Letter to Varlam Avanesov, September 1, 1922

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September 1, 1922

Comrade Avanesov,

Yesterday I talked it over with Comrade Svidersky, and convinced myself that he too attaches the greatest importance to the “department of normalisation”. He has given the jab of collecting the literature to Yermansky. I am somewhat doubtful whether Yermansky will do this successfully. He is a Menshevik, and his book shows a certain maliciousness (although the book is nevertheless a good one).[1] Please either check up on his performance of the assignment, or take steps yourself to have it carried out.

Both German and American literature should be obtained. Everything more or less valuable should be collected, especially as regards normalising bureaucratic work (procedure for dispatch of business; forms; control; typing of copies; inquiries and replies, etc., etc.).

In my opinion, the most necessary thing for us now is to learn from Europe and America. If I am not mistaken, I have heard that you have an excellent knowledge of German. If not, find a translator. Maybe something useful will be found in the Scandinavian countries also.

Everything must be got together, and don’t rely on Yermansky without a special check-up.

Maybe through Krestinsky[2] you will be able to get hold of some unpublished material? Or through the ambassador in Norway?

I think that we must work out normalisation, of paper work, and then apply it everywhere. This is most important. If they allowed you to look at one of the best institutions in Germany or Norway, it would be worth staying over there for a week.

The main thing is norms (i.e., how many people for such-and-such a sum total of work). After that we shall make our own Central Statistical Board work as well.

Please, after making use of this letter, send it on to A. D. Tsyurupa. So long as he is ill, I don’t want to worry him.

Best regards,

Yours,

Lenin

  1. A reference to O. A. Yermansky’s book The Taylor System and Scientific Organisation of Labour, Gosizdat, 1922. For Lenin’s review of the book, see present edition, Vol. 33, p. 368.
  2. N. N. Krestinsky was then RSFSR Ambassador to Germany.