Letter to Alexander Tsiurupa, May 10, 1018

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 10 May 1918

First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVIII. Printed from the typewritten copy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, page 86a.

Lenin wrote this letter after a talk with the Chairman of the Purchasing Commission of the Putilov (now Kirov) Works, a plater in the boiler-shop, A. V. Ivanov, who gave a detailed description of the grave state of famine in Petrograd and told of the situation at the works and the mood of the workers.

Lenin informed Ivanov of the decree passed at the meeting of the Council of People’s Commissars on May 9, 1918, giving the People’s Commissar for Food emergency powers in the struggle against the rural bourgeoisie, who were concealing grain and profiteering. Lenin gave Ivanov a copy of the decree so that he could make it known to the Putilov workers.

The meeting between A. V. Ivanov and Lenin is described in the book Vospominaniya o Vladimire Ilyiche Lenine ( Reminiscences of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin), Part 2, 1957, pp. 283–84.

Comrade Tsyurupa,

People’s Commissar for Food

The bearer—Andrei Vasilievich Ivanov—is a Putilov factory worker (who is well known to Shlyapnikov and has old Party certificates dating from tsarist times).

I told him about yesterday’s decree and the decision that the Commissariat for Labour was to urgently mobilise workers. I gave him my opinion as follows:

Unless the best workers of Petrograd build by selection a reliable workers’ army of 20,000 people for a disciplined and ruthless military crusade against the rural bourgeoisie and against bribe-takers, famine and the ruin of the revolution are inevitable.

Please confirm this to the bearer and give him a brief statement that you will grant such detachments the fullest plenary powers on precisely such conditions.

Please give him such a statement to be read in Petrograd, and return this letter to the bearer.

Chairman, Council of People’s Commissars