our counter-revolutionaries, the more realistic is seen to be the Soviet Government's policy, which is entirely based upon the mutual and fraternal confidence of the peoples of Russia. What is more, in the present state of international affairs, this policy is the only realistic and the only revolutionary one.
This is eloquently attested, for example, by the recent declaration of the Congress of Soviets of the Byelorussian Republic (1) establishing a federal connection with the Russian Soviet Republic. The fact is that the Byelorussian Soviet Republic, whose independence was recently recognized, has now, at its Congress of Soviets, voluntarily proclaimed its union with the Russian Republic. In its declaration of February 3, the Byelorussian Congress of Soviets affirms that "only a free and voluntary union of the working people of all the now independent Soviet Republics can ensure the triumph of the workers and peasants in their struggle against the capitalist world."
"A voluntary union of the working people of all the independent Soviet Republics." . . . This is precisely the course the Soviet Government has consistently advocated for uniting the peoples, and which is now yielding its beneficent fruits.
The Byelorussian Congress of Soviets decided, furthermore, to unite with the Lithuanian Republic, and recognized the necessity for a federal tie between the two republics and the Russian Soviet Republic. Telegraphic dispatches state that the Soviet Government of Lithuania holds the same view, and, it appears, a conference of the Lithuanian Communist Party, the most influential of all the Lithuanian parties, approves the attitude of the Soviet Government of Lithuania. There is every reason to hope that the Congress of Soviets of Lithuania (2) now being convened will follow the same course.
This is one more confirmation of the correctness of the Soviet Government's policy on the national question.
Thus, from the breakdown of the old imperialist unity, through independent Soviet republics, the peoples of Russia are coming to a new, voluntary and fraternal unity.
This path is unquestionably not of the easiest, but it is the only one that leads to a firm and indestructible socialist union of the labouring masses of the nationalities of Russia.
Izvestia, No. 30, February 9, 1919
The First Byelorussian Congress of Soviets, which opened on February 2, 1919, in Minsk and was attended by 230 delegates, proclaimed Byelorussia an independent Soviet Socialist Republic, adopted the Constitution of the Byelorussian S.S.R. and elected a Central Executive Committee. Recognition of the independence of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee was announced by the latter's Chairman, Y. M. Sverdlov, who took part in the work of the congress.
The First Congress of Soviets of Lithuania, which met in Vilna from February 18 to 20, 1919, and was attended by 220 delegates, examined, among other matters, the report of the Lithuanian Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government, the question of union with Byelorussia. The congress recognized the necessity for the union of the Lithuanian and Byelorussian Soviet Republics and their federation with the Russian Soviet Republic and declared in its resolution: "Keenly conscious of our inseparable bond with all the Soviet Socialist Republics, the congress instructs the Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Lithuania and Byelorussia to inaugurate negotiations forthwith with the workers' and peasants' governments of the R.S.F.S.R., Latvia, the Ukraine and Estland with a view to constituting all these republics into a single R.S.F.S.R."
February 22, 1919
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
The world has definitely and irrevocably split into two camps: the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism.
Over there, in their camp, are America and Britain, France and Japan, with their capital, armaments, tried agents and experienced administrators.
Here, in our camp, are Soviet Russia and the young Soviet republics and the growing proletarian revolution in the countries of Europe, without capital, without tried agents or experienced administrators, but, on the other hand, with experienced agitators capable of firing the hearts of the working people with the spirit of emancipation.
The struggle between these two camps constitutes the hub of present-day affairs, determines the whole substance of the present home and foreign policies of the leaders of the old and the new worlds.
Estland and Lithuania, the Ukraine and the Crimea, Turkestan and Siberia, Poland and the Caucasus, and, finally, Russia itself are not aims in themselves. They are only an arena of struggle, of a mortal struggle between two forces: imperialism, which is striving to strengthen the yoke of slavery, and socialism, which is fighting for emancipation from slavery.
The strength of imperialism lies in the ignorance of the masses, who create wealth for their masters and forge chains of oppression for themselves. But the ignorance of the masses is a transient thing and inevitably tends to be dispelled in the course of time, as the dissatisfaction of the masses grows and the revolutionary movement spreads. The imperialists have capital—but who does not know that capital is powerless in the face of the inevitable? For this reason, the rule of imperialism is impermanent and insecure.
The weakness of imperialism lies in its powerlessness to end the war without catastrophe, without increasing mass unemployment, without further robbery of its own workers and peasants, without further seizures of foreign territory. It is a question not of ending the war, nor even of victory over Germany, but of who is to be made to pay the billions spent on the war. Russia emerged from the imperialist war rejuvenated, because she ended the war at the cost of the imperialists, home and foreign, and laid the expense of the war on those who were directly responsible for it by expropriating them. The imperialists cannot do this; they cannot expropriate themselves, otherwise they would not be imperialists. To end the war in imperialist fashion, they are "compelled" to doom the workers to starvation (wholesale unemployment due to the closing down of "unprofitable" plants, additional indirect taxation, a terrific rise in prices of food); they are "compelled" to plunder Germany, Austria-Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, the Caucasus, Turkestan, Siberia.
Need it be said that all this broadens the base of revolution, shakes the foundations of imperialism and hastens the inevitable catastrophe?
Three months ago imperialism, drunk with victory, was rattling the sabre and threatening to overrun Russia with its armed hordes. How could "poverty-stricken" and "savage" Soviet Russia hold out against the "disciplined" army of the British and French, who had smashed "even" the Germans, for all their vaunted technical equipment? So they thought. But they overlooked a "trifle," they failed to realize that peace, even an "indecent" peace, would inevitably undermine the "discipline" of their army and rouse its opposition to another war, while unemployment and high living costs would inevitably strengthen the revolutionary movement of the workers against their imperialists.
And what did we find? The "disciplined" army proved unfit for purposes of intervention: it sickened with an inevitable disease—demoralization. The boasted "civil peace" and "law and order" turned into their opposite, into civil war. The hastily concocted bourgeois "governments" in the border regions of Russia proved to be soap bubbles, unsuitable as a camouflage for intervention, which had been undertaken, of course (of course!), in the name of "humanitarianism" and "civilization." As to Soviet Russia, not only did their hope for a "walk over" fail; they even deemed it necessary to retreat a little and invite her to a "conference," on the Princes' Islands. (1) For the successes of the Red Army, the appearance of new national Soviet republics which were infecting neighbouring countries with the spirit of revolution, the spread of revolution in the West and the appearance of Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets in the Entente countries were arguments that were more than persuasive. What is more, things have reached a point where even Clemenceau the "implacable," who only yesterday refused to issue passports to the Berne Conference (2) and who was preparing to devour "anarchistic" Russia, is today, having been rather mauled by the revolution, not averse to availing himself of the services of that honest "Marxist" broker, the old Kautsky, and wants to send him to Russia to negotiate—that is to say, "investigate."
"Where are they now, the haughty words, The lordly strength, the royal mien?" (3)
All these changes took place in the space of some three months.
We have every ground for affirming that the trend will continue in the same direction, for it has to be admitted that in the present moment of "storm and stress" Russia is the only country in which social and economic life is proceeding "normally," without strikes or anti-government demonstrations, that the Soviet Government is the most stable of all the existing governments in Europe, and that the strength and prestige of Soviet Russia, both at home and abroad, are growing day by day in direct proportion to the decline of the strength and prestige of the imperialist governments.
The world has split into two irreconcilable camps: the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism. Imperialism in its death throes is clutching at the last straw, the "League of Nations," trying to save itself by uniting the robbers of all countries into a single alliance. But its efforts are in vain, because time and circumstances are working against it and in favour of socialism. The tide of socialist revolution is irresistibly rising and investing the strongholds of imperialism. Its thunder is re-echoing through the countries of the oppressed East. The soil is beginning to burn under the feet of imperialism. Imperialism is doomed to inevitable destruction.
Izvestia, No, 41, February 22, 1919
The Council of the Entente, with the professed aim of establishing peace in Russia, decided to invite the Soviet Government and the Kolchak, Denikin and other counter-revolutionary governments to send representatives to a conference to be held in February 1919 on the Princes' Islands, in the Sea of Marmora. The conference did not take place.
Berne Conference — a conference of social-chauvinist and Centrist parties of the Second International held in Berne, Switzerland, February 3-10, 1919.
From A. V. Koltsov's poem, "The Forest" (See A. V. Koltsov, Complete Collection of Poems, Leningrad 1939, p. 90).
March 16, 1919
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
The war between imperialism and socialism continues. National "liberalism" and "patronage" of "small" nations; the "peaceableness" of the Entente and its "renunciation" of intervention; the call for "disarmament" and the "readiness" for negotiation; the "concern" for the "Russian people" and "desire" to "assist" it with all "available means"—these and much else of a like nature are only a screen for the intensified supply of tanks and munitions to the enemies of socialism, an ordinary diplomatic manoeuvre designed to veil the "search" for new forms, "acceptable" to "public opinion," of strangling socialism, of strangling the "small" nations, colonies and semi-colonies.
Some four months ago Allied imperialism, having vanquished its Austro-German rivals, was emphatically and categorically insisting on armed interference (intervention!) in "Russian affairs." No negotiations with "anarchistic" Russia! The plan of the imperialists was to transfer part of their "released" forces to the territory of Russia, incorporate them in the whiteguard units of the Skoropadskys and Krasnovs, the Denikins and Bicherakhovs, the Kolchaks and Chaikovskys, and constrict the seat of revolution, Soviet Russia, in an "iron ring." But that plan was wrecked by the tide of revolution. The workers of Europe, swept by the revolutionary movement, launched a fierce campaign against armed intervention. The "released forces" proved to be manifestly unsuited for an armed fight against revolution. More, on coming in contact with the insurrectionary workers, they themselves became "infected" with Bolshevism. Very eloquent proof of this was the capture by the Soviet forces of Kherson and Nikolayev, where the Entente troops refused to wage war on the workers. As to the projected "iron ring," it not only did not prove "deadly" but, what is more, itself developed a number of fissures. The plan of outright and undisguised intervention thus turned out to be clearly "inexpedient." It is this that explains the recent statements of Lloyd George and Wilson on the "permissibility" of negotiating with the Bolsheviks and on "non-interference" in Russia's internal affairs, the proposal to send the Berne commission to Russia, (1) and, lastly, the projected invitation (the second!) of all the "de facto" governments in Russia to a "peace" conference. (2)
But it was not only this factor that dictated the renunciation of undisguised intervention. It is also to be attributed to the fact that in the course of the struggle a new scheme, a new, disguised form of armed intervention was conceived, one more complicated, it is true, than open intervention, but on the other hand more "convenient" for the "civilized" and "humane" Entente. We are referring to the alliance of the bourgeois governments of Rumania, Galicia, Poland, Germany and Finland hastily concocted by imperialism against Soviet Russia. It is true that only yesterday these governments were at each other's throats on the plea of "national" interests and national "liberty." It is true that only yesterday cries went up from all the housetops about a "patriotic war" of Rumania against Galicia, of Galicia against Poland, of Poland against Germany. But what did the "fatherland" count for in comparison to the financial wealth of the Entente, once the latter had ordered the cessation of "internecine warfare"! Once the Entente had ordered the establishment of a united front against Soviet Russia, could they, the hirelings of imperialism, do anything but "spring to attention"! Even the German Government, reviled and trampled in the mud as it was by the Entente, even it lost all sense of self-respect and begged to be allowed to take part in the crusade against socialism in the interests . . . of the Entente! Clearly, the Entente has every reason to rub its hands in glee as it prates about "non-interference" in Russia's affairs and "peace" negotiations with the Bolsheviks. What is the sense of undisguised intervention, which is "dangerous" to imperialism and moreover demands costly sacrifices, when there is a possibility of organizing at the expense of others, of "small" nations, "absolutely safe" intervention disguised under a national flag? A war of Rumania, Galicia, Poland and Germany against Russia? But, surely, this is a war for "national existence," for the "protection of the eastern frontier," a war against Bolshevik "imperialism," a war waged by the Rumanians, Galicians, Poles and Germans "themselves." What has the Entente got to do with it? True, the Entente is supplying them with money and arms, but that is simply a financial operation hallowed by the international law of the "civilized" world. Is it not clear that the Entente is as innocent as a dove, that it is "against" intervention?. . .
Thus, imperialism has been compelled to pass from a policy of sabre-rattling, a policy of open intervention, to a policy of masked intervention, a policy of drawing dependent nations, small and big, into the fight against socialism.
The policy of open intervention failed because of the growth of the revolutionary movement in Europe, because of the sympathy entertained by the workers of all countries for Soviet Russia. That policy was utilized to the full by revolutionary socialism to expose imperialism.
There can be no doubt that in the end the policy of calling on the last reserves, the so-called "small" nations, the policy of drawing the latter into the war against socialism, will similarly fail. And not only because the growing revolution in the West is, despite everything, sapping the foundations of imperialism, and not only because the revolutionary movement is steadily swelling within the "small" nations themselves, but also because contact of the "armed forces" of these nations with the revolutionary workers of Russia is bound to "infect" them with the virus of Bolshevism. Socialism will avail itself of every opportunity to open the eyes of the workers and peasants of these nations to the predatory character of imperialism's "paternal concern."
The inevitable result of the imperialist policy of masked intervention will be that it will draw the "small" nations into the sphere of the revolution and extend the base of socialism.
Izvestia, No. 58, March 16, 1919
Signed: J. Stalin
The Berne commission — a commission consisting of Kautsky, Hilferding, Longuet and others, appointed by the social-chauvinist conference in Berne "to investigate social and political conditions in Russia." In reply to a request to allow the commission to enter Russia, the Soviet Government stated on February 19, 1919, that although it did not regard the Berne Conference as a socialist conference, or as representing the working class in any way, it nevertheless had no objection to allowing the commission to enter Soviet Russia. However, the visit of "the eminent inspectors from Berne," as V. I. Lenin called the commission, did not take place.
It was reported in the British press at the close of February 1919 that the Council of the Entente intended to renew the invitation to a conference on the Princes' Islands.
The Military Situation in the South
January 7, 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
ABORTIVE PLANS OF THE ENTENTE
In the spring of 1919 a combined Kolchak-Denikin-Yudenich campaign was conceived against Soviet Russia. The main blow was to be delivered by Kolchak, with whom Denikin hoped to link up in Saratov for a joint advance on Moscow from the East. Yudenich was to strike an auxiliary blow, at Petrograd.
The aim of the campaign, as formulated in Guch-kov's report to Denikin, was "to crush Bolshevism at one stroke, by depriving it of its basic vital centres — Moscow and Petrograd."
The plan of the campaign was sketched by Denikin in a letter to Kolchak which fell into our hands when we seized Grishin-Almazov's headquarters in the spring of 1919. "The main thing," Denikin wrote to Kolchak, "is not to stop at the Volga, but to drive forward to the heart of Bolshevism, Moscow. I hope to meet you in Saratov. . . . The Poles will do their work, and as to Yudenich, he is ready, and will strike at Petrograd without loss of time. . . ."
That is what Denikin wrote in the spring, when Kol-chak's offensive on the Volga was in full swing.
However, that plan failed. Kolchak was thrown back beyond the Urals. Denikin was halted on the River Seim-Liski-Balashov line. Yudenich was pressed back beyond Yamburg.
Soviet Russia remained safe and sound.
But the Entente cannibals did not lose heart. By the autumn of 1919 a plan for a new crushing campaign was conceived. Kolchak, naturally, was ruled out. The centre of operations was transferred from the East to the South, whence Denikin was to strike the main blow. As in the spring, Yudenich was to deliver an auxiliary blow — another march on Petrograd. General Mai-Mayevsky, the former commander of the Volunteer Army, stated in a speech on the day after Orel was captured that he would be in Moscow with his troops "not later than the end of December, by Christmas 1919."
The Denikinites were so self-confident that already in October Donets capitalists were offering a prize of one million rubles (in tsarist money) to the regiment of the Volunteer Army which first entered Moscow. . . .
But it was the will of fate that this plan, too, should fail. Denikin's troops were hurled back beyond the Poltava-Kupyansk-Chertkovo line. Yudenich was routed and thrown back beyond the Narva. As to Kolchak, after his defeat at Novo-Nikolayevsk, nothing but a memory had remained of his army.
This time, too, Russia remained safe and sound.
The failure of the counter-revolutionaries this time was so unexpected and sudden that the vanquishers of imperialist Germany, the old wolves of the Entente, were obliged publicly to declare that "Bolshevism cannot be conquered by force of arms." The confusion of the imperialist fakirs was such that they lost the faculty of discerning the real causes of the defeat of the counter-revolution, and began to compare Russia, now with "shifting sands" where even the "very best general" was sure to fail, now with a "boundless desert" where even the "best armies" were sure to perish.
CAUSES OF THE DEFEAT OF THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION
What are the causes of the defeat of the counterrevolution, and of Denikin in the first place?
The instability of the rear of the counter-revolutionary forces. No army in the world can be victorious without a stable rear. Well, Denikin's rear (and Kol-chak's too) is quite unstable. This instability of the rear of the counter-revolutionary forces is due to the social character of the Denikin-Kolchak government which mustered these forces. Denikin and Kolchak bring with them the yoke not only of the landlords and capitalists, but also of British and French capital. The victory of Denikin and Kolchak would mean the loss of Russia's independence, would turn her into a milch cow of the British and French plutocrats. In this respect the Denikin-Kolchak government is a supremely anti-popular, anti-national government. In this respect the Soviet Government is the only popular and only national government, in the best sense of the words, because it brings with it not only the emancipation of the working people from capitalism, but also the emancipation of the whole of Russia from the yoke of world imperialism, the conversion of Russia from a colony into an independent and free country.
Is it not obvious that the Denikin-Kolchak government and its armies cannot command either the respect or the support of the broad strata of the Russian population?
Is it not obvious that the Denikin-Kolchak armies cannot possess that passionate desire for victory and that enthusiasm without which victory is altogether impossible?
The Denikin-Kolchak rear is falling to pieces, and is sapping the foundations of the front, because the Denikin-Kolchak government is a government which spells bondage for the Russian people, a government which arouses the maximum distrust among the broad strata of the population.
The rear of the Soviet armies grows stronger and stronger and nourishes the Red front with its sap because the Soviet Government is a government which is emancipating the Russian people and which enjoys the maximum confidence of the broad strata of the population.
The peripheral position of the counter-revolution. Even at the beginning of the October Revolution a certain geographical demarcation between the revolution and the counter-revolution was to be observed. As the civil war developed, the areas of revolution and counter-revolution became sharply defined. Inner Russia, with its industrial and cultural and political centres, Moscow and Petrograd, and with its nationally homogeneous population, principally Russian, became the base of the revolution. The border regions of Russia, however chiefly the southern and eastern border regions, which have no major industrial or cultural and political centres, and whose inhabitants are nationally heterogeneous to a high degree—consisting, on the one hand, of privileged Cossack colonizers, and, on the other, of subject Tatars Bashkirs and Kirghiz (in the East) and Ukrainians, Chechens, Ingushes and other, Moslem, peoples—became the base of counter-revolution.
It will be easily understood that there is nothing unnatural in this geographical distribution of the contending forces in Russia. For, indeed, who else could constitute the base of the Soviet Government, if not the proletariat of Petrograd and Moscow? Who else could constitute the backbone of the Denikin-Kolchak counterrevolution, if not that ancient tool of Russian imperialism, the Cossacks, who are privileged and organized as a military caste, and who have long exploited the non-Russian peoples of the border regions?
Is it not clear that no other "geographical distribution" was possible?
But the consequence of this was (and is) a number of fatal and inevitable disadvantages for the counter-revolution, and an equal number of inevitable advantages for the revolution.
For the success of troops operating in a period of bitter civil war it is absolutely essential that the human environment whose elements nourish and whose sap sustains them should be solid and united. This unity may be national (especially in the early phase of civil war), or class (especially in the developed phase of civil war). Without such unity, prolonged military success is inconceivable. But the fact of the matter is that for the armies of Deni-kin and Kolchak, the border regions of Russia (eastern and southern) do not, and cannot, either from the national or the class standpoint, represent even that minimum unity of the human environment without which (as I have already said) serious victory is impossible
For, indeed, what national unity can there be between the national aspirations of the Tatars, Bashkirs and Kirghiz (in the East) and the Kalmyks, Chechens, In-gushes and Ukrainians (in the South), on the one hand, and the essentially-Russian autocratic administrations of Kolchak and Denikin, on the other?
Or again: what class unity can there be between the privileged Cossacks of the Urals, Orenburg, the Don and the Kuban, on the one hand, and, on the other, all the other inhabitants of the border regions, not excepting the Russian "inogorodnie," who have always been oppressed and exploited by their neighbours, the Cossacks?
Is it not obvious that armies composed of such heterogeneous elements are bound to break up under the first serious blow of the Soviet armies, that every such blow is bound to increase the gravitation of the non-Cossack elements of the border regions of Russia towards the Soviet Government, which categorically rejects dominant-nation ambitions and willingly meets their national aspirations?
In contradistinction to the border regions, inner Russia presents an entirely different picture. Firstly, it is nationally united and solid, because nine-tenths of its population consist of Great Russians. Secondly, achievement of the class unity of the human environment which nourishes the front and the immediate rear of the Soviet armies is facilitated by the fact that this environment includes the proletariat of Petrograd and Moscow, which is popular among the peasants and is rallying them solidly around the Soviet Government.
This, incidentally, explains that striking contact in Soviet Russia between rear and front, a contact of which the Kolchak-Denikin government has never been able to boast. The Soviet Government has only to issue a call for assistance to the front for Russia instantly to put up a whole array of new regiments.
It is here, too, that we must seek the source of that amazing strength and unparalleled resilience which Soviet Russia usually displays at critical moments.
Here, too, must be sought the explanation of the fact, so incomprehensible to the civilized witch doctors of the Entente, that "when the counter-revolutionary armies reach certain boundaries (the boundaries of inner Russia!), they inevitably sustain disaster. . . ."
But besides these deep-seated causes of the defeat of the counter-revolutionaries, and of Denikin in the first place, there are other, more immediate causes (we are referring chiefly to the Southern Front).
1) Improvement in the matter of reserves and replenishments on the Soviet Southern Front.
2) Improvement in the matter of supply.
3) The flow to the front of communist workers from Petrograd, Moscow, Tver and Ivanovo-Voznesensk, who have joined our southern regiments and completely transformed them.
4) Repair of the machinery of control, which had been completely shattered by Mamontov's raids.
5) Skilful resort by the command of the Southern Front to flank blows during the offensive.
6) Methodical character of the offensive itself.
PRESENT SITUATION ON THE SOUTHERN FRONT
Of all Denikin's units, the force that must be regarded as the most serious is the Volunteer Army (infantry), because it is the most competent and has a large reserve of regular officers in its regiments, and Shkuro's and Mamontov's Cavalry Corps. The task of the Volunteer Army was to capture Moscow; that of Shkuro's and Mamontov's cavalry was to pierce our southern armies and disrupt their rear.
The first decisive successes of our infantry were scored in the battles at Orel, in the Kromy-Dmitrovsk area. Here our infantry routed the First (the best) Corps of the Volunteer Army, General Kutepov's Corps, with its Kornilov, Drozdov, Markov and Alexeyev Divisions.
The first decisive successes of our cavalry were scored in the battles at Voronezh, in the area of the rivers Ikorets, Usman, Voronezh and Don. Here Comrade Bu-dyonny's cavalry group first encountered the combined forces of Shkuro's and Mamontov's Corps face to face, and overthrew them.
Our successes at Orel and Voronezh laid the foundation for the subsequent southward advance of our armies. The successes at Kiev, Kharkov, Kupyansk and Liski were only a sequel and development of our basic successes at Orel and Voronezh. The Volunteer Army is now retreating in disorder under the pressure of our units, with its communications and control disrupted, and having lost not less than half its old effectives in killed, wounded and captured. It may be confidently of-firmed that unless it is withdrawn to the rear and thoroughly overhauled, it will soon cease to have any fighting capacity.
As to Shkuro's and Mamontov's cavalry group, although it has been reinforced with two new Kuban corps (General Ulagay's and General Naumenko's) and General Chesnokov's Composite Division of Uhlans, it cannot present any serious threat to our cavalry. This was demonstrated in the recent fighting at Lisichansk, where the reinforced Shkuro-Mamontov group was utterly routed by our cavalry, abandoning seventeen guns, eighty machine guns and more than a thousand dead.
Of course it cannot be said that Denikin's armies are already smashed. Denikin's armies have not yet reached the degree of decomposition of Kolchak's armies. Denikin is still capable of certain tactical, and maybe even strategic, ruses. Nor should it be forgotten that in ten weeks we have succeeded in capturing from Denikin in all only about 150 guns, 600 machine guns, 14 armoured trains, 150 locomotives, 10,000 railway wagons, and 16,000 prisoners. But one thing is indubitable: Denikin's armies are irresistibly following Kolchaks down the inclined plane, while our armies are growing stronger from day to day, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Therein lies the guarantee of Denikin's ultimate destruction.
Serpukhov, December 26, 1919
Signed: J. Stalin
P. S. (1) This article was written before Denikin's front was breached by our troops at Taganrog. That, in fact, explains its cautious character. But now, when Denikin's front has been pierced, when the Volunteer divisions are cut off from Denikin's Don and Caucasian armies, when in two days' fighting at the approaches to Taganrog (January 1 and 2) our forces have captured from the enemy over two hundred guns, seven armoured trains, four tanks and masses of other trophies, and when our forces, after liberating Taganrog, are besieging the seats of counter-revolution, Novocherkassk and Rostov—now it may quite confidently be said that the destruction of Denikin's armies is in full swing.
Another blow, and complete victory will be ensured.
January 7, 1920
The magazine Revolutsionny Front, No. 1, February 15, 1920
Signed: J. Stalin
The postscript was added by J. V. Stalin when the article was reprinted in Revolutsionny Front, a magazine published by the Revolutionary Military Council of the South-Western Front and the Council of the Ukrainian Labour Army.
Order of the Day to the
Ukrainian Labour Army
March 7, 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
In accordance with directive No. 1247/op/123/sh of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the R.S.F.S.R., and Order No. 271 of the Revolutionary Military Council of the South-Western Front, the 42nd Division is incorporated in the Ukrainian Labour Army as from March 7. (1)
The gallant 42nd Division, which heroically fought the enemies of Russia side by side with other divisions at the front, and with them utterly defeated Denikin's Volunteer Army, must now lay aside its weapons in order to give battle to economic disruption and provide the country with coal.
Commanders of the 42nd Division! In the battles with Denikin you proved your ability to lead the Red Army men from victory to victory—show now that you are capable of gaining no lesser victories in the battle with the coal crisis!
Commissars of the 42nd Division! You proved your ability to maintain exemplary order and discipline among the Red Army men on the battlefields—show now that you are capable of maintaining the sacred banner of labour discipline untarnished in the battle for coal!
Red Army men of the 42nd Division! You proved your ability to fight the enemies of workers' and peasants' Russia honourably and devotedly—show now that you are capable of labouring just as honourably and devotedly in transporting coal to the stations, loading it into wagons and convoying the coal trains to their destination.
Remember that coal is just as important for Russia as victory over Denikin.
In the Urals, the regiments of the Third Army have already distinguished themselves in procuring and transporting wood fuel. In the Volga area, the regiments of the Reserve Army have covered themselves with glory in the work of repairing locomotives and railway wagons. The 42nd Division must demonstrate that it is not inferior to others by meeting the country's needs in transporting, loading and conveying coal.
Workers' and Peasants' Russia expects this of you.
Chairman of the Ukrainian Labour Army Council
First published in 1940 in the magazine Proletarskaya
Revolutsia, No. 3
The Ukrainian Labour Army was formed in February 1920 and comprised military units detailed from the South-Western Front for work of economic construction, chiefly the rehabilitation of the Donbas. The Council of People's Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R., in conjunction with the All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee, set up a Council of the Labour Army to direct its activities, consisting of representatives of economic People's Commissariats and the Revolutionary Military Council of the South-Western Front, under the chairmanship of J. V. Stalin, member and plenipotentiary representative of the Council of Defence.
Speeches at the Fourth Conference
of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks)
of the Ukraine
March 17-23, 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
The Fourth All-Ukrainian Conference of the Ukrainian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) was held in Kharkov, March 17-23, 1920, and was attended by 278 delegates. Its agenda contained the following items: 1) Political and organizational report of the C.C., Ukr.C.P.(B.); 2) Relations between the Ukrainian Soviet Republic and the R.S.F.S.R.; 3) Attitude towards other political parties; 4) Economic policy; 5) The land question and work in the countryside; 6) The food question; 7) Election of the C.C., Ukr.C.P.(B.) and of delegates to the Ninth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.).
J. V. Stalin took part in the conference as the representative of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.). The central question at the conference was that of economic policy. The anti-Party "Democratic Centralism" group (Sapronov, etc.), who in the discussion on this question opposed the principle of one-man management in industry, received a rebuff. On the question of work in the countryside, the conference adopted an important decision providing for the formation in the Ukraine of unions of small and landless peasants (Committees of Poor Peasants). The conference elected J. V. Stalin as a delegate to the Ninth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.).
Comrades, until now the one basic task confronting you, the Communists of the Ukrainian rear and front, has been to halt the advance of the Poles, rout Pet-lura and drive out Denikin. This task is being carried out successfully, as is now admitted by enemies as well as by friends.
Now that the Ukraine has been delivered from the most ferocious enemy of the revolution, Denikin's army, you have another and no less important and complex task before you—to rehabilitate the Ukraine's shattered economy. There is no doubt that you, who have succeeded in coping with Denikin, will also succeed in coping with economic disruption, that you will be able to devote all your strength, all that energy which distinguishes the Communists from other parties, to checking the disruption and aiding your comrades in the North.
There are symptoms that in the North this task is beginning to be fulfilled. The communiques from the Labour Armies indicate that more and more railway locomotives and wagons are being repaired, and more and more fuel is being produced. The industries of the Urals are likewise growing and forging ahead. I have no doubt that you will do as well as our comrades in the North.
The Communists will most assuredly succeed in this task, because our Party is solid, united and devoted, and because above all this is our motto: "Finish the work begun even if you have to die for it." Only thanks to its discipline and solidarity is the Party able effectively to direct thousands of its workers to all the districts and regions. This discipline and solidarity enabled us to triumph over imperialism, and they permit us to hope that we shall likewise triumph over our other enemy— economic disruption.
I have to report on our immediate tasks in the sphere of economic construction.
A year ago, when our Federation was surrounded by a tight ring of armies subsidized by the international imperialists, the Council of Defence issued the slogan: "Everything for the front!" This meant that all our constructive efforts had to be concentrated on the supply and reinforcement of the front. A year's experience has shown that the Council of Defence was right, for in this year our ferocious enemies were hurled back—Yudenich, Kolchak and Denikin have been as good as routed. Thus the slogan "Everything for the front!" has been put into practice and has yielded good results.
A couple of months ago the Council of Defence issued another slogan: "Everything for the national economy!"
This means that all our constructive work must be put on a new, an economic footing, that all our vital forces must be brought to the economic altar. This, however, does not mean that we no longer have any military task. Two attempts of the Entente to strike down Soviet Federative Russia—the first from the East, with the help of Kolchak, and the second from the South, with the help of Denikin—have failed. Now, apparently, a new blow is being planned—from the West. The Entente is not so stupid as not to exploit the forces of the Polish gentry, if only with the object of preventing our Federation from tackling new constructive tasks. Moreover, we do not yet know what immediate prospects open out in connection with the German coup. (2) Evidently, the West is pregnant with certain new, but quite apparent complications. It therefore must not be said that, in redirecting all our efforts to the work of rehabilitating the national economy, we are turning our backs on the military tasks. Nevertheless, the basic slogan must always be basic.
What induced the Council of Defence and the Central Committee of our Party to issue the new slogan? The fact, comrades, that on looking about us after the defeat of the external enemy, we found a picture of utter economic disruption.
What problems are involved in the task of repairing the war-shattered national economy?
The basic problem in the restoration of the national economy is fuel. All imperialist wars have been fought for the sake of fuel. All the stratagems of the Entente were designed to deprive us of fuel.
There are three types of fuel: coal, oil and wood.
Let us begin with the problem of coal.
In 1916, i.e., before the revolution, we used to produce not less than 140-150 million poods of coal each month, and sent out not less than 120 million poods to other parts. Now we are producing not more than 18 million poods of coal and anthracite, and are sending out not more than 4-5 million poods. The picture is clear.
The second type of fuel is oil. Our chief source of oil fuel is the Baku area. In 1916, we secured in all about 500 million poods of oil from Baku, some 100 million from Grozny, and about 15 million from the Urals (Emba). As you know, our chief source of oil—Baku— is not in our hands. Grozny is not worth talking about. In what state it will be when we get it back I do not know. As a fuel source, it possesses very rich oil deposits. Its output last year was as high as 200 million poods. But in what state we shall get it back, I do not know. All we know is that the Whites have wrecked it thoroughly.
The third type of fuel is wood. In former days, measured in terms of coal, about 500 million poods of wood fuel were obtained annually. The output now is not more than 50 per cent of this amount, according to the estimates of the Chief Timber Committee.
As you see, as far as fuel is concerned our situation is critical.
The second problem is iron and steel. To all intents and purposes, almost our only source of ore, pig iron and finished products was, and is, the Donets-Krivoy Rog Basin. Pig iron output in 1916 was not less than 16 million poods each month. We had not less than 65 blast furnaces operating in the Donbas. Not a single one of the 65 is operating today. In 1916 our iron and steel plants produced some 14 million poods of semi-manufactures each month. They are now producing not more than five per cent of this figure. In 1916 we produced about 12 million poods of finished products each month. Today—two or three per cent of this figure. As far as iron and steel are concerned, we are in a pretty bad way too.
The third problem is grain. If we are to restore industry, we must feed the workers. Lack of grain is our chief handicap and the chief cause of our industrial paralysis. Before the war we used to harvest some 5,000 million poods of grain annually in the territory of the Federation. Of this, over 500 million poods were exported to other countries. All the rest went for internal consumption. Even in 1914, when the war began and the frontiers closed, we managed to export some 300 million poods of grain in ten months. Subsequently, exports dropped to 30 million poods.
All this indicates that there are, as there must be, surpluses of grain in the country. Obviously, if we are asked whether the objective possibility exists of securing grain and creating that grain reserve without which it will be impossible to set industry on its feet, we can answer that it undoubtedly does exist. For us to procure the 300 million pood reserve which our comrades talk so loudly about is, objectively speaking, quite possible. The whole problem is to create a flexible machinery, to give heed to the sentiment of the peasants, to display patience and proficiency, and to assign to this work forces possessing the necessary managerial ability to turn word into deed. In this matter I could cite our experience in the
Ukraine. Not so long ago it was estimated that at least 600 million poods of grain of the last harvest had accumulated in the Ukraine. With a certain effort, these six hundred million poods might have been procured. But our food agencies decided to issue a demand for not more than 160 million poods, and further decided that it would be possible to obtain about 40 million poods by March. But this amount was not secured. Owing to the laxity of our agencies, and because of the regular manhunt conducted by Makhno's men against our food officials, and because of the kulak revolts in a number of districts, we succeeded in obtaining only about two million poods instead of forty million.
The next problem is sugar. In 1916 we produced about 115 million poods of sugar. Requirements amounted to 100 million poods. Today we have only about three million.
Such is the state of our war-shattered national economy today.
This state of the Federation's economic affairs naturally compels us to issue the slogan: "Everything for the national economy!"
What does this slogan imply? What it amounts to is that all agitational and constructive work must be re-organized along new, economic lines. We shall now have to promote economic non-commissioned officers and officers from the ranks of the workers to teach the people how to battle against economic disruption and build a new economy. Only in the course of the battle against the disruption will new constructive work be possible, and this requires the training of officers of labour. If last year we arranged emulation among the military units, now we must do the same thing among the workers in our industrial establishments, in the mills and factories, on the railways, in the mines. Evidently, we shall have to draw not only the workers, but also the peasants and other labouring elements into this movement.
Next, it should be observed, in addition to all that has been said, that the local economic bodies, especially the regional and district ones, will have to be granted more extensive rights, more independence in the matter of rehabilitating industry than has been the case hitherto. The position until now was that the work was directed by the Chief Boards, and the Chief Boards alone; now we shall have to pay special attention to the localities and give them the opportunity, at last, to display their initiative, without which it will be difficult to get our economy on its feet.
Lastly, we must pay attention to supporting the organizations which the Council of Defence has converted from military to economic work. I refer to the Councils of the Labour Armies. Experience has shown that it is not always expedient mechanically to assign whole army units to economic work. Here we have to arrange a certain co-ordination between the work of the reserve units and of the working people in the rear.
Passing to the Ukrainian Labour Army, I must say that for a number of reasons it has only recently started work. The first task was to find out the present situation, and then to consider what practical measures were necessary. What we found out presents a dismal picture. Railway transport is in a particularly bad way. It must be said that on the four Ukrainian railways—the South-Western, the South, the Donets and the Yekaterininskaya— there are quite a number of locomotives, but 70 per cent of them are out of order. The consequence is that, instead of the 45 pairs of trains which used to run daily on the Kharkov-Moscow line, we now manage to run only four or five, at most eight, pairs.
Having gathered all this information about the situation in the Ukraine, the Labour Army Council decided on a number of practical measures, of which I must mention the following:
First, to militarize labour in the coal industry, and also to mobilize the rural population for labour duty in transporting coal.
Secondly, to bring new forces from among the workers into industry, because we know that of the 250,000 workers engaged in industry before the revolution, only 80,000 remain. But in order to enlist these new forces, arrangements must first be made for their food supply, and we are adopting a number of measures in this direction.
Thirdly, to set up a Central Board at the head of the coal industry, which would have under its direction a health administration, a communications department, a supply department, a military tribunal and a political department.
All this is necessary in order to get the industries and transport services of the Ukraine going properly, to ensure the regular supply of man power, food, medical aid and political workers, to discourage self-seekers and labour deserters from sneaking out of the Donets Basin, and to implant labour discipline in industry and transport. By arrangement with the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party and the Central Committee of the Ukraine, from now on the Chairman of the Donets Gubernia Committee of the Communist Party will also be chief of the Political Department of the coal industry. All distribution of Party forces and their transfer from district to district for duty in the coal industry will now come within the jurisdiction of the Political Department.
These, in general, are the measures which must be carried out if we are to start work on repairing the war-shattered national economy of the Federation and put it on the way to its maximum development.
Concluding my report, I submit for your attention the theses of the C.C., R.C.P. on economic construction. (3)
It is to be noted that none of the delegates attempted to put forward any other resolution in opposition to the Central Committee's theses. The resolution of the Kharkov Conference is only an addendum to the resolutions of the Seventh Congress of Soviets, (4) and one which does not touch upon a whole series of problems dealt with in the Central Committee's theses concerning the immediate tasks of economic construction.
I have already said that the basic task now is to rehabilitate the coal industry. In view of this, the Council of the Ukrainian Labour Army is concentrating its chief attention on organizing a coal industry board capable of ensuring regular supply and implanting discipline in the industry.
As you know, our industry throughout the Federation is just now passing through a phase of laxity and guerilla mentality similar to the phase the Red Army was in a year and a half ago. At that time the Party centre issued a call to pull the army together, to implant discipline, and to convert the guerilla units into regular units. The same thing must be done now with respect to industry, which has broken down. This broken down industry must be pulled together and organized, otherwise we shall not extricate ourselves from the chaos.
One comrade said here that the workers do not fear militarization, because the better workers are sick and tired of the lack of order. That is perfectly true. The workers are sick and tired of mismanagement, and they will gladly accept leadership capable of introducing order and implanting labour discipline in industry.
In his closing speech, Comrade Stalin summed up the work of the All-Ukrainian Conference. He gave an appraisal of the decisions taken on various questions, dwelling on the resolutions adopted on work in the countryside and in economic construction. The latter question will be finally decided at the Ninth Congress of the R.C.P. (5)
"The cardinal problem of our policy—work in the countryside—has, in my opinion, been settled correctly," he said. "I consider that here, in the Ukraine, we are passing through the same stage of development in the countryside as that in Russia a year and a half ago, when the Volga area and many areas of Central Russia were in a phase of revolt. This period will become a thing of the past here as it has in Russia.
"In our work in the countryside we have to rely upon the poor peasant. The middle peasant will come over to our side only when he becomes convinced that the Soviet regime is strong. Only then will the middle peasant side with us.
"From these considerations it may be said that the resolution you have adopted is unquestionably correct.
"There is another important question which was decided at the conference, namely, the affiliation of the Borotbists (6) to our Party. The Borotbists are a party which drew its nourishment from the countryside. Now that the Borotbists have merged with our Party, we are in a position to implement the alliance between the proletariat and the poor peasants in full measure. As you know, this alliance is the basis of the might and strength of our Federative Republic.
"Permit me to congratulate you on the fruitful work of your conference.
"I hereby declare the conference closed." (Applause.)
Reproduced from the records of the Secretariat of the Ukrainian Labour Army Staff and the report in the Kharkov newspaper
Kommunist, Nos. 62, 64, 65 and 66, March 18, 21, 23 and 24, 1920
The reference is to the counter-revolutionary Kapp putsch in Berlin on March 13, 1920, organized by German reactionaries. The Kapp Government was driven out a few days later as the result of a general strike of the workers.
3.This refers to the theses of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on "Immediate Tasks of Economic Construction," prepared for the Ninth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.). They were published in Izvestia of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.), No. 14, March 12, 1920.
4.The Seventh All-Russian Congress of Soviets, which met from December 5 to 9, 1919, in Moscow, heard a report by V. I. Lenin on the work of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars and discussed the military situation, Soviet development, the food situation, the fuel situation and other questions. The decisions adopted on the main items of the agenda (resolutions on "Organization of Food Affairs in the R.S.F.S.R.," "Soviet Development," "Organization of Fuel Affairs in the R.S.F.S.R.") concerned the organization of Soviet economy and Soviet administration.
The resolution of the Kharkov conference referred to was a resolution on economic construction adopted by the Kharkov Gubernia Conference of the Ukrainian Communist Party on March 15, 1920, following the report on economic policy.
5.The Ninth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) met in Moscow from March 29 to April 5, 1920. It discussed the following questions:
1) Report of the Central Committee;
2) Immediate tasks of economic construction;
3) The trade union movement;
4) Tasks of the Communist International;
5) Organizational questions;
6) Attitude towards the co-operatives;
7) Transition to the militia system; 8) Election of the Central Committee.
The political report of the Central Committee was made by V. I. Lenin, who also spoke on economic construction and co-operative affairs.
The congress defined the immediate economic tasks of the country in the sphere of transport and industry. Special attention was devoted to the question of a single economic plan, the pivotal item in which was the electrification of the national economy. The congress rebuffed the anti-Party "Democratic Centralism" group (Sapronov, Ossinsky, etc.), which opposed one-man management in industry.
Borotbists—Ukrainian Left Socialist-Revolutionaries who had formed a separate party in May 1918. Their name derived from their central organ, Borotba (Struggle). In March 1920, owing to the growing influence of the Bolsheviks among the Ukrainian peasant masses, the Borotbists were compelled to dissolve their party and apply for membership in the Ukrainian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). The Fourth Conference of the Ukr.C.P.(B.) decided to admit them to the Party, but they were accepted only after re-registration. In subsequent years many of the Borotbists took the path of double-dealing and deception of the Party and led the movement of the anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary nationalist elements in the Ukraine, proving themselves to be vile enemies of the Ukrainian people.
The Entente's new campaign against Russia
May 25 and 26, 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
It is beyond all doubt that the campaign of the Polish gentry against workers' and peasants' Russia is in actual fact a campaign of the Entente. The point is not only that the League of Nations, which is led by the Entente and of which Poland is a member, has evidently approved Poland's campaign against Russia. The chief point is that without the Entente's support Poland could not have organized her attack on Russia, that France in the first place, and also Britain and America, are doing all they can to support Poland's offensive with arms, equipment, money and instructors. Disagreements within the Entente over the Polish question do not affect the matter, for they concern only the ways of supporting Poland, and not the support itself. Nor is the matter affected by Curzon's diplomatic correspondence with Comrade Chicherin, (1) or by the ostentatious anti-intervention articles in the British press, because all this hullabaloo has only one object, namely, to throw dust in the eyes of naive politicians and by talking about peace with Russia to cover up the foul work of the actual armed intervention organized by the Entente.
THE GENERAL SITUATION
The Entente's present campaign is the third in succession.
The first campaign was launched in the spring of 1919. It was a combined campaign, because it envisaged a joint attack by Kolchak, Denikin, Poland, Yudenich and composite Anglo-Russian detachments in Turkestan and. Arkhangelsk, the main weight of the attack being in Kolchak's area.
At that period the Entente was solid and united and stood for open intervention: the weakness of the labour movement in the West, the number of Soviet Russia's enemies, and their complete confidence in victory over Russia, enabled the bosses of the Entente to pursue a brazen policy of undisguised intervention.
At that period Russia was in a critical state, because she was cut off from the grain areas (Siberia, the Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus) and fuel sources (the Donets Basin, Grozny, Baku) and was forced to fight on six fronts. The Entente saw this and gloated over its anticipated victory. The Times was already beating the drums.
Nevertheless, Russia passed through this crisis safely, and her most powerful enemy, Kolchak, was put out of action. The point is that Russia's rear, and hence also her army, proved to be more stable and flexible than the rear and armies of her adversaries.
The Entente's second campaign was launched in the autumn of 1919. It, too, was a combined campaign, because it envisaged a joint attack by Denikin, Poland and
Yudenich (Kolchak had been written off the accounts). This time the weight of the attack was in the South, in Denikin's area.
At this period the Entente for the first time began to experience internal disagreements. For the first time it began to moderate its insolent tone, intimated its opposition to open intervention, proclaimed the permissibility of negotiations with Russia, and proceeded to withdraw its troops from the North. The growth of the revolutionary movement in the West and Kol-chak's defeat had evidently made the former policy of open intervention unsafe for the Entente. It no longer dared to speak openly of undisguised intervention.
Despite the victory over Kolchak and the recovery of one of the grain areas (Siberia), Russia in this period was again in a critical state, because the main enemy, Denikin, stood at the gates of Tula, the chief source of supply of cartridges, rifles and machine guns for our army. Nevertheless, Russia emerged safe and sound from this crisis too. And for the same reason, namely, the greater stability and flexibility of our rear, and hence also of our army.
The Entente's third campaign is being launched in a quite new situation. To begin with, unlike the previous campaigns, this campaign cannot be called a combined one, for not only have the Entente's old allies (Kolchak, Denikin, Yudenich) dropped out, but no new ones (if there are any) have yet joined in, if we disregard the ludicrous Petlura and "his" ludicrous "army." Poland is so far facing Russia alone, without any serious fighting allies
Further, the notorious blockade has been broken not only morally and practically, but also formally. The Entente is forced to reconcile itself to the necessity of diplomatic relations with Russia and to tolerate official representatives of Russia in the West. The mass revolutionary movement in the European countries, which is adopting the slogans of the Third International, and the new successes of the Soviet armies in the East are widening the division within the Entente, enhancing Russia's prestige in the neutral and border states, and rendering the Entente's policy of isolating Russia utopian. Estland, that "natural" ally of Poland, has been neutralized. Latvia and Lithuania, who yesterday were Poland's fighting allies, are today conducting peace negotiations with Russia. The same may be said of Finland.
Lastly, Russia's internal position at the opening of the Entente's third campaign must be regarded as having radically changed for the better. Russia has not only opened the road to the grain and fuel areas (Siberia, the Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus, the Donets Basin, Grozny, Baku), but has reduced the number of fronts from six to two, and is therefore in a position to mass troops in the West.
To what has been said must be added the very important fact that Poland is the attacking side, having rejected Russia's peace proposals, and Russia the defending side, which is an enormous and inestimable moral advantage for Russia.
All these circumstances create a new situation, new chances for a Russian victory which did not exist at the time of the earlier, the first and second, Entente campaigns against Russia.
That, chiefly, explains the gloomy and sceptical tone in which the Western imperialist press evaluates the successes of the Polish army.
REAR. STRIKING AREA
No army in the world can be victorious (we are speaking of firm and enduring victory, of course) without a stable rear. The rear is of prime importance to the front, because it is from the rear, and the rear alone, that the front obtains not only all kinds of supplies, but also its man power — its fighting forces, sentiments and ideas. An unstable rear, and so much the more a hostile rear, is bound to turn the best and most united army into an unstable and crumbling mass. The weakness of Kolchak and Denikin was due to the fact that they had no rear of "their own," that they, imbued as they were with essentially-Russian dominant-nation aspirations, were obliged to a very large extent to build their front and to supply and replenish it from non-Russian elements who were hostile to these aspirations, and that they were obliged to operate in areas which were obviously alien to their armies. It was natural that armies which had no internal, national, and still less class cohesion, and which were surrounded by a hostile environment, should cave in at the first powerful blow of the Soviet armies.
In this respect, the rear of the Polish forces differs very substantially from that of Kolchak and Denikin — to the great advantage of Poland. Unlike the rear of Kolchak and Denikin, the rear of the Polish forces is homogeneous and nationally united. Hence its unity and staunchness. Its predominant sentiment — a "sense of motherland" — is communicated through numerous channels to the Polish Front, lending the units national cohesion and firmness. Hence the staunchness of the Polish troops. Poland's rear, of course, is not (and cannot be!) homogeneous in the class sense; but class conflicts have not yet reached such a pitch as to undermine the sense of national unity and to breed antagonisms in a front of heterogeneous class composition. If the Polish forces were operating in Poland's own territory, it would undoubtedly be difficult to fight against them.
But Poland is not content with her own territory and is pushing her armies forward, subjugating Lithuania and Byelorussia, and driving deeply into Russia and the Ukraine. This circumstance alters the situation fundamentally, to the great detriment of the stability of the Polish armies.
As the Polish armies advance beyond the borders of Poland and penetrate deeper into the adjacent regions, they get farther and farther away from their national rear, weaken their communications with it, and find themselves in an alien, and for the most part hostile, national environment. Worse still, this hostility is aggravated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the areas adjacent to Poland (Byelorussia, Lithuania, Russia, the Ukraine) consist of non-Polish peasants who are oppressed by Polish landlords, and that these peasants regard the offensive of the Polish troops as a war for the power of the Polish gentry, as a war against the oppressed non-Polish peasants. This, in fact, explains why the slogan of the Soviet army, "Down with the Polish gentry!" is meeting with so powerful a response among the majority of the inhabitants of these regions, why the peasants of these regions welcome the Soviet armies as their deliverers from landlord oppression, why, in expectation of the arrival of the Soviet armies, they rise in revolt at the first convenient opportunity and attack the Polish army in the rear. It is to this circumstance, too, that must be attributed the unparalleled enthusiasm of the Soviet armies, which is attested by all our military and political workers.
All this cannot but create an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity within the Polish armies, cannot but undermine their morale, their faith in the justice of their cause, their faith in victory, and cannot but convert the national cohesion of the Polish army from a favourable into an unfavourable factor.
And the further they advance (if they advance at all), the more strongly will these unfavourable aspects of the Polish campaign make themselves felt.
Can Poland, under such circumstances, develop a strong and powerful offensive, one promising enduring successes?
Will not the Polish troops, under these circumstances, find themselves in a situation similar to that in which the German troops, cut off from their rear, found themselves in the Ukraine in 1918?
This brings us to the question of the striking area. In war in general, and in civil war in particular, success, decisive victory, not infrequently depends upon a successful choice of the striking area, the area from which you intend to deliver and develop your main blow against the enemy. One of Denikin's big mistakes was that he chose as the area of his main blow the Donets Basin-Kharkov-Voronezh-Kursk zone, an area which was patently unreliable for him, one that was hostile to him, and in which he could create neither a firm rear nor favourable conditions for the advance of his troops. The successes of the Soviet forces on the Denikin front were due, among other things, to the fact that the Soviet command took the timely precaution to transfer its main blow from the Tsaritsyn area (an unfavourable area) to the area of the Donets Basin (a highly favourable area), where the Soviet troops were greeted by the inhabitants with enthusiasm, and from which it was easiest of all to pierce Denikin's front, split it in two, and advance further, all the way to Rostov.
This factor, which is not infrequently lost sight of by the old military experts, is often of decisive importance in civil war.
It should be observed that in this respect, in respect of the area of her main blow, Poland is very badly off. The fact is that, for the reasons enumerated above, not one of the areas adjacent to Poland can be regarded as favourable to the Polish army, either for the delivery of the main blow or for the further development of this blow. Wherever the Polish forces advance, they will encounter the resistance of Ukrainian, Russian or Byelorussian peasants who are waiting for the Soviet armies to come and deliver them from the Polish landlords.
The position of the Soviet armies, on the other hand, is quite favourable in this respect: for them all areas will "do nicely," so to speak, for as the Soviet armies advance they do not fortify, but overthrow the power of the Polish gentry and deliver the peasants from bondage.
So far, Poland is warring against Russia single-handed. But it would be naive to think that she is alone. What we have in mind is not only the all-round support which Poland is undoubtedly getting from the Entente, but also those fighting allies of Poland which in part have already been found by the Entente (the remnants of Denikin's army, for example), and partly those which will in all likelihood be found for the glory of European "civilization." It is not by chance that the Polish offensive began at the time of the San Remo conference, (2) to which Russia's representatives were not admitted. Nor is it by chance that Rumania has dropped the question of peace negotiations with Russia. . . . Moreover, it is quite likely that the Polish offensive, which at first glance seems to be a reckless adventure, is actually part of a broadly conceived plan for a combined campaign, which is being carried out little by little.
All the same, it should be said that if the Entente reckoned on conquering Russia when it organized this third campaign against her, it has miscalculated, for the chances of defeating Russia in 1920 are less, far less, than they were in 1919.
We have already discussed Russia's chances of victory, and have said that they are growing and will continue to grow. But this does not mean, of course, that victory is already in our pocket. The chances of victory we have spoken of can be of real value only if other conditions are equal, that is, on condition that we make as great an effort now as we did formerly, during Denikin's offensive, that our armies are supplied and replenished punctually and regularly, that our propagandists redouble their efforts to enlighten the Red Army men and the population around them, and that we clear our rear of scum and fortify it with all our strength and by every means.
Only if these conditions are fulfilled can victory be considered assured.
Pravda, Nos. 111 and 112, May 25 and 26, 1920
Signed: J. Stalin
The reference is to the diplomatic correspondence in connection with the Note of Lord Curzon, British Foreign Secretary, to the People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the R.S.F.S.R. of April 11, 1920, offering the full capitulation of Wrangel and his army in the Crimea provided they were amnestied by the Soviet Government. Regarding this correspondence, see also p. 346 in this volume.
The conference of the Entente powers in San Remo, Italy, (April 19-26, 1920) discussed, among other questions, the fulfilment of the Versailles Peace Treaty by Germany and a draft peace treaty with Turkey.
The Situation on the South-Western Fornt
Ukrainian ROSTA Interview
June 24, 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
The day before yesterday Comrade J. V. Stalin, member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, returned to Kharkov after having spent about three weeks at the front. It was while he was there that the Red forces began and gradually developed the offensive operations which opened with the celebrated breaching of the Polish Front by the Red cavalry.
Interviewed by a Ukrainian ROSTA correspondent, Comrade Stalin said the following:
When speaking of the operation of Comrade Budyonny's Cavalry Army on the Polish Front in the early part of June, many compare it—this breach of the enemy's front—with Mamontov's cavalry raid last year.
But such an analogy is quite incorrect.
Mamontov's operation was of an episodic, guerilla character, so to speak, and was not co-ordinated with the general offensive operations of Denikin's army.
The break-through of the Cavalry Army, on the other hand, is a link in the general chain of the Red Army's offensive operations.
Our cavalry raid began on June 5. On the morning of that day the Red cavalry, compressed into a tight fist, struck at the Polish Second Army, breached the enemy's front, raced through the Berdichev area, and on the morning of June 7 occupied Zhitomir.
The details of the capture of Zhitomir and of the trophies captured have already been given in the press, and I shall say nothing about them. I shall only mention one characteristic thing. The Revolutionary Military Council of the Cavalry Army had reported to front headquarters: "The Polish army looks with utter disdain on our cavalry. We consider it our duty to show the Poles that our cavalry has to be respected." After the break-through, Comrade Budyonny wrote us: "The Polish gentry have learned to respect our cavalry; they are on the run, tumbling over one another, and leaving the road clear for us."
The results of the break-through were:
The Polish Second Army, through which our Cavalry Army passed, was put out of action—over one thousand of its men were taken prisoner and about eight thousand cut down.
I have checked the latter figure from several sources and find it close to the truth, all the more that at first the Poles stubbornly refused to surrender and our cavalry literally had to hack their way through.
That was the first result.
Second result: the Polish Third Army (Kiev area) was cut off from its rear and was in danger of being surrounded, in consequence of which it began a general retreat in the Kiev-Korosten direction.
Third result: the Polish Sixth Army (Kamenets-Podolsk area), left without support on its left flank and fearing to be pressed against the Dniester, began a general withdrawal.
Fourth result: as soon as the break-through was effected, we launched an impetuous general offensive along the whole front.
As the fate of the Polish Third Army is still not clear to all, I shall dwell on this in greater detail.
Cut off from its base, and with its communications disrupted, the Polish Third Army was faced with the danger of being captured to a man. In view of this it began to burn its baggage trains, blow up its stores and put its guns out of action.
After its first unsuccessful attempts to retire in good order, it was forced to take to flight (wholesale flight).
One third of its effectives (the Polish Third Army had about twenty thousand men in all) were taken prisoner or cut down. Another third, if not more, discarded their weapons and took to flight, dispersing through the marshes and forests. Only the remaining third, and even less, succeeded in making their way back to their own side through Korosten. It is beyond doubt that if the Poles had not succeeded in sending timely aid in the shape of fresh units through Shepetovka-Sarny, this part of the Polish Third Army would also have fallen prisoner or would have dispersed through the forests.
At any rate, it may be considered that the Polish Third Army no longer exists. Such remnants as managed to get back to their own side will need thorough overhauling.
To give an idea of how badly the Polish Third Army was smashed, I must tell you that the entire Zhitomir highway was strewn with half-burned baggage trains and all kinds of motor vehicles, the latter numbering about four thousand, according to the report of our chief of communications. We captured 70 guns, not less than 250 machine guns, and a vast quantity of rifles and cartridges, which have not yet been counted.
Such were our trophies.
The present situation at the front may be described as follows: the Polish Sixth Army is retreating, the Second is being withdrawn for re-organization, and the Third virtually does not exist and is being replaced by other Polish units taken from the Western Front or from the far rear.
The Red Army is advancing along the whole front and has crossed the line: Ovruch-Korosten-Zhitomir-Berdichev-Kazatin-Kalinovka-Vinnitsa-Zhmerinka.
But it would be a mistake to think that the Poles on our front have been disposed of.
After all, we are contending not only against the Poles, but against the whole Entente, which has mobilized all the dark forces of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Rumania and is providing the Poles with supplies of every kind.
Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the Poles have reserves, which are already concentrated at Novo-grad-Volynsk, and their effect will undoubtedly be felt within the next few days.
It should also be borne in mind that there is as yet no mass demoralization in the Polish army. There is no doubt that more fighting is still to come, and fierce fighting at that.
Hence I consider the boastfulness and harmful self-conceit displayed by some of our comrades as out of place: some of them, not content with the successes at the front, are calling for a "march on Warsaw"; others, not content with defending our Republic against enemy attack, haughtily declare that they could be satisfied only with a "Red Soviet Warsaw."
I shall not demonstrate that this boastfulness and self-conceit are entirely at variance both with the policy of the Soviet Government and with the strength of the enemy forces at the front.
I must declare most categorically that we shall not be victorious unless we strain every effort in the rear and at the front. Without this, we cannot defeat our enemies from the West.
This is emphasized particularly by the offensive of Wrangel's troops, which has appeared like a "bolt from the blue" and has assumed menacing proportions.
There is not the least doubt that Wrangel's offensive was dictated by the Entente in order to ease the difficult position of the Poles. Only a naive politician could believe that Curzon's correspondence with Comrade Chicherin could have any other purpose than to use talk of peace to cover up the preparations Wrangel and the Entente were making for an offensive from the Crimea.
Wrangel was not yet ready, and it was for that reason (and that reason alone!) that the "humane" Curzon begged Soviet Russia to have mercy on Wrangel's forces and spare their lives.
The Entente evidently calculated that at the moment when the Red Army overwhelmed the Poles and began to advance, Wrangel would appear in the rear of our armies and upset all Soviet Russia's plans.
Undoubtedly, Wrangel's offensive has considerably eased the position of the Poles, but there is scarcely reason to believe that Wrangel will succeed in breaking through to the rear of our Western armies.
At all events, the weight and strength of Wrangel's offensive will be apparent in the very near future
Kommunist (Kharkov), No. 140, June 24, 1920
The Situation on the Polish Front
July 11, 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
Comrade Stalin, who recently returned from the South-Western Front, in an interview with our correspondent stated the following:
In the last two months, in May and in June, the situation at the front presented entirely different pictures.
May was a month of exceptional successes for the Polish army. On their right flank, the Poles were successfully advancing beyond the Kiev-Zhmerinka line and threatening Odessa. On their left flank, they were successfully stopping the offensive operations of our troops in the direction of Molodechno-Minsk. In the centre, having consolidated themselves in Mozyr and captured Rechitsa, they were threatening Gomel.
June, on the other hand, was a month of swift and drastic liquidation of the successes gained by the Polish army in May. The Poles' advance on the Ukraine was already stopped, for they were not only driven out of Kiev, but thrown back beyond the Rovno-Proskurov-Moghilev line. Their advance on Gomel was also stopped since their forces were hurled back beyond Mozyr. As regards their left flank—the most stable, according to the Polish press—it must be said that the powerful drive towards Molodechno made by our troops in this area in the past few days leaves no doubt that here too the Poles will be flung back.
July reveals a picture of a decisive change at the front in favour of Russia, and of obvious superiority on the side of the Soviet armies.
The break-through effected by our cavalry in the Zhitomir area was undoubtedly the decisive factor in the radical change at the front.
Many compare it with Mamontov's break-through and raid and find them identical. But this is incorrect. Mamontov's break-through was of an episodic character and was not directly co-ordinated with Denikin's offensive operations. Comrade Budyonny's break-through, on the contrary, was an essential link in the continuous chain of our offensive operations, its aim being not only the disruption of the enemy's rear services, but also the direct performance of a definite strategic task.
The break-through began at dawn on June 5. On that day our cavalry units, compressed into a tight fist, with their baggage trains in the centre, breached the enemy's positions in the Popelnya-Kazatin area, raced through the Berdichev area, and on June 7 occupied Zhitomir. The resistance of the Poles was so desperate that our cavalry literally had to hack their way through, the result being that the Poles left on the field not less than eight thousand wounded and killed by shot or sabre, according to the reports of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Cavalry Army.
Before the Zhitomir break-through the Poles, unlike Denikin, had protected the major points on their front by a belt of trenches and barbed-wire entanglements, and successfully combined mobile warfare with trench warfare. This had seriously hampered our advance. The Zhitomir break-through upset the Poles' calculations and reduced the value of combined warfare to a minimum.
That was the first positive result of the break-through.
Next, the break-through placed the enemy's rear services and communications in direct jeopardy, as a result of which:
a) the Polish Third Army (Kiev area), fearing-encir-clement, began a swift retreat which later turned into a wholesale flight;
b) the Polish Second Army (Berdichev area), which sustained the main blow of the Cavalry Army, beat a hasty retreat;
c) the Polish Sixth Army (Zhmerinka area), being left without support on its left flank, began a regular withdrawal westward;
d) our armies launched an impetuous offensive along the whole front.
That was the second positive result of the Zhitomir break-through.
Lastly, the break-through knocked the arrogance out of the Poles, undermined their faith in their own strength, sapped their morale. Before the break-through the Polish units had looked upon our troops, and especially our cavalry, with utter disdain, had fought desperately and refused to surrender. Only after the break-through did the Poles begin to surrender in whole groups and desert en masse—the first symptom of demoralization in the Polish ranks. Comrade Budyonny, in fact, writes to the Revolutionary Military Council of the front: "The Polish gentry have learned to respect our cavalry."
Our successes on the anti-Polish Front are unquestionable. It is equally unquestionable that these successes will develop. But it would be unbecoming boastfulness to think that the Poles are as good as done with, that all that remains for us to do is to "march on Warsaw."
Such boastfulness, which saps the energy of our officials and breeds a harmful self-conceit, is out of place not only because Poland has reserves which she will undoubtedly send to the front, not only because Poland is not alone and is backed by the Entente, which supports her unreservedly against Russia, but also, and chiefly, because there has appeared in the rear of our armies a new ally of Poland—Wrangel, who is threatening to destroy from the rear the fruits of our victories over the Poles.
It is no use cherishing the hope that Wrangel will not be able to reach agreement with the Poles. He has already reached agreement and is working hand in glove with them.
Here is what Shulgin's Velikaya Rossiya, the Sevastopol newspaper which is the inspiration of the Wran-gelites, says in one of its June issues:
"There is no doubt that we, by our offensive, are supporting the Poles, for we are diverting to ourselves part of the Bolshevik forces which were designated for use on the Polish Front. There is also no doubt that the operations of the Poles are of substantial support to us. It does not matter whether we like the Poles or dislike them; we must guide ourselves solely by cold political calculation. Today an alliance with the Poles against the common enemy is to our advantage; as to tomorrow . . . well, we shall see."
Obviously, the Wrangel Front is an extension of the Polish Front, with the difference, however, that Wran-gel is operating in the rear of our armies engaged against the Poles, that is, in the most dangerous place for us.
It is therefore ridiculous to talk of a "march on Warsaw," or in general of the lasting character of our successes so long as the Wrangel danger has not been eliminated. Yet Wrangel is gaining strength, and there is no evidence that we are adopting any special or effective measures against the growing danger from the South.
As a result of our offensive operations against the Poles, our front is assuming the shape of an arc, with its concave side facing the West and its ends extending forward, the southern end lying in the Rovno area, and the northern in the Molodechno area. That is what is known as an enveloping position vis-a-vis the Polish troops, i.e., a position most dangerous to the latter.
Undoubtedly, this circumstance is taken into account by the Entente, which is trying its utmost to embroil Rumania in war with Russia, is feverishly seeking new allies for Poland, is doing everything it can to assist Wrangel, and is generally trying to save the Poles. It is quite possible that the Entente will succeed in finding new allies for Poland.
There is no reason to doubt that Russia will find the strength to repel these new enemies as well. But one thing must not be forgotten: so long as Wrangel is intact, so long as he is in a position to threaten our rear, our fronts will be unsteady and insecure, and our successes on the anti-Polish Front cannot be lasting. Only with the liquidation of Wrangel shall we be able to consider our victory over the Polish gentry secure. Therefore, the new slogan which the Party must now inscribe on its banners is: "Remember Wrangel!" "Death to Wrangel!"
Pravda, No. 151, July 11, 1920
The Policy of the Soviet Government on the National Question in Russia
October 10, 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
Three years of revolution and civil war in Russia have shown that unless central Russia and her border regions support each other the victory of the revolution and the liberation of Russia from the clutches of imperialism will be impossible. Central Russia, that hearth of world revolution, cannot hold out long without the assistance of the border regions, which abound in raw materials, fuel and foodstuffs. The border regions of Russia in their turn would be inevitably doomed to imperialist bondage without the political, military and organizational support of more developed central Russia. If it is true to say that the more developed proletarian West cannot finish off the world bourgeoisie without the support of the peasant East, which is less developed but which abounds in raw materials and fuel, it is equally true to say that more developed central Russia cannot carry the revolution through to the end without the support of the border regions of Russia, which are less developed but which abound in essential resources.
The Entente undoubtedly took this circumstance into account from the very first days of the existence of the Soviet Government, when it (the Entente) pursued the plan of the economic encirclement of central Russia by cutting off the most important of her border regions. And the plan of the economic encirclement of Russia has remained the unchanging basis of all the Entente's campaigns against Russia, from 1918 to 1920, not excluding its present machinations in the Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Turkestan.
All the more important is it, therefore, to achieve a firm union between the centre and the border regions of Russia.
Hence the need to establish definite relations, definite ties between the centre and the border regions of Russia ensuring an intimate and undestructible union between them.
What must these relations be, what forms must they assume?
In other words, what is the policy of the Soviet Government on the national question in Russia?
The demand for the secession of the border regions from Russia as the form of the relations between the centre and the border regions must be rejected not only because it runs counter to the very formulation of the question of establishing a union between the centre and the border regions, but primarily because it runs fundamentally counter to the interests of the mass of the people in both the centre and the border regions. Apart from the fact that the secession of the border regions would undermine the revolutionary might of central Russia, which is stimulating the movement for emancipation in the West and the East, the seceded border regions themselves would inevitably fall into the bondage of international imperialism. One has only to glance at Georgia, Armenia, Poland, Finland, etc., which have seceded from Russia but which have retained only the semblance of independence, having in reality been converted into unconditional vassals of the Entente; one has only, lastly, to recall the recent case of the Ukraine and Azerbaijan, of which the former was plundered by German capital and the latter by the Entente, to realize the utterly counter-revolutionary nature of the demand for the secession of the border regions under present international conditions. When a life-and-death struggle is developing between proletarian Russia and the imperialist Entente, there are only two possible outcomes for the border regions:
Either they go along with Russia, and then the toiling masses of the border regions will be freed from imperialist oppression;
Or they go along with the Entente, and then the yoke of imperialism will be inevitable.
There is no third course.
The so-called independence of so-called independent Georgia, Armenia, Poland, Finland, etc., is only an illusion, and conceals the utter dependence of these apologies for states on one or another group of imperialists.
Of course, the border regions of Russia, the nations and races which inhabit these regions, possess, as all other nations do, the inalienable right to secede from Russia; and if any of these nations decided by a majority to secede from Russia, as was the case with Finland in 1917, Russia, presumably, would be obliged to take note of the fact and sanction the secession. But the question here is not about the rights of nations, which are unquestionable, but about the interests of the mass of the people both in the centre and in the border regions; it is a question of the character—which is determined by these interests—of the agitation which our Party must carry on if it does not wish to renounce its own principles and if it wishes to influence the will of the labouring masses of the nationalities in a definite direction. And the interests of the masses render the demand for the secession of the border regions at the present stage of the revolution a profoundly counter-revolutionary one.
Similarly, what is known as cultural-national autonomy must also be rejected as a form of union between the centre and the border regions of Russia. The experience of Austria-Hungary (the birthplace of cultural-national autonomy) during the last ten years has revealed the absolutely ephemeral and non-viable character of cultural-national autonomy as a form of alliance between the labouring masses of the nationalities of a multi-national state. Springer and Bauer, the authors of cultural-national autonomy, who are now confronted by the failure of their cunningly contrived national programme, are living corroborations of this. Finally, the champion of cultural-national autonomy in Russia, the once famous Bund, was itself recently obliged officially to acknowledge the superflu-ousness of cultural-national autonomy, publicly declaring that:
"The demand for cultural-national autonomy, which was put forward under the capitalist system, loses its meaning in the conditions of a socialist revolution" (see The Twelfth Conference of the Bund, 1920, p. 21).
There remains regional autonomy for border regions that are distinguished by a specific manner of life and national composition, as the only expedient form of union between the centre and the border regions, an autonomy which is designed to connect the border regions of Russia with the centre by a federal tie. This is the Soviet form of autonomy which was proclaimed by the Soviet Government from the very first days of its existence and which is now being put into effect in the border regions in the form of administrative communes and autonomous Soviet republics.
Soviet autonomy is not a rigid thing fixed once and for all time; it permits of the most varied forms and degrees of development. It passes from narrow, administrative autonomy (the Volga Germans, the Chu-vashes, the Karelians) to a wider, political autonomy (the Bashkirs, the Volga Tatars, the Kirghiz); from wide political autonomy to a still wider form of it (the Ukraine, Turkestan); and, lastly, from the Ukrainian type of autonomy to the highest form of auton-omy—to contractual relations (Azerbaijan). This flexibility of Soviet autonomy is one of its prime merits; for this flexibility enables it to embrace all the various types of border regions of Russia, which vary greatly in their levels of cultural and economic development. The three years of Soviet policy on the national question in Russia have shown that in applying Soviet autonomy in its diverse forms the Soviet Government is on the right path, for this policy alone has made it possible for it to open the road to the remotest corners of the border regions of Russia, to arouse to political activity the most backward and nationally diverse masses and to connect these masses with the centre by the most varied ties—a problem which no other government in the world has solved, or has even set itself (being afraid to do so!). The administrative redivision of Russia on the basis of Soviet autonomy has not yet been completed; the North Caucasians, the Kalmyks, the Cheremiss, the Votyaks, the Buryats and others are still awaiting a settlement of the question. But no matter what aspect the administrative map of the future Russia may assume, and no matter what shortcomings there may have been in this field—and some shortcomings there certainly were—it must be acknowledged that by undertaking an administrative redivision on the basis of regional autonomy Russia has made a very big stride towards rallying the border regions around the proletarian centre and bringing the government into closer contact with the broad masses of the border regions.
But the proclamation of this or that form of Soviet autonomy, the issuing of corresponding decrees and ordinances, and even the creation of governments in the border regions, in the shape of regional Councils of People's Commissars of the autonomous republics, are still far from enough to consolidate the union between the border regions and the centre. To consolidate this union it is necessary, first of all, to put an end to the estrangement and isolation of the border regions, to their patriarchal and uncultured manner of life, and to their distrust of the centre, which still persist in the border regions as a heritage of the brutal policy of tsarism. Tsarism deliberately cultivated patriarchal and feudal oppression in the border regions in order to keep the masses in slavery and ignorance. Tsarism deliberately settled the best areas in the border regions with colonizing elements in order to force the masses of the native nationalities into the worst areas and to intensify national strife. Tsar-ism restricted, and at times simply suppressed, the native schools, theatres and educational institutions in order to keep the masses in ignorance. Tsarism frustrated all initiative of the best members of the native population. Lastly, tsarism suppressed all activity of the masses in the border regions. By all these means tsarism implanted among the mass of the native nationalities a profound distrust, at times passing into direct hostility, towards everything Russian. If the union between central Russia and the border regions is to be consolidated, this distrust must be removed and an atmosphere of mutual understanding and fraternal confidence created. But in order to remove this distrust we must first help the masses of the border regions to emancipate themselves from the survivals of feudal-patriarchal oppression; we must abolish—actually, and not only nominally—all the privileges of the colonizing elements; we must allow the masses to experience the material benefits of the revolution.
In brief, we must prove to the masses that central, proletarian Russia is defending their interests, and their interests alone; and this must be proved not only by repressive measures against the colonizers and bourgeois nationalists, measures that are often quite incomprehensible to the masses, but primarily by a consistent and carefully considered economic policy.
Everybody is acquainted with the liberals' demand for universal compulsory education. The Communists in the border regions cannot be more Right-wing than the liberals; they must put universal education into effect there if they want to end the ignorance of the people and if they want to create closer spiritual ties between the centre of Russia and the border regions. But to do so, it is necessary to develop local national schools, national theatres and national educational institutions and to raise the cultural level of the masses of the border regions, for it need hardly be shown that ignorance is the most dangerous enemy of the Soviet regime. We do not know what success is attending our work in this field generally, but we are informed that in one of the most important border regions the local People's Commissariat of Education is spending on the native schools only ten per cent of its credits. If that is true, it must be admitted that in this field we have, unfortunately, not gone much further than the "old regime."
Soviet power is not power divorced from the people; on the contrary, it is the only power of its kind, having sprung from the Russian masses and being near and dear to them. This in fact explains the unparalleled strength and resilience which the Soviet regime usually displays at critical moments.
Soviet power must become just as near and dear to the masses of the border regions of Russia. But this requires that it should first of all become comprehensible to them. It is therefore necessary that all Soviet organs in the border regions—the courts, the administration, the economic bodies, the organs of direct authority (and the organs of the Party as well)—should as far as possible be recruited from the local people acquainted with the manner of life, habits, customs and language of the native population; that all the best people from the local masses should be drawn into these institutions; that the local labouring masses should participate in every sphere of administration of the country, including the formation of military units, in order that the masses should see that the Soviet power and its organs are the products of their own efforts, the embodiment of their aspirations. Only in this way can firm spiritual ties be established between the masses and the Soviet power, and only in this way can the Soviet power become comprehensible and dear to the labouring masses of the border regions.
Some comrades regard the autonomous republics in Russia and Soviet autonomy generally as a temporary, if necessary, evil which owing to certain circumstances had to be tolerated, but which must be combated with a view to its eventual abolishment. It need hardly be shown that this view is fundamentally false and that at any rate it is entirely foreign to the policy of the Soviet Government on the national question. Soviet autonomy must not be regarded as an abstraction or an artificial thing; still less should it be considered an empty and declaratory promise. Soviet autonomy is the most real and concrete form of the union of the border regions with central Russia. Nobody will deny that the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkestan, Kirghizia, Bashkiria, Tataria and the other border regions, if they desire the cultural and material prosperity of their masses, must have native schools, courts, administration and organs of authority, recruited principally from the local people. Furthermore, the real sovietization of these regions, their conversion into Soviet countries closely bound with central Russia in one integral state, is inconceivable without the widespread organization of local schools, without the creation of courts, administrative bodies, organs of authority, etc., staffed with people acquainted with the life and language of the population. But establishing schools, courts, administration and organs of authority functioning in the native language—this is precisely putting Soviet autonomy into practice; for Soviet autonomy is nothing but the sum total of all these institutions clothed in Ukrainian, Turkestan, Kirghiz, etc., forms.
How, after this, can one seriously say that Soviet autonomy is ephemeral, that it must be combated, and so on?
One thing or the other:
Either the Ukrainian, Azerbaijan, Kirghiz, Uzbek, Bashkir and other languages are an actual reality, and it is therefore absolutely essential to develop in these regions native schools, courts, administrative bodies and organs of authority recruited from the local people— in which case Soviet autonomy must be put into effect in these regions in its entirety, without reservations;
Or the Ukrainian, Azerbaijan and other languages are a pure fiction, and therefore schools and other institutions functioning in the native languages are unneces-sary—in which case Soviet autonomy must be discarded as useless lumber.
The search for a third way is due either to ignorance of the subject or to deplorable folly.
One serious obstacle to the realization of Soviet autonomy is the acute shortage in the border regions of intellectual forces of local origin, the shortage of instructors in every branch of Soviet and Party work without exception. This shortage cannot but hamper both educational and revolutionary constructive work in the border regions. But for that very reason it would be unwise and harmful to alienate the all too few groups of native intellectuals, who perhaps would like to serve the masses but are unable to do so, perhaps because, not being Communists, they believe themselves to be surrounded by an atmosphere of mistrust and are afraid of possible repressive measures. The policy of drawing such groups into Soviet work, the policy of recruiting them for industrial, agrarian, food-supply and other posts, with a view to their gradual sovietization, may be applied with success. For it can hardly be maintained that these intellectual groups are less reliable than, let us say, the counterrevolutionary military experts who, their counter-revolutionary spirit notwithstanding, were drawn into the work and subsequently became sovietized, occupying very important posts.
But the employment of the national groups of intellectuals will still be far from sufficient to satisfy the demand for instructors. We must simultaneously develop in the border regions a ramified system of courses of study and schools in every branch of administration in order to create cadres of instructors from the local people. For it is clear that without such cadres the organization of native schools, courts, administrative and other institutions functioning in the native languages will be rendered extremely difficult.
A no less serious obstacle to the realization of Soviet autonomy is the haste, often becoming gross tactlessness, displayed by certain comrades in the matter of sovietiz-ing the border regions. When such comrades venture to take upon themselves the "heroic task" of introducing "pure communism" in regions which are a whole historical period behind central Russia, regions where the medieval order has not yet been wholly abolished, one may safely say that no good will come of such cavalry raids, of "communism" of this kind. We should like to remind these comrades of the point in our programme which says:
"The R.C.P. upholds the historical and class standpoint, giving consideration to the stage of historical development in which the given nation finds itself—whether it is on the way from medievalism to bourgeois democracy, or from bourgeois democracy to Soviet, or proletarian, democracy, etc."
"In any case, the proletariat of those nations which were oppressor nations must exercise particular caution and be particularly heedful of the survivals of national sentiment among the labouring masses of the oppressed or unequal nations" (see Programme of the R.C.P.).
That means that if in Azerbaijan, for instance, the direct method of requisitioning superfluous dwelling space alienates from us the Azerbaijanian masses, who regard the home, the domestic hearth, as sacred and inviolable, it is obvious that the direct way of requisitioning superfluous dwelling space must be replaced by an indirect, roundabout way of achieving the same end. Or if, for instance, the Daghestan masses, who are profoundly imbued with religious prejudices, follow the Communists "on the basis of the Sharia," it is obvious that the direct way of combating religious prejudices in this country must be replaced by indirect and more cautious ways. And so on, and so forth.
In brief, cavalry raids with the object of "immediately communizing" the backward masses must be discarded in favour of a circumspect and carefully considered policy of gradually drawing these masses into the general stream of Soviet development.
Such in general are the practical conditions necessary for realizing Soviet autonomy, the introduction of which ensures closer spiritual ties and a firm revolutionary union between the centre and the border regions of Russia.
Soviet Russia is performing an experiment without parallel hitherto in the world in organizing the cooperation of a number of nations and races within a single proletarian state on a basis of mutual confidence, of voluntary and fraternal agreement. The three years of the revolution have shown that this experiment has every chance of succeeding. But this experiment can be certain of complete success only if our practical policy on the national question in the localities does not run counter to the demands of already proclaimed Soviet autonomy, in its varied forms and degrees, and if every practical measure we adopt in the localities helps to introduce the masses of the border regions to a higher, proletarian spiritual and material culture in forms conforming with the manner of life and national features of these masses.
In that lies the guarantee of the consolidation of the revolutionary union between central Russia and the border regions of Russia, against which all the machinations of the Entente will be shattered.
Pravda, No. 226, October 10, 1920
Signed: J. Stalin
To a Collection of Articles Published on the National Question in 1920
Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
This pamphlet contains only three articles on the national question. The publishers evidently made this particular selection because these three articles reflect three very important periods in the solution of the national question within the ranks of our Party, and, evidently, the purpose of the pamphlet as a whole is to give a more or less complete picture of the policy of our Party on the national question.
The first article (Marxism and the National Question, see the magazine Prosveshcheniye, 1913) (1) reflects the period of the discussion of the fundamental principles of the national question within Russian Social-Democracy at the time of the landlord-tsarist reaction, a year and a half before the outbreak of the imperialist war, at the time when the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia was gathering momentum. Two theories of nations, and, correspondingly, two national programmes contended with one another at that time: the Austrian, supported by the Bund and the Mensheviks, and the Russian, or the Bolshevik. The reader will find a description of both trends in the article. Subsequent developments, especially the imperialist war and the breakup of Austria-Hungary into separate national states, clearly demonstrated which side was right. Now, when Springer and Bauer are confronted by the failure of their national programme, it is scarcely to be doubted that the "Austrian school" has been condemned by history. Even the Bund has had to admit that "the demand for cultural-national autonomy (i.e., the Austrian national programme—J. St.), which was put forward under the capitalist system, loses its meaning in the conditions of a socialist revolution" (see The Twelfth Conference of the Bund, 1920). The Bund does not even suspect that by this it has admitted (inadvertently) the fundamental unsoundness of the theoretical principles of the Austrian national programme, the fundamental unsoundness of the Austrian theory of the nation.
The second article (The October Revolution and the National Question, see Zhizn Natsionalnostei, 1918) (2) reflects the period following the October Revolution, when the Soviet power, having defeated the counter-revolution in central Russia, came into conflict with the bourgeois-nationalist governments in the border regions, which were hotbeds of counter-revolution; when the Entente, alarmed by the growing influence of the Soviet power on its (the Entente's) colonies, openly began to support the bourgeois-nationalist governments with a view to strangling Soviet Russia; when in the course of the victorious struggle against the bourgeois-nationalist governments, we were confronted with the practical problem of what should be the concrete forms of regional Soviet autonomy, of the organization of autonomous Soviet republics in the border regions, of the extension of the influence of Soviet Russia to the oppressed countries of the East through the eastern border regions of Russia, and of the creation of a united revolutionary front of the West and the East against world imperialism. The article notes the inseparable connection between the national question and the question of power, and treats national policy as a part of the general question of the oppressed peoples and colonies, that is, the very thing against which as a rule the "Austrian school," the Mensheviks, the reformists and the Second International objected, and which was later confirmed by the whole course of developments.
The third article (The Policy of the Soviet Government on the National Question in Russia, see Zhizn Natsional-nostei, October 1920) (3) relates to the present period of, still incompleted, administrative redivision of Russia on the basis of regional Soviet autonomy, the period of the organization of administrative communes and autonomous Soviet republics in the border regions as component parts of the R.S.F.S.R. The central theme of the article is the practical implementation of Soviet autonomy, that is, the ensuring of a revolutionary union between the centre and the border regions as a guarantee against imperialist attempts at intervention.
It may seem strange that the article categorically rejects the demand for the secession of the border regions from Russia as being a counter-revolutionary move. But there is really nothing strange in that. We are for the secession of India, Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and other colonies from the Entente, because secession in this case would mean the liberation of those oppressed countries from imperialism, a weakening of the positions of imperialism and a strengthening of the positions of the revolution. We are against the secession of the border regions from Russia, because secession in that case would mean imperialist bondage for the border regions, a weakening of the revolutionary might of Russia and a strength ening of the positions of imperialism. It is for this reason that the Entente, which fights against the secession of India, Egypt, Arabia and other colonies, at the same time fights for the secession of the border regions from Russia. It is for this reason that the Communists, who fight for the secession of the colonies from the Entente, at the same time cannot but fight against the secession of the border regions from Russia. Obviously, secession is a question which must be decided in conformity with the specific international conditions and in conformity with the interests of the revolution.
Certain passages which are only of historical interest might have been deleted from the first article, but because of its polemical character it had to be given in full and unaltered. The second and third articles are likewise reprinted without alteration.
J. Stalin, Collection of Articles, State Publishing House, Tula, 1920_____
Marxism and the National Question (see Works, Vol. 2, pp. 300-381) was written by J. V. Stalin in Vienna at the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913, and was first published (signed K. Stalin) in Prosveshcheniye, Nos. 3-5, 1913, under the title "The National Question and Social-Democracy."
Prosveshcheniye (Enlightenment) — a Bolshevik monthly magazine which was published in St. Petersburg from December 1911 to June 1914, when it was shut down by the tsarist government. One double number appeared in the autumn of 1917. The magazine was directed by V. I. Lenin. J. V. Stalin, when he was in St. Petersburg, took all active part in its publication.
The October Revolution and the National Question (see present volume, pp. 158-170) was published in the newspaper Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 1, November 9, 1918.
Zhizn Natsionalnostei (Life of the Nationalities) — weekly organ of the People's Commissariat for the Affairs of Nationalities, published in Moscow from November 9, 1918, to February 16, 1922. From February 25, 1922, it appeared as a magazine under the same name and continued publication until January 1924.
See present volume, pp. 363-375.
The Immediate task of the Party in the National Question
Theses for the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) Endorsed by the Central Committee of the Part
February 10, 1921
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
The theses: "The Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question" were discussed at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.) on February 5, 1921, and a commission headed by V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin was appointed to make the final draft. The theses were published in Pravda, No. 29, of February 10, 1921; they were also published as a separate pamphlet in the same year.
The Capitalist System and National Oppression
Modern nations are the product of a definite epoch— the epoch of rising capitalism. The process of elimination of feudalism and development of capitalism is at the same time a process of the constitution of people into nations. The British, French, Germans and Italians were formed into nations at the time of the victorious development of capitalism and its triumph over feudal disunity.
Where the formation of nations on the whole coincided in time with the formation of centralised states, the nations naturally assumed state forms, they developed into independent bourgeois national states. That is what happened in Britain (excluding Ireland), in France and Italy. In Eastern Europe, on the contrary, the formation of centralised states, accelerated by the needs of self-defence (invasion by Turks, Mongols, etc.), took place before feudalism was liquidated; hence, before the formation of nations. As a consequence, the nations here did not, and could not, develop into national states; instead, several mixed, multi-national bourgeois states were formed, usually consisting of one strong dominant nation and of several weak, subject nations. Examples: Austria, Hungary, Russia.
In national states like France and Italy, which at first relied mainly on their own national forces, there was, generally speaking, no national oppression. In contrast to that, the multi-national states that are based on the domination of one nation—more exactly, of the ruling class of that nation—over the other nations are the original home and chief arena of national oppression and of national movements. The contradictions between the interests of the dominant nation and those of the subject nations are contradictions which, unless they are resolved, make the stable existence of a multi-national state impossible. The tragedy of the multi-national bourgeois state lies in that it cannot resolve these contradictions, that every attempt on its part to "equalise" the nations and to "protect" the national minorities, while preserving private property and class inequality, usually ends in another failure, in a further aggravation of national conflicts.
The further growth of capitalism in Europe, the need for new markets, the quest for raw materials and fuel, and finally, the development of imperialism, the export of capital and the necessity of securing important sea and railway routes, led, on the one hand, to the seizure of new territories by the old national states and to the transformation of the latter into multi-national (colonial) states, with their inherent national oppression and national conflicts (Britain, France, Germany, Italy); on the other hand, among the dominant nations in the old multi-national states they intensified the striving not only to retain the old state frontiers, but to expand them, to subjugate new (weak) nationalities at the expense of neighbouring states. This widened the national question and, finally, by the very course of developments merged it with the general question of the colonies; and national oppression was transformed from an intra-state question into an inter-state question, a question of the struggle (and war) between the "great" imperialist powers for the subjugation of weak, unequal nationalities.
The imperialist war, which laid bare to the roots the irreconcilable national contradictions and internal bankruptcy of the bourgeois multi-national states, extremely intensified the national conflicts within the victor colonial states (Britain, France, Italy), caused the utter disintegration of the vanquished old multi-national states (Austria, Hungary, Russia in 1917), and finally, as the most "radical" bourgeois solution of the national question, led to the formation of new bourgeois national states (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Finland, Georgia, Armenia, etc.). But the formation of the new independent national states did not, and could not, bring about the peaceful co-existence of nationalities; it did not, and could not, eliminate either national inequality or national oppression, for the new national states, being based on private property and class inequality, cannot exist :
a) without oppressing their national minorities (Poland, which oppresses Byelorussians, Jews, Lithuanians and Ukrainians; Georgia, which oppresses Osse-tians, Abkhazians and Armenians; Yugoslavia, which oppresses Croatians, Bosnians, etc.);
b) without enlarging their territories at the expense of their neighbours, which gives rise to conflicts and wars (Poland against Lithuania, the Ukraine and Russia; Yugoslavia against Bulgaria; Georgia against Armenia, Turkey, etc.);
c) without submitting to the financial, economic and military domination of the "great" imperialist powers.
Thus, the post-war period reveals a sombre picture of national enmity, inequality, oppression, conflicts, war, and imperialist brutality on the part of the nations of the civilised countries, both towards one another and towards the unequal nations. On the one hand, there are a few "great" powers, which oppress and exploit all the dependent and "independent" (actually totally dependent) national states, and there is a struggle of these powers among themselves in order to monopolise the exploitation of the national states. On the other hand, there is a struggle of the dependent and "independent" national states against the unbearable oppression of the "great" powers; there is a struggle of the national states among themselves in order to enlarge their national territories; there is a struggle of each national state against the national minorities that it is oppressing. Lastly, there is an intensification of the liberation movement in the colonies against the "great" powers and an aggravation of the national conflicts both within these powers and also within the national states which, as a rule, contain a number of national minorities.
Such is the "picture of the peace" bequeathed by the imperialist war.
Bourgeois society has proved to be utterly incapable of solving the national question.
The Soviet System and National Freedom
Whereas private property and capital inevitably disunite people, foment national strife and intensify national oppression, collective property and labour just as inevitably unite people, strike at the root of national strife and abolish national oppression. The existence of capitalism without national oppression is just as inconceivable as the existence of socialism without the liberation of the oppressed nations, without national freedom. Chauvinism and national strife are inevitable, unavoidable, so long as the peasantry (and the petty bourgeoisie in general), full of nationalist prejudices, follows the bourgeoisie; on the contrary, national peace and national freedom can be regarded as ensured if the peasantry follows the proletariat, i.e., if the proletarian dictatorship is ensured. Hence, the victory of the Soviets and the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship are a fundamental condition for abolishing national oppression, establishing national equality and guaranteeing the rights of national minorities.
The experience of the Soviet revolution has fully confirmed this thesis. The establishment of the Soviet system in Russia and the proclamation of the right of nations to secede changed completely the relations between the labouring masses of the different nationalities in Russia, struck at the root of the old national enmity, removed the ground for national oppression and won for the Russian workers the confidence of their brothers of other nationalities not only in Russia, but also in Europe and Asia, and heightened this confidence into enthusiasm, into readiness to fight for the common cause. The establishment of Soviet republics in Azerbaijan and Armenia has led to the same results, for it has eliminated national conflicts and has settled the "age-old" enmity between the Turkish and Armenian, and between the Armenian and Azerbaijanian, labouring masses. The same must be said about the temporary victory of the Soviets in Hungary, Bavaria and Latvia. On the other hand, it can be confidently stated that the Russian workers could not have defeated Kolchak and Denikin, and the Azerbaijanian and Armenian Republics could not have got firmly on their feet, had they not eliminated national enmity and national oppression at home, had they not won the confidence and roused the enthusiasm of the labouring masses of the nationalities in the West and in the East. The strengthening of the Soviet republics and the abolition of national oppression are two sides of one and the same process of liberating the working people from imperialist bondage.
But the existence of Soviet republics, even of the smallest dimensions, is a deadly menace to imperialism. The menace lies not only in that by breaking away from imperialism the Soviet republics were transformed from colonies and semi-colonies into really independent states, thereby depriving the imperialists of some extra territory and extra income, but also, and primarily, in that the very existence of the Soviet republics, every step they take in suppressing the bourgeoisie and in strengthening the proletarian dictatorship, constitutes tremendous agitation against capitalism and imperialism, agitation for the liberation of the dependent countries from imperialist bondage, and is an insuperable element in the disintegration and disorganisation of capitalism in all its forms. Hence the inevitable struggle of "great" imperialist powers against the Soviet republics, the endeavour of the "great" powers to destroy these republics. The history of the fight of the "great" powers against Soviet Russia, rousing against her one border-country bourgeois government after another, one group of counter-revolutionary generals after another, closely blockading Soviet Russia and, in general, trying to isolate her economically, eloquently testifies that in the present state of international relations, in the conditions of capitalist encirclement, not a single Soviet republic, standing alone, can regard itself as ensured against economic exhaustion and military defeat by world imperialism.
Therefore, the isolated existence of individual Soviet republics is unstable and precarious owing to their existence being threatened by the capitalist states. The common interests of defence of the Soviet republics, in the first place, the task of restoring the productive forces destroyed by the war, in the second place, and the necessary assistance the grain-growing Soviet republics must render those which do not grow grain, in the third place, all imperatively dictate the necessity of a state union of the individual Soviet republics as the only means of salvation from imperialist bondage and national oppression. The national Soviet republics which have liberated themselves from "their own" and the "foreign" bourgeoisie can maintain their existence and defeat the combined forces of imperialism only by uniting in a close state union, or they will not defeat them at all.
5. A federation of Soviet republics based on common military and economic interests is the general form of the state union that will make it possible :
a) to ensure the integrity and economic development of each individual republic and of the federation as a whole;
b) to embrace all the diversity as regards manner of life, culture and economic condition of the various nations and nationalities, which are at present at different stages of development, and to apply corresponding forms of federation;
c) to arrange the peaceful co-existence and fraternal co-operation of the nations and nationalities which, in one way or another, have linked their fate with that of the federation.
Russia's experience in employing different forms of federation, ranging from federation based on Soviet autonomy (Kirghizia, Bashkiria, Tataria, the Highlands, Daghestan) to federation based on treaty relations with independent Soviet republics (the Ukraine, Azerbaijan), and permitting intermediate stages (Turkestan, Byelorussia), has fully proved the expediency and flexibility of federation as the general form of state union of the Soviet republics.
But federation can be stable and the results of federation effective only if it is based on mutual confidence and the voluntary consent of the federating countries. If the R.S.F.S.R. is the only country in the world where the experiment in the peaceful co-existence and fraternal co-operation of a number of nations and nationalities has been successful, it is because there are here neither dominant nor subject nations, neithermetropolises nor colonies, neither imperialism nor national oppression; federation here rests on mutual confidence and the voluntary striving of the labouring masses of the different nations towards union. This voluntary character of the federation must be preserved without fail, for only such a federation can serve as the transitional stage to that higher unity of the toilers of all countries in a single world economic system, the necessity for which is becoming increasingly apparent.
The Immediate Task of the R.C.P.
1. The R.S.F.S.R. and the Soviet republics associated with it have a population of about 140,000,000. Of these non-Great-Russians number about 65,000,000 (Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Kirghiz, Uzbeks, Turkme-nians, Tajiks, Azerbaijanians, Volga Tatars, Crimean Tatars, Bukharans, Khivans, Bashkirs, Armenians, Chechens, Kabardinians, Ossetians, Cherkesses, Ingushes, Karachais, Balkarians,(2) Kalmyks, Karelians, Avars, Darghinians, Kasi-kumukhians, Kyurinians, Kumyks, (3) Mari, Chuvashes, Votyaks, Volga Germans, Buryats, Yakuts, etc.).
The policy of tsarism, the policy of the landlords and the bourgeoisie towards these peoples, was to kill whatever germs of statehood existed among them, to mutilate their culture, to restrict their languages, to keep them in ignorance, and lastly, as far as possible to Russify them. The result of this policy was the underdevelopment and political backwardness of these peoples.
Now that the landlords and the bourgeoisie have been overthrown and Soviet power has been proclaimed by the masses of the people in these countries too, the Party's task is to help the labouring masses of the non-Great-Russian peoples to catch up with central Russia, which has forged ahead, to help them:
a) to develop and strengthen their Soviet statehood in forms corresponding to the national complexion of these peoples;
b) to set up their courts, administration, economic organisations and organs of power, functioning in the native languages and staffed with local people familiar with the manner of life and the mentality of the local population;
c) to develop their press, schools, theatres, recreation clubs, and cultural and educational institutions generally, functioning in the native languages.
If from the 65,000,000 non-Great-Russian population we exclude the Ukraine, Byelorussia, a small part of Azerbaijan, and Armenia, which in some degree have been through the period of industrial capitalism, there remains a population of about 25,000,000, mainly Tyurks (Turkestan, the greater part of Azerbaijan, Da-ghestan, the Highlanders, Tatars, Bashkirs, Kirghiz, etc.), who have not gone through any capitalist development, have little or no industrial proletariat, and in most cases have retained their pastoral economy and patriarchal-tribal manner of life (Kirghizia, Bashkiria, North Caucasus), or who have not gone beyond the primitive forms of a semi-patriarchal, semi-feudal manner of life (Azerbaijan, the Crimea, etc.) but have already been drawn into the common channel of Soviet development.
The Party's task in relation to the labouring masses of these peoples (in addition to the task indicated in Point 1) is to help them to eliminate the survivals of patriarchal-feudal relations and to draw them into the work of building a Soviet economy on the basis of Soviets of toiling peasants, by creating among these peoples strong communist organisations capable of utilising the experience of the Russian workers and peasants in Soviet-economic construction and, at the same time, capable of taking into account in their construction work all the specific features of the economic situation, the class structure, culture and manner of life of each nationality concerned, while refraining from mechanically transplanting from central Russia economic measures that are suitable only for a different, higher stage of economic development.
If from the 25,000,000, mainly Tyurk, population we exclude Azerbaijan, the greater part of Turkestan, the Tatars (Volga and Crimean), Bukhara, Khiva, Daghestan, part of the Highlanders (Kabardinians, Cherkesses and Balkarians) and several other nomad nationalities who have already become settled and have firmly established themselves in a definite territory, there remain about 6,000,000 Kirghiz, Bashkirs, Chechens, Ossetians and Ingushes, whose lands had until recently served as objects of colonisation by Russian settlers, who have managed to take from them the best arable land and are steadily pushing them into the barren desert.
The policy of tsarism, the policy of the landlords and the bourgeoisie, was to colonise these districts as much as possible with kulak elements from among Russian peasants and Cossacks, converting the latter into a reliable support for dominant-nation strivings. The result of this policy was the gradual extinction of the native population (Kirghiz, Bashkirs) who had been driven into the wilderness.
The Party's task in relation to the labouring masses of these nationalities (apart from the tasks mentioned in Points 1 and 2) is to unite their efforts with those of the labouring masses of the local Russian population in the struggle for liberation from the kulaks in general, and from the rapacious Great-Russian kulaks in particular, to help them by every possible means to throw off the yoke of the kulak colonisers and in this way supply them with arable land necessary for a human existence.
In addition to the above-mentioned nations and nationalities which have a definite class structure and occupy a definite territory, there still exist in the R.S.F.S.R. floating national groups, national minorities, interspersed among compact majorities of other nationalities, and in most cases having neither a definite class structure nor a definite territory (Letts, Estonians, Poles, Jews and other national minorities). The policy of tsarism was to obliterate these minorities by every possible means, even by pogroms (the anti-Jewish pogroms).
Now that national privileges have been abolished, that equality of rights for nations has been put into effect, and that the right of national minorities to free national development is guaranteed by the very character of the Soviet system, the Party's task in relation to the labouring masses of these national groups is to help them to make the fullest use of their guaranteed right to free development.
The communist organisations in the border regions are developing under somewhat peculiar conditions which retard the normal growth of the Party in these regions. On the one hand, the Great-Russian Communists who are working-in the border regions and who grew up during the existence of a "dominant" nation and did not suffer national oppression, often underrate the importance of specific national features in their Party work, or completely ignore them; they do not, in their work, take into account the specific features of the class structure, culture, manner of life and past history of the nationality concerned, and thus vulgarise and distort the Party's policy on the national question. This leads to a deviation from communism to a dominant-nation and colonialist outlook, to Great-Russian chauvinism. On the other hand, the Communists from the local native population who experienced the harsh period of national oppression, and who have not yet fully freed themselves from the haunting memories of that period, often exaggerate the importance of specific national features in their Party work, leave the class interests of the working people in the shade, or simply confuse the interests of the working people of the nation concerned with the "national" interests of that nation; they are unable to separate the former from the latter and base their Party work on them. That, in its turn, leads to a deviation from communism towards bourgeois-democratic nationalism, which sometimes assumes the form of Pan-Is-lamism, Pan-Turkism (4) (in the East).
This congress, emphatically condemning both these deviations as harmful and dangerous to the cause of communism, considers it necessary to point out the special danger and special harmfulness of the first-mentioned deviation, the deviation towards a dominant nation, colonialist outlook. The congress reminds the Party that unless colonialist and nationalist survivals in its ranks are overcome it will be impossible to build up in the border regions strong, genuinely communist organisations which are linked with the masses and which unite in their ranks the proletarian elements of the local native and Russian populations on the basis of internationalism. The congress therefore considers that the elimination of nationalist and, primarily, of colonialist vacillations in communism is one of the Party's most important tasks in the border regions.
As a result of the successes achieved on the war fronts, particularly after the liquidation of Wrangel, in some of the backward border regions where there is little or no industrial proletariat, there has been an increased influx of petty-bourgeois nationalist elements into the Party for the sake of a career. Taking into consideration the Party's position as the actual ruling force, these elements usually disguise themselves in communist colours and often pour into the Party in entire groups, carrying with them a spirit of thinly disguised chauvinism and disintegration, while the generally weak Party organisations in the border regions are not always able to resist the temptation to "expand" the Party by accepting new members.
Calling for a resolute struggle against all pseudo-communist elements that attach themselves to the Party of the proletariat, the congress warns the Party against "expansion" through accepting intellectual, petty-bourgeois nationalist elements. The congress considers that the ranks of the Party in the border regions should be reinforced chiefly from the proletarians, the poor, and the labouring peasants of these regions, and that at the same time work should be conducted to strengthen the Party organisations in the border regions by improving the quality of their membership.
Pravda, No. 29, February 10, 1921
The last seven nationalities are united in the "Highland" group.
The last five nationalities are united in the "Daghestan-ian" group.
Pan-Islamism — a reactionary religious and political ideology which arose in the second half of the XIX century in Sultan Turkey among the Turkish landlords, bourgeoisie, and clergy. Later on it spread among the propertied classes of the other Moslem peoples. Pan-Islamism professed the unification in one whole of all the peoples who worship Islam (Moslem religion). With the help of Pan-Islamism the ruling classes of the Moslem peoples were striving to strengthen their positions and to stifle the revolutionary movement of the toiling peoples of the East.
The aim of Pan-Turkism is to subject all the Turkish peoples to Turkish rule. It arose during the Balkan wars of 1912-13. During the war of 1914-18 it developed into an extremely aggressive and chauvinistic ideology. In Russia, after the October Socialist Revolution, Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turkism were utilised by counter-revolutionary elements for the purpose of combating the Soviet power.
Subsequently the Anglo-American imperialists utilised Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turkism as their agency in the preparation for an imperialist war against the U.S.S.R. and the People's Democracies and for the purpose of suppressing the national liberation movement.
The Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)
March 8 - 16, 1921
The Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) was held on March 8-16, 1921. It discussed the reports of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission, and also reports on the trade unions and their role in the economic life of the country, on the tax in kind, on Party affairs, on the immediate tasks of the Party in the national question, on Party unity and the anarcho-syndicalist deviation, etc. The political report of the Central Committee, and the reports on the tax in kind, on Party unity, and on the anarcho-syndicalist deviation, were made by V. I. Lenin. The congress summed up the discussion that had taken place on the trade-union question and by an overwhelming majority endorsed Lenin's platform. In its resolution on "Party Unity," drafted by V. I. Lenin, the congress condemned all the factional groups, ordered their immediate dissolution, and pointed out that Party unity was the fundamental condition for the success of the proletarian dictatorship. The congress adopted V. I. Lenin's resolution on "The Syndicalist and Anarchist Deviation in Our Party," which condemned the so-called "Workers' Opposition" and declared that propaganda of the ideas of the anarcho-syndicalist deviation was incompatible with membership of the Communist Party. The Tenth Congress adopted a decision to pass from the produce surplus appropriation system to the tax in kind, to pass to the New Economic Policy. J. V. Stalin's report on "The Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question" was heard on March 10. The congress unanimously adopted J. V. Stalin's theses on this question as a basis, and appointed a commission to elaborate them further. J. V. Stalin reported on the results of the commission's work at the evening session on March 15. The resolution that he proposed on behalf of the commission was unanimously adopted by the congress, which condemned the anti-Party deviations on the national question, i.e., dominant-nation (Great-Russian) chauvinism and local nationalism, as being harmful and dangerous to communism and proletarian internationalism. The congress particularly condemned dominant-nation chauvinism as being the chief danger. (Concerning the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1952, pp. 391-97. Concerning the resolutions adopted by the congress, see "Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums," Part I, 1941, pp. 356-95.)
Before proceeding to deal with the Party's concrete immediate tasks in the national question, it is necessary to lay down certain premises, without which the national question cannot be solved. These premises concern the emergence of nations, the origin of national oppression, the forms assumed by national oppression in the course of historical development, and then the methods of solving the national question in the different periods of development.
There have been three such periods.
The first period was that of the elimination of feudalism in the West and of the triumph of capitalism. That was the period in which people were constituted into nations I have in mind countries like Britain (excluding Ireland), France and Italy. In the West—in Britain, France, Italy and, partly, Germany—the period of the liquidation of feudalism and the constitution of people into nations coincided, on the whole, with the period in which centralised states appeared; as a consequence of this, in the course of their development, the nations there assumed state forms. And since there were no other national groups of any considerable size within these states, there was no national oppression there.
In Eastern Europe, on the contrary, the process of formation of nations and of the liquidation of feudal disunity did not coincide in time with the process of formation of centralised states. I have in mind Hungary, Austria and Russia. In those countries capitalism had not yet developed; it was, perhaps, only just beginning to develop; but the needs of defence against the invasion of the Turks, Mongols and other Oriental peoples called for the immediate formation of centralised states capable of checking the onslaught of the invaders. Since the process of formation of centralised states in Eastern Europe was more rapid than the process of the constitution of people into nations, mixed states were formed there, consisting of several peoples who had not yet formed themselves into nations, but who were already united in a common state.
Thus, the first period is characterised by nations making their appearance at the dawn of capitalism; in Western Europe purely national states arose in which there was no national oppression, whereas in Eastern Europe multi-national states arose headed by one, more developed, nation as the dominant nation, to which the other, less developed, nations were politically and later economically subjected. These multi-national states in the East became the home of that national oppression which gave rise to national conflicts, to national movements, to the national question, and to various methods of solving this question.
The second period in the development of national oppression and of methods of combating it coincided with the period of the appearance of imperialism in the West, when, in its quest for markets, raw materials, fuel and cheap labour power, and in its fight for the export of capital and for securing important railway and sea routes, capitalism burst out of the framework of the national state and enlarged its territory at the expense of its neighbours, near and distant. In this second period the old national states in the West—Britain, Italy and France—ceased to be national states, i.e., owing to having seized new territories, they were transformed into multi-national, colonial states and thereby became arenas of the same kind of national and colonial oppression as already existed in Eastern Europe. Characteristic of this period in Eastern Europe was the awakening and strengthening of the subject nations (Czechs, Poles and Ukrainians) which, as a result of the imperialist war, led to the break-up of the old, bourgeois multinational states and to the formation of new national states which are held in bondage by the so-called great powers.
The third period is the Soviet period, the period of the abolition of capitalism and of the elimination of national oppression, when the question of dominant and subject nations, of colonies and metropolises, is relegated to the archives of history, when before us, in the territory of the R.S.F.S.R., nations are arising having equal rights to development, but which have retained a certain historically inherited inequality owing to their economic, political and cultural backwardness. The essence of this national inequality consists in the fact that, as a result of historical development, we have inherited from the past a situation in which one nation, namely, the Great-Russian, is politically and industrially more developed than the other nations. Hence the actual inequality, which cannot be abolished in one year, but which must be abolished by giving the backward nations and nationalities economic, political and cultural assistance.
Such are the three periods of development of the national question that have historically passed before us.
The first two periods have one feature in common, namely: in both periods nations suffer oppression and bondage, as a consequence of which the national struggle continues and the national question remains unsolved. But there is also a difference between them, namely: in the first period the national question remains within the framework of each multi-national state and affects only a few, chiefly European, nations; in the second period, however, the national question is transformed from an intra-state question into an inter-state question— into a question of war between imperialist states to keep the unequal nationalities under their domination, to subject to their influence new nationalities and races outside Europe.
Thus, in this period, the national question, which formerly had been of significance only in cultured countries, loses its isolated character and merges with the general question of the colonies.
The development of the national question into the general colonial question was not a historical accident. It was due, firstly, to the fact that during the imperialist war the imperialist groups of belligerent powers themselves were obliged to appeal to the colonies from which they obtained man-power for their armies. Undoubtedly, this process, this inevitable appeal of the imperialists to the backward nationalities of the colonies, could not fail to rouse these races and nationalities for the struggle for liberation. The second factor that caused the widening of the national question, its development into the general colonial question embracing the whole world, first in the sparks and later in the flames of the liberation movement, was the attempt of the imperialist groups to dismember Turkey and to put an end to her existence as a state. Being more developed as a state than the other Moslem peoples, Turkey could not resign herself to such a prospect; she raised the banner of struggle and rallied the peoples of the East around herself against imperialism. The third factor was the appearance of Soviet Russia, which achieved a number of successes in the struggle against imperialism and thereby naturally inspired the oppressed peoples of the East, awakened them, roused them for the struggle, and thus made it possible to create a common front of oppressed nations stretching from Ireland to India.
Such are all those factors which in the second stage of the development of national oppression not only prevented bourgeois society from solving the national question, not only prevented the establishment of peace among the nations, but, on the contrary, fanned the spark of national struggle into the flames of the struggle of the oppressed peoples, the colonies and the semi-colonies against world imperialism.
Obviously, the only regime that is capable of solving the national question, i.e., the regime that is capable of creating the conditions for ensuring the peaceful co-existence and fraternal co-operation of different nations and races, is the Soviet regime, the regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
It scarcely needs proof that under the rule of capital, with private ownership of the means of production and the existence of classes, equal rights for nations cannot be guaranteed; that as long as the power of capital exists, as long as the struggle for the possession of the means of production goes on, there can be no equal rights for nations, just as there can be no co-operation between the labouring masses of the different nations. History tells us that the only way to abolish national inequality, the only way to establish a regime of fraternal co-operation between the labouring masses of the oppressed and non-oppressed nations, is to abolish capitalism and establish the Soviet system.
Further, history shows that although individual peoples succeed in liberating themselves from their own national bourgeoisie and also from the "foreign" bourgeoisie, i.e., although they succeed in establishing the Soviet system in their respective countries, they cannot, as long as imperialism exists, maintain and successfully defend their separate existence unless they receive the economic and military support of neighbouring Soviet republics. The example of Hungary provides eloquent proof that unless the Soviet republics form a state union, unless they unite and form a single military and economic force, they cannot withstand the combined forces of world imperialism either on the military or on the economic front.
A federation of Soviet republics is the needed form of state union, and the living embodiment of this form is the R.S.F.S.R.
Such, comrades, are the premises that I wanted to speak of here first of all, before proceeding to prove that our Party must take certain steps in the matter of solving the national question within the R.S.F.S.R.
Although, under the Soviet regime in Russia and in the republics associated with her, there are no longer either dominant or nations without rights, no metropolises or colonies, no exploited or exploiters, nevertheless, the national question still exists in Russia. The essence of the national question in the R.S.F.S.R. lies in abolishing the actual backwardness (economic, political and cultural) that some of the nations have inherited from the past, to make it possible for the backward peoples to catch up with central Russia in political, cultural and economic respects.
Under the old regime, the tsarist government did not, and could not, make any effort to develop the statehood of the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkestan and other border regions; it opposed the development of the statehood, as well as of the culture, of the border regions, endeavouring forcibly to assimilate their native populations.
Further, the old state, the landlords and capitalists, left us a heritage of such downtrodden nationalities as the Kirghiz, Chechens and Ossetians, whose lands were colonised by Cossack and kulak elements from Russia. Those nationalities were doomed to incredible suffering and to extinction.
Further, the position of the Great-Russian nation, which was the dominant nation, has left traces of its influence even upon Russian Communists who are unable, or unwilling to draw closer to the labouring masses of the local population, to understand their needs and to help them to extricate themselves from backwardness and lack of culture. I am speaking of those few groups of Russian Communists who, ignoring in their work the specific features of the manner of life and culture of the border regions, sometimes deviate towards Russian dominant-nation chauvinism.
Further, the position of the non-Russian nationalities which have experienced national oppression has not failed to influence the Communists among the local population who are sometimes unable to distinguish between the class interests of the labouring masses of their respective nations and so-called "national" interests. I am speaking of the deviation towards local nationalism that is sometimes observed in the ranks of the non-Russian Communists, and which finds expression in the East in, for example, Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turkism.
Lastly, we must save the Kirghiz, the Bashkirs and certain mountain races from extinction, we must provide them with the necessary land at the expense of the kulak colonisers.
Such are the problems and tasks which together constitute the essence of the national question in our country.
Having described these immediate tasks of the Party in the national question, I would like to pass to the general task, the task of adapting our communist policy in the border regions to the specific conditions of economic life that obtain mainly in the East.
The point is that a number of nationalities, chiefly Tyurk—comprising about 25,000,000 people—have not been through, did not manage to go through, the period of industrial capitalism, and, therefore, have no industrial proletariat, or scarcely any; consequently, they will have to skip the stage of industrial capitalism and pass from the primitive forms of economy to the stage of Soviet economy. To be able to perform this very difficult but by no means impossible operation, it is necessary to take into account all the specific features of the economic condition, and even of the historical past, manner of life and culture of these nationalities. It would be unthinkable and dangerous to transplant to the territories of these nationalities the measures that had force and significance here, in central Russia. Clearly, in applying the economic policy of the R.S.F.S.R., it is absolutely necessary to take into account all the specific features of the economic condition, the class structure and the historical past confronting us in these border regions. There is no need for me to dwell on the necessity of putting an end to such incongruities as, for example, the order issued by the People's Commissariat of Food that pigs be included in the food quotas to be obtained from Kirghizia, the Moslem population of which has never raised pigs. This example shows how obstinately some people refuse to take into account peculiarities of the manner of life which strike the eye of every traveller.
I have just been handed a note requesting me to answer Comrade Chicherin's articles. Comrades, I think that Chicherin's articles, which I have read carefully, are nothing more than literary exercises. They contain four mistakes, or misunderstandings.
Firstly, Comrade Chicherin is inclined to deny the contradictions among the imperialist states; he overestimates the international unity of the imperialists and loses sight of, under-estimates, the internal contradictions among the imperialist groups and states (France, America, Britain, Japan, etc.), which exist and contain the seeds of war. He has over-estimated the unity of the imperialist upper circles and under-estimated the contradictions existing within that "trust." But these contradictions do exist, and the activities of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs are based on them.
Next, Comrade Chicherin makes a second mistake. He under-estimates the contradictions that exist between the dominant great powers and the recently formed national states (Czechoslovakia, Poland, Finland, etc.), which are in financial and military subjection to those great powers. Comrade Chicherin has completely lost sight of the fact that, although those national states are in subjection to the great powers, or to be more exact, because of this, there are contradictions between the great powers and those states, which made themselves felt, for example, in the negotiations with Poland, Estonia, etc. It is precisely the function of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs to take all these contradictions into account, to base itself on them, to manoeuvre within the framework of these contradictions. Most surprisingly, Comrade Chicherin has underestimated this factor.
The third mistake of Comrade Chicherin is that he talks too much about national self-determination, which has indeed become an empty slogan conveniently used by the imperialists. Strangely enough, Comrade Chiche-rin has forgotten that we parted with that slogan two years ago. That slogan no longer figures in our programme. Our programme does not speak of national self-determination, which is a very vague slogan, but of the right of nations to secede, a slogan which is more precise and definite. These are two different things. Strangely enough, Comrade Chicherin fails to take this factor into account in his articles and, as a result, all his objections to the slogan which has become vague are like firing blank shot, for neither in my theses nor in the Party's programme is there a single word about "self-determination." The only thing that is mentioned is the right of nations to secede. At the present time, however, when the liberation movement is flaring up in the colonies, that is for us a revolutionary slogan. Since the Soviet states are united voluntarily in a federation, the nations constituting the R.S.F.S.R. voluntarily refrain from exercising the right to secede. But as regards the colonies that are in the clutches of Britain, France, America and Japan, as regards such subject countries as Arabia, Mesopotamia, Turkey and Hindustan, i.e., countries which are colonies or semi-colonies, the right of nations to secede is a revolutionary slogan, and to abandon it would mean playing into the hands of the imperialists.
The fourth misunderstanding is the absence of practical advice in Comrade Chicherin's articles. It is easy, of course, to write articles, but to justify their title: "In Opposition to Comrade Stalin's Theses" he should have proposed something serious, he should at least have made some practical counter-proposals. But I failed to find in his articles a single practical proposal that was worth considering.
I am finishing, comrades. We have arrived at the following conclusions. Far from being able to solve the national question, bourgeois society, on the contrary, in its attempts to "solve" it, has fanned it into becoming the colonial question, and has created against itself a new front that stretches from Ireland to Hindustan. The only state that is capable of formulating and solving the national question is the state that is based on the collective ownership of the means and instruments of production—the Soviet state. In the Soviet federative state there are no longer either oppressed or dominant nations, national oppression has been abolished; but owing to the actual inequality (cultural, economic and political) inherited from the old bourgeois order, inequality between the more cultured and less cultured nations, the national question assumes a form which calls for the working out of measures that will help the labouring masses of the backward nations and nationalities to make economic, political and cultural progress, that will enable them to catch up with central—proletarian—Russia, which has forged ahead. From this follow the practical proposals which constitute the third section of the theses on the national question which I have submitted. (Applause.)
2. Reply to the Discussion
Comrades, the most characteristic feature of this congress as regards the discussion on the national question is that we have passed from declarations on the national question, through the administrative redivi-sion of Russia, to the practical presentation of the question. At the beginning of the October Revolution we confined ourselves to declaring the right of peoples to secede. In 1918 and in 1920 we were engaged in the administrative redivision of Russia on national lines with the object of bringing the labouring masses of the backward peoples closer to the proletariat of Russia. Today, at this congress, we are presenting, on a purely practical basis, the question of what policy the Party should adopt towards the labouring masses and petty-bourgeois elements in the autonomous regions and independent republics associated with Russia. Therefore, Za-tonsky's statement that the theses submitted to you are of an abstract character astonished me. I have before me his own theses which, for some reason, he did not submit to the congress, and in them I have not been able to find a single practical proposal, literally, not one, except, perhaps, the proposal that the word "East-European" be substituted for "R.S.F.S.R.," and that the word "Russian" or "Great-Russian" be substituted for "All-Russian." I have not found any other practical proposals in these theses.
I pass on to the next question.
I must say that I expected more from the delegates who have spoken. Russia has twenty-two border regions. Some of them have undergone considerable industrial development and differ little from central Russia in industrial respects; others have not been through the stage of capitalism and differ radically from central Russia; others again are very backward. It is impossible in a set of theses to deal with all this diversity of the border regions in all its concrete details. One cannot demand that theses of importance to the Party as a whole should bear only a Turkestan, an Azerbaijanian, or a Ukrainian character. Theses must seize on and include the common characteristic features of all the border regions, abstracted from the details. There is no other method of drawing up theses.
The non-Great-Russian nations must be divided into several groups, and this has been done in the theses. The non-Russian nations comprise a total of about 65,000,000 people. The common characteristic feature of all these non-Russian nations is that they lag behind central Russia as regards the development of their statehood. Our task is to exert all efforts to help these nations, to help their proletarians and toilers generally to develop their Soviet statehood in their native languages. This common feature is mentioned in the theses, in the part dealing with practical measures.
Next, proceeding further in concretising the specific features of the border regions, we must single out from the total of nearly 65;000,000 people of non-Russian nationalities some 25,000,000 Tyurks who have not been through the capitalist stage. Comrade Mikoyan was wrong when he said that in some respects Azerbaijan stands higher than the Russian provincial districts. He is obviously confusing Baku with Azerbaijan. Baku did not spring from the womb of Azerbaijan; it is a superstructure erected by the efforts of Nobel, Rothschild, Whishaw, and others. As regards Azerbaijan itself, it is a country with the most backward patriarchal-feudal relations. That is why I place Azerbaijan as a whole in the group of border regions which have not been through the capitalist stage, and in relation to which it is necessary to employ specific methods of drawing them into the channel of Soviet economy. That is stated in the theses.
Then there is a third group which embraces not more than 6,000,000 people; these are mainly pastoral races, which still lead a tribal life and have not yet adopted agriculture. These are chiefly the Kirghiz, the northern part of Turkestan, Bashkirs, Chechens, Ossetians and Ingushes. The first thing to be done in relation to this group of nationalities is to provide them with land. The Kirghiz and Bashkirs here were not given the floor; the debate was closed. They would have told us more about the sufferings of the Bashkir highlanders, the Kirghiz and the Highlanders, who are dying out for want of land. But what Safarov said about this applies only to a group consisting of 6,000,000 people. Therefore, it is wrong to apply Safarov's practical proposals to all the border regions, for his amendments have no significance whatever for the rest of the non-Russian nationalities, which comprise about 60,000,000 people. Therefore, while raising no objection to the concretisation, supplementation and improvement of individual points moved by Safarov relating to certain groups of nationalities, I must say that these amendments should not be uni-versalised. I must next make a comment on one of Safa-rov's amendments. In one of his amendments there has crept in the phrase "national-cultural self-determination":
"Before the October Revolution," it says there, "the colonial and semi-colonial peoples of the eastern border regions of Russia, as a result of imperialist policy, had no opportunity whatever of sharing the cultural benefits of capitalist civilisation by means of their own national-cultural self-determination, education in their native languages," etc.
I must say that I cannot accept this amendment because it smacks of Bundism. National-cultural self-determination is a Bundist formula. We parted with nebulous slogans of self-determination long ago and there is no need to revive them. Moreover, the entire phrase is a most unnatural combination of words.
Further, I have received a note alleging that we Communists are artificially cultivating a Byelorussian nationality. That is not true, for there exists a Byelorussian nation, which has its own language, different from Russian. Consequently, the culture of the Byelorussian people can be raised only in its native language. We heard similar talk five years ago about the Ukraine, about the Ukrainian nation. And only recently it was said that the Ukrainian Republic and the Ukrainian nation were inventions of the Germans. It is obvious, however, that there is a Ukrainian nation, and it is the duty of the Communists to develop its culture. You cannot go against history. It is obvious that although Russian elements still predominate in the Ukrainian towns, in the course of time these towns will inevitably be Ukrainianised. About forty years ago, Riga had the appearance of a German city; but since towns grow at the expense of the countryside, and since the countryside is the guardian of nationality, Riga is now a purely Lettish city. About fifty years ago all Hungarian towns bore a German character; now they have become Magyarised. The same will happen in Byelorussia, where non-Byelorussians still predominate in the towns.
In conclusion, I propose that the congress elect a commission, containing representatives of the regions, for the purpose of further concretising those practical proposals in the theses that interest all our border regions. (Applause.)
The Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party. Verbatim Report, Moscow, 1921.
Concerning the Presentation
of the National Question
May 2, 1921
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
The presentation of the national question as given by the Communists differs essentially from the presentation adopted by the leaders of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals (1) and by all the various "Socialist," "Social-Democratic," Menshevik, Socialist-Revolutionary and other parties.
It is particularly important to note four principal points that are the most characteristic and distinguishing features of the new presentation of the national question, features which draw a line between the old and the new conceptions of the national question.
The first point
is the merging of the national question, as a part, with the general question of the liberation of the colonies, as a whole. In the epoch of the Second International it was usual to confine the national question to a narrow circle of questions relating exclusively to the "civilised" nations. The Irish, the Czechs, the Poles, the Finns, the Serbs, the Armenians, the Jews and some other European nationalities—such was the circle of unequal nations in whose fate the Second International took an interest. The tens and hundreds of millions of people in Asia and Africa who are suffering from national oppression in its crudest and most brutal form did not, as a rule, come within the field of vision of the "socialists." They did not venture to place whites and blacks, "uncultured" Negroes and "civilised" Irish, "backward" Indians and "enlightened" Poles on the same footing. It was tacitly assumed that although it might be necessary to strive for the liberation of the European unequal nations, it was entirely unbecoming for "respectable socialists" to speak seriously of the liberation of the colonies, which were "necessary" for the "preservation" of "civilisation." These socialists, save the mark, did not even suspect that the abolition of national oppression in Europe is inconceivable without the liberation of the colonial peoples of Asia and Africa from imperialist oppression, that the former is organically bound up with the latter. It was the Communists who first revealed the connection between the national question and the question of the colonies, who proved it theoretically and made it the basis of their practical revolutionary activities. That broke down the wall between whites and blacks, between the "cultured" and the "uncultured" slaves of imperialism. This circumstance greatly facilitated the co-ordination of the struggle of the backward colonies with the struggle of the advanced proletariat against the common enemy, imperialism.
The second point
is that the vague slogan of the right of nations to self-determination has been replaced by the clear revolutionary slogan of the right of nations and colonies to secede, to form independent states. When speaking of the right to self-determination, the leaders of the Second International did not as a rule even hint at the right to secede—the right to self-determination was at best interpreted to mean the right to autonomy in general. Springer and Bauer, the "experts" on the national question, even went so far as to convert the right to self-determination into the right of the oppressed nations of Europe to cultural autonomy, that is, the right to have their own cultural institutions, while all political (and economic) power was to remain in the hands of the dominant nation. In other words, the right of the unequal nations to self-determination was converted into the privilege of the dominant nations to wield political power, and the question of secession was excluded. Kautsky, the ideological leader of the Second International, associated himself in the main with this essentially imperialist interpretation of self-determination as given by Springer and Bauer. It is not surprising that the imperialists, realising how convenient this feature of the slogan of self-determination was for them, proclaimed the slogan their own. As we know, the imperialist war, the aim of which was to enslave peoples, was fought under the flag of self-determination. Thus the vague slogan of self-determination was converted from an instrument for the liberation of nations, for achieving equal rights for nations, into an instrument for taming nations, an instrument for keeping nations in subjection to imperialism. The course of events in recent years all over the world, the logic of revolution in Europe, and, lastly, the growth of the liberation movement in the colonies demanded that this, now reactionary slogan should be cast aside and replaced by another slogan, a revolutionary slogan, capable of dispelling the atmosphere of distrust of the labouring masses of the unequal nations towards the proletarians of the dominant nations and of clearing the way towards equal rights for nations and towards the unity of the toilers of these nations. Such a slogan is the one issued by the Communists proclaiming the right of nations and colonies to secede.
The merits of this slogan are that it :
1) removes all grounds for suspicion that the toilers of one nation entertain predatory designs against the toilers of another nation, and therefore creates a basis for mutual confidence and voluntary union;
2) tears the mask from the imperialists, who hypocritically prate about self-determination but who are striving to keep the unequal peoples and colonies in subjection, to retain them within the framework of their imperialist state, and thereby intensifies the struggle for liberation that these nations and colonies are waging against imperialism.
It scarcely needs proof that the Russian workers would not have gained the sympathy of their comrades of other nationalities in the West and the East if, having assumed power, they had not proclaimed the right of nations to secede, if they had not demonstrated in practice their readiness to give effect to this inalienable right of nations, if they had not renounced their "rights," let us say, to Finland (1917), if they had not withdrawn their troops from North Persia (1917), if they had not renounced all claims to certain parts of Mongolia, China, etc., etc.
It is equally beyond doubt that if the policy of the imperialists, skilfully concealed under the flag of self-determination, has nevertheless lately been meeting with defeat after defeat in the East, it is because, among other things, it has encountered there a growing liberation movement, which has developed on the basis of the agitation conducted in the spirit of the slogan of the right of nations to secede. This is not understood by the heroes of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals, who roundly abuse the Baku "Council of Action and Propaganda" (2) for some slight mistakes it has committed; but it will be understood by everyone who takes the trouble to acquaint himself with the activities of that "Council" during the year it has been in existence, and with the liberation movement in the Asiatic and African colonies during the past two or three years.
The third point
is the disclosure of the organic connection between the national and colonial question and the question of the rule of capital, of overthrowing capitalism, of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the epoch of the Second International, the national question, narrowed down to the extreme, was usually regarded as an isolated question, unrelated to the coming proletarian revolution. It was tacitly assumed that the national question would be settled "naturally," before the proletarian revolution, by means of a series of reforms within the framework of capitalism; that the proletarian revolution could be accomplished without a radical settlement of the national question, and that, on the contrary, the national question could be settled without overthrowing the rule of capital, without, and before, the victory of the proletarian revolution. That essentially imperialist view runs like a red thread through the wellknown works of Springer and Bauer on the national question. But the past decade has exposed the utter falsity and rottenness of this conception of the national question. The imperialist war has shown, and the revolutionary experience of recent years has again confirmed that :
1) the national and colonial questions are inseparable from the question of emancipation from the rule of capital;
2) imperialism (the highest form of capitalism) cannot exist without the political and economic enslavement of the unequal nations and colonies;
3) the unequal nations and colonies cannot be liberated without overthrowing the rule of capital;
4) the victory of the proletariat cannot be lasting without the liberation of the unequal nations and colonies from the yoke of imperialism.
If Europe and America may be called the front or the arena of the major battles between socialism and imperialism, the unequal nations and the colonies, with their raw materials, fuel, food and vast store of man-power, must be regarded as the rear, the reserve of imperialism. To win a war it is necessary not only to triumph at the front, but also to revolutionise the enemy's rear, his reserves. Hence, the victory of the world proletarian revolution may be regarded as assured only if the proletariat is able to combine its own revolutionary struggle with the liberation movement of the labouring masses of the unequal nations and the colonies against the rule of the imperialists and for the dictatorship of the proletariat. This "trifle" was overlooked by the leaders of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals, who divorced the national and colonial question from the question of power in the epoch of growing proletarian revolution in the West.
The fourth point
is that a new element has been introduced into the national question—the element of the actual (and not merely juridical) equalisation of nations (help and co-operation for the backward nations in raising themselves to the cultural and economic level of the more advanced nations), as one of the conditions necessary for securing fraternal co-operation between the labouring masses of the various nations. In the epoch of the Second International the matter was usually confined to proclaiming "national equality of rights"; at best, things went no further than the demand that such equality of rights should be put into effect. But national equality of rights, although a very important political gain in itself, runs the risk of remaining a mere phrase in the absence of adequate resources and opportunities for exercising this very important right. It is beyond doubt that the labouring masses of the backward peoples are not in a position to exercise the rights that are accorded them under "national equality of rights" to the same degree to which they can be exercised by the labouring masses of advanced nations. The backwardness (cultural and economic), which some nations have inherited from the past, and which cannot be abolished in one or two years, makes itself felt. This circumstance is also perceptible in Russia, where a number of peoples have not gone through, and some have not even entered, the phase of capitalism and have no proletariat, or hardly any, of their own; where, although complete national equality of rights has already been established, the labouring masses of these nationalities are not in a position to make adequate use of the rights they have won, owing to their cultural and economic backwardness. This circumstance will make itself felt still more "on the morrow" of the victory of the proletariat in the West, when numerous backward colonies and semi-colonies, standing at most diverse levels of development, will inevitably appear on the scene. For that very reason the victorious proletariat of the advanced nations must assist, must render assistance, real and prolonged assistance, to the labouring masses of the backward nations in their cultural and economic development, so as to help them to rise to a higher stage of development and to catch up with the more advanced nations. Unless such aid is forthcoming it will be impossible to bring about the peaceful co-existence and fraternal co-operation of the toilers of the various nations and nationalities within a single world economic system that are so essential for the final triumph of socialism.
But from this it follows that we cannot confine ourselves merely to "national equality of rights," that we must pass from "national equality of rights" to measures that will bring about real equality of nations, that we must proceed to work out and put into effect practical measures in relation to:
1) the study of the economic conditions, manner of life and culture of the backward nations and nationalities;
2) the development of their culture;
3) their political education;
4) their gradual and painless introduction to the higher forms of economy;
5) the organisation of economic co-operation between the toilers of the backward and of the advanced nations.
Such are the four principal points which distinguish the new presentation of the national question given by the Russian Communists.
Pravda, No. 98, May 8, 1921
The Two-and-a-Half International — the "International Association of Labour and Socialist Parties" — was formed in Vienna in February 1921 at an inaugural conference of Centrist parties and groups which, owing to the pressure of the revolutionary-minded workers, had temporarily seceded from the Second International. While criticising the Second International in words, the leaders of the Two-and-a-Half International (F. Adler, O. Bauer, L. Martov, and others) in fact pursued an opportunist policy on all the major questions of the proletarian movement, and strove to use the association to counteract the growing influence of the Communists among the masses of the workers. In 1923, the Two-and-a-Half International rejoined the Second International.
The "Council of Action and Propaganda of the Peoples of the East" was formed by decision of the First Congress of the Peoples of the East, held in Baku in September 1920. The object of the council was to support and unite the liberation movement of the East. It existed for about a year.
The October Revolution and the National Policy of the Russian Communists
November 6-7, 1921
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
The strength of the October Revolution lies, among other things, in that, unlike the revolutions in the West, it rallied around the Russian proletariat the many millions of the petty bourgeoisie, and, above all, its most numerous and powerful strata—the peasantry. As a result, the Russian bourgeoisie was isolated and left without an army, while the Russian proletariat became the arbiter of the destiny of the country. But for that the Russian workers would not have retained power.
Peace, the agrarian revolution and freedom for the nationalities—these were the three principal factors which served to rally the peasants of more than twenty nationalities in the vast expanse of Russia around the Red Flag of the Russian proletariat.
There is no need to speak here of the first two factors. Enough has been said about them in the literature on the subject, and indeed they speak for themselves. As for the third factor—the national policy of the Russian Communists—apparently, its importance has not yet been fully realised. It will therefore not be superfluous to say a few words on this subject.
To begin with, of the 140,000,000 of the population of the R.S.F.S.R. (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland excluded), the Great Russians do not number more than 75,000,000. The remaining 65,000,000 belong to nations other than the Great-Russian.
Furthermore, these nations mainly inhabit the border regions, which are the most vulnerable from the military point of view; and these border regions abound in raw materials, fuel and foodstuffs.
Lastly, in industrial and military respects these border regions are less developed than central Russia (or are not developed at all), and, as a consequence, they are not in a position to maintain their independent existence without the military and economic assistance of central Russia, just as central Russia is not in a position to maintain its military and economic power without assistance in fuel, raw materials and food from the border regions.
These circumstances, coupled with certain provisions of the national programme of communism, determined the character of the national policy of the Russian Communists.
The essence of this policy can be expressed in a few words: renunciation of all "claims" and "rights" to regions inhabited by non-Russian nations; recognition (not in words but in deeds) of the right of these nations to exist as independent states; a voluntary military and economic union of these nations with central Russia; assistance to the backward nations in their cultural and economic development, without which what is known as "national equality of rights" becomes an empty sound; all this based on the complete emancipation of the peasants and the concentration of all power in the hands of the labouring elements of the border nations— such is the national policy of the Russian Communists.
Needless to say, the Russian workers who came to power would not have been able to win the sympathy and confidence of their comrades of other nations, and above all of the oppressed masses of the unequal nations, had they not proved in practice their willingness to carry out such a national policy, had they not renounced their "right" to Finland, had they not withdrawn their troops from Northern Persia, had they not renounced the claims of the Russian imperialists to certain regions of Mongolia and China, and had they not assisted the backward nations of the former Russian Empire to develop their culture and statehood in their own languages.
That confidence alone could serve as the basis for that indestructible union of the peoples of the R.S.F.S.R., against which all "diplomatic" machinations and carefully executed "blockades" have proved impotent.
More than that. The Russian workers could not have defeated Kolchak, Denikin and Wrangel had they not enjoyed the sympathy and confidence of the oppressed masses of the border regions of former Russia. It must not be forgotten that the field of action of these mutinous generals was limited to border regions inhabited mainly by non-Russian nations, and the latter could not but hate Kolchak, Denikin and Wrangel for their imperialist policy and policy of Russification. The Entente, which intervened and supported these generals, could rely only on those elements in the border regions which were the vehicles of Russification. That served only to inflame the hatred of the people of the border regions for the mutinous generals and increased their sympathy for the Soviet power.
This circumstance accounted for the internal weakness of the Kolchak, Denikin and Wrangel rears, and therefore for the weakness of their fronts, that is, in the long run, for their defeat.
But the beneficial results of the national policy of the Russian Communists are not confined to the territory of the R.S.F.S.R. and the Soviet republics associated with it. They are also seen, indirectly, it is true, in the attitude of the neighbouring countries towards the R.S.F.S.R. The radical improvement in the attitude of Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, India and other Eastern countries towards Russia, which was formerly a bogey to these countries, is a fact which even so valiant a politician as Lord Curzon does not now venture to dispute. It scarcely needs proof that if the national policy outlined above had not been systematically carried out in the R.S.F.S.R. during the four years of the existence of Soviet power, this radical change in the attitude of the neighbouring countries towards Russia would have been inconceivable.
Such, in the main, are the results of the national policy of the Russian Communists. And these results are especially clear today, on the fourth anniversary of Soviet power, when the hard war is over, when extensive construction work has begun, and when one involuntarily looks back along the path travelled in order to take it in at a single glance.
Pravda, No. 251, November 6-7, 1921
The Question of the Union of the Independent National Republics
Interview With a Pravda Correspondent
November 18, 1922
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
Interviewed by our correspondent on questions concerning the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Comrade Stalin gave the following explanations : (1)
Who initiated the movement for the union of the independent republics?
—The republics themselves initiated the movement. About three months ago, leading circles of the Trans-caucasian republics already raised the question of forming a united economic front of Soviet Socialist Republics and of uniting them in a single union state. The question was then put before wide Party meetings in some districts of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia and, as is evident from the resolutions that were passed, it roused unprecedented enthusiasm. At about the same time the question of union was raised in the Ukraine and in Byelorussia, and there too, as in Transcaucasia, it roused marked enthusiasm among wide Party circles.
These facts are indubitable evidence of the vitality of the movement and show that the question of uniting the republics has certainly matured.
What gave rise to the movement; what are its basic motives?
—The motives are chiefly economic. Assistance to peasant farming, the raising of industry, improving means of transport and communication, financial questions, questions concerning concessions and other economic agreements, joint action in foreign markets as buyers or sellers of commodities—such are the questions that gave rise to the movement for the formation of a Union of Republics. The exhaustion of the internal economic resources of our republics as a result of the Civil War, on the one hand, and the absence of any considerable influx of foreign capital, on the other, have created a situation in which none of our Soviet republics is in a position to restore its national economy by its own unaided efforts. This circumstance makes itself specially felt now when for the first time since the termination of the Civil War the Soviet republics have set to work in earnest to solve their economic problems, and here, in the course of this work, have, for the first time, realised the utter inadequacy of the isolated efforts of the individual republics, and how utterly inevitable is the combination of those efforts and the economic union of the republics as the sole way of really restoring industry and agriculture.
But in order really to combine the economic efforts of the individual republics to the degree of uniting them in a single economic union, it is necessary to set up appropriate permanently functioning Union bodies capable of directing the economic life of these republics along one definite road. That is why the old economic and commercial treaties between these republics have now proved to be inadequate. That is why the movement for a Union of Republics has outgrown these treaties and has brought up the question of uniting the republics.
Do you think that this trend towards unity is an entirely new phenomenon, or has it a history?
—The movement for uniting the independent republics is not something unexpected and "unprecedented." It has a history. This unification movement has already passed through two phases of its development and has now entered the third.
The first phase was the period 1918-21, the period of intervention and civil war, when the existence of the republics was in mortal danger, and when the republics were compelled to combine their military efforts in order to defend their existence. That phase culminated in the military union, the military alliance of the Soviet republics.
The second phase was at the end of 1921 and beginning of 1922, the period of Genoa and The Hague, when the Western capitalist powers, disappointed in the efficacy of intervention, attempted to secure the restoration of capitalist property in the Soviet republics not by military but by diplomatic means, when a united diplomatic front of the Soviet republics was the inevitable means by which alone they could withstand the onslaught of the Western powers. On this ground arose the well-known agreement between the eight independent friendly republics and the R.S.F.S.R., (2) concluded before the opening of the Genoa Conference, which cannot be called anything else than the diplomatic union of the Soviet republics. Thus ended the second phase, the phase of the diplomatic union of our republics.
Today, the movement for uniting the national republics has entered the third phase, the phase of economic union. It is not difficult to understand that the third phase is the culmination of the two preceding phases of the movement for unification.
Does it follow from this that the union of the republics will end in re-union with Russia, in merging with her, as is happening with the Far Eastern Republic?
—No. It does not! There is a fundamental difference between the Far Eastern Republic (3) and the above-mentioned national republics:
a) whereas the former was established artificially (as a buffer), for tactical reasons (it was thought that the bourgeois-democratic form would serve as a reliable guarantee against the imperialist designs of Japan and other powers) and not at all on a national basis, the latter, on the contrary, arose as the natural result of the development of the respective nationalities, and have chiefly a national basis;
b) whereas the Far Eastern Republic can be abolished without in the least harming the national interests of the predominant population (for they are Russians, like the majority of the population of Russia), the abolition of the national republics would be a piece of reactionary folly, calling for the abolition of the non-Russian nationalities, their Russification, i.e., a piece of reactionary fanaticism that would rouse the protest even of obscurantist Russian chauvinists like the Black-Hundred member Shulgin.
This explains the fact that as soon as the Far Eastern Republic became convinced that the bourgeois-democratic form was useless as a guarantee against the imperialists, it was able to abolish itself and become a constituent part of Russia, a region, like the Urals or Siberia, without a Council of People's Commissars or Central Executive Committee, whereas the national republics, which are built on an entirely different basis, cannot be abolished, cannot be deprived of their Central Executive Committees and Councils of People's Commissars, of their national b ases, as long as the nationalities which gave rise to them exist, as long as the national languages, culture, manner of life, habits and customs exist. That is why the union of the national Soviet republics into a single union state cannot end in their reunion, their merging, with Russia.
What, in your opinion, should be the character and form of the union of the republics into a single Union?
—The character of the union should be voluntary, exclusively voluntary, and every national republic should retain the right to secede from the Union. Thus, the voluntary principle must be made the basis of the Treaty on the Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The parties to the treaty of union are: the R.S.F.S.R. (as an integral federal unit), the Transcaucasian Federation (4) (also as an integral federal unit), the Ukraine and Byelorussia. Bukhara and Khorezm,(5) not being Socialist, but only People's Soviet Republics, may, perhaps, remain outside of the union until their natural development converts them into Socialist Republics.
The supreme organs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are: the Union Central Executive Committee, to be elected by the constituent republics of the Union with representation in proportion to population; and the Union Council of People's Commissars, to be elected by the Union Central Executive Committee, as its executive organ.
The functions of the Union Central Executive Committee are: to draw up the fundamental guiding principles of the political and economic life of the republics and federations constituting the Union.
The functions of the Union Council of People's Commissars are:
a) direct and undivided control of the military affairs, foreign affairs, foreign trade, railways, and posts and telegraphs of the Union;
b) leadership of the activities of the Commissariats of Finance, Food, National Economy, Labour, and State Inspection of the republics and federations constituting the Union; the Commissariats of Internal Affairs, Agriculture, Education, Justice, Social Maintenance, and Public Health of these republics and federations are to remain under the undivided and direct control of these republics and federations.
Such, in my opinion, should be the general form of union in the Union of Republics, so far as it can be perceived in the movement for the union of the national republics.
Some people are of the opinion that in addition to the two Union organs (Central Executive Committee and Council of People's Commissars) it is necessary to set up a third Union organ, an intermediary one, an Upper Chamber, so to speak, in which all the nationalities should be equally represented; but there can be no doubt that this opinion will not meet with any sympathy among the national republics, if only for the reason that a two-chamber system, with an Upper Chamber, is incompatible with the structure of the Soviet system, at all events in its present stage of development.
How soon, in your opinion, will the Union of Republics be formed, and what will be its international significance?
—I think that the day of the formation of the Union of Republics is not far off. It is quite possible that the formation of the Union will coincide with the forthcoming convocation of the Tenth Congress of Soviets of the R.S.F.S.R.
As for the international significance of this Union, it scarcely needs special explanation. If the military alliance of the Soviet republics in the period of the Civil War enabled us to repulse the military intervention of our enemies, and the diplomatic alliance of those republics in the period of Genoa and The Hague facilitated our struggle against the diplomatic onslaught of the Entente, the union of the Soviet republics in a single union state will undoubtedly create a form of all-round military and economic co-operation that will greatly facilitate the economic progress of the Soviet republics and convert them into a citadel against attacks by international capitalism.
Pravda, No. 261, November 18, 1922
J. V. Stalin headed the commission set up by the Plenum of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.) on October 6, 1922, to draft the Bill for uniting the R.S.F.S.R., the Ukrainian S.S.R., the Transcaucasian Federation and the Byelorussian S.S.R. into a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This commission directed all the preparations for the First Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R.
2. This refers to the agreement signed in Moscow on February 22, 1922, by the plenipotentiary representatives of the independent republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Byelo-russia, the Ukraine, Khorezm, Bukhara, the Far Eastern Republic and the R.S.F.S.R., authorising the R.S.F.S.R. to represent these republics at the European economic confer- ence in Genoa.
The Far Eastern Republic included the Pribaikal, the Trans-baikal, the Amur Region, and the Maritime Province, Kamchatka, and the northern part of Sakhalin. It existed from April 1920 to November 1922.
The Transcaucasian Federation—the Federative Union of Socialist Soviet Republics of Transcaucasia, was founded on March 12, 1922, at a plenipotentiary conference of represent- atives of the Central Executive Committees of Georgia, Azer- baijan and Armenia. In December 1922, the Federative Union was transformed into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (T.S.F.S.R.). The Transcaucasian Federation existed until 1936. In conformity with the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. adopted in 1936, the Armenian, Azerbaijanian and Georgian Soviet Socialist Republics entered the U.S.S.R. as Union Republics. (Concerning the Transcaucasian Federation, see this volume, pp. 231-36, 256-62.)
The Bukhara and Khorezm People's Soviet Republics were formed in 1920 as a result of the successful people's insurrections in the former Khanates of Bukhara and Khiva. At the end of 1924 and beginning of 1925, as a result of the demarcation of states in Central Asia on a national basis, the territory of the Bukhara and Khorezm Republics became part of the newly formed Turkmenian and Uzbek Union Soviet Socialist Republics, the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous Region.
The Union of the Soviet Republics
Report Delivered at the Tenth All-Russian Congress of Soviets
December 26, 1922
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
The Tenth All-Russian Congress of Soviets took place in Moscow on December 23-27, 1922. There were present 2,215 delegates, of whom 488 were delegates from the treaty republics — the Trans-caucasian S.F.S.R., the Ukrainian S.S.R. and the Byelorussian S.S.R.—who had come to Moscow to attend the First Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R. and had been invited to attend the Tenth All-Russian Congress as guests of honour. The Tenth All-Russian Congress of Soviets discussed the following: report of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars on the republic's home and foreign policy; report on the state of industry; report of the People's Commissariat of Agriculture (summary of work done to improve peasant farming); report of the People's Commissariat of Education; report of the People's Commissariat of Finance; proposal of the treaty Soviet republics on the creation of a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On December 26, J. V. Stalin delivered a report on uniting the Soviet republics. The resolution moved by him was adopted unanimously. After J. V. Stalin had delivered his report, the representatives of the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Byelorussia addressed the congress and on behalf of their respective peoples welcomed the union of the Soviet republics into a single union state — the U.S.S.R.
Comrades, a few days ago, before this congress began, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee received a number of resolutions from Congresses of Soviets of the Transcaucasian republics, the Ukraine and Byelorussia on the desirability and necessity of uniting these republics into a single union state. The Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee has had this question under consideration and has declared that such a union is opportune. As a result of its resolution, the question of uniting the republics is included in the agenda of this congress.
The campaign for the union of the Soviet Socialist Republics began some three or four months ago. The initiative was taken by the Azerbaijanian, Armenian and Georgian Republics, which were later joined by the Ukrainian and Byelorussian Republics. The idea of the campaign is that the old treaty relations—the relations established by the conventions between the R.S.F.S.R. and the other Soviet republics—have served their purpose and are no longer adequate. The idea of the campaign is that we must inevitably pass from the old treaty relations to relations based on a closer union—relations which imply the creation of a single union state with corresponding Union executive and legislative organs, with a Central Executive Committee and a Council of People's Commissars of the Union. To put it briefly, it is now, in the course of the campaign, proposed that what was formerly decided from time to time, within the framework of convention relations, should be put on a permanent basis.
What are the reasons that impel the republics to take the path of union? What are the circumstances that have determined the necessity for union?
Three groups of circumstances have made the union of the Soviet republics into a single union state inevitable.
The first group of circumstances consists of facts relating to our internal economic situation.
First, the meagreness of the economic resources left at the disposal of the republics after seven years of war. This compels us to combine these meagre resources so as to employ them more rationally and to develop the main branches of our economy which form the backbone of Soviet power in all the republics.
Secondly, the historically evolved natural division of labour, the economic division of labour, between the various regions and republics of our federation. For instance, the North supplies the South and East with textiles, the South and East supply the North with cotton, fuel, and so forth. And this division of labour established between the regions cannot be eliminated by a mere stroke of the pen: it has been created historically by the whole course of economic development of the federation. And this division of labour, which makes the full development of the individual regions impossible as long as each republic leads a separate existence, is compelling the republics to unite in a single economic whole.
Thirdly, the unity of the principal means of communication in the entire federation, constituting the nerves and foundation of any possible union. It goes without saying that the means of communication cannot be allowed to have a divided existence, at the disposal of the individual republics and subordinated to their interests for that would convert the main nerve of economic life— transport—into a conglomeration of separate parts utilised without a plan. This circumstance also inclines the republics towards union into a single state.
Lastly, the meagreness of our financial resources Comrades, it must be bluntly stated that our financial position now, in the sixth year of existence of the Soviet regime, has far less opportunities for large-scale development than, for instance, under the old regime which had vodka, which we will not have, yielding 500,000,000 rubles per annum, and which possessed foreign credits to the amount of several hundred million rubles, which we also do not have. All this goes to show that with such meagre opportunities for our financial development we shall not succeed in solving the fundamental and current problems of the financial systems of our republics unless we join forces and combine the financial strength of the individual republics into a single whole.
Such is the first group of circumstances that are impelling our republics to take the path of union.
The second group of circumstances that have determined the union of the republics are facts relating to our international situation. I have in mind our military situation. I have in mind our relations with foreign capital through the Commissariat of Foreign Trade. Lastly, I have in mind our diplomatic relations with the bourgeois states. It must be remembered, comrades, that in spite of the fact that our republics have happily emerged from the condition of civil war, the danger of attack from without is by no means excluded. This danger demands that our military front should be absolutely united, that our army should be an absolutely united army, particularly now that we have taken the path, not of moral disarmament, of course, but of a real, material reduction of armaments. Now that we have reduced our army to 600,000 men, it is particularly essential to have a single and continuous military front capable of safeguarding the republic against external danger.
Furthermore, apart from the military danger, there is the danger of the economic isolation of our federation.
You know that although the economic boycott of our Republic failed after Genoa and The Hague, and after Urquhart, (2) no great influx of capital for the needs of our economy is to be observed. There is a danger of our republics being economically isolated. This new form of intervention, which is no less dangerous than military intervention, can be eliminated only by the creation of a united economic front of our Soviet republics in face of the capitalist encirclement.
Lastly, there is our diplomatic situation. You have all seen how, recently, on the eve of the Lausanne Con-ference, 3 the Entente states made every effort to isolate our federation. Diplomatically, they did not succeed. The organised diplomatic boycott of our federation was broken. The Entente was forced to reckon with our federation and to withdraw, to retreat to some extent. But there are no grounds for assuming that these and similar facts about the diplomatic isolation of our federation will not be repeated. Hence the necessity for a united front also in the diplomatic field.
Such is the second group of circumstances that are impelling the Soviet Socialist Republics to take the path of union.
Both the first and the second groups of circumstances have operated up to the present day, being in force during the whole period of the existence of the Soviet regime. Our economic needs, of which I have just spoken, as well as our military and diplomatic needs in the sphere of foreign policy were, undoubtedly, also felt before the present day. But those circumstances have acquired special force only now, after the termination of the Civil War, when the republics have for the first time obtained the opportunity to start economic construction, and for the first time realise how very meagre their economic resources are, and how very necessary union is as regards both internal economy and foreign relations. That is why now, in the sixth year of existence of the Soviet regime, the question of uniting the independent Soviet Socialist Republics has become an immediate one.
Finally, there is a third group of facts, which also call for union and which are associated with the structure of the Soviet regime, with the class nature of the Soviet regime. The Soviet regime is so constructed that, being international in its intrinsic nature, it in every way fosters the idea of union among the masses and itself impels them to take the path of union. Whereas capital, private property and exploitation disunite people, split them into mutually hostile camps, examples of which are provided by Great Britain, France and even small multi-national states like Poland and Yugoslavia with their irreconcilable internal national contradictions which corrode the very foundations of these states— whereas, I say, over there, in the West, where capitalist democracy reigns and where the states are based on private property, the very basis of the state fosters national bickering, conflicts and struggle, here, in the world of Soviets, where the regime is based not on capital but on labour, where the regime is based not on private property, but on collective property, where the regime is based not on the exploitation of man by man, but on the struggle against such exploitation, here, on the contrary, the very nature of the regime fosters among the labouring masses a natural striving towards union in a single socialist family.
Is it not significant that whereas over there, in the West, in the world of bourgeois democracy, we are witnessing the gradual decline and disintegration of the multi-national states into their component parts (as in the case of Great Britain, which has to settle matters with India, Egypt and Ireland, how, I do not know, or as in the case of Poland, which has to settle matters with its Byelorussians and Ukrainians, how, I do not know either), here, in our federation, which unites no fewer than thirty nationalities, we, on the contrary, are witnessing a process by which the state ties between the independent republics are becoming stronger, a process which is leading to an ever closer union of the independent nationalities in a single independent state! Thus you have two types of state union, of which the first, the capitalist type, leads to the disintegration of the state, while the second, the Soviet type, on the contrary, leads to a gradual but enduring union of formerly independent nationalities into a single independent state. Such is the third group of facts that are impelling the individual republics to take the path of union.
What should be the form of the union of the republics? The principles of the union are outlined in the resolutions which the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee has received from the Soviet Republics of the Ukraine, Byelorussia and Transcaucasia.
Four Republics are to unite: the R.S.F.S.R. as an integral federal unit, the Transcaucasian Republic, also as an integral federal unit, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia. Two independent Soviet Republics, Khorezm and Bukhara, which are not Socialist Republics, but People's Soviet Republics, remain for the time being outside this union solely and exclusively because these republics are not yet socialist. I have no doubt, comrades, and I hope that you too have no doubt, that, as they develop internally towards socialism, these republics will also join the union state which is now being formed.
It might seem to be more expedient for the R.S.F.S.R. not to join the Union of Republics as an integral federal unit, but that the republics comprising it should join individually, for which purpose it would evidently be necessary to dissolve the R.S.F.S.R. into its component parts. I think that this way would be irrational and inexpedient, and that it is precluded by the very course of the campaign. First, the effect would be that, parallel with the process that is leading to the union of the republics, we would have a process of disuniting the already existing federal units, a process that would upset the truly revolutionary process of union of the republics which has already begun. Secondly, if we took this wrong road we would arrive at a situation in which we would have to separate out of the R.S.F.S.R., in addition to the eight autonomous republics, a specifically Russian Central Executive Committee and a Russian Council of People's Commissars, and this would lead to considerable organisational perturbations, which are entirely unnecessary and harmful at the present time, and which are not in the least demanded by either the internal or external situation. That is why I think that the parties to the formation of the union should be the four Republics: the R.S.F.S.R., the Transcaucasian Federation, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia.
The treaty of union must be based on the following principles: Commissariats of Foreign Trade, Military and Naval Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Transport, and Posts and Telegraphs shall be set up only within the Council of People's Commissars of the Union. The People's Commissariats of Finance, National Economy, Food, Labour, and State Inspection shall continue to function within each of the contracting republics, with the proviso that they operate in accordance with the instructions of the corresponding central Commissariats of the Union. This is necessary in order that the forces of the labouring masses of the republics may be united under the direction of the Union centre as regards food supply, the Supreme Council of National Economy, the People's Commissariat of Finance, and the People's Commissariat of Labour. Lastly, the remaining Commissariats, i.e., the Commissariats of Internal Affairs, Justice, Education,
Agriculture, and so on—there are six in all—which are directly connected with the manner of life, customs, special forms of land settlement, special forms of legal procedure, and with the language and culture of the peoples forming the republics, must be left as independent Commissariats under the control of the Central Executive Committees and Councils of People's Commissars of the contracting republics. This is necessary in order to provide a real guarantee of freedom of national development for the peoples of the Soviet republics.
Such, in my opinion, are the principles that must be made the basis of the treaty that is shortly to be signed between our republics.
Accordingly, I move the following draft resolution, which has been approved by the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee:
1. The union of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, the Transcau-casian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic and the Byelorussian Socialist Soviet Republic into a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is to be regarded as opportune.
2. The union is to be based on the principle of voluntary consent and equal rights of the republics, each of which shall retain the right freely to secede from the Union of Republics.
3. The delegation from the R.S.F.S.R., in collaboration with the delegations from the Ukraine, the Transcaucasian Republic and Byelorussia, is to be instructed to draft a declaration on the formation of the Union of Republics, setting forth the considerations which dictate the union of the republics into a single union state.
4. The delegation is to be instructed to draw up the terms on which the R.S.F.S.R. is to enter the Union of Republics and when examining the treaty of union, is to adhere to the following principles:
a) the formation of the appropriate Union legislative and executive organs;
b) the merging of the Commissariats of Military and Naval Affairs, Transport, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Posts and Telegraphs;
c) the subordination of the Commissariats of Finance, Food, National Economy, Labour, and Workers' and Peasants' Inspection of the contracting republics to the instructions of the corresponding Commissariats of the Union of Republics;
d) complete guarantee of national development for the peoples belonging to the contracting republics.
5. The draft treaty is to be submitted for the approval of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee represented by its Presidium before it is submitted to the First Congress of the Union of Republics.
6. On the basis of the approval of the terms of union by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the delegation is to be empowered to conclude a treaty between the R.S.F.S.R. and the Socialist Soviet Republics of the Ukraine, Transcaucasia and Byelorussia for the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
7. The treaty is to be submitted for ratification to the First Congress of the Union of Republics.
Such is the draft resolution I submit for your consideration.
Comrades, since the Soviet republics were formed, the states of the world have split into two camps: the camp of socialism and the camp of capitalism. In the camp of capitalism there are imperialist wars, national strife, oppression, colonial slavery and chauvinism. In the camp of the Soviets, the camp of socialism, there are, on the contrary, mutual confidence, national equality of rights and the peaceful co-existence and fraternal co-operation of peoples. Capitalist democracy has been striving for decades to eliminate national contradictions by combining the free development of nationalities with the system of exploitation. So far it has not succeeded, and it will not succeed. On the contrary, the skein of national contradictions is becoming more and more entangled, threatening capitalism with death. Here alone, in the world of the Soviets, in the camp of socialism, has it been possible to eradicate national oppression and to establish mutual confidence and fraternal co-operation between peoples. And only after the Soviets succeeded in doing this did it become possible for us to build up our federation and to defend it against the attack of the enemies, both internal and external.
Five years ago the Soviet power succeeded in laying the foundation for the peaceful co-existence and fraternal co-operation of peoples. Now, when we here are deciding the question of the desirability and necessity of union, the task before us is to erect on this foundation a new edifice by forming a new and mighty union state of the working people. The will of the peoples of our republics, who recently assembled at their congresses and unanimously resolved to form a Union of Republics, is incontestable proof that the cause of union is on the right road, that it is based on the great principle of voluntary consent and equal rights for nations. Let us hope, comrades, that by forming our Union Republic we shall create a reliable bulwark against international capitalism, and that the new Union State will be another decisive step towards the union of the working people of the whole world into a World Soviet Socialist Republic. (Prolonged applause. The "Internationale" is sung.)
Pravda, No. 295, December 28, 1922
This refers to the negotiations of the Soviet Government with the British industrialist Urquhart for the conclusion of a concession agreement for the exploitation of mineral deposits in the Urals and in Kazakhstan. The draft agreement was rejected by the Council of People's Commissars on October 6, 1922, owing to the extortionate terms demanded by Urquhart, and also to the British Conservative Government's hostile policy towards Soviet Russia. The Soviet Government's refusal to conclude an agreement with Urquhart served the bourgeois press as a pretext for intensifying its anti-Soviet campaign.
The Lausanne Conference (November 20, 1922 to July 24, 1923) was called on the initiative of France, Great Britain and Italy to discuss the Near Eastern question (conclusion of a peace treaty between Greece and Turkey, delimitation of Turkey's frontiers, adoption of a convention governing the Straits, etc.). In addition to the above-mentioned countries, the following were represented: Japan, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey (representatives of the United States were present as observers). Soviet Russia was invited to the conference only for the discussion of the question of the Straits (the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles). At the conference, in the Commission on the Straits, the Soviet delegation opposed the proposal that the Straits be open for warships both during peace and war, and submitted its own proposal that the Straits be completely closed to the warships of all powers except Turkey. This proposal was rejected by the commission.
The Formation of the Union of
the Soviet Republics
Report Delivered at the First Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R.
December 30, 1922
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
The First Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R. took place in Moscow on December 30, 1922. There were present 1,727 delegates from the R.S.F.S.R., 364 from the Ukrainian S.S.R., 91 from the Transcaucasian Federation and 33 from the Byelo-russian S.S.R. The congress discussed J. V. Stalin's report on the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it ratified the Declaration and the Treaty of Union on the Formation of the U.S.S.R., and elected the Central Executive Committee of the U.S.S.R.
Comrades, this day marks a turning point in the history of the Soviet power. It places a landmark between the old period, now past, when the Soviet republics, although they acted in common, yet each followed its own path and was concerned primarily with its own preservation, and the new period, already begun, when an end is being put to the isolated existence of the Soviet republics, when the republics are being united into a single union state for a successful struggle against economic ruin, and when the Soviet power is concerned not only with its preservation, but with developing into an important international force, capable of influencing the international situation and of modifying it in the interests of the working people.
What was the Soviet state five years ago? A small, scarcely noticeable entity, which evoked the derision of all its enemies and the pity of many of its friends. That was the period of wartime ruin, when the Soviet power relied not so much upon its own strength as upon the impotence of its opponents; when the enemies of the Soviet power, split into two coalitions, the Austro-German coalition and the Anglo-French coalition, were engaged in mutual warfare and were not in a position to turn their weapons against the Soviet power. In the history of the Soviet power that was the period of wartime ruin. In the struggle against Kolchak and Denikin, however, the Soviet power created the Red Army and successfully emerged from the period of wartime ruin.
Later, the second period in the history of the Soviet power began, the period of struggle against economic ruin. This period is by no means over yet, but it has already borne fruit, for during this period the Soviet power has successfully coped with the famine which afflicted the country last year. During this period we have witnessed a considerable advance in agriculture and a considerable revival of the light industries. Cadres of industrial leaders have already come to the fore and are the object of our hope and trust. But that is far from enough for the purpose of overcoming economic ruin. To vanquish and eliminate that ruin the forces of all the Soviet republics must be pooled; all the financial and economic potentialities of the republics must be concentrated on the task of restoring our basic industries. Hence the necessity for uniting the Soviet republics into a single union state. Today is the day of the union of our republics into a single state for the purpose of pooling all our forces for the restoration of our economy.
The period of combating wartime ruin gave us the Red Army, one of the foundations of the existence of the Soviet power. The next period, the period of struggle against economic ruin, is giving us a new framework of state existence—the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which will undoubtedly promote the work of restoring Soviet economy.
What is the Soviet power now? A great state of the working people which evokes among our enemies not derision but the gnashing of teeth.
Such are the results of the development of the Soviet power during the five years of its existence.
But, comrades, today is not only a day for summing up, it is at the same time the day of triumph of the new Russia over the old Russia, the Russia that was the gendarme of Europe, the Russia that was the hangman of Asia. Today is the day of triumph of the new Russia, which has smashed the chains of national oppression, organised victory over capital, created the dictatorship of the proletariat, awakened the peoples of the East, inspires the workers of the West, transformed the Red Flag from a Party banner into a State banner, and rallied around that banner the peoples of the Soviet republics in order to unite them into a single state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the prototype of the future World Soviet Socialist Republic.
We Communists are often abused and accused of being unable to build. Let the history of the Soviet power during these five years of its existence serve as proof that Communists are also able to build. Let today's Congress of Soviets, whose function it is to ratify the Declaration and Treaty of Union of the Republics that were adopted at the Conference of Plenipotentiary Delegations yesterday, let this Union Congress demonstrate to all who have not yet lost the ability to understand, that Communists are as well able to build the new as they are to destroy the old.
Here, comrades, is the Declaration that was adopted yesterday, at the Conference of Plenipotentiary Delegations.(2) I shall read it (see appendix No. 1).
And here is the text of the Treaty that was adopted at the same conference. I shall read it (see appendix No. 2).
Comrades, on the instructions of the Conference of Plenipotentiary Delegations of the Soviet Republics I move that you ratify the texts I have just read of the Declaration and Treaty on the Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Comrades, I propose that you adopt them with the unanimity characteristic of Communists, and thereby add a new chapter to the history of mankind. (Applause.)
Pravda, No. 298, December 31, 1922
The Conference of plenipotpntiary Delegations of the R.S.F.S.R., the Ukrainian S.S.R., the Byelorussian S.S.R. and of the Transcaucasian S.F.S.R. took place on December 29, 1922. The conference examined and adopted the Declaration and the Treaty on the Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. J. V. Stalin made a report to the conference on the order of proceedings at the First Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R. The conference instructed J. V. Stalin to deliver at the con- gress the report on the formation of the U.S.S.R. In the morning of December 30, the plenipotentiary delegations signed the Declaration and the Treaty on the Formation of the U.S.S.R.
National Factors in Party and State Affairs
Thesis for the Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks),
Approved by the Central Committee of the Party
March 24, 1923
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
The draft of the theses on the national question for the Twelfth Party Congress was discussed at a Plenum of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.) on February 21, 1923. A commission headed by J. V. Stalin was set up to make the final draft. On March 22, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the R.C.P. (B.) examined and endorsed the theses, and on March 24 they were published in Pravda, No. 65.
Already in the last century the development of capitalism revealed the tendency to internationalise the modes of production and exchange, to eliminate national isolation, to bring peoples into closer economic relations, and gradually to unite vast territories into a single connected whole. The further development of capitalism, the development of the world market, the establishment of the great sea and rail routes, the export of capital, and so on, still further strengthened this tendency and bound peoples of the most diverse types by the ties of international division of labour and all-round mutual dependence. In so far as this process was a reflection of the colossal development of productive forces, in so far as it helped to destroy national aloofness and the opposition of interests of the various peoples, it was and is a progressive process, for it is creating the material prerequisites for the future world socialist economic system.
But this tendency developed in peculiar forms that were completely at variance with its intrinsic historical significance. The mutual dependence of peoples and the economic union of territories took place in the course of the development of capitalism not as a result of the co-operation of nations as entities with equal rights, but by means of the subjugation of some nations by others, by means of the oppression and exploitation of less developed nations by more developed nations. Colonial plunder and annexations, national oppression and inequality, imperialist tyranny and violence, colonial slavery and national subjection, and, finally, the struggle among the "civilised" nations for domination over the "uncivilised" peoples—such were the forms within which the development of closer economic relations of peoples took place. For that reason we find that, side by side with the tendency towards union, there arose a tendency to destroy the forcible forms of such union, a struggle for the liberation of the oppressed colonies and dependent nationalities from the imperialist yoke. Since the latter tendency signified a revolt of the oppressed masses against imperialist forms of union, since it demanded the union of nations on the basis of co-operation and voluntary union, it was and is a progressive tendency, for it is creating the spiritual prerequisites for the future world socialist economy.
The struggle between these two principal tendencies, expressed in forms that are natural to capitalism, filled the history of the multi-national bourgeois states during the last half-century. The irreconcilable contradiction between these tendencies within the framework of capitalist development was the underlying cause of the internal unsoundness and organic instability of the bourgeois colonial states. Inevitable conflicts: within such states and inevitable wars between them; the disintegration of the old colonial states and the formation of new ones; a new drive for colonies and a new disintegration of the multi-national states leading to a new refashioning of the political map of the world—such are the results of this fundamental contradiction. The break-up of the old Russia, of Austria-Hungary and of Turkey, on the one hand, and the history of such colonial states as Great Britain and the old Germany, on the other; and, lastly, the "great" imperialist war and the growth of the revolutionary movement of the colonial and unequal nations— all these and similar facts clearly point to the instability and insecurity of the multi-national bourgeois states.
Thus, the irreconcilable contradiction between the process of economic union ofpeoples and the imperialist methods of accomplishing this union was the cause of the inability, helplessness and impotence of the bourgeoisie in finding a correct approach to the solution of the national question.
Our Party took these circumstances into account and based its policy in the national question on the right of nations to self-determination, the right of peoples to independent state existence. The Party recognised this inalienable right of nations from the moment it came into being, at its first congress (in 1898), when the contradictions of capitalism in connection with the national question were not yet fully and clearly defined. Later it invariably re-affirmed its national programme in special decisions and resolutions of its congresses and conferences, up to the October Revolution. The imperialist war, and the mighty revolutionary movement in the colonies to which it gave rise, only provided new confirmation of the correctness of the Party's decisions on the national question.
The gist of these decisions is:
a) emphatic repudiation of every form of coercion in relation to nationalities;
b) recognition of the equality and sovereignty of peoples in determining their destinies;
c) recognition of the principle that a durable union of peoples can be achieved only on the basis of co-operation and voluntary consent;
d) proclamation of the truth that such a union can be realised only as the result of the overthrow of the power of capital.
In the course of its work our Party never tired of advancing this programme of national liberation in opposition to the frankly oppressive policy of tsarism, and also to the half-hearted, semi-imperialist policy of the Men-sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. Whereas the tsarist Russification policy created a gulf between tsarism and the non-Russian nationalities of the old Russia, and whereas the semi-imperialist policy of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries caused the best elements among these nationalities to desert Kerenskyism, the liberation policy pursued by our Party won for it the sympathy and support of the broad masses among those nationalities in their struggle against tsarism and the imperialist Russian bourgeoisie. There can scarcely be any doubt that this sympathy and support was one of the decisive factors that determined the victory our Party achieved in the October days.
5. The October Revolution gave practical effect to our Party's decisions on the national question. By overthrowing the power of the landlords and capitalists, the chief vehicles of national oppression, and by putting the proletariat in power, the October Revolution at one blow shattered the chains of national oppression, upset the old relations between peoples, struck at the root of the old national enmity, cleared the way for the co-operation of peoples, and won for the Russian proletariat the confidence of its brothers of other nationalities not only in Russia, but also in Europe and Asia. It scarcely needs proof that had it not won this confidence, the Russian proletariat could not have defeated Kolchak and Denikin, Yudenich and Wrangel. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the oppressed nationalities could not have achieved their liberation if the dictatorship of the proletariat had not been established in central Russia. National enmity and national conflicts are inevitable, unavoidable, as long as capital is in power, as long as the petty bourgeoisie, and above all the peasantry of the formerly "dominant" nation, permeated as they are with nationalist prejudices, follow the capitalists; and, on the contrary, national peace and national freedom may be considered assured if the peasantry and the other petty-bourgeois sections of the population follow the proletariat, that is, if the dictatorship of the proletariat is assured. Hence, the victory of the Soviets and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat are the basis, the foundation, on which the fraternal co-operation of peoples within a single state union can be built up.
But the results of the October Revolution are not limited to the abolition of national oppression and the creation of a basis for the union of peoples. In the course of its development the October Revolution also evolved the forms of this union and laid down the main lines for the union of the peoples in a single union state. In the first period of the revolution, when the labouring masses among the nationalities first began to feel that they were independent national units, while the threat of foreign intervention had not yet become a real danger, co-operation between the peoples did not yet have a fully defined, well-established form. During the Civil War and intervention, when the requirements of the military self-defence of the national republics came into the forefront, while questions of economic construction were not yet on the order of the day, co-operation took the form of a military alliance. Finally, in the post-war period, when questions of the restoration of the productive forces destroyed by the war came into the forefront, the military alliance was supplemented by an economic alliance. The union of the national republics into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics marks the concluding stage in the development of the forms of co-operation, which have now assumed the character of a military, economic and political union of peoples into a single, multinational, Soviet state.
Thus, in the Soviet system the proletariat found the key to the correct solution of the national question, discovered the way to organise a stable multi-national state on the basis of national equality of rights and voluntary consent.
But finding the key to the correct solution of the national question does not yet mean solving it fully and finally, does not yet mean giving the solution concrete and practical shape. In order to put into effect correctly the national programme advanced by the October Revolution, it is also necessary to surmount the obstacles which we have inherited from the past period of national oppression, and which cannot be surmounted at one stroke, in a short space of time.
This heritage consists, firstly, in the survivals of dominant-nation chauvinism, which is a reflection of the former privileged position of the Great Russians. These survivals still persist in the minds of our Soviet officials, both central and local; they are entrenched in our state institutions, central and local; they are being reinforced by the "new," Smyena Vekh, (2) Great-Russian chauvinist spirit, which is becoming stronger and stronger owing to the N.E.P. In practice they find expression in an arrogantly disdainful and heartlessly bureaucratic attitude on the part of Russian Soviet officials towards the needs and requirements of the national republics. The multi-national Soviet state can become really durable, and the co-operation of the peoples within it really fraternal, only if these survivals are vigorously and irrevocably eradicated from the practice of our state institutions. Hence, the first immediate task of our Party is vigorously to combat the survivals of Great-Russian chauvinism.
This heritage consists, secondly, in the actual, i.e., economic and cultural, inequality of the nationalities of the Union of Republics. The legal national equality won by the October Revolution is a great gain for the peoples, but it does not in itself solve the whole national problem. A number of republics and peoples, which have not gone through, or had scarcely entered, the stage of capitalism, which have no proletariat of their own, or scarcely any, and which are therefore backward economically and culturally, are incapable of making full use of the rights and opportunities afforded them by national equality of rights; they are incapable of rising to a higher level of development and thus catching up with the nationalities which have forged ahead unless they receive real and prolonged assistance from outside. The causes of this actual inequality lie not only in the history of these peoples, but also in the policy pursued by tsarism and the Russian bourgeoisie, which strove to convert the border regions into areas producing nothing but raw materials and exploited by the industrially developed central districts. This inequality cannot be removed in a short space of time, this heritage cannot be eliminated in a year or two. The Tenth Congress of our Party already pointed out that "the abolition of actual national inequality is a lengthy process involving a stubborn and persistent struggle against all survivals of national oppression and colonial slavery." (3) But to overcome it is absolutely necessary. And it can be overcome only by the Russian proletariat rendering the backward peoples of the Union real and prolonged assistance in their economic and cultural advancement. Otherwise there can be no grounds for expecting the establishment of proper and durable co-operation of the peoples within the framework of the single union state. Hence, the second immediate task of our Party lies in the struggle to abolish the actual inequality of the nationalities, the struggle to raise the cultural and economic level of the backward peoples.
This heritage consists, lastly, in the survivals of nationalism among a number of nations which have borne the heavy yoke of national oppression and have not yet managed to rid their minds of old national grievances. These survivals find practical expression in a certain national aloofness and the absence of full confidence of the formerly oppressed peoples in measures proceeding from the Russians. However, in some of the republics which consist of several nationalities, this defensive nationalism often becomes converted into aggressive nationalism, into blatant chauvinism on the part of a strong nationality directed against the weak nationalities of these republics. Georgian chauvinism (in Georgia) directed against the Armenians, Ossetians, Ajarians and Abkhazians; Azerbaijanian chauvinism (in Azerbaijan) directed against the Armenians; Uzbek chauvinism (in Bukhara and Khorezm) directed against the Turkme-nians and Kirghiz—all these forms of chauvinism, which, moreover, are fostered by the conditions of the N.E.P. and by competition, are a grave evil which threatens to convert some of the national republics into arenas of squabbling and bickering. Needless to say, all these phenomena hinder the actual union of the peoples into a single union state. In so far as the survivals of nationalism are a distinctive form of defence against Great-Russian chauvinism, the surest means of overcoming them lies in a vigorous struggle against Great-Russian chauvinism. In so far, however, as these survivals become converted into local chauvinism directed against the weak national groups in individual republics, it is the duty of Party members to wage a direct struggle against these survivals. Thus, the third immediate task of our Party is to combat nationalist survivals and, primarily, the chauvinist forms of these survivals.
We must regard as one of the clear expressions of the heritage of the past the fact that a considerable section of Soviet officials in the centre and in the localities appraise the Union of Republics not as a union of state units with equal rights whose mission it is to guarantee the free development of the national republics, but as a step towards the liquidation of those republics, as the beginning of the formation of what is called the "one and indivisible." Condemning this conception as anti-proletarian and reactionary, the congress calls upon members of the Party vigilantly to see to it that the union of the republics and the merging of the Commissariats are not utilised by chauvinistically-minded Soviet officials as a screen for their attempts to ignore the economic and cultural needs of the national republics. The merging of the Commissariats is a test for the Soviet apparatus: if this experiment were in practice to assume a dominant-nation tendency, the Party would be compelled to adopt the most resolute measures against such a distortion, even to the extent of raising the question of annulling the merging of certain Commissariats until such time as the Soviet apparatus has been properly re-trained, so that it will pay genuinely proletarian and genuinely fraternal attention to the needs and requirements of the small and backward nationalities.
Since the Union of Republics is a new form of coexistence of peoples, a new form of their co-operation within a single union state, from which the survivals described above must be eliminated in the course of the joint activities of the peoples, the supreme organs of the Union must be formed in such a way as fully to reflect not only the common needs and requirements of all the nationalities of the Union, but also the special needs and requirements of each individual nationality. Therefore, in addition to the existing central organs of the Union, which represent the labouring masses of the entire Union irrespective of nationality, a special organ should be created representing the nationalities on the basis of equality. Such a structure of the central organs of the Union would make it fully possible to lend an attentive ear to the needs and requirements of the peoples, to render them the necessary aid in good time, to create an atmosphere of complete mutual confidence, and thus eliminate the above-mentioned heritage in the most painless way.
10. On the basis of the above, the congress recommends that the members of the Party secure the accomplishment of the following practical measures:
a) within the system of higher organs of the Union a special organ should be instituted that will represent all the national republics and national regions without exception on the basis of equality;
b) the Commissariats of the Union should be constructed in such a way as to ensure the satisfaction of the needs and requirements of the peoples of the Union;
c) the organs of the national republics and regions should be staffed mainly with people from among the local inhabitants who know the language, manner of life, habits and customs of the peoples concerned.
The development of our Party organisations in the majority of the national republics is proceeding under conditions not entirely favourable for their growth and consolidation. The economic backwardness of these republics, the small size of their national proletariat, the shortage, or even absence, of cadres of old Party workers belonging to the local population, the lack of serious Marxist literature in the native languages, the weakness of Party educational work, and, further, the presence of survivals of radical-nationalist traditions, which have not yet been completely effaced, have given rise among the local Communists to a definite deviation towards overrating the specifically national features and underrating the class interests of the proletariat, to a deviation towards nationalism. This phenomenon is becoming particularly dangerous in republics where there are several nationalities, where, among the Communists of a stronger nationality, it frequently assumes the form of a deviation towards chauvinism directed against the Communists of the weak nationalities (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Bukhara, Khorezm). The deviation towards nationalism is harmful because, by hindering the process of liberation of the national proletariat from the ideological influence of the national bourgeoisie, it impedes the work of uniting the proletarians of the various nationalities into a single internationalist organisation.
On the other hand, the presence both in the central Party institutions and in Communist Party organisations of the national republics of numerous cadres of old Party workers of Russian origin who are unfamiliar with the habits, customs and language of the labouring masses of these republics, and who for this reason are not always attentive to their requirements, has given rise in our Party to a deviation towards underrating the specifically national features and the national language in Party work, to an arrogant and disdainful attitude towards these specific features—a deviation towards Great-Russian chauvinism. This deviation is harmful not only because, by hindering the formation of communist cadres from local inhabitants who know the national language, it creates the danger that the Party may become isolated from the proletarian masses of the national republics, but also, and primarily, because it fosters and breeds the above-mentioned deviation towards nationalism and impedes the struggle against it.
Condemning both these deviations as harmful and dangerous to the cause of communism, and drawing the attention of the Party members to the exceptional harmfulness and exceptional danger of the deviation towards Great-Russian chauvinism, the congress calls upon the Party speedily to eliminate these survivals of the past from our Party work.
The congress instructs the Central Committee to carry out the following practical measures:
a) to form advanced Marxist study circles among the local Party workers of the national republics;
b) to develop a literature based on Marxist principles in the native languages;
c) to strengthen the University of the Peoples of the East and its local branches;
d) to establish under the Central Committees of the national Communist Parties groups of instructors recruited from among local Party workers;
e) to develop a Party literature for the masses in the native languages;
f) to intensify Party educational work in the republics;
g) to intensify work among the youth in the republics.
Pravda, No. 65, March 24, 1923
Smyena Vekh (Change of Landmarks)—a bourgeois political trend that arose in 1921 among the Russian whiteguard emigres abroad. It was headed by a group consisting of N. Ustryalov, Y. Kluchnikov, and others, who published the magazine Smyena Vekh (at first a symposium was published with this title): The Smyena-Vekhist ideology expressed the views of that section of the bourgeoisie which had abandoned the open armed struggle against the Soviet Government. They considered that with the adoption of the New Economic Policy the Soviet system would gradually change into bourgeois democracy.
See the resolution of the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) on "The Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question" in "Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums," Part I, 1941, p. 386.
The Twelfth Congress of the R.C.P. (B.)
April 17-25, 1923
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
The Twelfth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) was held on April 17-25, 1923. This was the first congress since the October Socialist Revolution that V. I. Lenin was unable to attend. The congress discussed the reports of the Central Committee, of the Central Control Commission and of the Russian delegation in the Executive Committee of the Comintern, and also reports on: industry, national factors in Party and state affairs taxation policy in the countryside, delimitation of administrative areas, etc. In its decisions the congress took into account all the directives given by V. I. Lenin in his last articles and letters. The congress summed up the results of the two years of the New Economic Policy and gave a determined rebuff to Trotsky, Bukharin and their adherents, who interpreted the N.E.P. as a retreat from the socialist position. The congress devoted great attention to the organisational and national questions. At the evening sitting on April 17, J. V. Stalin delivered the Central Committee's organisational report. In the resolution it adopted on this report, the congress endorsed Lenin's plan for the reorganisation of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection and the Central Control Commission, and noted an improvement in the organisational apparatus of the Central Committee and in all organisational activities. J. V. Stalin's report on "National Factors in Party and State Affairs" was heard on April 23. The debate on this report continued during April 23 and 24, and further discussion was referred to the committee on the national question that was set up by the congress, and which conducted its proceedings under the direct guidance of J. V. Stalin. On April 25, the congress passed the resolution submitted by the committee. This resolution was based on J. V. Stalin's theses. The congress exposed the nationalist deviators and called on the Party resolutely to combat the deviations on the national question—Great-Russian chauvinism and local bourgeois nationalism. (Concerning the Twelfth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.), see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1952, pp. 403-06. For the resolutions of the congress see "Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums," Part I, 1941, pp. 472-524.)
Comrades, this is the third time since the October Revolution that we are discussing the national question: the first time was at the Eighth Congress, the second was at the Tenth, and the third at the Twelfth. Does this indicate that some fundamental change has taken place in our views on the national question? No, our fundamental outlook on the national question has remained what it was before and after the October Revolution. But since the Tenth Congress the international situation has changed in that the heavy reserves of the revolution which the countries of the East now constitute have acquired greater importance. That is the first point. The second point is that since the Tenth Congress our Party has also witnessed certain changes in the internal situation in connection with the New Economic Policy. All these new factors must be taken into account and the conclusions must be drawn from them. It is in this sense that it can be said that the national question is being presented at the Twelfth Congress in a new way.
The international significance of the national question. You know, comrades, that by the will of history we, the Soviet federation, now represent the advanced detachment of the world revolution. You know that we were the first to breach the general capitalist front, that it has been our destiny to be ahead of all others. You know that in our advance we got as far as Warsaw, that we then retreated and entrenched ourselves in the positions we considered strongest. From that moment we passed to the New Economic Policy, from that moment we took into account the slowing down of the international revolutionary movement, and from that moment our policy changed from the offensive to the defensive. We could not advance after we had suffered a reverse at Warsaw (let us not hide the truth); we could not advance, for we would have run the risk of being cut off from the rear, which in our case is a peasant rear; and, lastly, we would have run the risk of advancing too far ahead of the reserves of the revolution with which destiny has provided us, the reserves in the West and the East. That is why we made a turn towards the New Economic Policy within the country, and towards a slower advance outside; for we decided that it was necessary to have a respite, to heal our wounds, the wounds of the advanced detachment, the proletariat, to establish contact with the peasant rear and to conduct further work among the reserves, which were lagging behind us—the reserves in the West and the heavy reserves in the East which are the main rear of world capitalism. It is these reserves— heavy reserves, which at the same time are the rear of world imperialism—that we have in mind when discussing the national question.
One thing or the other: either we succeed in stirring up, in revolutionising, the remote rear of imperialism— the colonial and semi-colonial countries of the East— and thereby hasten the fall of imperialism; or we fail to do so, and thereby strengthen imperialism and weaken the force of our movement. That is how the question stands.
The fact of the matter is that the whole East regards our Union of Republics as an experimental field. Either we find a correct practical solution of the national question within the framework of this Union, either we here, within the framework of this Union, establish truly fraternal relations and true co-operation among the peoples —in which case the whole East will see that our federation is the banner of its liberation, is its advanced detachment, in whose footsteps it must follow—and that will be the beginning of the collapse of world imperialism. Or we commit a blunder here, undermine the confidence of the formerly oppressed peoples in the proletariat of Russia, and deprive the Union of Republics of the power of attraction which it possesses in the eyes of the East— in which case imperialism will win and we shall lose.
Therein lies the international significance of the national question.
The national question is also of importance for us from the standpoint of the internal situation, not only because the former dominant nation numbers about 75,000,000 and the other nations 65,000,000 (not a small figure, anyway), and not only because the formerly oppressed nationalities inhabit areas that are the most essential for our economic development and the most important from the standpoint of military strategy, but above all because during the past two years we have introduced what is known as the N.E.P., as a result of which Great-Russian nationalism has begun to grow and become more pronounced, the Smena-Vekhist idea has come into being, and one can discern the desire to accomplish by peaceful means what Denikin failed to accomplish, i.e., to create the so-called "one and indivisible."
Thus, as a result of the N.E.P., a new force is arising in the internal life of our country, namely, Great-Russian chauvinism, which entrenches itself in our institutions, which penetrates not only the Soviet institutions, but also the Party institutions, and which is to be found in all parts of our federation. Consequently, if we do not resolutely combat this new force, if we do not cut it off at the root—and the N.E.P. conditions foster it—we run the risk of being confronted by a rupture between the proletariat of the former dominant nation and the peasants of the formerly oppressed nations— which will mean undermining the dictatorship of the proletariat.
But the N.E.P. fosters not only Great-Russian chauvinism—it also fosters local chauvinism, especially in those republics where there are several nationalities. I have in mind Georgia, Azerbaijan, Bukhara and partly Turkestan; in each of these there are several nationalities, the advanced elements of which may soon begin to compete among themselves for supremacy. Of course, this local chauvinism as regards its strength is not such a danger as Great-Russian chauvinism. But it is a danger nevertheless, for it threatens to convert some of the republics into arenas of national squabbling and to weaken the bonds of internationalism there.
Such are the international and internal circumstances that make the national question one of great, of first-rate, importance in general, and at the present moment in particular.
What is the class essence of the national question? Under the present conditions of Soviet development, the class essence of the national question lies in the establishment of correct mutual relations between the proletariat of the former dominant nation and the peasantry of the formerly oppressed nationalities. The question of the bond has been more than sufficiently discussed here, but when this question was discussed in connection with the report of Kamenev, Kalinin, Sokolnikov, Rykov and Trotsky, what was mainly in mind was the relations between the Russian proletariat and the Russian peasantry. Here, in the national sphere, we have a more complex mechanism. Here we are concerned with establishing correct mutual relations between the proletariat of the former dominant nation, which is the most cultured section of the proletariat in our entire federation, and the peasantry, mainly of the formerly oppressed nationalities. This is the class essence of the national question. If the proletariat succeeds in establishing with the peasantry of the other nationalities relations that can eradicate all remnants of mistrust towards everything Russian, a mistrust implanted and fostered for decades by the policy of tsarism—if, moreover, the Russian proletariat succeeds in establishing complete mutual understanding and confidence, in effecting a genuine alliance not only between the proletariat and the Russian peasantry, but also between the proletariat and peasantry of the formerly oppressed nationalities, the problem will be solved. To achieve this, proletarian power must become as dear to the peasantry of the other nationalities as it is to the Russian peasantry. And in order that Soviet power may become dear also to the peasants of these nationalities, it must be understood by these peasants, it must function in their native languages, the schools and governmental bodies must be staffed with local people who know the language, habits, customs and manner of life of the non-Russian nationalities. Soviet power, which until very recently was Russian power, will become a power which is not merely Russian but inter-national, a power dear to the peasants of the formerly oppressed nationalities, only when and to the degree that the institutions and governmental bodies in the republics of these countries begin to speak and function in the native languages.
That is one of the fundamentals of the national question in general, and under Soviet conditions in particular.
What is the characteristic feature of the solution of the national question at the present moment, in 1923? What form have the problems requiring solution in the national sphere assumed in 1923? The form of establishing co-operation between the peoples of our federation in the economic, military and political spheres. I have in mind inter-national relations. The national question, at the basis of which lie the tasks of establishing correct relations between the proletariat of the former dominant nation and the peasantry of the other nationalities, assumes at the present time the special form of establishing the co-operation and fraternal co-existence of those nations which were formerly disunited and which are now uniting in a single state.
Such is the essence of the national question in the form it has assumed in 1923.
The concrete form of this state union is the Union of Republics, which we already discussed at the Congress of Soviets at the end of last year, and which we then established.
The basis of this Union is the voluntary consent and the juridical equality of the members of the Union. Voluntary consent and equality—because our national programme starts out from the clause on the right of nations to exist as independent states, what was formerly called the right to self-determination. Proceeding from this, we must definitely say that no union of peoples into a single state can be durable unless it is based on absolutely voluntary consent, unless the peoples themselves wish to unite. The second basis is the juridical equality of the peoples which form the Union. That is natural. I am not speaking of actual equality—I shall come to that later—for the establishment of actual equality between nations which have forged ahead and backward nations is a very complicated, very difficult, matter that must take a number of years. I am speaking now about juridical equality. This equality finds expression in the fact that all the republics, in this case the four republics: Transcaucasia, Byelorussia, the Ukraine and the R.S.F.S.R., forming the Union, enjoy the benefits of the Union to an equal degree and at the same time to an equal degree forgo certain of their independent rights in favour of the Union. If the R.S.F.S.R., the Ukraine, Byelorussia and the Transcaucasian Republic are not each to have its own People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, it is obvious that the abolition of these Commissariats and the establishment of a common Commissariat of Foreign Affairs for the Union of Republics will entail a certain restriction of the independence which these republics formerly enjoyed, and this restriction will be equal for all the republics forming the Union. Obviously, if these republics formerly had their own People's Commissariats of Foreign Trade, and these Commissariats are now abolished both in the R.S.F.S.R. and in the other republics in order to make way for a common Commissariat of Foreign Trade for the Union of Republics, this too will involve a certain restriction of the independence formerly enjoyed in full measure, but now curtailed in favour of the common Union, and so on, and so forth. Some people ask a purely scholastic question, namely: do the republics remain independent after uniting? That is a scholastic question. Their independence is restricted, for every union involves a certain restriction of the former rights of the parties to the union. But the basic elements of independence of each of these republics certainly remain, if only because every republic retains the right to secede from the Union at its own discretion.
Thus, the concrete form the national question has assumed under the conditions at present prevailing in our country is how to achieve the co-operation of the peoples in economic, foreign and military affairs. We must unite the republics along these lines into a single union called the U.S.S.R. Such are the concrete forms the national question has assumed at the present time.
But that is easier said than done. The fact of the matter is that under the conditions prevailing in our country, there are, in addition to the factors conducive to the union of the peoples into one state, a number of factors which hinder this union.
You know what the conducive factors are: first of all, the economic coming together of the peoples that was established prior to Soviet power and which was consolidated by Soviet power; a certain division of labour between the peoples, established before our time, but consolidated by us, by the Soviet power. That is the basic factor conducive to the union of the republics into a Union. The nature of Soviet power must be regarded as the second factor conducive to union. That is natural. Soviet power is the power of the workers, the dictatorship of the proletariat, which by its very nature disposes the labouring elements of the republics and peoples which form the Union to live in friendly relations with one another. That is natural. And the third factor conducive to union is the imperialist encirclement, forming an environment in which the Union of Republics is obliged to operate.
But there are also factors which hinder, which impede, this union. The principal force impeding the union of the republics into a single union is that force which, as I have said, is growing in our country under the conditions of the N.E.P.: Great-Russian chauvinism. It is by no means accidental, comrades, that the Smena-Vekh-ites have recruited a large number of supporters among Soviet officials. That is by no means accidental. Nor is it accidental that Messieurs the Smena-Vekhites are singing the praises of the Bolshevik Communists, as much as to say: You may talk about Bolshevism as much as you like, you may prate as much as you like about your internationalist tendencies, but we know that you will achieve what Denikin failed to achieve, that you Bolsheviks have resurrected, or at all events will resurrect, the idea of a Great Russia. All that is not accidental. Nor is it accidental that this idea has even penetrated some of our Party institutions. At the February Plenum, where the question of a second chamber was first raised, I witnessed how certain members of the Central Committee made speeches which were inconsistent with communism—speeches which had nothing in common with internationalism. All this is a sign of the times, an epidemic. The chief danger that arises from this is that, owing to the N.E.P., dominant-nation chauvinism is growing in our country by leaps and bounds, striving to obliterate all that is not Russian, to gather all the threads of government into the hands of Russians and to stifle everything that is not Russian. The chief danger is that with such a policy we run the risk that the Russian proletarians will lose the confidence of the formerly oppressed nations which they won in the October days, when they overthrew the landlords and the Russian capitalists, when they smashed the chains of national oppression within Russia, withdrew the troops from Persia and Mongolia, proclaimed the independence of Finland and Armenia and, in general, put the national question on an entirely new basis. Unless we all arm ourselves against this new, I repeat, Great-Russian chauvinism, which is advancing, creeping, insinuating itself drop by drop into the eyes and ears of our officials and step by step corrupting them, we may lose down to the last shreds the confidence we earned at that time. It is this danger, comrades, that we must defeat at all costs. Otherwise we are threatened with the prospect of losing the confidence of the workers and peasants of the formerly oppressed peoples, we are threatened with the prospect of a rupture of the ties between these peoples and the Russian proletariat, and this threatens us with the danger of a crack being formed in the system of our dictatorship.
Do not forget, comrades, that if we were able to march against Kerensky with flying colours and overthrow the Provisional Government it was because, among other things, we were backed by the confidence of the oppressed peoples that were expecting liberation at the hands of the Russian proletarians. Do not forget such reserves as the oppressed peoples, who are silent, but who by their silence exert pressure and decide a great deal. This is often not felt, but these peoples are living, they exist, and they must not be forgotten. Do not forget that if we had not had in the rear of Kolchak, Denikin, Wran-gel and Yudenich the so-called "aliens," if we had not had the formerly oppressed peoples, who disorganised the rear of those generals by their tacit sympathy for the Russian-proletarians—comrades, this is a special factor in our development, this tacit sympathy, which nobody hears or sees, but which decides everything—if it had not been for this sympathy, we would not have knocked out a single one of these generals. While we were marching against them, disintegration began in their rear. Why? Because those generals depended on the Cossack colonising elements, they held out to the oppressed peoples the prospect of further oppression, and the oppressed peoples were therefore pushed into our arms, while we unfurled the banner of the liberation of these oppressed peoples. That is what decided the fate of those generals; such is the sum-total of the factors which, although overshadowed by our armies' victories, in the long run decided everything. That must not be forgotten. That is why we must make a sharp turn towards combating the new chauvinist sentiments and pillory those bureaucrats in our institutions and those Party comrades who are forgetting what we gained in October, namely, the confidence of the formerly oppressed peoples, a confidence that we must cherish.
It must be understood that if a force like Great-Russian chauvinism blossoms and spreads, there will be no confidence on the part of the formerly oppressed peoples, we shall have no co-operation within a single union, and we shall have no Union of Republics.
Such is the first and most dangerous factor that is impeding the union of the peoples and republics into a single union.
The second factor, comrades, which is also hindering the union of the formerly oppressed peoples around the Russian proletariat, is the actual inequality of nations that we have inherited from the period of tsarism.
We have proclaimed juridical equality and are practising it; but juridical equality, although in itself of very great importance in the history of the development of the Soviet republics, is still far from being actual equality. Formally, all the backward nationalities and all the peoples enjoy just as many rights as are enjoyed by the other, more advanced, nations which constitute our federation. But the trouble is that some nationalities have no proletarians of their own, have not undergone industrial development, have not even started on this road, are terribly backward culturally and are entirely unable to take advantage of the rights granted them by the revolution. This, comrades, is a far more important question than that of the schools. Some of our comrades here think that the knot can be cut by putting the question of schools and language in the forefront. That is not so, comrades. Schools will not carry you very far. These schools are developing, so are the languages, but actual inequality remains the basis of all the discontent and friction. Schools and language will not settle the matter; what is needed is real, systematic, sincere and genuine proletarian assistance on our part to the labouring masses of the culturally and economically backward nationalities. In addition to schools and language, the Russian proletariat must take all measures to create in the border regions, in the culturally backward republics—and they are not backward because of any fault of their own, but because they were formerly regarded as sources of raw materials—must take all measures to ensure the building of centres of industry in these republics. Certain attempts have been made in this direction. Georgia has taken a factory from Moscow and it should start operating soon. Bukhara has taken one factory, but could have taken four. Turkestan is taking one large factory. Thus, all the facts show that these economically backward republics, which possess no proletariat, must with the aid of the Russian proletariat establish their own centres of industry, even though small ones, in order to create in these centres groups of local proletarians to serve as a bridge between the Russian proletarians and peasants and the labouring masses of these republics. In this sphere we have a lot of work to do, and schools alone will not settle the matter.
But there is still a third factor that is impeding the union of the republics into a single union: the existence of nationalism in the individual republics. The N.E.P. affects not only the Russian, but also the non-Russian population. The New Economic Policy is developing private trade and industry not only in the centre of Russia, but also in the individual republics. And it is this same N.E.P., and the private capital associated with it, which nourish and foster Georgian, Azerbaijanian, Uzbek and other nationalism. Of course, if there were no Great-Russian chauvinism—which is aggressive because it is strong, because it was also strong previously and has retained the habit of oppressing and humiliat-ing—if there were no Great-Russian chauvinism, then, perhaps, local chauvinism also, as a retaliation to Great-Russian chauvinism, would exist only in a much reduced form, in miniature, so to speak; because, in the final analysis, anti-Russian nationalism is a form of defence, an ugly form of defence against Great-Russian nationalism, against Great-Russian chauvinism. If this nationalism were only defensive, it might not be worth making a fuss about. We could concentrate the entire force of our activities, the entire force of our struggle, against Great-Russian chauvinism, in the hope that as soon as this powerful enemy is overcome, anti-Russian nationalism will be overcome with it; for, I repeat, in the last analysis, this nationalism is a reaction to Great-Russian nationalism, a retaliation to it, a certain form of defence. Yes, that would be so if anti-Russian nationalism in the localities were nothing more than a reaction to Great-Russian nationalism. But the trouble is that in some republics this defensive nationalism is turning into aggressive nationalism.
Take Georgia. Over 30 per cent of her population are non-Georgians. They include Armenians, Abkhazians, Ajarians, Ossetians and Tatars. The Georgians are at the head. Among some of the Georgian Communists the idea has sprung up and is gaining ground that there s no particular need to reckon with these small nationalities; they are less cultured, less developed, they say, and there is therefore no need to reckon with them. That is chauvinism—harmful and dangerous chauvinism; for it may turn the small republic of Georgia into an arena of strife. In fact, it has already turned it into an arena of strife.
Azerbaijan. The basic nationality here is the Azerbaijanian, but there are also Armenians. Among a section of the Azerbaijanians there is also a tendency, sometimes quite unconcealed, to think that the Azerbaijanians are the indigenous population and the Armenians intruders, and therefore, it is possible to push the Armenians somewhat into the background, to disregard their interests. That is chauvinism too. It undermines the equality of nationalities on which the Soviet system is based.
Bukhara. In Bukhara there are three nationalities— Uzbeks, the basic nationality; Turkmenians, a "less important" nationality from the point of view of Bukharan chauvinism; and Kirghiz, who are few in number here and, apparently, "less important."
In Khorezm you have the same thing: Turkmenians and Uzbeks. The Uzbeks are the basic nationality and the Turkmenians "less important."
All this leads to conflict and weakens the Soviet regime This tendency towards local chauvinism must also be cut off at the root. Of course, compared with Great-Russian chauvinism, which in the general scheme of the national question comprises three-quarters of the whole, local chauvinism is not so important; but for local work, for the local people, for the peaceful development of the national republics themselves, this chauvinism is a matter of first-rate importance.
Sometimes this chauvinism begins to undergo a very interesting evolution. I have in mind Transcaucasia. You know that Transcaucasia consists of three republics embracing ten nationalities. From very early times Transcaucasia has been an arena of massacre and strife and, under the Mensheviks and Dashnaks, it was an arena of war. You know of the Georgian-Armenian war. You also know of the massacres in Azerbaijan at the beginning and at the end of 1905. I could mention a whole list of districts where the Armenian majority massacred all the rest of the population, consisting of Tatars. Zangezur, for instance. I could mention another province—Nakhichevan. There the Tatars predominated, and they massacred all the Armenians. That was just before the liberation of Armenia and Georgia from the yoke of imperialism. (Voice: "That was their way of solving the national question.") That, of course, is also a way of solving the national question. But it is not the Soviet way. Of course, the Russian workers are not to blame for this state of mutual national enmity, for it is the Tatars and Armenians who are fighting, without the Russians. That is why a special organ is required in Transcaucasia to regulate the relations between the nationalities.
It may be confidently stated that the relations between the proletariat of the formerly dominant nation and the toilers of all the other nationalities constitute three-quarters of the whole national question. But one-quarter of this question must be attributed to the relations between the formerly oppressed nationalities themselves.
And if in this atmosphere of mutual distrust the Soviet Government had failed to establish in Transcaucasia an organ of national peace capable of settling all friction and conflict, we would have reverted to the era of tsarism, or to the era of the Dashnaks, the Mussavat-ists, the Mensheviks, when people maimed and slaughtered one another. That is why the Central Committee has on three occasions affirmed the necessity of preserving the Transcaucasian Federation as an organ of national peace.
There has been and still is a group of Georgian Communists who do not object to Georgia uniting with the Union of Republics, but who do object to this union being effected through the Transcaucasian Federation. They, you see, would like to get closer to the Union, they say that there is no need for this partition wall in the shape of the Transcaucasian Federation between themselves— the Georgians—and the Union of Republics, the federation, they say, is superfluous. This, they think, sounds very revolutionary.
But there is another motive behind this. In the first place, these statements indicate that on the national question the attitude towards the Russians is of secondary importance in Georgia, for these comrades, the deviators (that is what they are called), have no objection to Georgia joining the Union directly; that is, they do not fear Great-Russian chauvinism, believing that its roots have been cut in one way or another, or, at any rate, that it is not of decisive importance. Evidently, what they fear most is the federation of Transcaucasia. Why? Why should the three principal nations which inhabit Transcaucasia, which fought among themselves so long, massacred each other and warred against each other, why should these nations, now that Soviet power has at last united them by bonds of fraternal union in the form of a federation, now that this federation has produced positive results, why should they now break these federal ties? What is the point, comrades?
The point is that the bonds of the Transcaucasian Federation deprive Georgia of that somewhat privileged position which she could assume by virtue of her geographical position. Judge for yourselves. Georgia has her own port—Batum—through which goods flow from the West; Georgia has a railway junction like Tiflis, which the Armenians cannot avoid, nor can Azerbaijan avoid it, for she receives her goods through Batum. If Georgia were a separate republic, if she were not part of the Trans-caucasian Federation, she could present something in the nature of a little ultimatum both to Armenia, which cannot do without Tiflis, and to Azerbaijan, which cannot do without Batum. There would be some advantages for Georgia in this. It was no accident that the notorious savage decree establishing frontier cordons was drafted in Georgia. Serebryakov is now being blamed for this. Let us allow that he is to blame, but the decree originated in Georgia, not in Azerbaijan or Armenia.
Then there is yet another reason. Tiflis is the capital of Georgia, but the Georgians there are not more than 30 per cent of the population, the Armenians not less than 35 per cent, and then come all the other nationalities. That is what the capital of Georgia is like. If Georgia were a separate republic the population could be reshifted somewhat—for instance, the Armenian population could be shifted from Tiflis. Was not a well-known decree adopted in Georgia to "regulate" the population of Tiflis, about which Comrade Makharadze said that it was not directed against the Armenians? The intention was to reshift the population so as to reduce the number of Armenians in Tiflis from year to year, making them fewer than the Georgians, and thus convert Tiflis into a real Georgian capital. I grant that they have rescinded the eviction decree, but they have a vast number of possibilities, a vast number of flexible forms—such as "de-congestion"—by which it would be possible, while maintaining a semblance of internationalism, to arrange matters in such a way that Armenians in Tiflis would be in the minority.
It is these geographical advantages that the Georgian deviators do not want to lose, and the unfavourable position of the Georgians in Tiflis itself, where there are fewer Georgians than Armenians, that are causing our deviators to oppose federation. The Mensheviks simply evicted Armenians and Tatars from Tiflis. Now, however, under the Soviet regime, eviction is impossible; therefore, they want to leave the federation, and this will create legal opportunities for independently performing certain operations which will result in the advantageous position enjoyed by the Georgians being fully utilised against Azerbaijan and Armenia. And all this would create a privileged position for the Georgians in Transcaucasia. Therein lies the whole danger.
Can we ignore the interests of national peace in Transcaucasia and allow conditions to be created under which the Georgians would be in a privileged position in relation to the Armenian and Azerbaijanian Republics? No. We cannot allow that.
There is an old, special system of governing nations, under which a bourgeois authority favours certain nationalities, grants them privileges and humbles the other nations, not wishing to be bothered with them. Thus by favouring one nationality, it uses it to keep down the others. Such, for instance, was the method of government employed in Austria. Everyone remembers the statement of the Austrian Minister Beust, who summoned the Hungarian Minister and said: "You govern your hordes and I will cope with mine." In other words: you curb and keep down your nationalities in Hungary and I will keep down mine in Austria. You and I represent privileged nations, let's keep down the rest.
The same was the case with the Poles in Austria itself. The Austrians favoured the Poles, granted them privileges, in order that the Poles should help the Aus-trians strengthen their position in Poland; and in return they allowed the Poles to strangle Galicia.
This system of singling out some nationalities and granting them privileges in order to cope with the rest is purely and specifically Austrian. From the point of view of the bureaucracy, it is an "economical" method of governing, because it has to bother only with one nationality; but from the political point of view it means certain death to the state, for to violate the principle of equality of nationalities and to grant privileges to any one nationality means dooming one's national policy to certain failure.
Britain is now ruling India in exactly the same way. To make it easier, from the point of view of the bureaucracy, to deal with the nationalities and races of India, Britain divided India into British India (240,000,000 population) and Native India (72,000,000 population). Why? Because Britain wanted to single out one group of nations and grant it privileges in order the more easily to govern the remaining nationalities. In India there are several hundred nationalities, and Britain decided that, rather than bother with these nationalities, it was better to single out a few nations, grant them certain privileges and through them govern the rest; for, firstly, the discontent of the other nations would be directed against these favoured ones and not against Britain, and, secondly, it would be cheaper to have to "bother" with only two or three nations.
That is also a system of governing, the British system. What does it lead to? To the "cheapening" of the appa-ratus—that is true. But, comrades, leaving aside bureaucratic conveniences, it means certain death to British rule in India; this system harbours inevitable death, as surely as twice two make four, the death of British rule and British domination.
It is on to this dangerous path that our comrades, the Georgian deviators, are pushing us by opposing federation in violation of all the laws of the Party, by wanting to withdraw from the federation in order to retain an advantageous position. They are pushing us on to the path of granting them certain privileges at the expense of the Armenian and Azerbaijanian Republics. But this is a path we cannot take, for it means certain death to our entire policy and to Soviet power in the Caucasus.
It was no accident that our comrades in Georgia sensed this danger. This Georgian chauvinism, which had passed to the offensive against the Armenians and Azerbaijanians, alarmed the Communist Party of Georgia.
Quite naturally, the Communist Party of Georgia, which has held two congresses since it came into legal existence, on both occasions unanimously rejected the stand of the deviator comrades, for under present conditions it is impossible to maintain peace in the Caucasus, impossible to establish equality, without the Transcaucasian Federation. One nation must not be allowed more privileges than another. This our comrades have sensed. That is why, after two years of contention, the Mdivani group is a small handful, repeatedly ejected by the Party in Georgia itself.
It was also no accident that Comrade Lenin was in such a hurry and was so insistent that the federation should be established immediately. Nor was it an accident that our Central Committee on three occasions affirmed the need for a federation in Transcaucasia, having its own Central Executive Committee and its own executive authority, whose decisions would be binding on the republics. It was no accident that both commissions— Comrade Dzerzhinsky's and that of Kamenev and Kuiby-shev—on their arrival in Moscow stated that federation was indispensable.
Lastly, it is no accident either that the Mensheviks of Sotsialistichesky Vestnik (9) praise our deviator comrades and laud them to the skies for opposing federation: birds of a feather flock together.
I pass to an examination of the ways and means by which we must eliminate these three main factors that are hindering union: Great-Russian chauvinism, actual inequality of nations and local nationalism, particularly when it is growing into chauvinism. Of the means that may help us painlessly to rid ourselves of all this heritage of the past which is hindering the peoples from coming together I shall mention three.
The first means is to adopt all measures to make the Soviet regime understood and loved in the republics, to make the Soviet regime not only Russian but inter-national. For this it is necessary that not only the schools, but all institutions and all bodies, both Party and Soviet, should step by step be made national in character, that they should be conducted in the language that is understood by the masses, that they should function in conditions that correspond to the manner of life of the given nation. Only on this condition will we be able to convert the Soviet regime from a Russian into an inter-national one, understood by and near and dear to the labouring masses of all the republics, particularly those which are economically and culturally backward.
The second means that can help us in painlessly getting rid of the heritage from tsarism and the bourgeoisie is to construct the Commissariats of the Union of Republics in such a way as to enable at least the principal nationalities to have their people on the colle-giums, and to create a situation in which the needs and requirements of the individual republics will be met without fail.
The third means: it is necessary to have among our supreme central organs one that will serve to express the needs and requirements of all the republics and nationalities without exception.
I want especially to draw your attention to this last means.
If within the Central Executive Committee of the Union we could create two chambers having equal powers, one of which would be elected at the Union Congress of Soviets, irrespective of nationality, and the other by the republics and national regions (the republics being equally represented, and the national regions also being equally represented) and endorsed by the same Congress of Soviets of the Union of Republics, I think that then our supreme institutions would express not only the class interests of all the working people without exception, but also purely national needs. We would have an organ which would express the special interests of the nationalities, peoples and races inhabiting the Union of Republics. Under the conditions prevailing in our Union, which as a whole unites not less than 140,000,000 people, of whom about 65,000,000 are non-Russians, in such a country it is impossible to govern unless we have with us, here in Moscow, in the supreme organ, emissaries of these nationalities, to express not only the interests common to the proletariat as a whole, but also special, specific, national interests. Without this it will be impossible to govern, comrades. Unless we have this barometer, and people capable of formulating these special needs of the individual nationalities, it will be impossible to govern.
There are two ways of governing a country. One way is to have a "simplified" apparatus, headed, say, by a group of people, or by one man, having hands and eyes in the localities in the shape of governors. This is a very simple form of government, under which the ruler, in governing the country, receives the kind of information that can be received from governors and comforts himself with the hope that he is governing honestly and well. Presently, friction arises, friction grows into conflicts and conflicts into revolts. Later, the revolts are crushed. Such a system of government is not our system, and in addition, although a simple one, it is too costly. But there is another system of government, the Soviet system. In our Soviet country we are operating this other system of government, the system which enables us to foresee with accuracy all changes, all the circumstances among the peasants, among the nationals, among the so-called "aliens" and among the Russians; this system of supreme organs possesses a number of barometers which forecast every change, which register and warn against a Basmach movement, (10) a bandit movement, Kronstadt, and all possible storms and disasters. That is the Soviet system of government. It is called Soviet power, people's power, because, relying on the common people, it is the first to register any change, it takes the appropriate measures and rectifies the line in time, if it has become distorted, criticises itself and rectifies the line. This system of government is the Soviet system, and it requires that the system of our higher agencies should include agencies expressing absolutely all national needs and requirements.
The objection is made that this system will complicate the work of administration, that it means setting up more and more bodies. That is true. Hitherto we had the Central Executive Committee of the R.S.F.S.R., then we created the Central Executive Committee of the Union, and now we shall have to split the Central Executive Committee of the Union into two. But it can't be helped. I have already said that the simplest form of government is to have one man and to give him governors. But now, after the October Revolution, we cannot engage in such experiments. The system has become more complex, but it makes government easier and lends the whole governmental system a profoundly Soviet character. That is why I think that the congress must agree to the establishment of a special body, a second chamber within the Central Executive Committee of the Union, since it is absolutely essential.
I do not say that this is a perfect way of arranging co-operation between the peoples of the Union; I do not say that it is the last word in science. We shall put forward the national question again and again, for national and international conditions are changing, and may change again. I do not deny the possibility that perhaps some of the Commissariats that we are merging in the Union of Republics will have to be separated again if, after being merged, experience shows that they are unsatisfactory. But one thing is clear, namely, that under present conditions, and in the present circumstances, no better method and no more suitable organ is available. As yet we have no better way or means of creating an organ capable of registering all the oscillations and all the changes that take place within the individual republics than that of establishing a second chamber.
It goes without saying that the second chamber must contain representatives not only of the four republics that have united, but of all the peoples; for the question concerns not only the republics which have formally united (there are four of them), but all the peoples and nationalities in the Union of Republics. We therefore require a form that will express the needs of all the nationalities and republics without exception.
I shall sum up, comrades.
Thus, the importance of the national question is determined by the new situation in international affairs, by the fact that here, in Russia, in our federation we must solve the national question in a correct, a model way, in order to set an example to the East, which constitutes the heavy reserves of the revolution, and thereby increase their confidence in our federation and its attraction for them.
From the standpoint of the internal situation, the conditions created by the N.E.P. and the growing Great-Russian chauvinism and local chauvinism also oblige us to emphasise the special importance of the national question.
I said, further, that the essence of the national question lies in establishing correct relations between the proletariat of the formerly dominant nation and the peasantry of the formerly subject nations, and that from this point of view the concrete form of the national question at the present moment is expressed by having to find ways and means of arranging the co-operation of the peoples within a Union of Republics, within a single state.
I spoke, further, of the factors which are conducive to such a coming together of the peoples. I spoke of the factors impeding such a union. I dwelt especially on Great-Russian chauvinism, as a force that is gaining in strength. That force is a basic danger, capable of undermining the confidence of the formerly oppressed peoples in the Russian proletariat. It is a most dangerous enemy, which we must overcome; for once we overcome it, we shall have overcome nine-tenths of the nationalism which has survived, and which is growing in certain republics.
Further. We are faced with the danger that certain groups of comrades may push us on to the path of granting privileges to some nationalities at the expense of others. I have said that we cannot take this path, because it may undermine national peace and kill the confidence of the masses of the other nations in Soviet power.
I said, further, that the chief means that will enable us most painlessly to eliminate the factors that hinder union lies in the creation of a second chamber of the Central Executive Committee, of which I spoke more openly at the February Plenum of the Central Committee, and which is dealt with in the theses in a more veiled form in order to enable the comrades themselves, perhaps, to indicate some other more flexible form, some other more suitable organ, capable of expressing the interests of the nationalities.
Such are the conclusions.
I think that it is only in this way that we shall be able to achieve a correct solution of the national question, that we shall be able to unfurl widely the banner of the proletarian revolution and win for it the sympathy and confidence of the countries of the East, which are the heavy reserves of the revolution, and which can play a decisive role in the future battles of the proletariat against imperialism. (Applause.)
Comrades, before proceeding to report on the work of the committee on the national question, permit me to deal with two main points in answer to the speakers in the discussion on my report. It will take about twenty minutes, not more.
The first point is that a group of comrades headed by Bukharin and Rakovsky has over-emphasised the significance of the national question, has exaggerated it, and has allowed it to overshadow the social question, the question of working-class power.
It is clear to us, as Communists, that the basis of all our work lies in strengthening the power of the workers, and that only after that are we confronted by the other question, a very important one but subordinate to the first, namely, the national question. We are told that we must not offend the non-Russian nationalities. That is perfectly true; I agree that we must not offend them. But to evolve out of this a new theory to the effect that the Great-Russian proletariat must be placed in a position of inequality in relation to the formerly oppressed nations is absurd. What was merely a figure of speech in Comrade Lenin's well-known article,
Bukharin has converted into a regular slogan. Nevertheless, it is clear that the political basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat is primarily and chiefly the central, industrial regions, and not the border regions, which are peasant countries. If we exaggerate the importance of the peasant border regions, to the detriment of the proletarian districts, it may result in a crack in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat. That is dangerous, comrades. We must not exaggerate things in politics, just as we must not underrate them.
It should be borne in mind that in addition to the right of nations to self-determination, there is also the right of the working class to consolidate its power, and the right of self-determination is subordinate to this latter right. There are cases when the right of self-determination conflicts with another, a higher right—the right of the working class that has come to power to consolidate its power. In such cases—this must be said bluntly—the right of self-determination cannot and must not serve as an obstacle to the working class in exercising its right to dictatorship. The former must yield to the latter. That was the case in 1920, for instance, when in order to defend working-class power we were obliged to march on Warsaw.
It must therefore not be forgotten when handing out all sorts of promises to the non-Russian nationalities, when bowing and scraping before the representatives of these nationalities, as certain comrades have done at the present congress, it must be borne in mind that, in our external and internal situation, the sphere of action of the national question and the limits of its jurisdiction, so to speak, are restricted by the sphere of action and jurisdiction of the "labour question," as the most fundamental question.
Many speakers referred to notes and articles by Vladimir Ilyich. I do not want to quote my teacher, Comrade Lenin, since he is not here, and I am afraid that I might, perhaps, quote him wrongly and inappropriately. Nevertheless, I am obliged to quote one passage, which is axiomatic and can give rise to no misunderstanding, in order that no doubt should be left in the minds of comrades with regard to the relative importance of the national question. Analysing Marx's letter on the national question in an article on self-determination, Comrade Lenin draws the following conclusion:
"Marx had no doubt about the subordinate significance of the national question as compared with the ‘labour question.'" (11)
Here are only two lines, but they are decisive. And that is what some of our comrades who are more zealous than wise should drill into their heads.
The second point is about Great-Russian chauvinism and local chauvinism. Rakovsky and especially Bukharin spoke here, and the latter proposed that the clause dealing with the harmfulness of local chauvinism should be deleted. Their argument was that there is no need to bother with a little worm like local chauvinism when we are faced by a "Goliath" like Great-Russian chauvinism. In general, Bukharin was in a repentant mood. That is natural: he has been sinning against the nationalities for years, denying the right to self-determination. It was high time for him to repent. But in repenting he went to the other extreme. It is curious that Bukharin calls upon the Party to follow his example and also repent, although the whole world knows that the Party is in no way involved, for from its very inception (1898) it recognised the right to self-determination and therefore has nothing to repent of. The fact of the matter is that Bukharin has failed to understand the essence of the national question. When it is said that the fight against Great-Russian chauvinism must be made the corner-stone of the national question, the intention is to indicate the duties of the Russian Communist; it implies that it is the duty of the Russian Communist himself to combat Russian chauvinism. If the struggle against Russian chauvinism were undertaken not by the Russian but by the Turkestanian or Georgian Communists, it would be interpreted as anti-Russian chauvinism. That would confuse the whole issue and strengthen Great-Russian chauvinism. Only the Russian Communists can undertake the fight against Great-Russian chauvinism and carry it through to the end.
And what is intended when a struggle against local chauvinism is proposed? The intention is to point to the duty of the local Communists, the duty of the non-Russian Communists, to combat their own chauvinists. Can the existence of deviations towards anti-Russian chauvinism be denied? Why, the whole congress has seen for itself that local chauvinism exists, Georgian, Bashkir and other chauvinism, and that it must be combated. Russian Communists cannot combat Tatar, Georgian or Bashkir chauvinism; if a Russian Communist were to undertake the difficult task of combating Tatar or Georgian chauvinism it would be regarded as a fight waged by a Great-Russian chauvinist against the Tatars or the Georgians. That would confuse the whole issue. Only the
Tatar, Georgian and other Communists can fight Tatar, Georgian and other chauvinism; only the Georgian Communists can successfully combat Georgian nationalism or chauvinism. That is the duty of the non-Russian Communists. That is why it is necessary to refer in the theses to the double task, that of the Russian Communists (I refer to the fight against Great-Russian chauvinism) and that of the non-Russian Communists (I refer to their fight against anti-Armenian, anti-Tatar, anti-Russian chauvinism). Otherwise, the theses will be one-sided, there will be no internationalism, whether in state or Party affairs.
If we combat only Great-Russian chauvinism, it will obscure the fight that is being waged by the Tatar and other chauvinists, a fight which is developing in the localities and which is especially dangerous now, under the conditions of the N.E.P. We cannot avoid fighting on two fronts, for we can achieve success only by fighting on two fronts—on the one hand, against Great-Russian chauvinism, which is the chief danger in our work of construction, and, on the other hand, against local chauvinism; unless we wage this double fight there will be no solidarity between the Russian workers and peasants and the workers and peasants of the other nationalities. Failure to wage this fight may result in encouraging local chauvinism, a policy of pandering to local chauvinism, which we cannot allow.
Permit me here too to quote Comrade Lenin. I would not have done so, but since there are many comrades at our congress who quote Comrade Lenin right and left and distort what he says, permit me to read a few words from a well-known article of his:
"The proletariat must demand freedom of political secession for the colonies and nations that are oppressed by ‘its' nation. Unless it does this, proletarian internationalism will remain a meaningless phrase; neither mutual confidence nor class solidarity between the workers of the oppressing and the oppressed nations will be possible." (12)
These are, so to say, the duties of proletarians of the dominant or formerly dominant nation. Then he goes on to speak of the duties of proletarians or Communists of the formerly oppressed nations:
"On the other hand, the Socialists of the oppressed nations must particularly fight for and put into effect complete and absolute unity, including organisational unity, between the workers of the oppressed nation and the workers of the oppressing nation. Otherwise, it is impossible to uphold the independent policy of the proletariat and its class solidarity with the proletariat of other countries against all the subterfuges, treachery and trickery of the bourgeoisie. For the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations constantly converts the slogans of national liberation into a means for deceiving the workers."
As you see, if we are to follow in Comrade Lenin's footsteps—and some comrades here have sworn by him— both theses must be retained in the resolution—both the thesis on combating Great-Russian chauvinism and that on combating local chauvinism—as two aspects of one phenomenon, as theses on combating chauvinism in general.
With this I conclude my answers to those who have spoken here.
Permit me now to report on the work of the committee on the national question. The committee took the Central Committee's theses as a basis. It left six points of these theses, namely, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, entirely unaltered. There was a dispute in the committee, primarily, on the question whether or not the autonomous republics should first be taken out of the R.S.F.S.R. and the independent republics in the Caucasus out of the Transcaucasian Federation, in order that they should then join the Union of Republics individually. This was the proposal of a section of the Georgian comrades, but, as is known, it is a proposal which meets with no sympathy from the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijanian delegations. The committee discussed this question and by an overwhelming majority decided in favour of retaining the proposition given in the theses, namely, that the R.S.F.S.R. should remain an integral unit, that the Transcaucasian Federation should also remain an integral unit and each should enter the Union of Republics as such. Not all the proposals submitted by this section of the Georgian comrades were put to the vote, because, seeing that the proposals met with no sympathy, their authors withdrew them. The dispute on this question was a serious one.
The second question on which there was a dispute was the question how the second chamber should be constituted. One section of the comrades (the minority) proposed that the second chamber should not consist of representatives of all the republics, nationalities and regions, but that it should be based on the representation of four republics, namely: the R.S.F.S.R., the Transcaucasian Federation, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. The majority rejected this proposal and the committee decided against it on the grounds that it would be more advisable to form the second chamber on the principle of equal representation of all the republics (both independent and autonomous) and of all national regions. I shall not present the arguments on this point, for Rakovsky, the representative of the minority, intends to speak here in order to substantiate his proposal, which the committee rejected. After he has spoken I shall present my arguments.
There was also a dispute, not very heated, on the question whether the theses should be amended so as to point to the necessity of looking to the West as well as to the East in solving the national question. This amendment was put to the vote. It was the minority's amendment, moved by Rakovsky, The committee rejected it. I shall speak on this question too after Rakovsky has spoken.
I shall read the amendments that we accepted. Six points were adopted as they stood. In Point 7, paragraph 2, line 3, before the words: "Hence, our Party's first immediate task is vigorously to combat," the following is to be inserted:
"The situation in a number of national republics (Ukraine, Byelorussia, Azerbaijan, Turkestan) is complicated by the fact that a considerable section of the working class, which is the main bulwark of the Soviet system, belongs to the Great-Russian nationality. In these districts the establishment of the bond between town and country, between the working class and the peasantry, encounters extremely powerful obstacles in the shape of survivals of Great-Russian chauvinism in both Party and Soviet organs. Under these circumstances, talk about the superiority of Russian culture, and advancement of the argument that the higher Russian culture must inevitably triumph over the culture of the more backward peoples (Ukrainian, Azerbaijanian, Uzbek, Kirghiz, etc.) are nothing but an attempt to perpetuate the domination of the Great-Russian nationality."
I accepted this amendment because it improves the theses.
The second amendment also relates to Point 7. Before the words: "Otherwise there can be no grounds for expecting," the following is to be added:
"This assistance must find expression primarily in the adoption of a number of practical measures for forming in the republics of the formerly oppressed nationalities industrial centres with the maximum participation of the local population. Lastly, in conformity with the resolution of the Tenth Congress, this assistance must be accompanied by a struggle of the labouring masses to strengthen their own social positions in opposition to the local and immigrant exploiting upper sections, which are growing as a consequence of the N.E.P. Since these republics are mainly agricultural districts, the internal social measures must consist primarily in allotting the labouring masses land out of the available state land fund."
Further, in the same Point 7, middle of paragraph 2, where it speaks of Georgian chauvinism, Azerbaijanian chauvinism, etc., insert: "Armenian chauvinism, etc." The Armenian comrades did not want the Armenians to be left out in the cold, they wanted their chauvinism to be mentioned too.
Further, in Point 8 of the theses, after the words "one and indivisible," insert:
"We must regard as a similar heritage of the past the striving of some of the government departments of the R.S.F.S.R. to subordinate to themselves the independent Commissariats of the autonomous republics and to prepare the ground for the liquidation of the latter." Further in Point 8, insert:
"and proclaiming the absolute necessity of the existence and further development of the national republics."
Further, Point 9. It should begin as follows:
"The Union of Republics, formed on the principles of equality and voluntary consent of the workers and peasants of the various republics, is the first experiment of the proletariat in regulating the mutual international relations of independent countries, and the first step towards the creation of the future World Soviet Republic of Labour."
Point 10 has a sub-point "a"; a new sub-point "a" was inserted before it, in the following terms:
"a) in the building up of the central organs of the Union, equality of rights and duties of the individual republics should be ensured both in their relations with one another and in their relations with the central authority of the Union."
Then follows sub-point "b", worded as the former sub-point "a":
"b) within the system of higher organs of the Union a special organ should be instituted that will represent all the national republics and national regions without exception on the basis of equality, providing as far as possible for the representation of all the nationalities within these republics."
Then comes what was sub-point "b" and is now sub-point "c", worded as follows:
"c) the executive organs of the Union should be constructed on principles that will ensure the actual participation in them of representatives of the republics and the satisfaction of the needs and requirements of the peoples of the Union."
Then comes sub-point "d", an addendum:
"d) the republics should be accorded sufficiently wide financial and, in particular, budgetary powers, enabling them to display initiative in state administration and cultural and economic matters."
Then comes the former sub-point "c" as sub-point e".
"e) the organs of the national republics and regions should be staffed mainly with people from among the local inhabitants who know the language, manner of life, habits and customs of the peoples concerned."
Further, a second sub-point has been added, namely, "f":
"f) special laws should be passed ensuring the use of the native languages in all state organs and in all institutions serving the local and national population and national minorities—laws that will prosecute and punish with all revolutionary severity all violators of national rights, particularly the rights of national minorities."
Then comes sub-point "g", an addendum:
"g) educational activities in the Red Army should be increased with the aim of inculcating the ideas of the fraternity and solidarity of the peoples of the Union, and the adoption of practical measures to organise national military units, all precautions to be taken to ensure the complete defensive capacity of the republics."
Such are all the addenda that were adopted by the committee and to which I have no objection, since they make the theses more concrete.
As regards Part II, no really important amendments were introduced. There were some slight amendments, which the commission elected by the committee on the national question decided to refer to the future Central Committee.
Thus, Part II remains in the shape in which it was distributed in the printed materials.
Although Rakovsky has changed two-thirds of the resolution he moved in the committee and has cut it down to a quarter, I am nevertheless emphatically opposed to his amendment, and for the following reason. Our theses on the national question are constructed in such a way that we, as it were, turn to face the East, having in view the heavy reserves that are latent there. We have linked the entire national question with the article of Ilyich, who, as far as I know, does not say a single word about the West, because the centre of the national question does not lie there, but in the colonies and semi-colonies of the East. Rakovsky argues that, having turned towards the East, we must also turn towards the West. But that is impossible, comrades, and unnatural, because, as a rule, people face either one way or another; it is impossible to face two ways at the same time. We cannot and must not upset the general tone of the theses, their Eastern tone. That is why I think that Rakovsky's amendment should be rejected.
I regard this amendment as being of cardinal significance. I must say that if the congress accepts it, the theses will be turned upside down. Rakovsky proposes that the second chamber be constructed in such a way that it should consist of representatives of state entities. He regards the Ukraine as a state entity, but not Bashkiria. Why? We are not abolishing the Councils of People's Commissars in the republics. Is not the Central Executive Committee of Bashkiria a state institution?! Then why is Bashkiria not a state? Will the Ukraine cease to be a state after she has entered the Union? State fetishism has confused Rakovsky. Since the nationalities have equal rights, since they have their own languages, habits, manner of life and customs, since these nationalities have set up their own state institutions— Central Executive Committees and Councils of People's Commissars—is it not obvious that all these national units are state entities? I think that we cannot depart from the principle of equality between the republics and nationalities in the second chamber, particularly in relation to the Eastern nationalities.
Evidently, Rakovsky is captivated by the Prussian system of federation. The German federation is built in such a way that there is no equality whatever between the states. I propose that we should arrange matters in such a way that in addition to class representation—I mean the first chamber, which is to be elected at the All-Union Congress of Soviets—we should have representation of the nationalities on the basis of equality. The Eastern peoples, which are organically connected with China, with India, being connected with them by language, religion, customs, etc., are of primary importance for the revolution. The relative importance of these small nationalities is much higher than that of the Ukraine.
If we make a slight mistake in the Ukraine, the effect upon the East will not be great. But we have only to make one slight mistake in a small country, in Ajaristan (120,000 population), for the effect to be felt in Turkey, to be felt in the whole of the East, for Turkey is most closely connected with the East. We have only to commit a slight mistake in the small Kalmyk Region, the inhabitants of which are connected with Tibet and China, for the effect on our work to be far worse than that of a mistake committed in relation to the Ukraine. We are faced with the prospect of a mighty movement in the East, and we must direct our work primarily towards rousing the East and avoid doing anything that could even remotely, even indirectly, belittle the importance of any, even the smallest, individual nationality in the Eastern border regions. That is why I think that it would be more just, more expedient and of greater advantage for the revolution from the standpoint of governing a big country like the Union of Republics with a population of 140,000,000, it would be better, I say, to arrange matters so that in the second chamber there should be equal representation of all the republics and national regions. We have eight autonomous republics and also eight independent republics; Russia will join as a republic, we have fourteen regions. All these will constitute the second chamber that will express all the requirements and needs of the nationalities and facilitate the government of such a big country. That is why I think that Rakovsky's amendment should be rejected.
Comrades, when reporting to you on the work of the committee on the national question I forgot to mention two other small addenda, which certainly must be mentioned. To paragraph 10, point "b", where it says that a special organ should be instituted that will represent all the national republics and national regions without exception on the basis of equality, it is necessary to add: "providing as far as possible for all the nationalities within these republics," because in some of the republics that will be represented in the second chamber there are several nationalities. For example, Turkestan. There, in addition to Uzbeks, there are Turkme-nians, Kirghiz and other nationalities, and the representation must he so arranged that each of these nationalities is represented.
The second addendum is to Part II, at the very end. It reads :
"In view of the tremendous importance of the activities of responsible workers in the autonomous and independent republics, and in the border regions in general (the establishment of contact between the working people in the given republic and the working people in the whole of the rest of the Union), the congress instructs the Central Committee to be particularly careful that such responsible workers are selected as will fully ensure the actual implementation of the Party's decisions on the national question."
And now a word or two about a remark Radek made in his speech. I am saying this at the request of the Armenian comrades. In my opinion that remark is contrary to the facts. Radek said here that the Armenians oppress, or might oppress, the Azerbaijanians in Azerbaijan and, vice versa, the Azerbaijanians might oppress the Armenians in Armenia. I must say that such things do not happen. The opposite happens: in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijanians, being the majority, oppress the Armenians and massacre them, as happened in Nakhichevan, where nearly all the Armenians were massacred; and the Armenians in Armenia massacred nearly all the Tatars. That happened in Zangezur. As for the minority in a foreign state oppressing the people who belong to the majority — such unnatural things have never happened.
The Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Verbatim Report, Moscow, 1923
This refers to the Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) which took place on April 24-29, 1917. At this conference J. V. Stalin delivered a report on the national question. The resolution on this report was drafted by V. I. Lenin. (For the resolutions of the congress see "Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums," Part I, 1941, pp. 225-39.)
Sotsialistichesky Vestnik (Socialist Courier) — organ of the Menshevik whiteguard emigres, founded by Martov in February 1921. Until March 1933 it was published in Berlin, from May 1933 to June 1940 in Paris, and later in America. It is the mouthpiece of the most reactionary imperialist circles.
The Basmach movement — a counter-revolutionary nationalist movement in Central Asia (Turkestan, Bukhara and Khorezm) in 1918-24. Headed by beys and mullahs, it took the form of open political banditry. Its aim was to sever the Central Asianre publics from Soviet Russia and to restore the rule of the exploiting classes. It was actively supported by the British imperialists, who were endeavouring to transform Central Asia into their colony.
See V. I. Lenin, The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 20, p. 406.
V. I. Lenin, The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination (see Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 22, p. 136).
Fourth Conference of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.) with Responsible Workers of the
National Republics and Regions
June 9-12, 1923
Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
- excerpts -
About the "Lefts" and the Rights.
Do they exist in the communist organisations in the regions and republics? Of course they do. That cannot be denied.
Wherein lie the sins of the Rights? In the fact that the Rights are not and cannot be an antidote to, a reliable bulwark against, the nationalist tendencies which are developing and gaining strength in connection with the N.E.P. The fact that Sultan-Galiyevism did exist, that it created a certain circle of supporters in the Eastern republics, especially in Bashkiria and Tataria, leaves no doubt that the Right-wing elements, who in these republics comprise the overwhelming majority, are not a sufficiently strong bulwark against nationalism.
It should be borne in mind that our communist organisations in the border regions, in the republics and regions, can develop and stand firmly on their feet, can become genuine internationalist, Marxist cadres, only if they overcome nationalism. Nationalism is the chief ideological obstacle to the training of Marxist cadres, of a Marxist vanguard, in the border regions and republics. The history of our Party shows that the Bolshevik Party, its Russian section, grew and gained strength in the fight against Menshevism; for Menshevism is the ideology of the bourgeoisie, Menshevism is a channel through which bourgeois ideology penetrates into our Party, and had the Party not overcome Menshevism it could not have stood firmly on its feet. Ilyich wrote about this a number of times. Only to the degree that it overcame Menshevism in its organisational and ideological forms did Bolshevism grow and gain strength as a real leading party. The same must be said of nationalism in relation to our communist organisations in the border regions and republics. Nationalism is playing the same role in relation to these organisations as Men-shevism in the past played in relation to the Bolshevik Party. Only under cover of nationalism can various kinds of bourgeois, including Menshevik, influences penetrate our organisations in the border regions. Our organisations in the republics can become Marxist only if they are able to resist the nationalist ideas which are forcing their way into our Party in the border regions, and are forcing their way because the bourgeoisie is reviving, the N.E.P. is spreading, nationalism is growing, there are survivals of Great-Russian chauvinism, which also give an impetus to local nationalism, and there is the influence of foreign states, which support nationalism in every way. If our communist organisations in the national republics want to gain strength as genuinely Marxist organisations they must pass through the stage of fighting this enemy in the republics and regions. There is no other way. And in this fight the Rights are weak. Weak because they are infected with scepticism with regard to the Party and easily yield to the influence of nationalism. Herein lies the sin of the Right wing of the communist organisations in the republics and regions.
But no less, if not more, sinful are the "Lefts" in the border regions. If the communist organisations in the border regions cannot grow strong and develop into genuinely Marxist cadres unless they overcome nationalism, these cadres themselves will be able to become mass organisations, to rally the majority of the working people around themselves, only if they learn to be flexible enough to draw into our state institutions all the national elements that are at all loyal, by making concessions to them, and if they learn to manoeuvre between a resolute fight against nationalism in the Party and an equally resolute fight to draw into Soviet work all the more or less loyal elements among the local people, the intelligentsia, and so on. The "Lefts" in the border regions are more or less free from the sceptical attitude towards the Party, from the tendency to yield to the influence of nationalism. But the sins of the "Lefts" lie in the fact that they are incapable of flexibility in relation to the bourgeois-democratic and the simply loyal elements of the population, they are unable and unwilling to manoeuvre in order to attract these elements, they distort the Party's line of winning over the majority of the toiling population of the country. But this flexibility and ability to manoeuvre between the fight against nationalism and the drawing of all the elements that are at all loyal into our state institutions must be created and developed at all costs. It can be created and developed only if we take into account the entire complexity and the specific nature of the situation encountered in our regions and republics; if we do not simply engage in transplanting the models that are being created in the central industrial districts, which cannot be transplanted mechanically to the border regions; if we do not brush aside the nationalist-minded elements of the population, the nationalist-minded petty bourgeois; and if we learn to draw these elements into the general work of state administration. The sin of the "Lefts" is that they are infected with sectarianism and fail to understand the paramount importance of the Party's complex tasks in the national republics and regions.
While the Rights create the danger that by their tendency to yield to nationalism they may hinder the growth of our communist cadres in the border regions, the "Lefts" create the danger for the Party that by their infatuation with an over-simplified and hasty "communism" they may isolate our Party from the peasantry and from broad strata of the local population.
Which of these dangers is the more formidable? If the comrades who are deviating towards the "Left" intend to continue practising in the localities their policy of artificially splitting the population—and this policy has been practised not only in Chechnya and in the Yakut Region, and not only in Turkestan . . . . (Ibrahimov : "They are tactics of differentiation.") Ibrahimov has now thought of substituting the tactics of differentiation for the tactics of splitting, but that changes nothing. If, I say, they intend to continue practising their policy of splitting the population from above; if they think that Russian models can be mechanically transplanted to a specifically national milieu regardless of the manner of life of the inhabitants and of the concrete conditions; if they think that in fighting nationalism everything that is national must be thrown overboard; in short, if the "Left" Communists in the border regions intend to remain incorrigible, I must say that of the two, the "Left" danger may prove to be the more formidable.
This is all I wanted to say about the "Lefts" and the Rights. I have run ahead somewhat, but that is because the whole conference has run ahead and has anticipated the discussion of the second item.
We must chastise the Rights in order to make them fight nationalism, to teach them to do so in order to forge real communist cadres from among local people. But we must also chastise the "Lefts" in order to teach them to be flexible and to manoeuvre skilfully, so as to win over the broad masses of the population. All this must be done because, as Khojanov rightly remarked, the truth lies "in between" the Rights and the "Lefts."
3. Practical Measures for Implementing the Resolution on the National Question Adopted by the Twelfth Party Congress
Report on the Second Item of the Agenda
I pass to the first group of questions—those concerning the methods of training and reinforcing Marxist cadres from among local people, who will be capable of serving as the most important and, in the long run, as the decisive bulwark of Soviet power in the border regions. If we examine the development of our Party (I refer to its Russian section, as the main section) and trace the principal stages in its development, and then, by analogy, draw a picture of the development of our communist organisations in the regions and republics in the immediate future, I think we shall find the key to the understanding of the specific features in these countries which distinguish the development of our Party in the border regions.
The principal task in the first period of our Party's development, the development of its Russian section, was to create cadres, Marxist cadres. These Marxist cadres were made, forged, in our fight with Menshevism. The task of these cadres then, at that period—I am referring to the period from the foundation of the Bolshevik Party to the expulsion from the Party of the Liquidators, as the most pronounced representatives of Menshevism—the main task was to win over to the Bolsheviks the most active, honest and outstanding members of the working class, to create cadres, to form a vanguard. The struggle here was waged primarily against tendencies of a bourgeois character—especially against Menshevism—which prevented the cadres from being combined into a single unit, as the main core of the Party. At that time it was not yet the task of the Party, as an immediate and vital need, to establish wide connections with the vast masses of the working class and the toiling peasantry, to win over those masses, to win a majority in the country. The Party had not yet got so far.
Only in the next stage of our Party's development, only in its second stage, when these cadres had grown, when they had taken shape as the basic core of our Party, when the sympathies of the best elements among the working class had already been won, or almost won— only then was the Party confronted with the task, as an immediate and urgent need, of winning over the vast masses, of transforming the Party cadres into a real mass workers' party. During this period the core of our Party had to wage a struggle not so much against Men-shevism as against the "Left" elements within our Party, the "Otzovists" of all kinds, who were attempting to substitute revolutionary phraseology for a serious study of the specific features of the new situation which arose after 1905, who by their over-simplified "revolutionary" tactics were hindering the conversion of our Party cadres into a genuine mass party, and who by their activities were creating the danger of the Party becoming divorced from the broad masses of the workers. It scarcely needs proof that without a resolute struggle against this "Left" danger, without defeating it, the Party could not have won over the vast labouring masses.
Such, approximately, is the picture of the fight on two fronts, against the Rights, i.e., the Mensheviks, and against the "Lefts"; the picture of the development of the principal section of our Party, the Russian section.
Comrade Lenin quite convincingly depicted this essential, inevitable development of the Communist Parties in his pamphlet "Left-Wing" Communism, an Infantile Disorder. There he showed that the Communist Parties in the West must pass, and are already passing, through approximately the same stages of development. We, on our part, shall add that the same must be said of the development of our communist organisations and Communist Parties in the border regions.
It should, however, be noted that, despite the analogy between what the Party experienced in the past and what our Party organisations in the border regions are experiencing now, there are, after all, certain important specific features in our Party's development in the national republics and regions, features which we must without fail take into account, for if we do not take them carefully into account we shall run the risk of committing a number of very gross errors in determining the tasks of training Marxist cadres from among local people in the border regions.
Let us pass to an examination of these specific features.
The fight against the Right and "Left" elements in our organisations in the border regions is necessary and obligatory, for otherwise we shall not be able to train Marxist cadres closely connected with the masses. That is clear. But the specific feature of the situation in the border regions, the feature that distinguishes it from our Party's development in the past, is that in the border regions the forging of cadres and their conversion into a mass party are taking place not under a bourgeois system, as was the case in the history of our Party, but under the Soviet system, under the dictatorship of the proletariat. At that time, under the bourgeois system, it was possible and necessary, because of the conditions of those times, to beat first of all the Mensheviks (in order to forge Marxist cadres) and then the Otzovists (in order to transform those cadres into a mass party); the fight against those two deviations filled two entire periods of our Party's history. Now, under present conditions, we cannot possibly do that, for the Party is now in power, and being in power, the Party needs in the border regions reliable Marxist cadres from among local people who are connected with the broad masses of the population. Now we cannot first of all defeat the Right danger with the help of the "Lefts," as was the case in the history of our Party, and then the "Left" danger with the help of the Rights. Now we have to wage a fight on both fronts simultaneously, striving to defeat both dangers so as to obtain as a result in the border regions trained Marxist cadres of local people connected with the masses. At that time we could speak of cadres who were not yet connected with the broad masses, but who were to become connected with them in the next period of development. Now it is ridiculous even to speak of that, because under the Soviet regime it is impossible to conceive of Marxist cadres not being connected with the broad masses in one way or another. They would be cadres who would have nothing in common either with Marxism or with a mass party. All this considerably complicates matters and dictates to our Party organisations in the border regions the need for waging a simultaneous struggle against the Rights and the "Lefts." Hence the stand our Party takes that it is necessary to wage a fight on two fronts, against both deviations simultaneously.
Further, it should be noted that the development of our communist organisations in the border regions is not proceeding in isolation, as was the case in our Party's history in relation to its Russian section, but under the direct influence of the main core of our Party, which is experienced not only in forming Marxist cadres, but also in linking those cadres with the broad masses of the population and in revolutionary manoeuvring in the fight for Soviet power. The specific feature of the situation in the border regions in this respect is that our Party organisations in these countries, owing to the conditions under which Soviet power is developing there, can and must manoeuvre their forces for the purpose of strengthening their connections with the broad masses of the population, utilising for this purpose the rich experience of our Party during the preceding period. Until recently, the Central Committee of the R.C.P. usually carried out manoeuvring in the border regions directly, over the heads of the communist organisations there, sometimes even by-passing those organisations, drawing all the more or less loyal national elements into the general work of Soviet construction. Now this work must be done by the organisations in the border regions themselves. They can do it, and must do it, bearing in mind that that is the best way of converting the Marxist cadres from among local people into a genuine mass party capable of leading the majority of the population of the country.
Such are the two specific features which must be taken strictly into account when determining our Party's line in the border regions in the matter of training Marxist cadres, and of these cadres winning over the broad masses of the population.
To Comrade Kaganovich
and the Other Members of the Political Bureau
of the Central Committee, Ukraine C.P.(B.)
April 26, 1926
Works, Vol. 8, January-November, 1926, pp. 157-163
This letter was published in part in the collection: J. V. Stalin, Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, Moscow 1934, pp. 172-173
I have had a talk with Shumsky. It was a long talk, lasting over two hours. As you know, he is dissatisfied with the situation in the Ukraine. The reasons for his dissatisfaction may be reduced to two main points.
1. He considers that Ukrainisation is progressing far too slowly, that it is looked upon as an imposed obligation and is being carried out reluctantly and very haltingly. He considers that Ukrainian culture and the Ukrainian intelligentsia are growing at a rapid pace, and that if we do not assume control of this movement it may by-pass us. He considers that the movement should be headed by people who believe in Ukrainian culture, who are or want to be acquainted with it, who support and are capable of supporting the growing movement for Ukrainian culture. He is particularly dissatisfied with the conduct of the top leadership of the Party and trade unions in the Ukraine, which, in his opinion, is hindering Ukrainisation. He thinks that one of the principal faults of the top leadership of the Party and trade unions is that it does not draw Communists who are directly linked with Ukrainian culture into the direction of Party and trade-union work. He thinks that Ukrainisation should be carried out first of all within the ranks of the Party and among the proletariat.
2. He thinks that if these shortcomings are to be corrected, it is necessary in the first place to alter the composition of the Party and Soviet top leadership with a view to its Ukrainisation, and that only on this condition can a change of sentiment in favour of Ukrainisation be brought about among the cadres of our functionaries in the Ukraine. He proposes that Grinko should be appointed to the post of Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and Chubar to the post of Political Secretary of the C.C., Ukr.C.P.(B.), that the composition of the Secretariat and the Political Bureau should be improved, and so forth. He thinks that unless these and similar changes are made, it will be impossible for him, Shumsky, to work in the Ukraine. He says that should the Central Committee insist, he is prepared to return to the Ukraine even if the present conditions of work are left unchanged, but he is convinced that nothing would come of it. He is particularly dissatisfied with the work of Kaganovich. He thinks that Kaganovich has succeeded in putting Party organisation work on proper lines, but he considers that the predominance of the organisational element in Comrade Kaganovich’s methods renders normal work impossible. He is convinced that the effects of the organisational pressure exerted by Comrade Kaganovich in his work, of his method of relegating higher Soviet institutions and their leaders to the background, will make themselves felt within the very near future, and he cannot guarantee that these effects will not take the form of a serious conflict.
Here is my opinion.
1. As regards the first point, there is some truth in what Shumsky says. It is true that a broad movement in favour of Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian public life has begun and is spreading in the Ukraine. It is true that we must under no circumstances allow that movement to fall into the hands of elements hostile to us. It is true that a number of Communists in the Ukraine do not realise the meaning and importance of that movement and are therefore taking no steps to gain control of it. It is true that a change of sentiment must be brought about among our Party and Soviet cadres, who are still imbued with an ironical and sceptical attitude towards Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian public life. It is true that we must painstakingly select and build up cadres capable of gaining control of the new movement in the Ukraine. All that is true. Nevertheless, Shumsky commits at least two serious errors.
Firstly. He confuses Ukrainisation of the apparatus of our Party and other bodies with Ukrainisation of the proletariat. The apparatus of our Party, state and other bodies serving the population can and should be Ukrainised, a due tempo in this matter being observed. But it is impossible to Ukrainise the proletariat from above. It is impossible to compel the mass of the Russian workers to give up the Russian language and Russian culture and accept the Ukrainian culture and language as their own. That would be contrary to the principle of the free development of nationalities. It would not be national freedom, but a peculiar form of national oppression. There can be no doubt that with the industrial development of the Ukraine and the influx into industry of Ukrainian workers from the surrounding countryside, the composition of the Ukrainian proletariat will change. There can be no doubt that the composition of the Ukrainian proletariat will become Ukrainised, just as the composition of the proletariat in Latvia or Hungary, say, which was at one time German in character, subsequently became Latvianised or Magyarised. But this is a lengthy, spontaneous and natural process. To attempt to replace this spontaneous process by the forcible Ukrainisation of the proletariat from above would be a utopian and harmful policy, one capable of stirring up anti-Ukrainian chauvinism among the non-Ukrainian sections of the proletariat in the Ukraine. It seems to me that Shumsky has a wrong idea of Ukrainisation and does not take this latter danger into account.
Secondly. While quite rightly stressing the positive character of the new movement in the Ukraine in favour of Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian public life, Shumsky fails to see its seamy side. Shumsky fails to see that, in view of the weakness of the indigenous communist cadres in the Ukraine, this movement, which is very frequently led by non-communist intellectuals, may here and there assume the character of a struggle to alienate Ukrainian culture and public life from general Soviet culture and public life, the character of a struggle against “Moscow” in general, against the Russians in general, against Russian culture and its highest achievement—Leninism. I shall not stop to prove that this is becoming an increasingly real danger in the Ukraine. I only want to say that even certain Ukrainian Communists are not free from such defects. I have in mind such a generally known fact as the article of the Communist Khvilevoy in the Ukrainian press. Khvilevoy’s demand for the “immediate de-Russification of the proletariat” in the Ukraine, his opinion that “Ukrainian poetry must get away from Russian literature and its style as fast as possible,” his statement that “the ideas of the proletariat are known to us without Moscow art,” his infatuation with the idea that the “young” Ukrainian intelligentsia has some kind of Messianic role to play, his ludicrous and non-Marxist attempt to divorce culture from politics—all this and much else like it sounds (cannot but sound!) more than strange nowadays coming from the mouth of a Ukrainian Communist. At a time when the proletarians of Western Europe and their Communist Parties are in sympathy with “Moscow,” this citadel of the international revolutionary movement and of Leninism, at a time when the proletarians of Western Europe look with admiration at the flag that flies over Moscow, the Ukrainian Communist Khvilevoy has nothing better to say in favour of “Moscow” than to call on the Ukrainian leaders to get away from “Moscow” “as fast as possible.” And that is called internationalism! What is to be said of other Ukrainian intellectuals, those of the non-communist camp, if Communists begin to talk, and not only to talk but even to write in our Soviet press, in the language of Khvilevoy? Shumsky does not realise that we can gain control of the new movement in the Ukraine in favour of Ukrainian culture only by combating extremes like Khvilevoy’s in the communist ranks. Shumsky does not realise that only by combating such extremes can the rising Ukrainian culture and public life be converted into a Soviet culture and public life.
2. Shumsky is right when he asserts that the top leadership (Party and other) in the Ukraine should be Ukrainian. But he is mistaken about the tempo. And that is the main thing just now. He forgets that there are not enough purely Ukrainian Marxist cadres for this as yet. He forgets that such cadres cannot be created artificially. He forgets that such cadres can be reared only in the process of work, and that this requires time. . . . What would be the effect of appointing Grinko to the post of Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars at this moment? How might such a step be assessed by the Party in general and the Party cadres in particular? Will they not take it to imply that our line is to depreciate the weight and prestige of the Council of People’s Commissars? For it cannot be concealed from the Party that Grinko’s Party and revolutionary standing is considerably lower than Chubar’s. Can we take such a step now, in the present period of the revitalisation of the Soviets and of increasing weight and prestige of the Soviet bodies? Would it not be better, both in the interest of our work and in the interest of Grinko himself, to forego such plans for the time being? I am in favour of the Secretariat and Political Bureau of the C.C., Ukr.C.P.(B.), as well as the top Soviet bodies, being reinforced with Ukrainian elements. But it is wrong to represent matters as if there were no Ukrainians in the leading organs of the Party and Soviets. What about Skrypnik and Zatonsky, Chubar and Petrovsky, Grinko and Shumsky—are they not Ukrainians? Shumsky’s mistake is that, while his perspective is correct, he disregards the question of tempo. And tempo is now the main thing.
With communist greetings,
26. IV. 1926
To the Young Communist League of the Ukraine on its Tenth Anniversary
Works, Vol. 12, April 1929 - June 1930, p. 122
Pravda, No. 157, July 12, 1929
Ardent greetings on its tenth anniversary to the Leninist Young Communist League of the Ukraine, which was tried and tested in the battles of the Civil War, which is successfully promoting socialist emulation and is actively participating in building Ukrainian socialist culture.
Moscow, July 10, 1929
Entry in the Log-Book of the Cruiser “Chervona Ukraina”
Works, Vol. 12, April 1929 - June 1930, p. 123
Krasny Chernomorets (Sevastopol), No. 260, November 7, 1929
Have been on board the Cruiser “Chervona Ukraina.” Have attended a concert of amateur talent given by the crew.
General impression: splendid men, courageous and cultured comrades who are ready for everything in behalf of our common cause.
It is a pleasure to work with such comrades. It is a pleasure to fight our enemies alongside such warriors. With such comrades, the whole world of exploiters and oppressors can be vanquished.
I wish you success, friends aboard the “Chervona Ukraina”!
July 25, 1929
Political Report of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.)
June 27, 1930
b) The picture of the struggle against deviations in the Party will not be complete if we do not touch upon the deviations that exist in the Party on the national question. I have in mind, firstly, the deviation towards Great-Russian chauvinism, and secondly, the deviation towards local nationalism. These deviations are not so conspicuous and assertive as the "Left" or the Right deviation. They could be called creeping deviations. But this does not mean that they do not exist. They do exist, and what is most important they are growing. There can be no doubt whatever about that. There can be no doubt about it, because the general atmosphere of more acute class struggle cannot fail to cause some intensification of national friction, which finds reflection in the Party. Therefore, the features of these deviations should be exposed and dragged into the light of day.
What is the essence of the deviation towards Great-Russian chauvinism under our present conditions?
The essence of the deviation towards Great-Russian chauvinism lies in the striving to ignore national differences in language, culture and way of life; in the striving to prepare for the liquidation of the national republics and regions; in the striving to undermine the principle of national equality and to discredit the Party's policy of nationalising the administrative apparatus, the press, the schools and other state and public organisations.
In this connection, the deviators of this type proceed from the view that since, with the victory of socialism, the nations must merge into one and their national languages must be transformed into a single common language, the time has come to abolish national differences and to abandon the policy of promoting the development of the national cultures of the formerly oppressed peoples.
In this connection, they refer to Lenin, misquoting him and sometimes deliberately distorting and slandering him.
Lenin said that under socialism the interests of the nationalities will merge into a single whole—does it not follow from this that it is time to put an end to the national republics and regions in the interests of
internationalism? Lenin said in 1913, in his controversy with the Bundists, that the slogan of national culture is a bourgeois slogan—does it not follow from this that it is time to put an end to the national cultures of the peoples of the USSR in the interests of . . . internationalism?
Lenin said that national oppression and national barriers are destroyed under socialism—does it not follow from this that it is time to put a stop to the policy of taking into account the specific national features of the peoples of the USSR and to go over to the policy of assimilation in the interests of . . . internationalism?
And so on and so forth.
There can be no doubt that this deviation on the national question, disguised, moreover, by a mask of internationalism and by the name of Lenin, is the most subtle and therefore the most dangerous species of Great-Russian nationalism.
Firstly, Lenin never said that national differences must disappear and that national languages must merge into one common language within the borders of a singlestate before the victoryof socialism on a world scale.Onthe contrary, Lenin said something that was the very opposite of this, namely, that "national and state differencesamong peoples and countries ... . will continue to exist for a very, very long timeeven afterthe dictatorship of the proletariat has been established on a worldscale" (Original Comment: JVS: My italics) (Vol. XXV, p. 227). How can anyone refer to Lenin and forget about this fundamental statement of his?
True, Mr. Kautsky, an ex-Marxist and now a renegade and reformist, asserts something that is the very opposite of what Lenin teaches us. Despite Lenin, he asserts that the victory of the proletarian revolution in the Austro-German federal state in the middle of the last century would have led to the formation of a single, common German language and to the Germanisationof the Czechs, because "the mere force of unshackled intercourse, the mere force of modern culture of which the Germans were the vehicles, without any forcible Germanisation, would have converted into Germans the backward Czech petty bourgeois, peasants and proletarians who had nothing to gain from their decayed nationality" (see Preface to the German edition of Revolution and Counter-revolution).
It goes without saying that such a "conception" is in full accord with Kautsky's social-chauvinism. It was these views of Kautsky's that I combated in 1925 in my speech at the University of the Peoples of the East. (Original Footnote: This refers to the address delivered at a meeting of students of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East, May 18, 1925 (see J. V. Stalin, "The Political Tasks of the University of the Peoples of the East," Works, Vol. 7, pp. 141-42)
But can this anti-Marxist chatter of an arrogant German social-chauvinist have any positive significance for us Marxists, who want to remain consistent internationalists?
Who is right, Kautsky or Lenin?
If Kautsky is right, then how are we to explain the fact that relatively backward nationalities like the Byelorussians and Ukrainians, who are closer to the Great-Russians than the Czechs are to the Germans, have not become Russified as a result of the victory of the proletarian revolution in the USSR, but, on the contrary, have been regenerated and have developed as independent nations? How are we to explain the fact that nations like the Turkmenians, Kirghizians, Uzbeks, Tajiks (not to speak of the Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanians,- and others), in spite of their backwardness, far from becoming Russified as a result of the victory of socialism in the USSR, have, on the contrary, been regenerated and have developed into independent nations? Is it not evident that our worthy deviators, in their hunt after a sham internationalism, have fallen into the clutches of Kautskyan social-chanvinism? Is it not evident that in advocating a single, common language within the borders of a singlestate, within the borders of the USSR, they are, in essence, striving to restore the privilegesof the formerly predominant language, namely, the Great-Russianlanguage?
What has this to do with internationalism?
Secondly, Lenin never said that the abolition of national oppression and the merging of the interests of nationalities into one whole is tantamount to the abolition of national differences. We have abolished national oppression. We have abolished national privileges and have established national equality of rights. We have abolished state frontiers in the old sense of the term, frontier posts and customs barriers between the nationalities of the USSR We have established the unity of the economic and political interests of the peoples of the USSR But does this mean that we have thereby abolished national differences, national languages, culture, manner of life, etc.? Obviously it does not mean this. But if national differences, languages, culture, manner of life, etc.; have remained, is it not evident that the demand for the abolition of the national republics and regions in the present historical period is a reactionary demand directed against the interests of the dictatorship of the proletariat? Do our deviators understand that to abolish the national republics at the present time means depriving the vast masses of the peoples of the USSR of the possibility of receiving education in their nativelanguages, depriving them of the possibility of having schools, courts, administration, public and other organisations and institutions in their native languages, depriving them of the possibility of being drawn into the work of socialist construction? Is it not evident that in their hunt after a sham internationalism our deviators have fallen into the clutches of the reactionary Great-Russian chauvinists and have forgotten, completely forgotten, the slogan of the cultural revolution in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat which applies equally to all the peoples of the USSR; both Great-Russian and non-Great-Russian?
Thirdly, Lenin never said that the slogan of developing national culture under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat is a reactionary slogan. On the contrary, Lenin always stood for helpingthe peoples of the USSR to develop their national cultures. It was under the guidance of none other than Lenin that at the Tenth Congress of the Party, the resolution on the national question was drafted and adopted, in which it is plainly stated that: "The Party's task is to help the labouring masses of the non-Great Russian peoples to catch up with Central Russia, which has gone in front, to helpthem:
a) to develop and strengthen Soviet statehood among them in forms corresponding to the national conditions and manner of life of these peoples;
b) to develop and strengthen among them courts administrations, economic and government bodies functioning in their native language and staffed with local people familiar with the manner of life and mentality of the local inhabitants;
c) to develop among them press, schools, theatres, clubs, and cultural and educational institutions in general, functioning in the native languages;
d) to set up and develop a wide network of general-educational and trade and technical courses and schools, functioning in the native languages." (Original Footnote: See Resolutions and Decisions of CPSU Congresses, Confrences and Centrla Committee Plenums; Part 1, 1953, p.559).
Is it not obvious that Lenin stood wholly and entirely for the slogan of developing national culture under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat?
Is it not obvious that to deny the slogan of national culture under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat means denying the necessity of raising the cultural level of the non-Great-Russian peoples of the USSR, denying the necessity of compulsory universal education for these peoples, means putting these peoples into spiritual bondage to the reactionary nationalists?
Lenin did indeed qualify the slogan of national culture under the rule of the bourgeoisie as a reactionary slogan. But could it be otherwise?
What is national culture under the rule of the national bourgeoisie? It is culture that is bourgeois in content and national in form, having the object of doping the masses with the poison of nationalism and of strengthening the rule of the bourgeoisie.
What is national culture under the dictatorship of the proletariat? It is culture that is socialist in content and national in form, having the object of educating the masses in the spirit of socialism and internationalism.
How is it possible to confuse these two fundamentally different things without breaking with Marxism?
Is it not obvious that in combating the slogan of national culture under the bourgeois order, Lenin was striving at the bourgeois content of national culture and not at its national form?
It would be foolish to suppose that Lenin regarded socialist culture as non-national, as not having a particular national form. The Bundists did at one time actually ascribe this nonsense to Lenin. But it is known from the works of Lenin that he protested sharply against this slander, and emphatically dissociated himself from this nonsense. Have our worthy deviators really followed in the footsteps of the Bundists?
After all that has been said, what is left of the arguments of our deviators?
Nothing, except juggling with the flag of inter-nationalism and slander against Lenin.
Those who are deviating towards Great-Russian chauvinism are profoundly mistaken in believing that the period of building socialism in the USSR is the period of the collapse and abolition of national cultures. The very opposite is the case. In point of fact, the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the building of socialism in the USSR is a period of the floweringof national cultures that are socialist in content and national in form for under the Soviet system, the nations themselves are not the ordinary "modern" nations, but socialistnations just as in content their national cultures are not the ordinary bourgeois cultures, but socialistcultures.
They apparently fail to understand that national cultures are bound to develop with new strength with the introduction and firm establishment of compulsory universal elementary education in the native languages. They fail to understand that only if the national cultures are developed will it be possible really to draw the backward nationalities into the work of socialist construction.
They fail to understand that it is just this that is the basis of the Leninist policy of helping and promotingthe development of the national cultures of the peoples of the USSR.
It may seem strange that we who stand for the future merging of national cultures into one common (both in form and content) culture, with one common language, should at the same time stand for the flowering of national cultures at the present moment, in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. But there is nothing strange about it. The national cultures must be allowed to develop and unfold, to reveal all their potentialities, in order to create the conditions for merging them into one common culture with one common language in the period of the victory of social-ism all over the world. The flowering of cultures that are national in form and socialist in content under the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country for the purpose of merging them into one common socialist (both in form and content) culture, with one common language, when the proletariat is victorious all over the world and when socialism becomes the way of life—it is just this that constitutes the dialectics of the Leninist presentation of the question of national culture.
It may be said that such a presentation of the question is "contradictory." But is there not the same "contradictoriness" in our presentation of the question of the state? We stand for the withering away of the state. At the same time we stand for the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which is the mightiest and strongest state power that has ever existed. The highest development of state power with the object of preparing the conditions forthe withering away of state-power—such is the Marxist formula. Is this "contradictory"? Yes, it is "contradictory." But this contradiction is bound up with life, and it fully reflects Marx's dialectics.
Or, for example, Lenin's presentation of the question of the right of nations to self-determination, including the right to secession. Lenin sometimes depicted the thesis on national self-determination in the guise of the simple formula: "disunion for union." Think of it—disunion for union. It even sounds like a paradox. And yet, this "contradictory', formula reflects that living truth of Marx's dialectics which enables the Bolsheviks to capture the most impregnable fortresses in the sphere of the national question.
The same may be said about the formula relating to national culture: the flowering of national cultures (and languages) in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country with the object of preparing the conditions for their withering away and merging into one common socialist culture (and into one common language) in the period of the victory of socialism all over the world.
Anyone who fails to understand this peculiar feature and "contradiction" of our transition period, anyone who fails to understand these dialectics of the historical processes, is dead as far as Marxism is concerned.
The misfortune of our deviators is that they do not understand, and do not wish to understand, Marx's dialectics.
That is how matters stand as regards the deviation towards Great-Russian chauvinism.
It is not difficult to understand that this deviation reflects the striving of the moribund classes of the formerly dominant Great-Russian nation to recover their lost privileges.
Hence the danger of Great-Russian chauvinism as the chief danger in the Party in the sphere of the national question.
What is the essence of the deviation towards local nationalism?
The essence of the deviation towards local nationalism is the endeavour to isolate and segregate oneself within the shell of one's own nation, the endeavour to slur over class contradictions within one's own nation, the endeavour to protect oneself from Great-Russian chauvinism by withdrawing from the general stream of socialist construction, the endeavour not to see what draws together and unites the labouring masses of the nations of the USSR and to see only what can draw them apart from one another.
The deviation towards local nationalism reflects the discontent of the moribund classes of the formerly oppressed nations with the regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat, their striving to isolate themselves in their national bourgeois state and to establish their class rule there.
The danger of this deviation is that it cultivates bourgeois nationalism, weakens the unity of the working people of the different nations of the USSR and plays into the hands of the interventionists.
Such is the essence of the deviation towards local nationalism.
The party's task is to wage a determined struggle against this deviation and to ensure the conditions necessary for the education of the labouring masses of the peoples of the USSR in the spirit of internationalism.
That is how matters stand with the deviations in our Party, with the "Left" and Right deviations in the sphere of general policy, and with the deviations in the sphere of the national question.
Such is our inner-Party situation.
Reply to the Discussion on the Political Report of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.)
July 2, 1930
Source : Works, Vol. 13, 1930 - January 1934
The Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), held in Moscow, June 26-July 13, 1930, discussed the political and organisational reports of the Party’s Central Committee; the reports of the Central Auditing Commission, the Central Control Commission and the C.P.S.U.(B.) delegation to the Executive Committee of the Comintern; and reports on the fulfilment of the five-year plan in industry, on the collective-farm movement and the promotion of agriculture, and on the tasks of the trade unions in the reconstruction period. The congress unanimously approved the political line and activities of the Central Committee of the Party and instructed it to continue to ensure Bolshevik rates of socialist construction, to achieve fulfilment of the five-year plan in four years, and to carry out unswervingly the sweeping socialist offensive along the whole front and the elimination of the kulaks as a class on the basis of complete collectivisation. The congress noted the momentous importance of the crucial change in the development of agriculture, thanks to which the collective-farm peasantry had become a real and stable support of the Soviet regime. The congress instructed the Party’s Central Committee to continue to pursue a firm policy of peace and to strengthen the defence capacity of the U.S.S.R. The congress issued directives : that heavy industry should be developed to the utmost and a new, powerful coal and metallurgical base created in the eastern part of the country; that the work of all the mass organisations should be reconstructed and the role of the trade unions in socialist construction increased; that all workers and the masses of the working people should be drawn into the socialist emulation movement. The congress completely exposed the Right opportunists as agents of the kulaks within the Party, and declared that the views of the Right opposition were incompatible with membership of the C.P.S.U.(B.). The congress instructed the Party organisations to intensify the fight against deviations on the national question— against dominant-nation chauvinism and local nationalism and conciliation towards them—and to firmly carry out the Leninist national policy, which ensures the broad development of the cultures—national in form and socialist in content — of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. The Sixteenth Congress is known in the history of the Party as the congress of the sweeping offensive of socialism along the whole front, of the elimination of the kulaks as a class, and of the realisation of complete collectivisation. J. V. Stalin delivered the political report of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) on June 27 (see Works, Vol. 12, pp. 242-385), and replied to the discussion on the report on July 2. (For the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1954, pp. 481-84. For the resolutions of the congress, see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II, 1953, pp. 553-616.)
The second batch of notes concerns the national question. One of them — the most interesting, in my opinion—compares the treatment of the problem of national languages in my report at the Sixteenth Congress with the treatment of it in my speech at the University of the Peoples of the East in 1925 (2) and finds a certain lack of clarity which needs elucidating. The note says: "You objected at that time to the theory (Kautsky's) of the dying away of national languages and the formation of a single, common language in the period of socialism (in one country), while now, in your report at the Sixteenth Congress, you state that Communists believe in the merging of national cultures and national languages into one common culture with one common language (in the period of the victory of socialism on a world scale). Is there not a lack of clarity here?" I think that there is neither lack of clarity nor the slightest contradiction here. In my speech in 1925 I objected to Kautsky's national-chauvinist theory on the basis of which a victory of the proletarian revolution in the middle of the past century in the united Austro-German state was bound to lead to the merging of the nations into one common German nation, with one common German language, and to the Germanisation of the Czechs. I objected to this theory as being anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist, and in refutation of i t quoted facts from life in our country after the victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R. I still oppose this theory, as can be seen from my report at this Sixteenth Congress.
I oppose it because the theory of the merging of all the nations of, say, the U.S.S.R. into one common Great-Russian nation with one common Great-Russian language is a national-chauvinist, anti-Leninist theory, which contradicts the basic thesis of Leninism that national differences cannot disappear in the near future, that they are bound to remain for a long time even after the victory of the proletarian revolution on a world scale.
As for the more remote prospects for national cultures and national languages, I have always adhered and continue to adhere to the Leninist view that in the period of the victory of socialism on a world scale, when socialism has been consolidated and become the way of life, the national languages are inevitably bound to merge into one common language, which, of course, will be neither Great-Russian nor German, but something new. I made a definite statement on this also in my report at the Sixteenth Congress.
Where, then, is the lack of clarity here and what is it exactly that needs elucidating?
Evidently, the authors of the note were not quite clear on at least two things:
First and foremost, they were not clear on the fact that in the U.S.S.R. we have already entered the period of socialism; moreover, despite the fact that we have entered this period, the nations are not only not dying away, but, on the contrary, are developing and flourishing.
Have we, in actual fact, already entered the period of socialism? Our period is usually called the period of transition from capitalism to socialism. It was called a transition period in 1918, when Lenin, in his celebrated article, "‘Left-Wing' Childishness and Petty- Bourgeois Mentality," (3) first described this period with its five forms of economy. It is called a transition period today, in 1930, when some of these forms, having become obsolete, are already on the way to disappearance, while one of them, namely, the new form of economy in the sphere of industry and agriculture, is growing and developing with unprecedented speed.
Can it be said that these two transition periods are identical, are not radically different from each other?
What did we have in the sphere of the national economy in 1918? A ruined industry and cigarette lighters; neither collective farms nor state farms on a mass scale; the growth of a "new" bourgeoisie in the towns and of the kulaks in the countryside.
What have we today? Socialist industry, restored and undergoing reconstruction, an extensive system of state farms and collective farms, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the total sown area of the U.S.S.R.in the spring-sown sector alone, a moribund "new" bourgeoisie in the town and a moribund kulak class in the countryside.
The former was a transition period and so is the latter. Nevertheless, they are as far apart as heaven and earth. And nevertheless, no one can deny that we are on the verge of eliminating the last important capitalist class, the kulak class. Clearly, we have already emerged from the transition period in the old sense and have entered the period of direct and sweeping socialist construction along the whole front. Clearly, we have already entered the period of socialism, for the socialist sector now controls all the economic levers of the entire national economy, although we are still far from having completely built a socialist society and from having abolished class distinctions. Nevertheless, the national languages are not only not dying away or merging into one common tongue, but, on the contrary, the national cultures and national languages are developing and flourishing. Is it not clear that the theory of the dying away of national languages and their merging into one common language within the framework of a single state in the period of sweeping socialist construction, in the period of socialism in one country, is an incorrect, anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist theory?
Secondly, the authors of the note were not clear on the fact that the dying away of national languages and their merging into one common language is not an intrastate question, not a question of the victory of socialism in one country, but an international question, a question of the victory of socialism on an international scale. They failed to understand that the victory of socialism in one country must not be confused with the victory of socialism on an international scale. Lenin had good reason for saying that national differences will remain for a long time even after the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat on an international scale.
Besides, we must take into consideration still another circumstance, which affects a number of the nations of the U.S.S.R. There is a Ukraine which forms part of the U.S.S.R. But there is also another Ukraine which forms part of other states. There is a Byelorussia which forms part of the U.S.S.R. But there is also another Byelorussia which forms part of other states. Do you think that the question of the Ukrainian and Byelorussian languages can be settled without taking these specific conditions into account?
Then take the nations of the U.S.S.R. situated along its southern border, from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan and Buryat-Mongolia. They are all in the same position as the Ukraine and Byelorussia. Naturally, here too we have to take into consideration the specific conditions of development of these nations.
Is it not obvious that all these and similar questions that are bound up with the problem of national cultures and national languages cannot be settled within the framework of a single state, within the framework of the U.S.S.R.?
That, comrades, is how matters stand with respect to the national question in general and the above-mentioned note on the national question in particular.
J. V. Stalin, The Political Tasks of the University of the Peoples of the East (see Works, Vol. 7, pp. 135-54).
V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 27, pp. 291-319.
Report to the Seventeenth Party Congress on the Work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.)
January 26, 1934
Works, Vol. 13, 1930 - January 1934
The Seventeenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) was held in Moscow from January 26 to February 10, 1934. It discussed the report of the Central Committee, C.P.S.U.(B.), the reports of the Central Auditing Commission, of the Central Control Commission and Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, of the C.P.S.U.(B.) delegation in the Executive Committee of the Comintern, and reports on the Second Five-Year Plan and on organisationaI questions (Party and Soviet affairs). On J. V. Stalin's report on the work of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) the congress adopted a decision in which it wholly approved the political line and practical work of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) and instructed all Party organisations to be guided in their work by the principles and tasks enunciated in J. V. Stalin's report. The congress noted the decisive successes of socialist construction in the U.S.S.R. and declared that the general NOTES 405 line of the Party had triumphed. The Seventeenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) has gone down in the history of the Party as the Congress of Victors. On the reports of V. M. Molotov and V. V. Kuibyshev, the congress adopted a resolution on "The Second Five-Year Plan of Development of the National Economy of the U.S.S.R. (1933-1937)"—a plan for the building of socialist society, thereby endorsing the grand programme for completing the technical reconstruction of the entire national economy, and for a still more rapid rise of the living and cultural standards of the workers and peasants. The congress emphasised that the basic political task during the second five-year plan period was the final elimination of capitalist elements and the overcoming of the survivals of capitalism in economic life and in the minds of people. On the report of L. M. Kaganovich, the congress adopted decisions on organisational questions (Party and Soviet affairs). The congress pointed out that the principal tasks of the Second Five-Year Plan sharply raised the question of improving the quality of work in all spheres, and first and foremost the quality of organisational and practical leadership. The congress adopted new Party Rules. It replaced the Central Control Commission and Workers' and Peasants' Inspection by a Party Control Commission under the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) and a Soviet Control Commission under the Council of People's Commissars of the U.S.S.R. (On the Seventeenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) see History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1954, pp. 496-503. For the resolutions and decisions of the congress, see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U. Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part II, 1953, pp. 744-87.)
Or take, for example, the national question. Here, too, in the sphere of the national question, just as in the sphere of other questions, there is in the views of a section of the Party a confusion which creates a certain danger. I have spoken of the tenacity of the survivals of capitalism. It should be observed that the survivals of capitalism in people's minds are much more tenacious in the sphere of the national question than in any other sphere. They are more tenacious because they are able to disguise themselves well in national costume. Many think that Skrypnik's fall from grace was an individual case, an exception to the rule. This is not true. The fall from grace of Skrypnik and his group in the Ukraine is not an exception. Similar aberrations are observed among certain comrades in other national republics as well.
What is the deviation towards nationalism—regardless whether it is a matter of the deviation towards Great-Russian nationalism or the deviation towards local nationalism? The deviation towards nationalism is the adaptation of the internationalist policy of the working class to the nationalist policy of the bourgeoisie. The deviation towards nationalism reflects the attempts of "one's own," "national" bourgeoisie to undermine the Soviet system and to restore capitalism. The source of both these deviations, as you see, is the same. It is a departure from Leninist internationalism. If you want to keep both deviations under fire, then aim primarily against this source, against those who depart from internationalism—regardless whether it is a matter of the deviation towards local nationalism or the deviation towards Great-Russian nationalism. (Stormy applause.)
There is a controversy as to which deviation represents the chief danger: the deviation towards Great-Russian nationalism, or the deviation towards local nationalism. Under present conditions, this is a formal and, therefore, a pointless controversy. It would be foolish to attempt to give ready-made recipes suitable for all times and for all conditions as regards the chief and the lesser danger. Such recipes do not exist. The chief danger is the deviation against which we have ceased to fight, thereby allowing it to grow into a danger to the state. (Prolonged applause.)
In the Ukraine, only very recently, the deviation towards Ukrainian nationalism did not represent the chief danger; but when the fight against it ceased and it was allowed to grow to such an extent that it linked up with the interventionists, this deviation became the chief danger. The question as to which is the chief danger in the sphere of the national question is determined not by futile, formal controversies, but by a Marxist analysis of the situation at the given moment, and by a study of the mistakes that have been committed in this sphere.
The same should be said of the Right and "Left" deviations in the sphere of general policy. Here, too, as in other spheres, there is no little confusion in the views of certain members of our Party. Sometimes, while fighting against the Right deviation, they turn away from the "Left" deviation and relax the fight against it, on the assumption that it is not dangerous, or hardly dangerous. This is a grave and dangerous error. It is a concession to the "Left" deviation which is impermissible for a member of the Party. It is all the more impermissible for the reason that of late the "Lefts" have completely slid over to the position of the Rights, so that there is no longer any essential difference between them.
We have always said that the "Lefts" are in fact Rights who mask their Rightness by Left phrases. Now the "Lefts" themselves confirm the correctness of our statement. Take last year's issues of the Trotskyist Bulletin. What do Messieurs the Trotskyists demand, what do they write about, in what does their "Left" programme find expression? They demand: the dissolution of the state farms, on the grounds that they do not pay; the dissolution of the majority of the collective farms, on the grounds that they are fictitious; the abandonment of the policy of eliminating the kulaks; reversion to the policy of concessions, and the leasing to concessionaires of a number of our industrial enterprises, on the grounds that they do not pay.
There you have the programme of these contemptible cowards and capitulators—their counter-revolutionary programme of restoring capitalism in the U.S.S.R.!
What difference is there between this programme and that of the extreme Rights? Clearly, there is none. It follows that the "Lefts" have openly associated themselves with the counter-revolutionary programme of the Rights in order to enter into a bloc with them and to wage a joint struggle against the Party.
How can it be said after this that the "Lefts" are not dangerous, or hardly dangerous? Is it not clear that those who talk such rubbish bring grist to the mill of the sworn enemies of Leninism?
As you see, here too, in the sphere of deviations from the line of the Party—regardless of whether we are dealing with deviations on general policy or with deviations on the national question—the survivals of capitalism in people's minds, including the minds of certain members of our Party, are quite tenacious.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
СТАЛИН НА ЮЖНОМ РОНТЕ
Из статьи К. Е. Ворошилова „Сталин и Красная армии"
Осень 1919 г. памятна всем. Наступал решающий, переломный момент всей гражданской войны. Снабженные «союзниками», поддержанные их штабами, белогвардейские полчища Деникина подходили к Орлу. Весь громадный Южный фронт медленными валами откатывался назад. Внутри положение было не менее тяжелое. Продовольственные затруднения чрезвычайно обострились. Промышленность останавливалась от недостатка топлива. Внутри страны, и даже в самой Москве, зашевелились контрреволюционные элементы. Опасность угрожала Туле, опасность нависла над Москвой.
Надо спасать положение. И на Южный фронт ЦК посылает в качестве члена РВС т. Сталина. Теперь уже нет надобности скрывать, что перед своим назначением т. Сталин поставил перед ЦК три главных условия: 1) Троцкий не должен вмешиваться в дела Южного фронта и не должен переходить за его разграничительные линии, 2) с Южного фронта должен быть немедленно отозван целый ряд работников, которых т. Сталин считал непригодными восстановить положение в войсках, и 3) на Южный фронт должны быть немедленно командированы новые работники по выбору Сталина, которые эту задачу могли выполнить. Эти условия были приняты полностью.
Но для того, чтобы охватить эту громадную махину (от Волги до польско-украинской границы), называвшуюся Южным фронтом, насчитывающую в своем составе несколько сот тысяч войск, нужен был точный оперативный план, нужна была ясно формулированная задача фронту. Тогда эту цель
можно было бы поставить перед войсками и путем перегруппировки и сосредоточения лучших сил на главных направлениях нанести удар врагу.
Тов. Сталин застает очень неопределенную и тяжелую обстановку на фронте. На главном направлении Курск—Орел—Тула нас бьют, восточный фланг беспомощно топчется на месте. Что же касается оперативных директив, ему предлагается старый план (сентябрьский) нанесения главного удара левым флангом, от Царицына на Новороссийск, через донские степи.
«Основной план наступления Южфронта остается без изменений; именно, главнейший удар наносится особой группой Шорина, имеющей задачей уничтожение врага на Дону и Кубани» (из директивы Главкома, сентябрь 1919 г.).
Ознакомившись с положением, т. Сталин немедленно принимает решение. Он категорически отвергает старый план, выдвигает новые предложения и предлагает их Ленину в следующей записке, которая говорит сама за себя. Она настолько интересна, настолько ярко рисует стратегический талант т. Сталина, настолько характерна по самой решительности постановки вопросов, что мы считаем полезным привести ее полностью:
«Месяца два назад Главком принципиально не возражал против удара с запада на восток через Донецкий бассейн, как основного. Если он все же не пошел на такой удар, то потому, что ссылался на «наследство», полученное в результате отступления южных войск летом, т. е. на стихийно создавшуюся группировку войск Юго-Восточного фронта, перестройка которой (группировки) повела бы к большой трате времени, к выгоде Деникина... Но теперь обстановка и связанная с ней группировка сил изменились в основе: 8-я армия (основная на бывшем Южфронте) передвинулась в районе Южфронта и смотрит прямо на Донецкий бассейн, конкорпус Буденного (другая основная сила) передвинулся тоже в районе Южфронта, прибавилась новая сила — латдивизия, — которая через месяц, обновившись, вновь представит грозную для Деникина силу... Что же заставляет Главкома (Ставку) отстаивать старый план? Очевидно, одно лишь упорство, если угодно — фракционность, самая тупая и самая опасная для Республики, культивируемая в Главкоме состоящим при нем «стратегическим»
петушком... На-днях Главком дал Шорину директиву о наступлении на Новороссийск через донские степи по линии, по которой может быть и удобно летать нашим авиаторам, но уже совершенно невозможно будет бродить нашей пехоте и артиллерии. Нечего и доказывать, что этот сумасбродный (предполагаемый) поход в среде вражеской нам, в условиях абсолютного бездорожья, грозит нам полным крахом. Нетрудно понять, что этот поход па казачьи станицы, как это показала недавняя практика, может лишь сплотить казаков против нас вокруг Деникина для защиты своих станиц, может лишь выставить Деникина спасителем Дона, может лишь создать армию казаков для Деникина, т. е. может лишь усилить Деникина. Именно поэтому необходимо теперь же, не теряя времени, изменить уже отмененный практикой старый план, заменив его планом основного удара через Харьков — Донецкий бассейн на Ростов: во-первых, здесь мы будем иметь среду не враждебную, наоборот, — симпатизирующую нам, что облегчит наше продвижение; во-вторых, мы получаем важнейшую железнодорожную сеть (донецкую) и основную артерию, питающую армию Деникина, — линию Воронеж — Ростов... в-третьих, этим продвижением мы рассекаем армию Деникина на две части, из коих добровольческую оставляем на съедение Махно, а казачьи армии ставим под угрозу захода им в тыл; в-четвертых, мы получаем возможность поссорить казаков с Деникиным, который (Деникин) в случае нашего успешного продвижения постарается передвинуть казачьи части на запад, на что большинство казаков не пойдет... в-пятых, мы получаем уголь, а Деникин остается без угля. С принятием этого плана нельзя медлить... Короче: старый, уже отмененный жизнью план ни в коем случае не следует гальванизировать, — это опасно для Республики, это наверняка облегчит положение Деникина. Его надо заменить другим планом. Обстоятельства и условия не только назрели для этого, но и повелительно диктуют такую замену... Без этого моя работа на Южфронте становится бессмысленной, преступной, ненужной, что дает мне право или, вернее, обязывает меня уйти куда угодно, хоть к чорту, только не оставаться на Южфронте. Ваш Сталин».
Комментарии к этому документу излишни. Обращает на себя внимание, какою мерою Сталин измеряет кратчайшее оперативное направление. В гражданской войне простая арифметика бывает недостаточна и часто ошибочна. Путь от Царицына до Новороссийска может оказаться гораздо длинней, потому что он проходит через враждебную классовую среду. И наоборот, путь от Тулы до Новороссийска может оказаться
гораздо короче, потому что он идет через рабочий Харьков, через шахтерский Донбасс. В этой оценке направлений сказались основные качества т. Сталина как пролетарского революционера, как настоящего стратега гражданской войны.
План Сталина был принят ЦК. Сам Ленин собственной рукой написал приказание полевому штабу о немедленном изменении изжившей себя директивы. Главный удар был нанесен Юж-фронтом в направлении на Харьков — Донбасс — Ростов. Результаты известны: перелом в гражданской войне был достигнут. Деникинские полчища были опрокинуты в Черное море. Украина и Северный Кавказ освобождены от белогвардейцев. Тов. Сталину во всем этом принадлежит громадная заслуга.
Следует еще остановиться на одном важнейшем историческом моменте, связанном на Южном фронте с именем т. Сталина. Я имею в виду образование Конной армии. Это был первый опыт сведения кавалерийских дивизий в такое крупное соединение, как армия. Сталин видел могущество конных масс в гражданской войне. Он конкретно понимал их громадное значение для сокрушительного маневра. Но в прошлом ни у кого не было такого своеобразного опыта, как действие конных армий. Не было об этом написано и в ученых трудах, и поэтому такое мероприятие вызывало или недоумение или прямое сопротивление. Но не таков Сталин: раз он был уверен в полезности и правильности своих планов, он всегда шел напролом в их осуществлении. И 11 ноября РВС Республики получает следующее донесение от РВС Южфронта:
Реввоенсовет Южфронта в заседании своем от 11 ноября с. г., исходя из условий настоящей обстановки, постановил образовать Конную армию в составе 1-го и 2-го конных корпусов и одной стрелковой бригады (впоследствии добавить и вторую бригаду).
Состав Реввоенсовета Конармии: командарм т. Буденный и члены: тт. Ворошилов и Щаденко.
Справка: Постановление Реввоенсовета Южфронта от 11 ноября 1919 г., № 505/а.
Означенноо просим утвердить».
Конная армия была создана, несмотря и даже вопреки желанию центра. Инициатива ее создания принадлежит т. Сталину, который совершенно ясно представлял себе всю необходимость подобной организации. Исторические последствия этого шага хорошо всем известны.
И еще одна характерная особенность выявилась у т. Сталина совершенно отчетливо на Южном фронте: действовать ударными группировками; избирая главные направления, сосредоточивать на них лучшие части и бить врага. В этом отношении, также в выборе направления он достиг большого искусства.
После разгрома Деникина авторитет Сталина как первоклассного организатора и военного вождя становится непререкаемым. Когда в январе 1920 года под Ростовом вследствие грубых ошибок фронтового командования наступает опасная задержка нашего наступления, когда вновь нарастает угроза, что оправившиеся белогвардейцы смогут свести на-нет плоды нашей победы, ЦК шлет Сталину следующую телеграмму:
«Ввиду необходимости установить подлинное единство командования на Кавфронте, поддержать авторитет командфронта и командарма, использовать в широком размере местные силы и средства, Политбюро ЦК признало безусловно необходимым немедленное вступление вас в состав Реввоенсовета Кавфронта... Сообщите, когда выезжаете в Ростов».
Тов. Сталин подчиняется, хотя и считает, что по состоянию здоровья его не надо трогать с места. Потом его очень беспокоит, что эти постоянные переброски будут неправильно поняты местными партийными организациями, которые склонны будут «обвинять меня в легкомысленном перескакивании из одной области управления в другую, ввиду их неосведомленности о решениях ЦК» (телеграмма т. Сталина от 7 февраля 1920 г.). ЦК соглашается с т. Сталиным, и Ленин 10 февраля телеграфирует ему: «Я не теряю на-дежды, что... все дело наладится без вашего перемещения».
Когда Врангель под шумок белопольской кампании вылезает из Крыма и создает новую, страшную угрозу освобожденному Донбассу и всему югу, ЦК выносит следующее решение (3 августа 1920 г.):
«Ввиду успеха Врангеля и трегоги на Кубани необходимо признать врангелевский фронт имеющим огромное, вполне самостоятельное значение, выделив его как самостоятельный фронт. Поручить т. Сталину сформировать Реввоенсовет, целиком сосредоточить свои силы на врангелевском фронте, в качестье командующего фронтом — Егорова или Фрунзе, по соглашению Главкома со Сталиным».
В этот же день Ленин пишет Сталину:
«Только что провели Политбюро разделение фронтов, чтобы вы исключительно занялись Врангелем...»
Тов. Сталин организует новый фронт, и только болезнь освобождает его от этой работы.
В белопольскую кампанию т. Сталин состоит членом РВС Юго-Западного фронта. Разгром польских армий, освобождение Киева и Правобережной Украины, глубокое проникновение в Галицию, организация знаменитого рейда I конной армии — детища Сталина — в значительной степени составляют результаты его умелого и искусного руководства.
Разгром всего польского фронта на Украине и почти полное уничтожение III польской армии под Киевом, сокрушительные удары по Бердичеву и Житомиру и движение I конной армии в ровенском направлении создали обстановку, позволившую и нашему Западному фронту перейти в общее наступление. Последующие действия Юго-Западного фронта приводят красные войска под самый Львов. И только неудача наших войск под Варшавой срывает Конную армию, изготовившуюся к атаке Львова и находившуюся в 10 километрах от него.
Однако период этот так богат событиями, и освещение его нуждается в такой обширной документации и тщательном анализе, что выходит далеко за пределы нашей статьи.
К. Е. Ворошилов, «Сталин и Красная армия», Государственное военное издательство, М., 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Телеграмма Реввоенсовета Юго-Западного фронта для Командарма Конной
3 июня 1920 г. Кременчуг
Главная задача Конармии — разгром киевской группы противника — является первым этапом и должна быть проведена неуклонно и с полной решительностью. Настоящее положение Конной армии дает возможность безотлагательно провести это решение.
1. Выставить на левом фланге активный заслон, удерживать за собою при помощи его район Липовец — Погребище.
Главными силами армии прорвать фронт противника на линии Ново-Фастов — Пустоваровка. Стремительным ударом захватить район Фастов и, действуя по тылам, разбить киевскую группу противника.
2. Категорически отрешиться от мысли равняться по соседним частям нашей пехоты, дабы не сковывать действия Конармии и не лишить ее ценнейших качеств.
3. Обратить самое серьезное внимание для восстановления надлежащего охранения частей, особенно при расположении на ночлег, дабы не повторились случаи, имевшие место в 62 и частично 65 полках.
Иметь в виду широкий шпионаж противника среди местного населения.
4. Получение и об отданных распоряжениях донести.
Командующий Юго-Западным фронтом ЕГОРОВ
Член Реввоенсовета СТАЛИН
«Правда» № 156, 8 июня 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Командармам 12, 14, Комгруппы Якиру Копия Командарму Конной
8/VI 1920 г. части Конной армии, прорвав фронт противника в общем направлении Коростень — Житомир, ведут бои в районах Житомир—Бердичев. Для достижения успеха, в связи с действиями Конной армии, приказываю:
1. Командарму 12 задачу, указанную в директиве моей от 6/VІ за № 411 (391) сек., выполнить со всей энергией и самым старательным образом, при этом переброску частей главной ударной группы проводить беспрерывно днем и ночью. Чтобы не дать противнику возможности эвакуировать Киев, — перерезать последнюю для него магистраль Киев — Коростень в районе Бородянка — Ирша не позднее 12 июня, используя конные части.
2. Комгруппы тов. Якиру решительным наступлением не позднее 10/VІ овладеть районом Фастов — Корнин, кончастям в кратчайший срок перерезать шоссе Киев — Житомир.
3. Командарму 14 приступить к решительному выполнению основной задачи армии по моей директиве от 25/V с. г. за № 358 (89) сек.
Командующий Юго-Западным фронтон ЕГОРОВ Член Реввоенсовета СТАЛИН
«Правда» № 161, 13 июня 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Пол. штаба Юго-Зап. фронта
Командарм 12, 13, 14, Конармии, Комгрупп Якиру, Главному, Командзап, Командкавказ, Наштаюгзап
Кременчуг 9 июня 1920 г. 2 часа утра. Доблестные части Конармии взяли Житомир. Доблестные части 12 армии, сбив противника с укрепленных позиций, подходят к переправам у Киева. НР 927 (сек) 439/пол.
Член Рeввоенсоветресп. СТАЛИН
За Наштаюгзап ПАНКРАТЬЕВ
«Правда» № 160, 12 июня 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Фронт врага прорван
Действующая армия, 9 июня
Доблестной атакой Конной армии Юго-Западного фронта прорван фронт противника в районе Сквиры. В кровопролитных боях изрублены части генерала Галлера. Наши части Конной армии в одиннадцать часов захватили г. Житомир. Уничтожен целиком польский гарнизон города, разбита вся техническая связь противника. Захвачено много вагонов, среда них эшелоны с лошадьми, пять вагонов с английским оружием и пулеметами. Отбито захваченных противником в предыдущих боях пять тысяч красноармейцев, освобождены из каторжных тюрем противника две тысячи политических работников и красноармейцев.
Польскими войсками командует лично Пилсудский. Преследование противника продолжается.
Командующий Юго-Западным фронтом ЕГОРОВ
Член Реввоенсовета СТАЛИН
«Коммунист» № 128, 10 июня 1920 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Серия „Г". Командарм Конной, копия Комгруппы Якиру, Командарм 12, 14, Главком, Наштаюгзап, только для Конной
Кременчуг 10 июня 1920 г. Г. Фастов нами занят девятого июня. Одиннадцатого июня Якир должен занять район Брусилов — Ходорков. Район Радомыслъ — Макаров 12 армия займет 11-го июня.
Ваша помощь на восток отпадает. Безотлагательно поверните на запад и займите район Житомир — Казатин. Если понадобится — подчините себе 45-ю дивизию. Исполнение донести экстренно по радио. НР 0010/с.
«Правда» № 160, 12 июня 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Командарм 13, копия Командарм 14, Команд-кавказского, Главком, Начтылафронта и Наштаюгзап
Кременчуг 10 июня 1920 года.
Приказываю: Первое. Не уступать противнику без боя ни одной пяди земли. Второе. Для ликвидации Перекопской группы противника безотлагательно перейти в самое решительное наступление, использовав для этой цели, кроме всех бывших частей Перекопской группы, также 15 стрелковую и 2 кавдивизии; при этом действия 2-й кавдивизии должны носить характер фланговых ударов. Третье. Всем остальным частям армии, не исключая и тыловых, задача ликвидировать десант и Сальковскую группу противника. Четвертое. Получении и отданных распоряжениях донести. НР 434/СЕК/466/Пол.
Член Реввоенсовресп. СТАЛИН
За Наштаюгзап ПАНКРАТЬЕВ
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Серия Г. Для 1 Конной
Харьков 13 июня 1920 г.
В целях окончательного разгрома польских армий приказываю поставленные мною по директиве № 542/сек. 3194/он, боевые задачи армиям проводить с особой настойчивостью и наивысшим напряжением сил, не давая противнику возможности задерживаться на попутных рубежах. Указанные мною в директиве районы должны быть обязательно заняты нашими частями в установленный срок.
О получении и отданных распоряжениях донести. НР 551 (сек) 3840/оп.
Член Реввоенсоветресп. СТАЛИН
«Правда» № 160, 12 нюня 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
25 июня 20 г. В. срочно
Москва Кремль только Ленину
Взятый нами в плен 10 июня на Крымском фронте боевой генерал Ревишин в моем присутствии заявил: обмундирование, орудия, винтовки, шашки врангелевские войска получают главным образом от англичан, a потом от французов; с моря обслуживают Врангеля английские крупные суда и французские мелкие; топливо (жидкое) Врангель получает из Батума (значит Баку не должен отпускать топливо Тифлису, который может продать его Батуму); генерал Эрдели, интернированный Грузией и подлежащий выдаче нам, в мае был уже в Крыму (значит Грузия хитрит). Показание генерала Ревишина о помощи Англии и Франции Врангелю стенографируется и будет послано Вам за его подписью как материал для Чичерина. НР 3922.
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Командарм 13, копия Главком и Наштаюгзап
Синельниково 1 июля 1920 года, 19 ч. Карта 10 в дюйме. Успешные действия Каховской группы незамедлительно отразятся на успехе всей операции армии. Приказываю целях поддержания операции Каховской группы и концентрации общего удара на всем фронте армии безотлагательно развить самое энергичное и решительное наступление, при этом конными частями вести решительное преследование противника, действуя и ночью. Ставлю задачей овладение районом Мелитополя не позднее 2 сего июля. Получение и отданных распоряжениях донести. № 505/СЕК/3497/ОП.
Член Реввоенсоветресп. СТАЛИН
За Наштаюгзап Генштаба Н. ЛИБУС
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Командарм 13, копия Главком и Наштаюгзап
Синельниково 1 июля 1920 года, 19 ч. Карта 10 в дюйме. Успешные действия Каховской группы незамедлительно отразятся на успехе всей операции армии. Приказываю целях поддержания операции Каховской группы и концентрации общего удара на всем фронте армии безотлагательно развить самое энергичное и решительное наступление, при этом конными частями вести решительное преследование противника, действуя и ночью. Ставлю задачей овладение районом Мелитополя не позднее 2 сего июля. Получение и отданных распоряжениях донести. № 505/СЕК/3497/ОП.
Член Реввоенсоветресп. СТАЛИН
За Наштаюгзап Генштаба Н. ЛИБУС
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Москва Кремль Ленину
Синельниково 1 июля 20 г.
Двадцать седьмого июня мною послана следующая телеграмма в ЦЕКА на имя Преображенского:
«За последнюю неделю приток добровольцев и политработников с севера на Югзап сократился до ничтожной цифры, ПУР, видимо, забывает, что поляки еще живы, а Врангель не побит. Прошу: первое — обязать ПУР резервы добровольцев и мобилизованных коммунистов делить пополам между Западным и Юго-Западным; второе — нарядить срочно Югзапу для конных частей Крымского фронта сто добровольцев кавалеристов (можно часть курсантов, но предпочтительно старых кавалеристов коммунистов) и направить немедленно Политотдел Югзапа. Принятых мерах прошу сообщить».
Сообщаю, что ответа на эту телеграмму я еще не получил, ЦЕКА почему-то молчит. НР 1720/6.
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Москва Кремль Ленину
Копия Наркоминдел Чичерину
Синельникове 2-го июля 20 г.
Передаю для сведения два сообщения Врангелевской газеты «Голос» от 6-го июня по старому стилю с. г., выходящей Мелитополе.
Первое сообщение: «Севастополь. В Германии сейчас формируется экспедиционный корпус для борьбы с большевиками. Корпус будет состоять не только из русских военнопленных, но в него войдут германские добровольцы в составе бригады генерала Эрхардта, части корпуса ген. Лютцова и баварских войск под командой полк. Энна. Корпус будет называться «Южной армией» и сконцентрируется в Бессарабии. Операции его начнутся с сектора Днестра и будут поддержаны тридцатитысячной украинской армией, сосредоточенной близ Одессы».
Сообщение второе: «Джанкой. В Севастополь прибыл из Англии пароход с двенадцатью тысячами пулеметов для нашей армии, из коих девять тысяч системы Виккерса».
В этих сообщениях многое преувеличено, но нет сомнения, что дыма без огня не бывает. № 2720.
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Москва Зампредреввоенсовресп Склянскому
Копия Кремль Ленину
Харьков 24 июля 1920 г.
Снабжение фронта автошинами ходового размера 920 и 880, грузошинами ходового размера, гусматиками для фиата, а также свечами прекратилось ввиду того, что запас исчерпан, а центр не высылает. Посланное мной на-днях соответствующее требование на имя предреввоенсов. оставлено без ответа. Прошу ваших распоряжений о немедленном пополнении фронта, так как настало время, когда в силу указанных обстоятельств бронеотряды выходят из строя, а также рушится всякая связь между боевыми частями и штабами. НР 4633.
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Командарм 13, копия Главком, Командкавказ и Наштаюгзап
Ст. Лозовая 6 августа 1920 г. 1 час 25 мин. карта 10 дюйме. Обстановка требует, не теряя времени, нанести Врангелю общий контр-удар существующей группировкой сил, для чего приказываю:
1) Правобережной группой в составе четырех стрелкдивизий в ночь с 6 на 7 августа форсировать Днепр главными силами на участке Тягинка—Бериславль и нанести решительный удар на Перекоп и в тыл главным силам противника общем направлении Каховка — Калга; 2) левобереоюной группой, продолжая настойчивое преследование отходящего противника и введя в дело первую стрелковую дивизию, нанести стремительный удар обход Мелитополя общем направлении Михайловка — Калга, использовать для этого вторую Конармию. 3) Общей задачей войскам Крымского участка ставлю — разгром противника, не дав остаткам его уйти за перешейки. 4) Получение и распоряжениях донести. НР 723/СЕК/4435/ОП.
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
The following text is
not included in the "Stalin Works".
(Unfortunately, this text is not translated into English language)
Москва тов. Ленину
Лозовая 7 августа 20 г.
Седьмого утром наши части форсировали Днепр, заняли Алешки, Каховку и другие пункты на левом берегу, есть трофеи, которые подсчитываются. По всему Крымскому фронту наши перешли наступление и продвигаются вперед. № 7320.
«Правда» № 313, 14 ноября 1935 г.
Ответственный по выпуску Г.Кононенко
Техредактор М. Вошкулат
Корректора: Р. Ерусалимская, И. Медведовский
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Партиздат ЦК КП(б)У, № 187. Заказ № 1314. Уполномочен. Главлита № 3204. Тираж 125.000. 2-й завод 51 — 125. Печатн. листов 15 3/4. Бумажн. листов 7 7/8. Бум. фабрики „Сокол" 62 х 94 снт. — 1/16 д. Знаков в 1 бумажн. листе 78.095. Сдано на предприятие 28/VII 1935 г. Подписано к печати 26/I 1936 г.
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