Letter to Alexander Tsiurupa, August 10, 1918

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 10 August 1918

First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVIII. Printed from the originals.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, page 127.



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(1) It is a great scandal, an outrageous scandal, that there is grain in Saratov and we cannot get it away!! What about having one or two food officials sent to each railway junction? What more can be done?

(2) Draft of a decree—25–30 hostages from among the rich in each grain-producing volost, answering with their lives for the collection and delivery of all surpluses.

(3) Instruct Popov urgently to make up delivery orders by volosts. That is, how much surplus grain there should be in each volost. How much should each give?

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1) You have not replied about “hostages”.

2) When will Popov finish his work? (He must be given a short time limit.)

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I propose that “hostages” should not be taken but designated by name for each volost.

The purpose of designating them: it is the rich peasants who, in the same way as they answer for contribution, will answer with their lives for the prompt collection and delivery of grain surpluses.

An instruction to this effect (to designate “hostages”) to be given

(α) to the Poor Peasants’ Committees,

(β) to all food detachments.

Force? Just now in the front-line area, there will be a force.[1]

  1. Replying to the preceding note from Lenin, Tsyurupa wrote: “Hostages can be taken when there is a real force. But is there? It is doubtful.”