Draft Plan of Scientific and Technical Work

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The Draft Plan of Scientific and Technical Work marked an important stage in the process of mobilising Russia's scientific personnel to deal with the problems of the national economy.

Negotiations with the Academy of Sciences were initiated by Lenin and the Soviet Government in January 1918. Lenin directed the work of the People's Commissariat for Education, which was conducting the negotiations. At the end of March the Academy of Sciences in a declaration to the Soviet Government consented to the government's proposal that the Academy should work in the field of exploring the country's natural resources. On April 12, at a meeting of the Council of People's Commissars with Lenin in the chair a resolution was passed that set the Academy of Sciences "the urgent task of systematically solving the problems of the correct distribution of the country's industry and the most rational utilisation of economic resources". A decision was also taken recognising the need to finance the work of the Academy in this field. With considerable financial backing from the government the Academy's Commission for the Study of Russia's Natural Productive Forces enlarged the scope of its activities.

In the Draft Plan of Scientific and Technical Work Lenin outlined a broad programme for the work of the Academy of Sciences and all the country's scientific and technical personnel. Lenin's pointers were later amplified in a number of documents drawn up by the Supreme Economic Council (SEC). One of these was the model programme of work of the expert commissions of the Academy of Sciences compiled on April 25 by the Supreme Economic Council Department for the Organisation of Production. Guided by Lenin's instructions, the Soviet economic departments in the capital and the provinces, the Academy of Sciences and various research institutes and societies studied the country's natural wealth, power resources and various problems connected with the electrification of the national economy. Committees and bureaus for the electrification of the basic industrial areas were set u in Petrograd and Moscow in the first months of Soviet rule. In Me autumn of 1918, the Central Electrotechnical Council was formed on a mandate from Lenin, which set out its main task as "producing the best and most rapid solution of the technical and estimating problems in the field of the new power developments". Electrification on a large scale for those days was launched in 1918.

The Supreme Economic Council should immediately give its instructions to the Academy of Sciences, which has launched a systematic study and investigation of the natural productive forces[1] of Russia, to set up a number of expert commissions for the speediest possible compilation of a plan for the reorganisation of industry and the economic progress of Russia. The plan should include: the rational distribution of industry in Russia from the standpoint of proximity to raw materials and the lowest consumption of labour-power in the transition from the processing of the raw materials to all subsequent stages in the processing of semi-manufactured goods, up to and including the output of the finished product; the rational merging and concentration of industry in a few big enterprises from the standpoint of the most up-todate large-scale industry, especially trusts; enabling the present Russian Soviet Republic (excluding the Ukraine and the regions occupied by the Germans) as far as possible to provide itself independently with all the chief items of raw materials and organise main branches of industry; special attention to the electrification of industry and transport and the application of electricity to farming, and the use of lower grades of fuel (peat, low-grade coal) for the production of electricity, with the lowest possible expenditure on extraction and transport; water power and wind motors in general and in their application to farming.

  1. Publication of this material must be accelerated to the utmost; a note about this must be sent to the Commissariat for Education, the Printing Workers’ Trade Union and the Commissariat for Labour. (*)
    (*) : Lenin is referring to the materials provied by the Commission for the Stud of Russia’s Natural Prdouctive Forces, set up by the Academy of Sciences in 1915. On Lenin’s instuctin the commission was given much wider scope for publishing its findings. A series of books called “Russa’s Riches” and the multi-volume The Natural roductive forces of Russia began to appear. In the frist three years of Soviet power (1918-1920) the commission published four times as man books as in the previous three years preceeding the revolution.