(Delivered March 10, 1939.)
Comrades, five years have elapsed since the Seventeenth Party Congress. No small period, as you see. During this period the world has undergone considerable changes. States and countries, and their mutual relations, are now in many respects totally altered.
What changes exactly have taken place in the international situation in this period? In what way exactly have the foreign and internal affairs of our country changed?
For the capitalist countries this period was one of very profound perturbations in both the economic and political spheres. In the economic sphere these were years of depression, followed, from the beginning of the latter half of 1937, by a period of new economic crisis, of a new decline of industry in the United States, Great Britain and France; consequently, these were years of new economic complications. In the political sphere they were years of serious political conflicts and perturbations. A new imperialist war is already in its second year, a war waged over a huge territory stretching from Shanghai to Gibraltar and involving over five hundred million people. The map of Europe, Africa and Asia is being forcibly redrawn. The entire post-war system, the so-called regime of peace, has been shaken to its foundations.
For the Soviet Union, on the contrary, these were years of growth and prosperity, of further economic and cultural progress, of further development of political and military might, of struggle for the preservation of peace throughout the world.
Such is the general picture.
Let us now examine the concrete data illustrating the changes in the international situation.
1. New Economic Crisis in the Capitalist Countries, Intensification of the Struggle for Markets and Sources of Raw Material, and for a New Redivision of the World.
The economic crisis which broke out in the capitalist countries in the latter half of 1929 lasted until the end of 1933. After that the crisis passed into a depression, and was then followed by a certain revival, a certain upward trend of industry. But this upward trend of industry did not develop into a boom, as is usually the case in a period of revival. On the contrary, in the latter half of 1937 a new economic crisis began which seized the United States first of all and then England, France and a number of other countries.
The capitalist countries thus found themselves faced with a new economic crisis before they had even recovered from the ravages of the recent one.
This circumstance naturally led to an increase of unemployment. The number of unemployed in capitalist countries, which had fallen from thirty million in 1933 to fourteen million in 1937, has now again risen to eighteen million as a result of the new economic crisis.
A distinguishing feature of the new crisis is that it differs in many respects from the preceding one, and, moreover, differs for the worse and not for the better.
Firstly, the new crisis did not begin after an industrial boom, as was the case in 1929, but after a depression and a certain revival, which, however, did not develop into a boom. This means that the present crisis will be more severe and more difficult to cope with than the previous crisis.
Further, the present crisis has broken out not in time of peace, but at a time when a second imperialist war has already begun; at a time when Japan, already in the second year of her war with China, is disorganizing the immense Chinese market and rendering it almost inaccessible to the goods of other countries; when Italy and Germany have already placed their national economy on a war footing, squandering their reserves of raw material and foreign currency for this purpose; and when all the other big capitalist powers are beginning to reorganize themselves on a war footing. This means that capitalism will have far less resources at its disposal for a normal way out of the present crisis than during the preceding crisis.
Lastly, as distinct from the preceding crisis, the present crisis is not a general one, but as yet involves chiefly the economically powerful countries which have not yet placed themselves on a war economy basis. As regards the aggressive countries, such as Japan, Germany and Italy, who have already reorganized their economy on a war footing, they, because of the intense development of their war industry, are not yet experiencing a crisis of overproduction, although they are approaching it. This means that by the time the economically powerful, non-aggressive countries begin to emerge from the phase of crisis the aggressive countries, having exhausted their reserves of gold and raw material in the course of the war fever, are bound to enter a phase of very severe crisis.
This is clearly illustrated, for example, by the figures for the visible gold reserves of the capitalist countries.
|End of 1936||Sept 1938
Here are a few figures illustrating the state of crisis of industry in the capitalist countries during the past five years and the trend of industrial progress in the U.S.S.R.
Volume of Industrial Output Compared With 1929 (1929 = 100)
This table shows that the Soviet Union is the only country in the world where crises are unknown and where industry is continuously on the upgrade.
This table also shows that a serious economic crisis has already begun and is developing in the United States, Great Britain and France.
Further, this table shows that in Italy and Japan, who placed their national economy on a war footing earlier than Germany, the downward course of industry already began in 1938.
Lastly, this table shows that in Germany, who reorganized her economy on a war footing later than Italy and Japan, industry is still experiencing a certain upward trend – although a small one, it is true – corresponding to that which took place in Japan and Italy until recently.
There can be no doubt that unless something unforeseen occurs, German industry must enter the same downward path as Japan and Italy have already taken. For what does placing the economy of a country on a war footing mean? It means giving industry a one-sided war direction; developing to the utmost the production of goods necessary for war and not for consumption by the population; restricting to the utmost the production and, especially, the sale of articles of general consumption – and, consequently, reducing consumption by the population and confronting the country with an economic crisis.
Such is the concrete picture of the trend of the new economic crisis in the capitalist countries.
Naturally, such an unfavourable turn of economic affairs could not but aggravate relations among the powers. The preceding crisis had already mixed the cards and intensified the struggle for markets and sources of raw materials. The seizure of Manchuria and North China by Japan, the seizure of Abyssinia by Italy – all this reflected the acuteness of the struggle among the powers. The new economic crisis must lead, and is actually leading, to a further sharpening of the imperialist struggle. It is no longer a question of competition in the markets, of a commercial war, of dumping. These methods of struggle have long been recognized as inadequate. It is now a question of a new redivision of the world, of spheres of influence and colonies, by military action.
Japan tried to justify her aggressive actions by the argument that she had been cheated when the Nine-Power Pact was concluded and had not been allowed to extend her territory at the expense of China, whereas Britain and France possess vast colonies. Italy recalled that she had been cheated during the division of the spoils after the first imperialist war and that she must recompense herself at the expense of the spheres of influence of Britain and France. Germany, who had suffered severely as a result of the first imperialist war and the Peace of Versailles, joined forces with Japan and Italy, and demanded an extension of her territory in Europe and the return of the colonies of which the victors in the first imperialist war had deprived her.
Thus the bloc of three aggressive states came to be formed.
A new redivision of the world by means of war became imminent.
2. Aggravation of the International Political Situation. Collapse of the Post-War System of Peace Treaties. Beginning of a New Imperialist War.
Here is a list of the most important events during the period under review which mark the beginning of the new imperialist war. In 1935 Italy attacked and seized Abyssinia. In the summer of 1936 Germany and Italy organized military intervention in Spain, Germany entrenching herself in the north of Spain and in Spanish Morocco, and Italy in the south of Spain and in the Balearic Islands. Having seized Manchuria, Japan in 1937 invaded North and Central China, occupied Peking, Tientsin and Shanghai and began to oust her foreign competitors from the occupied zone. In the beginning of 1938 Germany seized Austria, and in the autumn of 1938 the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia. At the end of 1938 Japan seized Canton, and at the beginning of 1939 the Island of Hainan.
Thus the war, which has stolen so imperceptibly upon the nations, has drawn over five hundred million people into its orbit and has extended its sphere of action over a vast territory, stretching from Tientsin, Shanghai and Canton, through Abyssinia, to Gibraltar.
After the first imperialist war the victor states, primarily Britain, France and the United States, had set up a new regime in the relations between countries, the post-war regime of peace. The main props of this regime were the Nine-Power Pact in the Far East, and the Versailles Treaty and a number of other treaties in Europe. The League of Nations was set up to regulate relations between countries within the framework of this regime, on the basis of a united front of states, of collective defence of the security of states. However, three aggressive states, and the new imperialist war launched by them, have upset the entire system of this post-war peace regime. Japan tore up the Nine-Power Pact, and Germany and Italy the Versailles Treaty. In order to have their hands free, these three states withdrew from the League of Nations.
The new imperialist war became a fact.
It is not so easy in our day to suddenly break loose and plunge straight into war without regard for treaties of any kind or for public opinion. Bourgeois politicians know this very well. So do the fascist rulers. That is why the fascist rulers decided, before plunging into war, to frame public opinion to suit their ends, that is, to mislead it, to deceive it.
A military bloc of Germany and Italy against the interests of England and France in Europe? Bless us, do you call that a bloc? "We" have no military bloc. All "we" have is an innocuous "Berlin-Rome axis"; that is, just a geometrical equation for an axis. (Laughter.)
A military bloc of Germany, Italy and Japan against the interests of the United States, Great Britain and France in the Far East? Nothing of the kind. "We" have no military bloc. All "we" have is an innocuous "Berlin-Rome-Tokyo triangle"; that is, a slight penchant for geometry. (General laughter.)
A war against the interests of England, France, the United States? Nonsense! "We" are waging war on the Comintern, not on these states. If you don't believe it, read the "anti-Comintern pact" concluded between Italy, Germany and Japan.
That is how Messieurs the aggressors thought of framing public opinion, although it was not hard to see how preposterous this whole clumsy game of camouflage was; for it is ridiculous to look for Comintern "hotbeds" in the deserts of Mongolia, in the mountains of Abyssinia, or in the wilds of Spanish Morocco. (Laughter.)
But war is inexorable. It cannot be hidden under any guise. For no "axes," "triangles" or "anti-Comintern pacts" can hide the fact that in this period Japan has seized a vast stretch of territory in China, that Italy has seized Abyssinia, that Germany has seized Austria and the Sudeten region, that Germany and Italy together have seized Spain – and all this in defiance of the interests of the non-aggressive states. The war remains a war; the military bloc of aggressors remains a military bloc; and the aggressors remain aggressors.
It is a distinguishing feature of the new imperialist war that it has not yet become universal, a world war. The war is being waged by aggressor states, who in every way infringe upon the interests of the non-aggressive states, primarily England, France and the U.S.A., while the latter draw back and retreat, making concession after concession to the aggressors.
Thus we are witnessing an open redivision of the world and spheres of influence at the expense of the non-aggressive states, without the least attempt at resistance, and even with a certain amount of connivance, on the part of the latter.
Incredible, but true.
To what are we to attribute this one-sided and strange character of the new imperialist war?
How is it that the non-aggressive countries, which possess such vast opportunities, have so easily, and without any resistance, abandoned their positions and their obligations to please the aggressors?
Is it to be attributed to the weakness of the nonaggressive states? Of course not. Combined, the nonaggressive, democratic states are unquestionably stronger than the fascist states, both economically and in the military sense.
To what then are we to attribute the systematic concessions made by these states to the aggressors?
It might be attributed, for example, to the fear that a revolution might break out if the non-aggressive states were to go to war and the war were to assume world – wide proportions. The bourgeois politicians know, of course, that the first imperialist world war led to the victory of the revolution in one of the largest countries. They are afraid that the second imperialist world war may also lead to the victory of the revolution in one or several countries.
But at present this is not the sole or even the chief reason. The chief reason is that the majority of the non-aggressive countries, particularly England and France, have rejected the policy of collective security, the policy of collective resistance to the aggressors, and have taken up a position of nonintervention, a position of "neutrality."
Formally speaking, the policy of non-intervention might be defined as follows: "Let each country defend itself from the aggressors as it likes and as best it can. That is not our affair. We shall trade both with the aggressors and with their victims." But actually speaking, the policy of non-intervention means conniving at aggression, giving free rein to war, and, consequently, transforming the war into a world war. The policy of non-intervention reveals an eagerness, a desire, not to hinder the aggressors in their nefarious work: not to hinder Japan, say, from embroiling herself in a war with China, or, better still, with the Soviet Union: to allow all the belligerents to sink deeply into the mire of war, to encourage them surreptitiously in this, to allow them to weaken and exhaust one another; and then, when they have become weak enough, to appear on the scene with fresh strength, to appear, of course, "in the interests of peace," and to dictate conditions to the enfeebled belligerents.
Cheap and easy!
Take Japan, for instance. It is characteristic that before Japan invaded North China all the influential French and British newspapers shouted about China's weakness and her inability to offer resistance, and declared that Japan with her army could subjugate China in two or three months. Then the European and American politicians began to watch and wait. And then, when Japan started military operations, they let her have Shanghai, the vital centre of foreign capital in China; they let her have Canton, a centre of Britain's monopoly influence in South China; they let her have Hainan, and they allowed her to surround Hongkong. Does not this look very much like encouraging the aggressor? It is as though they were saying: "Embroil yourself deeper in war; then we shall see."
Or take Germany, for instance. They let her have Austria, despite the undertaking to defend her independence; they let her have the Sudeten region; they abandoned Czechoslovakia to her fate, thereby violating all their obligations; and then began to lie vociferously in the press about "the weakness of the Russian army," "the demoralization of the Russian air force," and "riots" in the Soviet Union, egging the Germans on to march farther east, promising them easy pickings, and prompting them: "Just start war on the Bolsheviks, and everything will be all right." It must be admitted that this too looks very much like egging on and encouraging the aggressor.
The hullabaloo raised by the British, French and American press over the Soviet Ukraine is characteristic. The gentlemen of the press there shouted until they were hoarse that the Germans were marching on Soviet Ukraine, that they now had what is called the Carpathian Ukraine, with a population of some seven hundred thousand, and that not later than this spring the Germans would annex the Soviet Ukraine, which has a population of over thirty million, to this so-called Carpathian Ukraine. It looks as if the object of this suspicious hullabaloo was to incense the Soviet Union against Germany, to poison the atmosphere and to provoke a conflict with Germany without any visible grounds.
It is quite possible, of course, that there are madmen in Germany who dream of annexing the elephant, that is, the Soviet Ukraine, to the gnat, namely, the so-called Carpathian Ukraine. If there really are such lunatics in Germany, rest assured that we shall find enough straitjackets for them in our country. (Thunderous applause.) But if we ignore the madmen and turn to normal people, is it not clearly absurd and foolish to seriously talk of annexing the Soviet Ukraine to this so-called Carpathian Ukraine? Imagine: The gnat comes to the elephant and says perkily: "Ah, brother, how sorry I am for you... Here you are without any landlords, without any capitalists, with no national oppression, without any fascist bosses. Is that a way to live?... As I look at you I can't help thinking that there is no hope for you unless you annex yourself to me... (General laughter.) Well, so be it: I allow you to annex your tiny domain to my vast territories..." (General laughter and applause.)
Even more characteristic is the fact that certain European and American politicians and pressmen, having lost patience waiting for "the march on the Soviet Ukraine," are themselves beginning to disclose what is really behind the policy of non-intervention. They are saying quite openly, putting it down in black on white, that the Germans have cruelly "disappointed" them, for instead of marching farther east, against the Soviet Union, they have turned, you see, to the west and are demanding colonies. One might think that the districts of Czechoslovakia were yielded to Germany as the price of an undertaking to launch war on the Soviet Union, but that now the Germans are refusing to meet their bills and are sending them to Hades.
Far be it from me to moralize on the policy of non-intervention, to talk of treason, treachery and so on. It would be naive to preach morals to people who recognize no human morality. Politics is politics, as the old, case-hardened bourgeois diplomats say. It must be remarked, however, that the big and dangerous political game started by the supporters of the policy of non-intervention may end in a serious fiasco for them.
Such is the true face of the prevailing policy of non-intervention.
Such is the political situation in the capitalist countries.
3. The Soviet Union and the Capitalist Countries.
The war has created a new situation with regard to the relations between countries. It has enveloped them in an atmosphere of alarm and uncertainty. By undermining the post-war peace regime and overriding the elementary principles of international law, it has cast doubt on the value of international treaties and obligations. Pacifism and disarmament schemes are dead and buried. Feverish arming has taken their place. Everybody is arming, small states and big states, including primarily those which practise the policy of non-intervention. Nobody believes any longer in the unctuous speeches which claim that the Munich concessions to the aggressors and the Munich agreement opened a new era of "appeasement." They are disbelieved even by the signatories to the Munich agreement, Britain and France, who are increasing their armaments no less than other countries.
Naturally, the U.S.S.R. could not ignore these ominous events. There is no doubt that any war, however small, started by the aggressors in any remote corner of the world constitutes a danger to the peaceable countries. All the more serious then is the danger arising from the new imperialist war, which has already drawn into its orbit over five hundred million people in Asia, Africa and Europe. In view of this, while our country is unswervingly pursuing a policy of preserving peace, it is at the same time doing a great deal to increase the preparedness of our Red Army and our Red Navy.
At the same time, in order to strengthen its international position, the Soviet Union decided to take certain other steps. At the end of 1934 our country joined the League of Nations, considering that despite its weakness the League might nevertheless serve as a place where aggressors can be exposed, and as a certain instrument of peace, however feeble, that might hinder the outbreak of war. The Soviet Union considers that in alarming times like these even so weak an international organization as the League of Nations should not be ignored. In May 1935 a treaty of mutual assistance against possible attack by aggressors was signed between France and the Soviet Union. A similar treaty was simultaneously concluded with Czechoslovakia. In March 1936 the Soviet Union concluded a treaty of mutual assistance with the Mongolian People's Republic. In August 1937 the Soviet Union concluded a pact of non-aggression with the Chinese Republic.
It was in such difficult international conditions that the Soviet Union pursued its foreign policy of upholding the cause of peace.
The foreign policy of the Soviet Union is clear and explicit.
1. We stand for peace and the strengthening of business relations with all countries. That is our position; and we shall adhere to this position as long as these countries maintain like relations with the Soviet Union, and as long as they make no attempt to trespass on the interests of our country.
2. We stand for peaceful, close and friendly relations with all the neighbouring countries which have common frontiers with the U.S.S.R. That is our position; and we shall adhere to this position as long as these countries maintain like relations with the Soviet Union, and as long as they make no attempt to trespass, directly or indirectly, on the integrity and inviolability of the frontiers of the Soviet state.
3. We stand for the support of nations which are the victims of aggression and are fighting for the independence of their country.
4. We are not afraid of the threats of aggressors, and are ready to deal two blows for every blow delivered by instigators of war who attempt to violate the Soviet borders.
Such is the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. (Loud and prolonged applause.)
In its foreign policy the Soviet Union relies upon:
1. Its growing economic, political and cultural might;
2. The moral and political unity of our Soviet society;
3. The mutual friendship of the nations of our country;
4. Its Red Army and Red Navy;
5. Its policy of peace;
6. The moral support of the working people of all countries, who are vitally concerned in the preservation of peace;
7. The good sense of the countries which for one reason or another have no interest in the violation of peace.
The tasks of the Party in the sphere of foreign policy are:
1. To continue the policy of peace and of strengthening business relations with all countries;
2. To be cautious and not allow our country to be drawn into conflicts by warmongers who are accustomed to have others pull the chestnuts out of the fire for them;
3. To strengthen the might of our Red Army and Red Navy to the utmost;
4. To strengthen the international bonds of friendship with the working people of all countries, who are interested in peace and friendship among nations.
Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union
Let us now pass to the internal affairs of our country.
From the standpoint of its internal situation, the Soviet Union, during the period under review, presented a picture of further progress of its entire economic life, a rise in culture, and the strengthening of the political might of the country.
In the sphere of economic development, we must regard the most important result during the period under review to be the fact that the reconstruction of industry and agriculture on the basis of a new, modern technique has been completed. There are no more or hardly any more old plants in our country, with their old technique, and hardly any old peasant farms, with their antediluvian equipment. Our industry and agriculture are now based on new, up-to-date technique. It may be said without exaggeration that from the standpoint of the technique of production, from the standpoint of the degree of saturation of industry and agriculture with new machinery, our country is more advanced than any other country, where the old machinery acts as a fetter on production and hampers the introduction of modern technique.
In the sphere of the social and political development of the country, we must regard the most important achievement of the period under review to be the fact that the remnants of the exploiting classes have been completely eliminated, that the workers, peasants and intellectuals have been welded into one common front of the working people, that the moral and political unity of Soviet society has been strengthened, that the friendship among the nations of our country has become closer, and, as a result, that the political life of our country has been completely democratized and a new Constitution created. No one will dare deny that our Constitution is the most democratic in the world, and that the results of the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., as well as to the Supreme Soviets of the Union Republics, have been the most exemplary.
The result of all this is a completely stable internal situation and a stability of government which any other government in the world might envy.
Let us examine the concrete data illustrating the economic and political situation of our country.
1. Further Progress of Industry and Agriculture.
a) Industry: During the period under review our industry presented a picture of uninterrupted progress, This progress was reflected not only in an increase of output generally, but, and primarily, in the flourishing state of Socialist industry, on the one hand, and the doom of private industry on the other.
Here is a table which illustrates this:
Industrial Progress of the U.S.S.R. in 1934-38
||Per cent of previous year
In millions of roubles
at 1926-27 prices
|1. Socialist industry
|2. Private industry
|1. Socialist industry||99.93
|2. Private industry||0.07
This table shows that during the period under review the output of our industry more than doubled, and that, moreover, the whole increase in output was accounted for by Socialist industry.
Further, this table shows that the only system of industry in the U.S.S.R. is the Socialist system.
Lastly, this table shows that the complete ruin of private industry is a fact which even a blind man cannot now deny.
The ruin of private industry must not be regarded as a thing of chance. Private industry perished, firstly, because the Socialist economic system is superior to the capitalist system; and, secondly, because the Socialist economic system made it possible for us to re-equip in a few years the whole of our Socialist industry on new and up-to-date lines. This is a possibility which the capitalist economic system does not and cannot offer. It is a fact that, from the standpoint of the technique of production and from the standpoint of the degree of saturation of industry with modern machinery, our industry holds first place in the world.
If we take the rate of growth of our industry, expressed in percentages of the pre-war level, and compare it with the rate of growth of the industry of the principal capitalist countries, we get the following picture:
Growth of Industry in the U.S.S.R.
and the Principal Capitalist Countries in 1913 – 38
This table shows that our industry has grown more than nine-fold as compared with pre-war, whereas the industry of the principal capitalist countries continues to mark time round about the pre-war level, exceeding the latter by only 20 or 30 per cent.
This means that as regards rate of growth our Socialist industry holds first place in the world.
Thus we find that as regards technique of production and rate of growth of our industry, we have already overtaken and outstripped the principal capitalist countries.
In what respect are we lagging? We are still lagging economically, that is, as regards the volume of our industrial output per head of population. In 1938 we produced about 15,000,000 tons of pig iron; Great Britain produced 7,000,000 tons. It might seem that we are better off than Great Britain. But if we divide this number of tons by the number of population we shall find that the output of pig iron per head of population in 1938 was 145 kilograms in Great Britain, and only 87 kilograms in the U.S.S.R. Or, further: in 1938 Great Britain produced 10,800,000 tons of steel and about 29,000,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, whereas the U.S.S.R. produced 18,000,000 tons of steel and over 39,000,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. It might seem that we are better off than Great Britain. But if we divide this number of tons and kilowatt-hours by the number of population we shall find that in 1938 in Great Britain the output of steel per head of the population was 226 kilograms and of electricity 620 kilowatt-hours, whereas in the U.S.S.R. the output of steel per head of population was only 107 kilograms, and of electricity only 233 kilowatt-hours.
What is the reason for this? The reason is that our population is several times larger than that of Great Britain, and hence our requirements are greater: the Soviet Union has a population of 170,000,000, whereas Great Britain has a population of not more than 46,000,000. The economic power of a country's industry is not expressed by the volume of industrial output in general, irrespective of the size of population, but by the volume of industrial output taken in direct reference to the amount consumed per head of population. The larger a country's industrial output per head of population, the greater is its economic power; and, conversely, the smaller the output per head of population, the less is the economic power of the country and of its industry. Consequently, the larger a country's population, the greater is the need for articles of consumption, and hence the larger should be the industrial output of the country.
Take, for example, the output of pig iron. In order to outstrip Great Britain economically in respect to the production of pig iron, which in 1938 amounted in that country to 7,000,000 tons, we must increase our annual output of pig iron to 25,000,000 tons. In order economically to outstrip Germany, which in 1938 produced 18,000,000 tons of pig iron in all, we must raise our annual output to 40,000,000 or 45,000,000 tons. And in order to outstrip the U.S.A. economically – not as regards the level of 1938, which was a year of crisis, and in which the U.S.A. produced only 18,800,000 tons of pig iron, but as regards the level of 1929, when the U.S.A. was experiencing an industrial boom and when it produced about 43,000,000 tons of pig iron – we must raise our annual output of pig iron to 50,000,000 or 60,000,000 tons.
The same must be said of the production of steel and rolled steel, of the machine-building industry, and so on, inasmuch as all these branches of industry, like the other branches, depend in the long run on the production of pig iron.
We have outstripped the principal capitalist countries as regards technique of production and rate of industrial development. That is very good, but it is not enough. We must outstrip them economically as well. We can do it, and we must do it. Only if we outstrip the principal capitalist countries economically can we reckon upon our country being fully saturated with consumers' goods, on having an abundance of products, and on being able to make the transition from the first phase of Communism to its second phase.
What do we require to outstrip the principal capitalist countries economically? First of all, we require the earnest and indomitable desire to move ahead and the readiness to make sacrifices and invest very considerable amounts of capital for the utmost expansion of our Socialist industry. Have we these requisites? We undoubtedly have! Further, we require a high technique of production and a high rate of industrial development. Have we these requisites? We undoubtedly have! Lastly, we require time. Yes, comrades, time. We must build new factories. We must train new cadres for industry. But this requires time, and no little time at that. We cannot outstrip the principal capitalist countries economically in two or three years. It will require rather more than that. Take, for example, pig iron and its production. How much time do we require to outstrip the principal capitalist countries economically in regard to the production of pig iron? When the Second Five-Year Plan was being drawn up, certain members of the old personnel of the State Planning Commission proposed that the annual output of pig iron towards the end of the Second Five-Year Plan should be fixed in the amount of sixty million tons. That means that they assumed the possibility of an average annual increase in pig iron production of ten million tons. This, of course, was sheer fantasy, if not worse. Incidentally, it was not only in regard to the production of pig iron that these comrades indulged their fantasy. They considered, for example, that during the period of the Second Five-Year Plan the annual increase of population in the U.S.S.R. should amount to three or four million persons, or even more. This was also fantasy, if not worse. But if we ignore these fantastic dreamers and come down to reality, we may consider quite feasible an average annual increase in the output of pig iron of two or two and a half million tons, bearing in mind the present state of the technique of iron smelting. The industrial history of the principal capitalist countries, as well as of our country, shows that such an annual rate of increase involves a great strain, but is quite feasible.
Hence, we require time, and no little time at that, in order to outstrip the principal capitalist countries economically. And the higher our productivity of labour becomes, and the more our technique of production is perfected, the more rapidly can we accomplish this cardinal economic task, and the more can we reduce the period of its accomplishment.
b) Agriculture. Like the development of industry, the development of agriculture during the period under review has followed an upward trend. This upward trend is expressed not only in an increase of agricultural output, but, and primarily, in the growth and consolidation of Socialist agriculture on the one hand, and the utter decline of individual peasant farming on the other. Whereas the grain area of the collective farms increased from 75,000,000 hectares in 1933 to 92,000,000 in 1938, the grain area of the individual peasant farmers dropped in this period from 15,700,000 hectares to 600,000 hectares, or to 0.6 per cent of the total grain area. I will not mention the area under industrial crops, a branch where individual peasant farming has been reduced to zero. Furthermore, it is well known that the collective farms now unite 18,800,000 peasant households, or 93.5 per cent of all the peasant households, aside from the collective fisheries and collective trapping and handicraft industries.
This means that the collective farms have been firmly established and consolidated, and that the Socialist system of farming is now our only form of agriculture.
If we compare the areas under all crops during the period under review with the crop areas in the pre-revolutionary period, we observe the following picture of growth:
Areas Under All Crops in the U.S.S.R.
|Millions of hectares|
|Total crop area||105.0||131.5||132.8||133.8||135.3||136.9||130.4|
This table shows that we have an increase in area for all cultures, and above all for fodder, industrial crops and vegetables.
This means that our agriculture is becoming more high-grade and productive, and that a solid foundation is being provided for the increasing application of proper crop rotation.
The way our collective farms and state farms have been increasingly
supplied with tractors, harvester combines and other machines during
the period under review is shown by the following tables.
Tractors Employed in Agriculture in the U.S.S.R.
|1. Number of tractors
a) in macine and tractor stations
|b) In state farms and auxiliary
(thousand horse power)
a) in macine and tractor stations
|b) In state farms and auxiliary
Total Harvester Combines and Other Machines
Employed in Agriculture in the U.S.S.R.
(In thousands at end of year)
|Internal combustion and
|Complex and semi-complex
If in addition to these figures, we bear in mind that in the period under review the number of machine and tractor stations increased from 2,900 in 1934 to 6,350 in 1938, it may be safely said that the reconstruction of our agriculture on the basis of a new and up-to-date machine technique has in the main already been completed.
Our agriculture, consequently, is not only run on the largest scale, and is the most mechanized in the world, and therefore produces the largest surplus for the market, but is also more fully equipped with modern machinery than the agriculture of any other country.If we compare the harvests of grain and industrial crops during the period under review with the prerevolutionary period, we get the following picture of growth:
|In millions of centners
Of particular interest is the question of the amount of grain marketed by the collective farms and state farms as compared with their gross harvests Comrade Nemchinov, the well-known statistician, has calculated that of a gross grain harvest of 5,000,000,000 poods in pre-war times, only about 1,300,000,000 poods were marketed. Thus the proportion of marketed produce of grain farming at that time was 26 per cent. Comrade Nemchinov computes that the proportion of marketed produce to gross harvest in the years 1926-27, for example, was about 47 per cent in the case of collective and state farming, which is large-scale farming, and about 12 per cent in the case of individual peasant farming. If we approach the matter more cautiously and assume the amount of marketed produce in the case of collective and state farming in 1938 to be 40 per cent of the gross harvest, we find that in the year our Socialist grain farming was able to release, and actually did release, about 2,300,000,000 poods of grain for the market, or 1,000,000,000 poods more than was marketed in prewar times.
Consequently, the high proportion of produce marketed constitutes an important feature of state and collective farming, and is of cardinal importance for the food supply of our country.
It is this feature of the collective farms and state farms that explains the secret why our country has succeeded so easily and rapidly in solving the grain problem, the problem of producing an adequate supply of market grain for this vast country.
It should be noted that during the last three years annual grain deliveries to the state have not dropped below 1,600,000,000 poods, while sometimes, as for example in 1937, they have reached 1,800,000,000 poods. If we add to this about 200,000,000 poods or so of grain purchased annually by the state, as well as several hundred million poods sold by collective farms and farmers directly in the market, we get in all the total of grain marketed by the collective farms and state farms already mentioned.
Further, it is interesting to note that during the last three years the base of market grain has shifted from the Ukraine, which was formerly considered the granary of our country, to the north and the east, that is, to the R.S.F.S.R. We know that during the last two or three years grain deliveries in the Ukraine have amounted in all to about 400,000,000 poods annually, whereas in the R.S.F.S.R. the grain deliveries during these years have amounted to 1,100,000,000 or 1,200,000,000 poods annually.
That is how things stand with regard to grain farming.
As regards livestock farming, considerable progress has been made during the past few years in this, the most backward branch of agriculture, as well. True, in the number of horses and in sheep breeding we are still below the pre-revolutionary level; but as regards cattle and hog breeding we have already passed the pre-revolutionary level.
Here are the figures:
Total Head of Livestock in the U.S.S.R.
|1938 compared with
|Sheep and goats
c) Trade and transport. The progress in industry and agriculture was
accompanied by an increase in the trade of the country. During the
period under review the number of state and cooperative retail stores
increased by 25 per cent. State and cooperative retail trade increased
by 178 per cent. Trade in the collective farm markets increased by 112
per cent. Here is the corresponding table:
|1. State and cooperative retail
stores and booths
– at end of year
|2. State and cooperative retail trade,
including public catering
(in millions of roubles)
|3. Trade in collective farm markets
(in millions of roubles)
|4. Regional wholesale departments of the
People's Commissariats of the
Food Industry, Light Industry, Timber Industry,
and Local Industry of the Union
Republics – at end of year
Here is the corresponding table:
(in millions of ton-kilometres)
|River and marine transport
(in millions of ton-kilometres)
|Civil air fleet
(in thousands of ton-kilometres)
There can be no doubt that the lag in water transport will be remedied in 1939.
2. Further Rise in the Material and Cultural Standard of the People.
The steady progress of industry and agriculture could not but lead, and has actually led, to a new rise in the material and cultural standard of the people.
The abolition of exploitation and the consolidation of the Socialist economic system, the absence of unemployment, with its attendant poverty, in town and country, the enormous expansion of industry and the steady growth in the number of workers, the increase in the productivity of labour of the workers and collective farmers, the securement of the land to the collective farms in perpetuity, and the vast number of first-class tractors and agricultural machines supplied to the collective farms – all this has created effective conditions for a further rise in the standard of living of the workers and peasants. In its turn, the improvement in the standard of living of the workers and peasants has naturally led to an improvement in the standard of living of the intelligentsia, who represent a considerable force in our country and serve the interests of the workers and the peasants.
Now it is no longer a question of finding room in industry for unemployed and homeless peasants who have been set adrift from their villages and live in fear of starvation – of giving them jobs out of charity. The time has long gone by when there were such peasants in our country. And this is a good thing, of course, for it testifies to the prosperity of our countryside. If anything, it is now a question of asking the collective farms to comply with our request and to release, say, one and a half million young collective farmers annually for the needs of our expanding industry. The collective farms, which have already become prosperous, should bear in mind that if we do not get this assistance from them it will be very difficult to continue the expansion of our industry, and that if we do not expand our industry we will not be able to satisfy the peasants' growing demand for consumers' goods. The collective farms are quite able to meet this request of ours, since the abundance of machinery in the collective farms releases a portion of the rural workers, who, if transferred to industry, could be of immense service to our whole national economy.
As a result, we have the following indications of the improvement in the standard of living of the workers and peasants during the period under review:
1. The national income rose from 48,500,000,000 rubles in 1933 to 105,000,000,000 rubles in 1938;
2. The number of workers and other employees rose from a little over 22,000,000 in 1933 to 28,000,000 in 1938;
3. The total annual payroll of workers and other employees rose from 34,953,000,000 rubles to 96,425,000,000 rubles;
4. The average annual wages of industrial workers, which amounted to 1,513 rubles in 1933, rose to 3,447 rubles in 1938;
5. The total monetary incomes of the collective farms rose from 5,661,900,000 rubles in 1933 to 14,180,100,000 rubles in 1937;
6. The average amount of grain received per collective-farm household in the grain growing regions rose from 61 poods in 1933 to 144 poods in 1937, exclusive of seed, emergency seed stocks, fodder for the collectively-owned cattle, grain deliveries, and payments in kind for work performed by the machine and tractor stations;
7. State budget appropriations for social and cultural services rose from 5,839,900,000 rubles in 1933 to 35,202,500,000 rubles in 1938.
As regards the cultural standard of the people, the period under review has been marked by a veritable cultural revolution. The introduction of universal compulsory elementary education in the languages of the various nations of the U.S.S.R., an increasing number of schools and scholars of all grades, an increasing number of college-trained experts, and the creation and growth of a new intelligentsia, a Soviet intelligentsia – such is the general picture of the cultural advancement of our people.
Here are the figures:
Rise in the Cultural Level of the People
|Number of pupils and
of all grades
In elementary schools
|In intermediate schools
(general and special)
|In higher educational institutions
|Number of persons engaged in
all forms of study in the U.S.S.R.
|Number of public libraries
|Number of books in public libraries
|Number of clubs
|Number of theatres
|Number of cinema installations
With sound equipment
|Number of cinema installations
(excluding narrow-film) in rural
With sound equipment
|Annual newspaper circulation
|In towns and
|Total for U.S.S.R.
(exclusive of military specialists)
|1. Engineers for industry and
|2. Engineers for transport and
|3. Agricultural engineers, agronomists,
veterinarians and zoologists
|4. Economists and jurists
|5. Teachers of intermediate schools,
workers' faculties, technical schools,
and other educational workers,
including art workers
|6. Physicians, pharmacists, and
physical culture instructors
|7. Other specialties
As a result of this immense cultural work a numerous new, Soviet intelligentsia has arisen in our country, an intelligentsia which has emerged from the ranks of the working class, peasantry and Soviet employees, which is of the flesh and blood of our people, which has never known the yoke of exploitation, which hates exploiters, and which is ready to serve the peoples of the U.S.S.R. faithfully and devotedly.
I think that the rise of this new, Socialist intelligentsia of the people is one of the most important results of the cultural revolution in our country.
3. Further Consolidation of the Soviet System.
One of the most important results of the period under review is that it has led to the further internal consolidation of the country, to the further consolidation of the Soviet system.
Nor could it be otherwise. The firm establishment of the Socialist system in all branches of national economy, the progress of industry and agriculture, the rising material standard of the people, the rising cultural standard of the people and their increasing political activity – all this, accomplished under the guidance of the Soviet power, could not but lead to the further consolidation of the Soviet system.
The feature that distinguishes Soviet society today from any capitalist society is that it no longer contains antagonistic, hostile classes; that the exploiting classes have been eliminated, while the workers, peasants and intellectuals, who make up Soviet society, live and work in friendly collaboration. While capitalist society is torn by irreconcilable contradictions between workers and capitalists and between peasants and landlords – resulting in its internal instability – Soviet society, liberated from the yoke of exploitation, knows no such contradictions, is free of class conflicts, and presents a picture of friendly collaboration between workers, peasants and intellectuals. It is this community of interest which has formed the basis for the development of such motive forces as the moral and political unity of Soviet society, the mutual friendship of the nations of the U.S.S.R. and Soviet patriotism. It has also been the basis for the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. adopted in November 1936, and for the complete democratization of the elections to the supreme organs of the country.
As to the elections themselves, they were a magnificent demonstration of that unity of Soviet society and of that amity among the nations of the U.S.S.R. which constitute the characteristic feature of the internal situation of our country. As we know, in the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. in December 1937, nearly ninety million votes, or 98.6 per cent of the total vote, were cast for the Communist and non-Party bloc, while in the elections to the Supreme Soviets of the Union Republics in June 1938, ninety-two million votes, or 99.4 per cent of the total vote, were cast for the Communist and non-Party bloc.
There you have the basis of the stability of the Soviet system and the source of the inexhaustible strength of the Soviet power.
This means, incidentally, that in the case of war, the rear and front of our army, by reason of their homogeneity and inherent unity, will be stronger than those of any other country, a fact which people beyond our borders who are fond of military conflicts would do well to remember.
Certain foreign pressmen have been talking drivel to the effect that the purging of Soviet organizations of spies, assassins and wreckers like Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Yakir, Tukhachevsky, Rosengoltz, Bukharin and other fiends has "shaken" the Soviet system and caused its "demoralization." One can only laugh at such cheap drivel. How can the purging of Soviet organizations of noxious and hostile elements shake and demoralize the Soviet system? This Trotsky- Bukharin bunch of spies, assassins and wreckers, who kow-towed to the foreign world, who were possessed by a slavish instinct to grovel before every foreign bigwig, and, who were ready to enter his employ as a spy – this handful of people who did not understand that the humblest Soviet citizen, being free from the fetters of capital, stands head and shoulders above any high-placed foreign bigwig whose neck wears the yoke of capitalist slavery – who needs this miserable band of venal slaves, of what value can they be to the people, and whom can they "demoralize"? In 1937 Tukhachevsky, Yakir, Uborevich and other fiends were sentenced to be shot. After that, the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. were held. In these elections, 98.6 per cent of the total vote was cast for the Soviet power. At the beginning of 1938 Rosengoltz, Rykov, Bukharin and other fiends were sentenced to be shot. After that, the elections to the Supreme Soviets of the Union Republics were held. In these elections 99.4 per cent of the total vote was cast for the Soviet power. Where are the symptoms of "demoralization," we would like to know, and why was this "demoralization" not reflected in the results of the elections?
To listen to these foreign drivellers, one would think that if the spies, assassins and wreckers had been left at liberty to wreck, murder and spy without let or hindrance, the Soviet organizations would have been far sounder and stronger. (Laughter.) Are not these gentlemen giving themselves away too soon by so insolently defending the cause of spies, assassins and wreckers?
Would it not be truer to say that the weeding out of spies, assassins and wreckers from our Soviet organizations was bound to lead, and did lead, to the further strengthening of these organizations?
What, for instance, do the events at Lake Hassan show, if not that the weeding out of spies and wreckers is the surest means of strengthening our Soviet organizations.
1. To increase the progress of our industry, the rise of productivity of labour, and the perfection of the technique of production, in order, having already outstripped the principal capitalist countries in technique of production and rate of industrial development, to outstrip them economically as well in the next ten or fifteen years.
2. To increase the progress of our agriculture and stock breeding so as to achieve in the next three or four years an annual grain harvest of 8,000,000,000 poods, with an average yield of 12-13 centners per hectare; an average increase in the harvest of industrial crops of 30-35 per cent; and an increase in the number of sheep and hogs by 100 per cent, of cattle by about 40 per cent, and of horses by about 35 per cent.
3. To continue to improve the material and cultural standards of the workers, peasants and intellectuals.
4. Steadfastly to carry into effect our Socialist Constitution; to complete the democratization of the political life of the country; to strengthen the moral and political unity of Soviet society and fraternal collaboration among our workers, peasants and intellectuals; to promote the friendship of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. to the utmost, and to develop and cultivate Soviet patriotism.
5. Never to forget that we are surrounded by a capitalist world; to remember that the foreign espionage services will smuggle spies, assassins and wreckers into our country; and, remembering this, to strengthen our Socialist intelligence service and systematically help it to defeat and eradicate the enemies of the people.
From the standpoint of the political line and day to day practical work, the period under review was one of complete victory for the general line of our Party. (Loud and prolonged applause.)
The principal achievements demonstrating the correctness of the policy of our Party and the correctness of its leadership are the firm establishment of the Socialist system in the entire national economy, the completion of the reconstruction of industry and agriculture on the basis of a new technique, the fulfilment of the Second Five-Year Plan in industry ahead of time, the increase of the annual grain harvest to a level of 7,000,000,000 poods, the abolition of poverty and unemployment and the raising of the material and cultural standard of the people.
In the face of these imposing achievements, the opponents of the general line of our Party, all the various "Left" and "Right" trends, all the Trotsky- Pyatakov and Bukharin-Rykov degenerates were forced to creep into their shells, to tuck away their hackneyed "platforms," and to go into hiding. Lacking the manhood to submit to the will of the people, they preferred to merge with the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and fascists, to become the tools of foreign espionage services, to hire themselves out as spies, and to obligate themselves to help the enemies of the Soviet Union to dismember our country and to restore capitalist slavery in it.
Such was the inglorious end of the opponents of the line of our Party, who finished up as enemies of the people.
When it had smashed the enemies of the people and purged the Party and Soviet organizations of degenerates, the Party became still more united in its political and organizational work and rallied even more solidly around its Central Committee (Stormy applause. All the delegates rise and cheer the speaker. (Shouts of "Hurrah for Comrade Stalin!" "Long live Comrade Stalin!" "Hurrah for the Central Committee of our Party!")
Let us examine the concrete facts illustrating the development of the internal life of the Party and its organizational and propaganda work during the period under review.
1. Measures to Improve the Composition of the Party Division of Organizations Closer Contact Between the Leading Party Bodies and the Work of the Lower Bodies.
The strengthening of the Party and of its leading bodies during the period under review proceeded chiefly along two lines: along the line of regulating the composition of the Party, ejecting unreliable elements and selecting the best elements, and along the line of dividing up the organizations, reducing their size, and bringing the leading bodies closer to the concrete, day-to-day work of the lower bodies.
There were 1,874,488 Party members represented at the Seventeenth Party Congress. Comparing this figure with the number of Party members represented at the preceding congress, the Sixteenth Party Congress, we find that in the interval between these two congresses 600,000 new members joined the Party. The Party could not but feel that in the conditions prevailing in 1930-33 such a mass influx into its ranks was an unhealthy and undesirable expansion of its membership. The Party knew that its ranks were being joined not only by honest and loyal people, but also by chance elements and careerists, who were seeking to utilize the badge of the Party for their own personal ends. The Party could not but know that its strength lay not only in the size of its membership, but, and above all, in the quality of its members. This raised the question of regulating the composition of the Party. It was decided to continue the purge of Party members and candidate members begun in 1933; and the purge actually was continued until May 1935. It was further decided to suspend the admission of new members into the Party; and the admission of new members actually was suspended until September 1936, the admission of new members being resumed only on November 1, 1936. Further, in connection with the dastardly murder of Comrade Kirov, which showed that there were quite a number of suspicious elements in the Party, it was decided to undertake a verification of the records of Party members and an exchange of old Party cards for new ones, both these measures being completed only in September 1936. Only after this was the admission of new members and candidate members into the Party resumed. As a result of all these measures, the Party succeeded in weeding out chance, passive, careerist and directly hostile elements, and in selecting the most staunch and loyal people. It cannot be said that the purge was not accompanied by grave mistakes. There were unfortunately more mistakes than might have been expected. Undoubtedly, we shall have no further need of resorting to the method of mass purges. Nevertheless, the purge of 1933-36 was unavoidable and its results, on the whole, were beneficial. The number of Party members represented at this, the Eighteenth Congress is about 1,600,000, which is 270,000 less than were represented at the Seventeenth Congress. But there is nothing bad in that. On the contrary, it is all to the good, for the Party strengthens itself by clearing its ranks of dross. Our Party is now somewhat smaller in membership, but on the other hand it is better in quality.
That is a big achievement.
As regards the improvement of the day-to-day leadership of the Party by bringing it closer to the work of the lower bodies and by making it more concrete, the Party came to the conclusion that the best way to make it easier for the Party bodies to guide the organizations and to make the leadership itself concrete, alive and practical was to divide up the organizations, to reduce their size, People's Commissariats as well as the administrative organizations of the various territorial divisions, that is, the Union Republics, territories, regions, districts, etc., were divided up. The result of the measures adopted is that instead of 7 Union Republics, we now have 11; instead of 14 People's Commissariats of the U.S.S.R. we now have 34; instead of 70 territories and regions we now have 110; instead of 2,559 urban and rural districts we now have 3,815. Correspondingly, within the system of leading Party bodies, we now have 11 central committees, headed by the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.), 6 territorial committees, 104 regional committees, 30 area committees, 212 city committees, 336 city district committees, 3,479 rural district committees, and 113,060 primary Party organizations.
It cannot be said that the division of organizations is already over. Most likely it will be carried further. But, however that may be, it is already yielding good results both in the improvement of the day-to-day leadership of the work and in bringing the leadership itself closer to the concrete work of the lower bodies. I need not mention that the division of organizations has made it possible to promote hundreds and thousands of new people to leading posts.
That, too, is a big achievement.
2. Selection, Promotion and Allocation of Cadres.
The regulation of the composition of the Party and the bringing of the leading bodies closer to the concrete work of the lower bodies was not, and could not be, the only means of further strengthening the Party and its leadership. Another means adopted in the period under review was a radical improvement in the training of cadres, an improvement in the work of selecting, promoting and allocating cadres and of testing them in the process of work.
The Party cadres constitute the commanding staff of the Party; and since our Party is in power, they also constitute the commanding staff of the leading organs of state. After a correct political line has been worked out and tested in practice, the Party cadres become the decisive force in the work of guiding the Party and the state. A correct political line is, of course, the primary and most important thing. But that in itself is not enough. A correct political line is not needed as a declaration, but as something to be carried into effect. But in order to carry a correct political line into effect, we must have cadres, people who understand the political line of the Party, who accept it as their own line, who are prepared to carry it into effect, who are able to put it into practice and are capable of answering for it, defending it and fighting for it. Failing this, a correct political line runs the risk of being purely nominal.
And here arises the question of the correct selection of cadres, the training of cadres, the promotion of new people, the correct allocation of cadres, and the testing of cadres by work accomplished.
What is meant by the correct selection of cadres?
The correct selection of cadres does not mean just gathering around one a lot of assistants and subs, setting up an office and issuing order after order. (Laughter.) Nor does it mean abusing one's powers, switching scores and hundreds of people back and forth from one job to another without rhyme or reason and conducting endless "reorganizations." (Laughter.)
The proper selection of cadres means:
Firstly, valuing cadres as the gold reserve of the Party and the state, treasuring them, respecting them.
Secondly, knowing cadres carefully studying their individual merits and shortcomings, knowing in what post the capacities of a given worker are most likely to develop.
Thirdly, carefully fostering cadres, helping every promising worker to advance, not grudging time on patiently "bothering" with such workers and accelerating their development.
Fourthly, boldly promoting new and young cadres in time, so as not to allow them to stagnate in their old posts and grow stale.
Fifthly, allocating workers to posts in such a way that each feels he is in the right place, that each may contribute to our common cause the maximum his personal capacities enable him to contribute, and that the general trend of the work of allocating cadres may fully answer to the demands of the political line for the carrying out of which this allocation of cadres is designed.
Particularly important in this respect is the bold and timely promotion of new and young cadres. It seems to me that our people are not quite clear on this point yet. Some think that in selecting people we must chiefly rely on the old cadres. Others, on the contrary, think that we must rely chiefly on the young cadres. It seems to me that both are mistaken, The old cadres, of course, represent a valuable asset to the Party and the state. They possess what the young cadres lack, namely, tremendous experience in leadership, a schooling in Marxist-Leninist principles, knowledge of affairs, and a capacity for orientation. But, firstly, there are never enough old cadres, there are far less than required, and they are already partly going out of commission owing to the operation of the laws of nature. Secondly, part of the old cadres are sometimes inclined to keep a too persistent eye on the past, to cling to the past, to stay in the old rut and fail to observe the new in life. This is called losing the sense of the new. It is a very serious and dangerous shortcoming. As to the young cadres, they, of course, have not the experience, the schooling, the knowledge of affairs and the capacity of orientation of the old cadres. But, firstly, the young cadres constitute the vast majority; secondly, they are young, and as yet are not subject to the danger of going out of commission; thirdly, they possess in abundance the sense of the new, which is a valuable quality in every Bolshevik worker; and, fourthly, they develop and acquire knowledge so rapidly, they press upward so eagerly, that the time is not far off when they will overtake the old fellows, take their stand side by side with them, and become worthy of replacing them. Consequently, the thing is not whether to rely on the old cadres or on the new cadres, but to steer for a combination, a union of the old and the young cadres in one common symphony of leadership of the Party and the state, (Prolonged applause.)
That is why we must boldly and in good time promote young cadres to leading posts.
One of the important achievements of the Party during the period under review in the matter of strengthening the Party leadership is that, when selecting cadres, it has successfully pursued, from top to bottom, just this course of combining old and young workers.
Data in the possession of the Central Committee of the Party, show that during the period under review the Party succeeded in promoting to leading state and Party posts over five hundred thousand young Bolsheviks, members of the Party and people standing close to the Party, over twenty per cent of whom were women.
What is our task now?
Our task now is to concentrate the work of selecting cadres from top to bottom, in the hands of one body and to raise it to a proper, scientific, Bolshevik level.
This entails putting an end to the division of the work of studying, promoting and selecting cadres among various departments and sectors, and concentrating it in one body.
This body should be the Cadres Administration of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) and a corresponding cadres department in each of the republican, territorial and regional Party organizations.
3. Party Propaganda. Marxist-Leninist Training of Party Members and Party Cadres.
There is still another sphere of Party work, a very important and very responsible sphere, in which the work of strengthening the Party and its leading bodies has been carried on during the period under review. I am referring to Party propaganda and agitation, oral and printed, the work of training the Party members and the Party cadres in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism, the work of raising the political and theoretical level of the Party and its workers.
There is hardly need to dwell on the cardinal importance of Party propaganda, of the Marxist-Leninist training of our people. I am referring not only to Party functionaries. I am also referring to the workers in the Young Communist League, trade union, trade, cooperative, economic, state, educational, military and other organizations. The work of regulating the composition of the Party and of bringing the leading bodies closer to the activities of the lower bodies may be organized satisfactorily; the work of promoting, selecting and allocating cadres may be organized satisfactorily; but, with all this, if our Party propaganda for some reason or other goes lame, if the Marxist-Leninist training of our cadres begins to languish, if our work of raising the political and theoretical level of these cadres flags, and the cadres themselves cease on account of this to show interest in the prospect of our further progress, cease to understand the truth of our cause and are transformed into narrow plodders with no outlook, blindly and mechanically carrying out instructions from above – then our entire state and Party work must inevitably languish. It must be accepted as an axiom that the higher the political level and the Marxist-Leninist knowledge of the workers in any branch of state Party work the better and more fruitful will be the work itself, and the more effective the results of the work; and, vice versa, the lower the political level of the workers, and the less they are imbued with the knowledge of Marxism-Leninism, the greater will be the likelihood of disruption and failure in the work, of the workers themselves becoming shallow and deteriorating into paltry plodders, of their degenerating altogether. It may be confidently stated that if we succeeded in training the cadres in all branches of our work ideologically, and in schooling them politically, to such an extent as to enable them easily to orientate themselves in the internal and international situation; if we succeeded in making them quite mature Marxist-Leninists capable of solving the problems involved in the guidance of the country without serious error, we would have every reason to consider nine-tenths of our problems already settled. And we certainly can accomplish this, for we have all the means and opportunities for doing so.
The training and moulding of our young cadres usually proceeds in some particular branch of science or technology, along the line of specialization. This is necessary and desirable. There is no reason why a man who specializes in medicine should at the same time specialize in physics or botany, or vice versa, But there is one branch of science which Bolsheviks in all branches of science are in duty bound to know, and that is the Marxist-Leninist science of society, of the laws of social development, of the laws of development of the proletarian revolution, of the laws of development of Socialist construction, and of the victory of Communism. For a man who calls himself a Leninist cannot be considered a real Leninist if he shuts himself up in his speciality, in mathematics, botany or chemistry, let us say, and sees nothing beyond that speciality. A Leninist cannot be just a specialist in his favourite science; he must also be a political and social worker, keenly interested in the destinies of his country, acquainted with the laws of social development, capable of applying these laws, and striving to be an active participant in the political guidance of the country, This, of course, will be an additional burden on specialists who are Bolsheviks, But it will be a burden more than compensated for by its results.
The task of Party propaganda, the task of the Marxist-Leninist training of cadres, is to help our cadres in all branches of work to become versed in the Marxist-Leninist science of the laws of social development.
Measures for improving the work of propaganda and of the Marxist-Leninist training of cadres have been discussed many times by the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) jointly with propagandists from various regional Party organizations, The publication, in September 1938, of the "History of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – Short Course" was taken into account in this connection.
It was ascertained that the publication of the "History of the C.P.S.U.(B.)" had given a new impetus to Marxist-Leninist propaganda in our country. The results of the work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) have been published in its decision, "On the Organization of Party Propaganda in Connection with the Publication of the History of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – Short Course."
On the basis of this decision and with due reference to the decisions of the Plenum of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) of March 1937, "On Defects in Party Work," the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) has outlined the following major measures for eliminating the defects in Party propaganda and improving the work of the Marxist-Leninist training of Party members and Party cadres:
1. To concentrate the work of Party propaganda and agitation in one body and to merge the propaganda and agitation departments and the press departments into a single Propaganda and Agitation Administration of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.), and to organize corresponding propaganda and agitation departments in each republican, territorial and regional Party organization;
2. Recognizing as incorrect the infatuation for the system of propaganda through study circles, and considering the method of individual study of the principles of Marxism-Leninism by Party members to be more expedient, to centre the attention of the Party on propaganda through the press and on the organization of a system of propaganda by lectures;
3. To organize one-year Courses of Instruction for our lower cadres in each regional centre;
4. To organize two-year Lenin Schools for our middle cadres in various centres of the country;
5. To organize a Higher School of Marxism-Leninism under the auspices of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.) with a three-year course for the training of highly qualified Party theoreticians;
6. To set up one-year Courses of Instruction for propagandists and journalists in various centres of the country;
7. To set up in connection with the Higher School of Marxism-Leninism six-month Courses of Instruction for teachers of Marxism-Leninism in the higher educational establishments.
There can be no doubt that the realization of these measures, which are already being carried out, although not yet sufficiently, will soon yield beneficial results.
4. Some Questions of Theory.
Another of the defects of our propagandist and ideological work is the absence of full clarity among our comrades on certain theoretical questions of vital practical importance, the existence of a certain amount of confusion on these questions. I refer to the question of the state in general, and of our Socialist state in particular, and to the question of our Soviet intelligentsia.
It is sometimes asked: "We have abolished the exploiting classes; there are no longer any hostile classes in the country; there is nobody to suppress; hence there is no more need for the state; it must die away. – Why then do we not help our Socialist state to die away? Why do we not strive to put an end to it? Is it not time to throw out all this rubbish of a state?"
Or further: "The exploiting classes have already been abolished in our country; Socialism has been built in the main; we are advancing towards Communism. Now, the Marxist doctrine of the state says that there is to be no state under Communism. – Why then do we not help our Socialist state to die away? Is it not time we relegated the state to the museum of antiquities?
These questions show that those who ask them have conscientiously memorized certain propositions contained in the doctrine of Marx and Engels about the state. But they also show that these comrades have failed to understand the essential meaning of this doctrine; that they have failed to realise in what historical conditions the various propositions of this doctrine were elaborated; and, what is more, that they do not understand present-day international conditions, have overlooked the capitalist encirclement and the dangers it entails for the Socialist country. These questions not only betray an underestimation of the capitalist encirclement, but also an underestimation of the role and significance of the bourgeois states and their organs, which send spies, assassins and wreckers into our country and are waiting for a favourable opportunity to attack it by armed force. They likewise betray an underestimation of the role and significance of our Socialist state and of its military, punitive and intelligence organs, which are essential for the defence of the Socialist land from foreign attack. It must be confessed that the comrades mentioned are not the only ones to sin in this underestimation. All the Bolsheviks, all of us without exception, sin to a certain extent in this respect. Is it not surprising that we learned about the espionage and conspiratorial activities of the Trotskyite and Bukharinite leaders only quite recently, in 1937 and 1938, although, as the evidence shows, these gentry were in the service of foreign espionage organizations and carried on conspiratorial activities from the very first days of the October Revolution? How could we have failed to notice so grave a matter? How are we to explain this blunder? The usual answer to this question is that we could not possibly have assumed that these people could have fallen so low. But that is no explanation, still less is it a justification: for the blunder was a blunder. How is this blunder to be explained? It is to be explained by an underestimation of the strength and consequence of the mechanism of the bourgeois states surrounding us and of their espionage organs, which endeavour to take advantage of people's weaknesses, their vanity, their slackness of will, to enmesh them in their espionage nets and use them to surround the organs of the Soviet state. It is to be explained by an underestimation of the role and significance of the mechanism of our Socialist state and of its intelligence service, by an underestimation of this intelligence service, by the twaddle that an intelligence service in a Soviet state is an unimportant trifle, and that the Soviet intelligence service and the Soviet state itself will soon have to be relegated to the museum of antiquities.
What could have given rise to this underestimation?
It arose owing to the fact that certain of the general propositions in the Marxist doctrine of the state were incompletely worked out and inadequate. It received currency owing to our unpardonably heedless attitude to matters pertaining to the theory of the state, in spite of the fact that we have twenty years of practical experience in state affairs which provides rich material for theoretical generalizations, and in spite of the fact that, given the desire, we have every opportunity of successfully filling this gap in theory. We have forgotten Lenin's highly important injunction about the theoretical duties of Russian Marxists, that it is their mission to further develop the Marxist theory. Here is what Lenin said in this connection:
"We do not regard Marxist theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid the corner-stone of the science which Socialists must further advance in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life. We think that an independent elaboration of the Marxist theory is especially essential for Russian Socialists, for this theory provides only general guiding principles, which, in particular, are applied in England differently from France, in France differently from Germany, and in Germany differently from Russia." (Lenin, Collected Works, Russian Edition, Vol. II, p. 492.)
Consider, for example, the classical formulation of the theory of the development of the Socialist state given by Engels:
"As soon as there is no longer any class of society to be held in subjection; as soon as, along with class domination and the struggle for individual existence based on the former anarchy of production, the collisions and excesses arising from these have also been abolished, there is nothing more to be repressed which would make a special repressive force, a state, necessary. The first act in which the state really comes forward as the representative of society as a whole – the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society – is at the same time its last independent act as a state. The interference of the state power in social relations becomes superfluous in one sphere after another, and then ceases of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the process of production. The state is not 'abolished,' it withers away." (Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution in Science (Anti-Duhring), pp. 308-09.)
Is this proposition of Engels' correct?
Yes, it is correct, but only on one of two conditions: (1) if we study the Socialist state only from the angle of the internal development of the country, abstracting ourselves in advance from the international factor, isolating, for the convenience of investigation, the country and the state from the international situation; or (2) if we assume that Socialism is already victorious in all countries, or in the majority of countries, that a Socialist encirclement exists instead of a capitalist encirclement, that there is no more danger of foreign attack, and that there is no more need to strengthen the army and the state.
Well, but what if Socialism has been victorious only in one country, taken singly, and if, in view of this, it is quite impossible to abstract oneself from international conditions – what then? Engels' formula does not furnish an answer to this question. As a matter of fact, Engels did not set himself this question, and therefore could not have given an answer to it. Engels proceeds from the assumption that Socialism has already been victorious in all countries, or in a majority of countries, more or less simultaneously. Consequently, Engels is not here investigating any specific Socialist state of any particular country, but the development of the Socialist state in general, on the assumption that Socialism has been victorious in a majority of countries – according to the formula: "Assuming that Socialism is victorious in a majority of countries, what changes must the proletarian, Socialist state undergo?" Only this general and abstract character of the problem can explain why in his investigation of the question of the Socialist state Engels completely abstracted himself from such a factor as international conditions, the international situation.
But it follows from this that Engels' general formula about the destiny of the Socialist state in general cannot be extended to the partial and specific case of the victory of Socialism in one country only, a country which is surrounded by a capitalist world, is subject to the menace of foreign military attack, cannot therefore abstract itself from the international situation, and must have at its disposal a well-trained army, well-organized punitive organs, and a strong intelligence service consequently, must have its own state, strong enough to defend the conquests of Socialism from foreign attack.
We have no right to expect of the classical Marxist writers, separated as they were from our day by a period of forty-five or fifty-five years, that they should have foreseen each and every zigzag of history in the distant future in every separate country. It would be ridiculous to expect that the classical Marxist writers should have elaborated for our benefit readymade solutions for each and every theoretical problem that might arise in any particular country fifty or one hundred years afterwards, so that we, the descendants of the classical Marxist writers, might calmly doze at the fireside and munch ready-made solutions. (General laughter.) But we can and should expect of the Marxists-Leninists of our day that they do not confine themselves to learning by rote a few general tenets of Marxism; that they delve deeply into the essence of Marxism; that they learn to take account of the experience gained in the twenty years of existence of the Socialist state in our country; that, lastly, they learn, with the use of this experience and with knowledge of the essence of Marxism, to apply the various general theses of Marxism concretely, to lend them greater precision and improve them. Lenin wrote his famous book, "The State and Revolution," in August 1917, that is, a few months before the October Revolution and the establishment of the Soviet state Lenin considered it the main task of this book to defend Marx's and Engels' doctrine of the state from the distortions and vulgarizations of the opportunists. Lenin was preparing to write a second volume of "The State and Revolution," in which he intended to sum up the principal lessons of the experience of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. There can be no doubt that Lenin intended in the second volume of his book to elaborate and develop the theory of the state on the basis of the experience gained during the existence of Soviet power in our country. Death, however, prevented him from carrying this task into execution. But what Lenin did not manage to do should be done by his disciples. (Loud applause.)
The state arose because society split up into antagonistic classes; it arose in order to keep in restraint the exploited majority in the interests of the exploiting minority. The instruments of state authority have been mainly concentrated in the army, the punitive organs, the espionage service, the prisons. Two basic functions characterize the activity of the state: at home (the main function), to keep in restraint the exploited majority; abroad (not the main function), to extend the territory of its class, the ruling class, at the expense of the territory of other states, or to defend the territory of its own state from attack by other states. Such was the case in slave society and under feudalism. Such is the case under capitalism.
In order to overthrow capitalism it was not only necessary to remove the bourgeoisie from power, it was not only necessary to expropriate the capitalists, but also to smash entirely the bourgeois state machine and its old army, its bureaucratic officialdom and its police force, and to substitute for it a new, proletarian form of state, a new, Socialist state. And that, as we know, is exactly what the Bolsheviks did. But it does not follow that the new proletarian state may not preserve certain functions of the old state, changed to suit the requirements of the proletarian state. Still less does it follow that the forms of our Socialist state must remain unchanged, that all the original functions of our state must be fully preserved in future. As a matter of fact, the forms of our state are changing and will continue to change in line with the development of our country and with the changes in the international situation.
Lenin was absolutely right when he said:
"The forms of bourgeois states are extremely varied, but in essence they are all the same: in one way or another, in the final analysis, all these states are inevitably the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The transition from capitalism to Communism will certainly create a great variety and abundance of political forms, but their essence will inevitably be the same: the dictatorship of the proletariat." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VII, p. 34.)
Since the October Revolution, our Socialist state has passed through two main phases in its development.
The first phase was the period from the October revolution to the elimination of the exploiting classes. The principal task in that period was to suppress the resistance of the overthrown classes, to organize the defence of the country against the attacks of the interventionists, to restore industry and agriculture, and to prepare the conditions for the elimination of the capitalist elements. Accordingly, in this period our state performed two main functions. The first function was to suppress the overthrown classes inside the country. In this respect our state bore a superficial resemblance to previous states whose functions had also been to suppress recalcitrants, with the fundamental difference, however, that our state suppressed the exploiting minority in the interests of the labouring majority, while previous states had suppressed the exploited majority in the interests of the exploiting minority. The second function was to defend the country from foreign attack. In this respect it likewise bore a superficial resemblance to previous states, which also undertook the armed defence of their countries, with the fundamental difference, however, that our state defended from foreign attack the gains of the labouring majority, while previous states in such cases defended the wealth and privileges of the exploiting minority. Our state had yet a third function: this was the work of economic organization and cultural education performed by our state bodies with the purpose of developing the infant shoots of the new, Socialist economic system and re-educating the people in the spirit of Socialism. But this new function did not attain to any considerable development in that period.
The second phase was the period from the elimination of the capitalist elements in town and country to the complete victory of the Socialist economic system and the adoption of the new Constitution. The principal task in this period was to establish the Socialist economic system all over the country and to eliminate the last remnants of the capitalist elements, to bring about a cultural revolution, and to form a thoroughly modern army for the defence of the country. And the functions of our Socialist state changed accordingly. The function of military suppression inside the country ceased, died away; for exploitation had been abolished, there were no more exploiters left, and so there was no one to suppress. In place of this function of suppression the state acquired the function of protecting Socialist property from thieves and pilferers of the people's property. The function of defending the country from foreign attack fully remained; consequently, the Red Army and the Navy also fully remained, as did the punitive organs and the intelligence service, which are indispensable for the detection and punishment of the spies, assassins and wreckers sent into our country by foreign espionage services. The function of economic organization and cultural education by the state organs also remained, and was developed to the full. Now the main task of our state inside the country is the work of peaceful economic organization and cultural education. As for our army, punitive organs, and intelligence service, their edge is no longer turned to the inside of the country, but to the outside, against external enemies.
As you see, we now have an entirely new, Socialist state, without precedent in history and differing considerably in form and functions from the Socialist state of the first phase.
But development cannot stop there. We are going ahead, towards Communism. Will our state remain in the period of Communism also?
Yes, it will, unless the capitalist encirclement is liquidated, and unless the danger of foreign military attack has disappeared. Naturally, of course, the forms of our state will again change in conformity with the change in the situation at home and abroad.
No, it will not remain and will atrophy if the capitalist encirclement is liquidated and a Socialist encirclement takes its place.
That is how the question stands with regard to the Socialist state.
The second question is that of the Soviet intelligentsia.
On this question, too, as on the question of the state, there is a certain unclearness and confusion among Party members.
In spite of the fact that the position of the Party on the question of the Soviet intelligentsia is perfectly clear, there are still current in our Party views hostile to the Soviet intelligentsia and incompatible with the Party position. As you know, those who hold these views practise a disdainful and contemptuous attitude to the Soviet intelligentsia and regard it as an alien force, even as a force hostile to the working class and the peasantry. True, during the period of Soviet development the intelligentsia has undergone a radical change both in its composition and status. It has come closer to the people and is honestly collaborating with the people, in which respect it differs fundamentally from the old, bourgeois intelligentsia. But this apparently means nothing to these comrades. They go on harping on the old tunes and wrongly apply to the Soviet intelligentsia views and attitudes which were justified in the old days when the intelligentsia was in the service of the landlords and capitalists.
In the old days, under capitalism, before the revolution, the intelligentsia consisted primarily of members of the propertied classes – noblemen, manufacturers, merchants, kulaks and so on. Some members of the intelligentsia were sons of small tradesmen, petty officials, and even of peasants and workingmen, but they did not and could not play a decisive part. The intelligentsia as a whole depended for their livelihood on the propertied classes and ministered to the propertied classes. Hence it is easy to understand the mistrust, often bordering on hatred, with which the revolutionary elements of our country and above all the workers regarded the intellectuals. True, the old intelligentsia produced some courageous individuals, handfuls of revolutionary people who adopted the standpoint of the working class and completely threw in their lot with the working class. But such people were all too few among the intelligentsia, and they could not change the complexion of the intelligentsia as a whole.
Matters with regard to the intelligentsia have undergone a fundamental change, however, since the October Revolution, since the defeat of the foreign armed intervention, and especially since the victory of industrialization and collectivization, when the abolition of exploitation and the firm establishment of the Socialist economic system made it really possible to give the country a new constitution and to put it into effect. The most influential and qualified section of the old intelligentsia broke away from the main body in the very first days of the October Revolution, proclaimed war on the Soviet government, and joined the ranks of the saboteurs. They met with welldeserved punishment for this; they were smashed and dispersed by the organs of Soviet power. Subsequently the majority of those that survived were recruited by the enemies of our country as wreckers and spies, and thus were expunged by their own deeds from the ranks of the intellectuals. Another section of the old intelligentsia, less qualified but more numerous, long continued to mark time, waiting for "better days"; but then, apparently giving up hope, decided to go and serve and to live in harmony with the Soviet government. The greater part of this group of the old intelligentsia are well on in years and are beginning to go out of commission. A third section of the old intelligentsia, mainly comprising its rank-and-file, and still less qualified than the section just mentioned, joined forces with the people and supported the Soviet government. It needed to perfect its education, and it set about doing so in our universities. But parallel with this painful process of differentiation and breakup of the old intelligentsia there went on a rapid process of formation, mobilization and mustering of forces of a new intelligentsia. Hundreds of thousands of young people coming from the ranks of the working class, the peasantry and the working intelligentsia entered the universities and technical colleges, from which they emerged to reinforce the attenuated ranks of the intelligentsia. They infused fresh blood into it and reanimated it in a new, Soviet spirit. They radically changed the whole aspect of the intelligentsia, moulding it in their own form and image. The remnants of the old intelligentsia were dissolved in the new, Soviet intelligentsia, the intelligentsia of the people. There thus arose a new, Soviet intelligentsia, intimately bound up with the people and, for the most part, ready to serve them faithfully and loyally.
As a result, we now have a numerous, new, popular, Socialist intelligentsia, fundamentally different from the old, bourgeois intelligentsia both in composition and in social and political character.
The old theory about the intelligentsia, which taught that it should be treated with distrust and combated, fully applied to the old, pre-revolutionary intelligentsia, which served the landlords and capitalists. This theory is now out-of-date and does not fit our new, Soviet intelligentsia. Our new intelligentsia demands a new theory, a theory teaching the necessity for a cordial attitude towards it, solicitude and respect for it, and cooperation with it in the interests of the working class and the peasantry.
That is clear, I should think.
It is therefore all the more astonishing and strange that after all these fundamental changes in the status of the intelligentsia people should be found within our Party who attempt to apply the old theory, which was directed against the bourgeois intelligentsia, to our new, Soviet intelligentsia, which is basically a Socialist intelligentsia. These people, it appears, assert that workers and peasants who until recently were working in Stakhanov fashion in the factories and collective farms and who were then sent to the universities to be educated, thereby ceased to be real people and became second-rate people. So we are to conclude that education is a pernicious and dangerous thing. (Laughter.) We want all our workers and peasants to be cultured and educated, and we shall achieve this in time. But in the opinion of these queer comrades, this purpose harbours a grave danger; for after the workers and peasants become cultured and educated they may face the danger of being classified as secondrate people. (Loud laughter.) The possibility is not precluded that these queer comrades may in time sink to the position of extolling backwardness, ignorance, benightedness and obscurantism. It would be quite in the nature of things. Theoretical vagaries have never led, and never can lead, to any good.
Such is the position with regard to our new, Socialist intelligentsia.
1. To systematically improve the composition of the Party, raising the level of knowledge of its membership, and admitting into its ranks, by a process of individual selection, only tried and tested comrades who are loyal to the cause of Communism.
2. To establish closer contact between the leading bodies and the work of the lower bodies, so as to make their work of leadership more practical and specific and less confined to meetings and offices.
3. To centralize the work of selecting cadres, to train them carefully and foster them, to study the merits and demerits of workers thoroughly, to promote young workers boldly and adapt the selection of cadres to the requirements of the political line of the Party.
4. To centralize Party propaganda and agitation, to extend the propaganda of the ideas of Marxism- Leninism, and to raise the theoretical level and improve the political schooling of our cadres.
I have sketched in broad outline the path traversed by our Party during the period under review. The results of the work of the Party and of its Central Committee during this period are well known. There have been mistakes and shortcomings in our work. The Party and the Central Committee did not conceal them and strove to correct them. There have also been important successes and big achievements, which must not be allowed to turn our heads.
The chief conclusion to be drawn is that the working class of our country, having abolished the exploitation of man by man and firmly established the Socialist system, has proved to the world the truth of its cause. That is the chief conclusion, for it strengthens our faith in the power of the working class and in the inevitability of its ultimate victory.
The bourgeoisie of all countries asserts that the people cannot get along without capitalists and landlords, without merchants and kulaks. The working class of our country has proved in practice that the people can get along without exploiters perfectly well.
The bourgeoisie of all countries asserts that, having destroyed the old bourgeois system, the working class is incapable of building anything new to replace the old. The working class of our country has proved in practice that it is quite capable not only of destroying the old system but of building a new and better system, a Socialist system, a system, moreover, to which crises and unemployment are unknown.
The bourgeoisie of all countries asserts that the peasantry is incapable of taking the path of Socialism. The collective farm peasants of our country have proved in practice that they can do so quite successfully.
The chief endeavour of the bourgeoisie of all countries and of its reformist hangers-on is to kill in the working class faith in its own strength, faith in the possibility and inevitability of its victory, and thus to perpetuate capitalist slavery. For the bourgeoisie knows that if capitalism has not yet been overthrown and still continues to exist, it owes it not to its own merits, but to the fact that the proletariat has still not enough faith in the possibility of its victory. It cannot be said that the efforts of the bourgeoisie in this respect have been altogether unsuccessful. It must be confessed that the bourgeoisie and its agents among the working class have to some extent succeeded in poisoning the minds of the working class with the venom of doubt and scepticism. If the successes of the working class of our country, if its fight and victory serve to rouse the spirit of the working class in the capitalist countries and to strengthen its faith in its own power and in its victory, then our Party may say that its work has not been in vain. And there need be no doubt that this will be the case. (Loud and prolonged applause.)
Long live our victorious working class! (Applause.)
Long live our victorious collective-farm peasantry! (Applause.)
Long live our Socialist intelligentsia! (AppIause.)
Long live the great friendship of the nations of our country! (Applause.)
Long live the Communist Party of the Soviet Union! (Applause.)
(The delegates rise and hail Comrade Stalin with loud and stormy
cheers. Cries of: "Hurrah for Comrade Stalin!" "Hurrah for our great
Stalin!" "Hurrah for our beloved Stalin!")
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