Letter to Alexander Tsiurupa, August 29, 1918

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 29 August 1918

First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVIII. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, page 145b.

Lenin’s letter was due to the following circumstances. On August 24, 1918, in view of the grave food situation in the city, the Moscow Soviet passed a decision allowing the working people to bring into Moscow freely up to one-and-a-half poods of foodstuffs for their own personal consumption. On August 26, the Council of People’s Commissars considered a draft decree on preferential conveyance of grain, the question of the decision of the Moscow Soviet being left open.

While the question was under discussion, the decision of the Moscow Soviet allowing one-and-a-half poods as baggage could not but hinder the organisation of the campaign against the black-marketeering bag-men and the regulation of the work of the intercepting detachments. On August 29, L. I. Ruzer, member of the Board of the Food Commissariat, who was in charge of this work, asked the Board to relieve him of the work of combating bag-trading. Ruzer wrote in his statement that he could think of “no more wordings for a single order in response to inquiries from the local areas”. Tsyurupa, who was also opposed to the “ one-and-a-half poods system”, added a postscript: “None of the Board members nor the Board as a whole can think of wordings that Ruzer, too, failed to find. Conclusion: the order of the Moscow Soviet should he rescinded on approximately the following lines: the CPC is to adopt a decision at once and publish it; the decision is to indicate the date on which the order of the Moscow Soviet ceases to be effective—approximately September 15. A. Tsyurupa.” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Fifth Ed., Vol. 50, p. 447.)

At the top of Lenin’s note, Tsyurupa wrote: “A reply to Ruzer’s statement with my postscript”, and then the date: “29/VIII.”

By a decision of the CPC dated September 5, 1918, the decision of the Moscow Soviet and a similar decision of the Petrograd Soviet ceased to be effective on October 1, 1918.


I do not advise putting it that way just now (it’s something in between an ultimatum—resignation of all—and vacillation of all in the face of the resoluteness of one). Better concentrate all efforts on Yelets-f Petrovsk+the best of the other uyezds.

Send out some two thousand workers as threshers, say.

And a few days later, after receiving at least news that so many hundred trucks are en route, raise the question more firmly.