Letter to the Members of the Council of Labour and Defence, End of July, 1920

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The peace proposal by the Poles gives us an opportunity for more systematic use of the troops which it was intended to transfer from the Caucasian Front to the Western Front. I propose, therefore, that the Council of Defence draft a decision as follows:

1. The troops of the Caucasian Front to march through the entire Ukraine, the route being so calculated that each volost (of the approximately 1,900 volosts of the Ukraine) is passed through twice, first by a cavalry unit and then, after an interval, an infantry unit, to fulfil (and then check fulfilment of) the following tasks:

(a) the collection of food (according to the quotas to be requisitioned);

(b) the formation locally, i.e., in every village, of a double (compared to the quota) stock of food (collected in barns, in houses of priests, landowners, the rich, etc.), this stock to be guarded by the local peasants on their responsibility.

This double stock is to serve as an exchange fund; from this stock held by the peasants, grain will be taken after the local peasants have been supplied with goods, Russian and foreign, by agreement with the local peasants;

(c) the compilation (and checking) of a list of “ responsible” peasants (5–20%, etc., of the householders of each village, depending on its size, to be selected from the local rich peasants starting from the top, i.e., according to wealth).

The “responsible” peasants are to be personally answerable for the fulfilment of food and other assignments of the authorities.

After the departure of the troops, the special task of the local authorities will be to ensure the proper and safe keeping of this list (for non-fulfilment of this task—death sentence);

(d) the disarming of the rich peasants.

Complete collection of arms. Responsibility for undiscovered arms rests on the commander of the army unit; for non-declaration of arms it rests on the person with whom they are found (death sentence), and on the whole group ofresponsiblepeasants (a fine, not in money, but in grain and articles; confiscation of property, arrest; work in the mines);

(e) assistance in sowing the fields, in repairs to agricultural implements, and other necessary work ( guarding stores or checking the guard over them, work on the railways, etc.) (guarding stores of salt, etc.).

2. For the purposes indicated above, a commissar or instructor to be added to each army unit (to its Communist cell) (muster 1,000 people if necessary from the Petrograd, Moscow, Ivanovo-Voznesensk workers) to control fulfilment of the tasks mentioned.

3. In “stubborn” volosts or villages, the army units either to organise a “third visit” (by troops) or to remain longer billeted (up to 2 weeks) for punishment and correction.

4. Part of these decisions to be put through the Defence Council, part through the Council of the Labour Army and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukraine.

5. A highly popular leaflet to be published for the peasants to explain matters in general, and the idea of the stocks of food for exchange for foreign goods, in particular.

A commission to be set up at once for publishing such a leaflet, and a series of them, as well as a number of instructions.

For drafting these proposals, a commission to be set up at once consisting of Comrades Bryukhanov and Sklyansky. Comrade Stalin to be asked to be the chairman of the commission.

V. Ulyanov (Lenin)

Chairman, Council of Defence