Letter to Dmitry Kursky on the Question of Leases and Concessions in Agriculture, October 25, 1921

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 15 October 1921

First published in 1924 in the preface by D. I. Kursky to the book Pyaty Vserossiisky syezd deyatelei sovetskoi yustitsii. Stenografichesky otchot (Fifth All-Russia Congress of Soviet Judiciary. Stenographic Report), Juridical Publishing House of the People’s Commissariat for Justice of the RSFSR, Moscow. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, page 551

Written during the preparations for the Ninth Congress of Soviets, which discussed the question of measures to build up and develop agriculture. Lease of land was prohibited under the legislation then in force (Decree on Land adopted by the Second Congress of Soviets and the Law on the Socialisation of Land). The transition to NEP and the need to take steps to strengthen and develop peasant farming raised the question of allowing some lease of land. The Ninth Congress discussed it and adopted a relevant decision. Only labour and short-term lease of land was allowed under the Land Code of the RSFSR adopted by the Fourth Session of the Ninth All-Russia Central Executive Committee in October 1922 (see present edition, Vol. 33, p. 392).

Concessions in agriculture were governed by special legislation.

Comrade Kursky,

You should go deeply into the question of leases and concessions in agriculture.

You have not gone into it sufficiently.

Prohibition of leasing in principle is of vast importance. He who works the land has possession of it.

There must be no leasing.

But leasing of a state farm or “uncultivated land”?

This must be separated out.

This is a special type.

Whoever works has possession here too. The state is the owner, the tenant of the state farm cultivates. This is, strictly speaking, not a tenant, nor is it a lease in the ordinary sense.

Rather it is transfer of management.

It is essential to make a more detailed and circumstantial study of the matter.