Letter to Joseph Stalin for Members of the RCP(b) CC, December 15, 1922

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 15 December 1922

First published in part in 1930 in the second and third editions of Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. XXVII. Published in full in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 45. Printed from secretarial notes (typewritten copy).
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 45, pages 602c-603

I am now through with putting my business in order, and am in a position to leave without worry.[1] I have also come to an arrangement with Trotsky to stand up for my views of the foreign trade monopoly. There is only one thing that is worrying me extremely—it is that I am unable to speak at the Congress of Soviets.[2] On Tuesday, I shall have the doctors in to see me and we shall discuss whether there is any chance at all of my doing so. I would regard my missing it as a great inconvenience, to put it no stronger. I have had the outline of my speech written several days ago.[3] I propose, therefore, without suspending preparations by some other speaker in my place, to keep open until Wednesday the possibility that I will perhaps personally make a speech, much shorter than the usual one, say, lasting 45 minutes. Such a speech would in no way prevent a substitute (whomsoever you would authorise for that purpose) from making a speech, but I think it would be useful both in the political and in the personal sense, because it would remove any cause for great agitation. Please have this in mind, and if the opening of the congress should be further delayed, inform me in good time through my secretary.[4]



I am resolutely opposed to any delay on the question of the foreign trade monopoly. If the idea should arise, for whatever reason (including the proposition that my participation in the question is desirable), to postpone it until the next plenum, I should most resolutely object to this, because I am sure that Trotsky will be able to stand up for my views just as well as I myself. That is the first thing. The second is that your statement and Zinoviev’s and, according to rumour, Kamenev’s as well, confirm that some members of the CC have already altered their earlier opinion; third, and most important: any further hesitation on this highly important question is absolutely intolerable and will tend to frustrate any work.



  1. A reference to Lenin’s removal to Gorki, as ordered by his doctors in view of a deterioration in the state of his health.
  2. A reference to the Tenth All-Russia Congress of Soviets.
  3. For the plan of Lenin’s speech at the Tenth All-Russia Congress of Soviets see present edition, Vol. 36, pp. 588–89. Preparing for the speech long before the congress, as far back as November 1922, Lenin began to collect the necessary material: he asked for books and newspaper cuttings, read the report of V. P. Milyutin, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Economic Council, on the state of trade, finance and industry, and wrote a letter to I. I. Khodorovsky asking him for information about the assistance given to each other by urban and rural cells of the Party. Judging by the plan, he intended to deal with a number of questions which he later analysed in his last articles.
  4. Lenin’s health took a turn for the worse and he was unable to participate in the Tenth All-Russia Congress of Soviets. On the night of December 16, Nadezhda Krupskaya asked the secretary on duty “to inform Stalin, on behalf of Vladimir Ilyich, that he will not speak at the Congress of Soviets” (see Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Edition, Vol. 45, p. 473).
    The Tenth All-Russia Congress of Soviets opened in Moscow on December 23, 1922. It was attended by 2,215 delegates. Lenin was elected honorary chairman; to stormy applause and the singing of The Internationale the congress adopted a telegram of greetings to Lenin.
    On December 26, the congress heard a report on the unification of the Soviet Republics, and the next day, at its final sitting, adopted a decision declaring the need to establish a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.