Brief History of the October Revolution

The October Revolution is an extremely important event in world history. It was the first successful workers revolution. But how did it all happen? This is a brief overview of the complicated history of the October Revolution.

The Russian Empire was a totalitarian police state ruled by an absolute monarchy. The country was very backward economically and culturally. Average life expectancy in Russia was about 35 years. Only about 20% of the population knew how to read. The workers and peasants lived horrible lives, without the 8 hour working day, minimum wage laws or basic work safety regulations. There were many large strikes and protests but it was not uncommon that the police would shoot at the demonstrations and kill the strikers.

Despite how big the country was, there was a constant shortage of farm land and also constant famine. This is because most land belonged to the wealthy landlords and rich peasants. Because of technological backwardness, only the softest and most fertile soil could be used, this severely limited the amount of available farm land.
In 1898 the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party is created. Among its founders are people like Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov. This was a marxist party, that wanted to overthrow the monarchy and bring about socialism. However during the course of the struggle there is a lot of disagreement about when this goal is to be implemented and how. In 1903 there emerges a split in the party: two factions emerge: the Mensheviks led by Martov and the Bolsheviks led by Lenin.

During the years, although Lenin and many others first anticipated the two groups could merge again, the split ends up worsening and the two factions become separate parties: Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks) and Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks).

The main differences between the groups were the following:

1. The Bolsheviks wanted an organizationally united party of serious revolutionaries while the Mensheviks wanted a more loose reformist type party.

2. Both parties agreed that the next course of action was to overthrow the monarchy and carry out the so-called “bourgeois-democratic revolution”. This would make Russia a capitalist parliamentary democracy. However the Mensheviks argued that the class to lead the revolution was the bourgeoisie, the capitalist class. The bourgeois class served this function in the French Revolution. The Bolsheviks disagreed, they thought the capitalists couldn’t be trusted to carry out the democratic revolution, they were weaker then in France, they allied with the monarchy and feared the workers and peasants. In fact, the Bolshevik leader Lenin argued that the Russian proletariat was much stronger and more developed then the French proletariat of the late 1700s and therefore should lead the democratic revolution, and not merely support it.

3. Lastly, the Mensheviks didn’t think Russia was ready for Socialism, in their opinion the workers could never take power in Russia until after a long time of capitalist and parliamentary development. Even though the debate about workers revolution and socialism would only come about fully later, this attitude relates to the Menshevik position that the workers shouldn’t lead the democratic revolution, but only support the capitalist class against the monarchy.

In 1905 there is an attempt at the democratic revolution. There are massive protests all over the country, mutinies in the army and the people organize public meetings called “soviets” or councils, which would get together and discuss what to do. The revolution eventually fails. It won some democratic liberties from the Tsar, but those liberties would be constantly under attack by the monarchy afterwards. This revolution is seen as a dress-rehearsal for the later revolution.

In 1914 World War 1 begins, and launches Russia into chaos. The economy is ruined by the war, there is a shortage of food and large amounts of the population are drafted to fight in the war. The war is seen by many people, especially the socialist, as an unjust imperialist conquest, where millions of poor and working class people from different countries had to die for the profits and wealth of the capitalist and monarchist governments of their countries.

The attitude towards the war ends up splitting the international socialist movement. The so-called “2nd international working men’s association”. Many parties initially opposed the war, but then chose to support their own government in it, to protect their country from the other imperialist powers. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and other revolutionaries saw this as treachery. Surely, if everyone only supports their own imperialist government in an imperialist war, it doesn’t do anything to stop the war. They called for “turning the imperialist war to a class war”, friendship between the workers of the various countries, and unity against the capitalist governments of all warring countries. This led to the splitting of the international.

In February 1917 the Russian monarchy is overthrown. This leads to the creation of the Russian Provisional Government, consisting of the capitalist Cadet party, the Socialist-Revolutionary party or SR and the Mensheviks.

The Bolsheviks initially gave “conditional support” for the Provisional Government, meaning they supported it to the degree that it carried out the democratic reforms and other policies demanded by the population. However it soon became very evident the Provisional Government was a failure.

The Provisional government refused to carry out land-reform. It was necessary to prevent famine and reduce the land shortage, but it would have meant going against the power of the landlords.

The Provisional government also refused to impose stricter regulations on trading and the economy. This would have been necessary to prevent economic disaster, but it would have meant going against the capitalists who greatly profited from the war and the chaos.

Lastly, the Provisional government supported the war. They advocated a “war to a finish”, meaning until they won. It became evident that Russia was losing the war, however the Provisional government was still committed to fulfill the treaties and agreements with their allies in World War 1.

Clearly, supposed democratic government, with a quite a few self-proclaimed socialists in it should act in this way. The Bolsheviks were quick to point out that the Provisional government acts exactly like the Tsarist government, which also sided with the landlords, capitalists and started the imperialist war. The Provisional government was continuing Tsarist policy.

In April 1917, Vladimir Lenin returns to Russia from exile and puts forward his “april theses”, political proposals which call for the overthrow of the Provisional government.

The Bolsheviks put forward their slogans:

“Down with the provisional government”

“Down with the capitalist ministers”

“Factories for the workers, land to the peasants, end to the imperialist war,”

“Peace, Bread & Land”

In June the capital city, Petrograd (now called St. Petersburg) has municipal elections. Bolsheviks achieve a massive victory, growing from essentially nothing to one of the biggest parties. The so-called “defencist bloc” still gets the majority. This bloc consisted of the SR-party and mensheviks. Defencism, meant that they supported the war effort. Biggest loser of the election was the Cadet party, which achieved only 15% of the vote and lost its power as the biggest party.

On July 1
, Russia launches an offensive on the front, this is known as the “kerensky offensive” or the “July offensive.” The war was going badly and casualties were mounting for Russia, the blood-thirstyness of the imperialists and the Provisional government were very evident.

On July 3-4, there is a massive demonstration in Petrograd, of hundreds of thousands of people. Among the demonstrators are armed soldiers who have come from the front to demand change and revolution. The Bolsheviks urge caution and say that the demonstration should be peaceful and organized. They oppose bringing weapons to the demonstration and say that they are not yet strong enough for a revolution. The workers and soldiers decide to bring weapons despite the advice of the Bolsheviks but the Bolsheviks still take part in the demonstrations to lend support to the workers.

The workers and soldiers carry Bolshevik slogans “end the war”, “peace, bread and land”. There is a government crack down against the demonstrators. Machine guns shoot in the crowd, leaving countless dead. The Bolsheviks are now seen as a serious threat by the government. A warrant is issued for Lenin’s arrest, he is forced into hiding. Bolshevik newspaper Pravda is banned, their printing plant and party offices are destroyed. This period of reppression is known as the “July Days”. The Provisional government restores the death penalty on the front, against soldiers who disobey orders.

The Bolsheviks lose a lot of their forces, and many of their important resources. They begin publishing their newspapers under new names to avoid censorship. Despite all their difficulties the workers now support them more then ever, the Provisional government is exposed as a supporter of the capitalist elite and the imperialists. The Provisional government starts forming stronger ties with the old capitalist party, the Cadets to make up for the support they’ve lost from the workers.

In August, there is an attempted coup against the Provisional government, called the “Kornilov Affair”. Kornilov was a Whige Guard general in the Russian army, who wanted to institute military dictatorship and strong rule of law, to stop the chaos in Russia. In other words, complete counter-revolution, end to the demonstrations, end to democracy, end to the working class movement.

The railway workers strike and don’t transport his troops, and the workers and soldiers of Petrograd form armed Red Guard units and take up the defense of Petrograd against Kornilov. Kornilov’s coup ends in failure.
After the overthrow of the monarchy formation of soviets had begun again in all large cities, but for the time being their leadership would be predominantly menshevik.

In September the Bolsheviks gain the majority in the Petrograd Soviet and soon after in the soviets of Moscow and other large cities. The Soviets already carry out many important functions in the cities as the Russian government is incapable of doing so. The Soviets even organized the defense of Petrograd. As the economy is in ruins and the war effort is failing more people turn towards the Soviets.

The 6th Bolshevik party congress had agreed that they should carry out an armed revolution. In October the Petrograd Soviet creates a Military Revolutionary Committee. These special bodies are formed all over the country connected with each soviet in each city. The Menshevik and SR minorities in the soviets opposed revolution, but the SR party splits. The “left-SR” group sides with the Bolsheviks.

The Bolshevik soldiers organization takes over the garrison. On October 24 the Military Revolutionary Committee occupies the telegraph, the telephone and other important buildings. The cruiser Aurora, which is controlled by Bolshevik sailors, fires a shot to signal the beginning of the revolution. The workers and soldiers storm the winter palace. The same evening there is a congress of Soviets, where delegates arrive from all over the country. This congress elects the new Russian government, elected by the soviets of workers and soldiers, the Soviet Government. The October Revolution has taken power.

This would lead to a civil war where the Capitalists try to rescue their power. Where 14 capitalist governments including the USA, Great Britain, France, Japan, Poland and many others invaded Soviet Russia to destroy the Soviet government. But they failed, and the soviet union was created.

The significance of the October Revolution cannot be overstated. It showed that a revolution by the ordinary people is possible. It showed that capitalism in the end, is incapable of solving its internal contradictions. Despite getting moderate leftists into the government, the policy was as imperialist, profit driven and anti-popular as before. The moderate leftists didn’t improve capitalism, they were used by capitalism. Only revolution stopped Russia’s involvement in the World War, carried out land reform and dealt with the crisis of unregulated capitalism, and began the process of building a new economic model which would serve the needs and interests of the people, not profits.



Marxist-Leninist Theory


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On the Use of Trotskyists as Japanese Spies in China




On Revolutionary Medicine (1960)
Notes for the Study of the Ideology of the Cuban Revolution (1960)
Guerrilla_Warfare (1961)
Economics Cannot be Separated from Politics (1961)
Cuba: Historical exception or vanguard in the anticolonial struggle? (1961)
Mobilising the Masses for the Invasion (1961)
The Cadres: Backbone of the Revolution (1962)
Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War (1963)
Guerrilla warfare: A method (1963)
On Development (1964)
At the United Nations (1964)
At the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965)
Socialism and man in Cuba (1965)
Farewell letter from Che to Fidel Castro (1965)
Message to the Tricontinental (1967)

Socialism and Man in Cuba & Other Works (1968)



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Italian Communist leader and major theoretician. Gramsci was imprisoned when the Fascists came to power in Italy but continued his work in prison and wrote a vast amount of political writings during this time.


Gramsci Selections from Prison Notebooks
Gramsci Prison Notebooks volume 1
Gramsci Prison Notebooks volume 3

Other writings

“Gramsci and Stalin” by Aldo Bernardini


Important Finnish & Soviet Communist leader & theoretician. Kuusinen was one of the leaders of the Finnish Revolution of 1918. After the failure of the revolution he fled to the USSR where he was among the founders of the Finnish Communist Party the same year.

In the 1920s Kuusinen became a Comintern Leader and a collaborator with Lenin. In 1939 he led the Finnish People’s Government (a soviet backed faction in the Winter War). After the war he was the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Karelo-Finnish SSR until Khrushchev’s coming to power in 1956 but was able to continue theoretical and political work during de-stalinization.



The Finnish Revolution: A Self-Criticism
Under the Leadership of Russia (1924)
A Misleading Description of the “German October” (1925)
The Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies (1928) 
Concluding Speech of Comrade Kuusinen on the Colonial Question (1928)
A Warmongers’ International (1951)
Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism (1960) (PDF)  (Online Text)

Kuusisen kirjoituksia Suomeksi (Kuusinen works in Finnish)

Sosialismi ja yksilön vapaus (1. osa) (1906)
Sosialismi ja yksilön vapaus (2. osa) (1906)
Eduskuntakomitean ehdotus valtiopäiväjärjestykseksi (1906)
Senaatin laatima painovapauslakiehdotus (1906)
Eduskuntauudistuksen viimeiset vaiheet (1906)
Venäjän vallankumousliike ja Suomen sosialidemokratia (1906)
Oulun puoluekokouksen periaatteellinen merkitys (1906)
Laki hallituksen jäsenten oikeudellisesta vastuunalaisuudesta (1906)
Anarkia ja vallankumous (1906)
Avoin kirje toveri Leninille (1918)
Suomen vallankumouksesta: itsekritiikkiä
SKP:n taistelukyvyttömyyden syistä taistelussa fasismia vastaan
Suomen työtätekevälle kansalle
Työtätekevän kansan vihan ja aktiivisen vastarinnan kasvu (1943)
Lokakuun suuri sosialistinen vallankumous (1949)
Missä on Stalin, Siellä on Voitto (1949)



Työväen Venäjältä (1920) (teksti) (PDF)

Muita teoksia



The_Communist_Party_of_the_Soviet_Union (1929)
The_Success_of_the_5_Year_Plan (1931)
The October Revolution and the Triumph of Socialism (1932)
Soviet_Prosperity (1935)
Two_Speeches (1935)
The_International_Situation_and_the_Soviet_Union (1935)
On the New Soviet Constitution
(Nov 1937)
Speech at the Session of the Supreme Council of the U.S.S.R (1938)
The_Soviet_Union_in 1942: The Third Five-Year Plan (1939)
The Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union (Mar 1940) (PDF) (Text)
On the Nazi Invasion of the Soviet Union (Jun 22 1941)
On German Atrocities (1942)
Note of the People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the USSR (1942)
28th_Anniversary of October_Revolution (Nov 6 1945)
Electoral Speech in Moscow (Feb 1946)



On Communist Education (speeches and articles)
World_Peace_Or_War (1938)
Stalin: Sixty_Years_(1939)
Why_We_Win (1945)



Purging_the_party (1933)
Report on the organizational problems of party and soviet construction (1934)
Construction of the subway and the plan of the city of Moscow (1934)




Amendments to the Rules of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (1939)
About one anti-patriotic group of theatre critics (Jan 28 1949)
The Duty of a Soviet Writer (Aug 21, 1946)
On Literature, Music and Philosophy (1950)



Completion of the Reconstruction of the Entire National Economy (1934)




Reminiscences of Lenin (1933)
Why Is the Second International Defending Trotsky?
Soviet_Woman:_A_Citizen_With_Equal_Rights (1937)

Other writings




Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1920)
Lenin Eulogy (1924)
Soviet Literature (1934)
Pushkin: An Appraisal (1937)
The People Must Know Their History! (1939)
A letter to Stalin

Other writings




(Unofficial English translations courtesy of A Red In Ohio)

Thälmann Works Volume I 1919-1928
Thälmann Volume II 1928-1930
Thälmann Works Volume III 1930-1932
Thälmann Volume IV 1932-1933

Deutsch (In German)

Thälmann Werke Band I 1919-1928
Thälmann Werke Band II 1928-1930
Thälmann Werke Band III 1930-1932
Thälmann Werke Band IV 1932-1933


Walter Ulbrich

“How is the unity for the fall of Hitler?” (Aug 27 1939)
First Coincidence near Stalingrad – Talk with Catholic priest Josef Kayser (Feb 2 1944)
“Questions of the United Front in Germany“ (Aug 26 1939)




People’s Poland (1948)
The Six Year Plan (1950)


Sverdlov: short_biographical_sketch (1932)


kirov speeches writings (1937) [In Russian]



On the Kurdish National Question (1972)

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, Selected Works

Short biography of Kaypakkaya:
Life and Struggle of Kaypakkaya (2002)


HARRY HAYWOOD: (credit to The Marxist-Leninist for collecting a lot of this material on their site)


Comintern Resolutions on the African American National Question (1928 and 1930)
Lynching, A Weapon of of National Oppression (1932)
The Struggle for the Leninist Position on the Negro Question in the United States (1933)
The South Comes North in Detroit’s Own Scottsboro Case (1934)
Negro Liberation (1948)
For a Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question (1958)
Letter from Harry Haywood to the Provisional Organizing Committee (1958)
The Crisis and Growth of Negro Reformism and the Growth of Nationalism (1965)
The Two Epochs of Nation-Development: Is Black Nationalism a Form of Classical Nationalism? (1965)
Is the Black Bourgeoisie the Leader of the Black Liberation Movement? (1966)
The Nation of Islam: An Estimate (1967)
Unite to Build the New Party (1976)
Speech at CPML Congress: “We Have Taken the First Step on a Long March” (1977)

Searching for Answers
(from Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist –1978)
Trotsky’s Day in Court (from Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist –1978)
The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s (from Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist –1978)

China and its Supporters Were Wrong About the USSR (1984)

Other writings



ho chi mihn stalin lenin

Lenin And The Colonial Peoples (Jan 27, 1924)
Three letters from Ho Chi Minh (1939)
The Path Which Led Me To Leninism (1960)

Other writings


Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton
by Bobby Seale (pdf) (audio)

One the Ideology of the Black Panther Party by Eldridge Cleaver
Soul On Ice by Eldridge Cleaver (pdf) (audio)

A history of the Black Panther Party (text) (audio)



The Wretched of the Earth (1965) (text) (audio)


Erich Honecker

From My Life (biography)

The GDR: A State of Peace and Socialism (1984)
Two speeches to the Free German Youth


Who are the enemies of the people? (March 26, 1983)
Political Orientation Speech (Oct 2, 1983)
Struggle for a bright future (Aug 4, 1983)
Power must be conquered by a conscious people (Aug 21, 1983)
The People’s revolutionary courts (Jan 3, 1984)
There is only one colour – that of African unity (Aug 1984)
On receiving the Josê Martî order (Sep 25, 1984)
Revolution is a perpetual teacher (Aug 4, 1987)
Last Written Speech


Lenin book


Socialism in One Country: What it really means

Socialism in One Country is a theory mostly associated with the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin whose government adopted it as official policy. However the theory was heavily based on the writings of Soviet revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin.

Lenin’s Theory Against dogmatism

Socialism in One Country proposes that it is possible to build Socialism (”complete socialist society”) even in a single country, and even a poor less-developed one or a third world country. This went against the view held by dogmatists, trotskyists and other opportunists that socialism was possible only in wealthy industrial countries and only if established simultaneously in several of them. The dogmatist view was a vulgarization of Marxism & didn’t correspond to the material realities of the world in the epoch of global imperialism.

Trotskyists and many other opportunist groupings vehemently deny that Lenin supported the theory of Socialism in One Country. Examining this issue is the main focus of the latter portion of this article.


Lenin’s theory went boldly against opportunism & dogmatism


Often times opportunists make the claim that Socialism in One Country goes against Proletarian internationalism or abandons the aim of World Revolution.

Trotsky claimed in his book The Permanent Revolution that Socialism in One Country:

makes a breach between the national revolution and the international revolution.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Socialism in One Country is a tactic to achieve those internationalist ends and history has proven it to be successful in it, since the Soviet Union actually managed to help many other revolutionary governments take power and spread Socialism to many other countries in all parts of the world.

”…the victory of socialism is possible in separate countries, thus envisaging the prospect of the formation of two parallel centres of attraction; the centre of world capitalism and the centre of world socialism.”
~Stalin, Results of the July Plenum of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) (1928)

The theory of Socialism in One Country doesn’t contradict world revolution, in fact it does the opposite. It argues that any country can build socialism, if it lacks the basic requirements of Socialism, it can at least work to fulfill those requirements and then build socialism:

”You say that civilization is necessary for the building of socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create such prerequisites of civilization in our country by the expulsion of the landowners and the Russian capitalists, and then start moving toward socialism? Where, in what books, have you read that such… sequence of events are impermissible or impossible?
~Lenin, “Our Revolution” (1923)


Stalin-era Soviet coat of arms. Advocating world-communism.

The ”Alternative” of the Opportunists

To oppose Socialism in One Country would mean denying the third world poor the possibility of building socialism since according to the opportunists their countries ”lack the requirements” for it. They would have to wait for the white Europeans to first establish socialism and finally spread it elsewhere.

In his book Trotsky criticized Socialism in One Country in the following way:

”This theory imposes upon revolutions in backward countries the task of establishing an unrealizable regime of democratic dictatorship, which it counterposes to the dictatorship of the proletariat. Thereby this theory introduces illusions and fictions into politics, paralyses the struggle for power of the proletariat in the East, and hampers the victory of the colonial revolution.”

This is a somewhat fancy way of saying that the third world people of Asia were in Trotsky’s mind not ready for Socialism due to their economic and cultural state. To build socialism in Asia was impossible according to Trotsky, to even try would mean to”impose… the task of establishing an unrealizable regime of democratic dictatorship.”

What this convoluted jumble means is that Trotsky accuses third world people of class-collaboration as opposed to of class struggle. Trotsky subscribes to the dogmatic theory that third world semi-feudal & semi-colonial countries could only at best achieve modern capitalism and to attempt anything further would be an ”illusion” and a ”fiction.”

The rest of Trotsky’s point is barely intelligible nonsense:

The very seizure of power by the proletariat signifies, from the standpoint of the epigones theory, the completion of the revolution… The theory of the kulak growing into socialism and the theory of the neutralization of the world bourgeoisie are consequently inseparable from the theory of socialism in one country. They stand or fall together.”

He claims the seizure of state power by the proletariat implies the completion of the revolution. Any third world revolutionary would disagree. For instance the Chinese Communists established a temporary system of New Democracy as a way of transitioning from semi-colonialism to socialism through a state led mixed-economy with the communists in charge.

The point about kulaks growing into socialism is hysterical since the Soviet Union actually adopted the total opposite policy of ”Eliminating Kulaks as a Class” i.e. stripping them of their kulak status entirely. Similar collectivization policies were implemented in China also. Also the Soviet Union was highly antagonistic to the capitalist powers. Stalin had no plans to capitulate to world capitalism or end the global class struggle. Trotsky’s critiques are dishonest and baseless relying more on big words then fact.

Earlier in his text ”1905” Trotsky had argued against building Socialism in a poor peasant country in the following manner:

”…the proletarian vanguard in the very earliest stages of its rule would have to make extremely deep inroads not only into feudal but also into bourgeois property relations. While doing so it would enter into hostile conflict, not only with all those bourgeois groups which had supported it during the first stages of its revolutionary struggle, but also with the broad masses of the peasantry… The contradictions between a workers’ government and an overwhelming majority of peasants in a backward country could be resolved only on an international scale, in the arena of a world proletarian revolution.”

In response to this anti-peasant theory Lenin said:

“From the Bolsheviks Trotsky’s original theory has borrowed their call for a decisive proletarian revolutionary struggle and for the conquest of political power by the proletariat, while from the Mensheviks it has borrowed “repudiation” of the peasantry’s role… Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal-labour politicians in Russia, who by “repudiation” of the role of the peasantry understand a refusal to raise up the peasants for the revolution!”
~Lenin, On the Two Lines in the Revolution

Not only is this idea that third world people are not ready for socialism quasi-racist, it is also strategically unsound. Firstly, the vast majority of the world’s workers are from third world countries. Second, experience has shown us, in the epoch of modern imperialism the poor of the developing world have demonstrated great revolutionary potential. In fact in our current stage they demonstrate greater revolutionary energy then Westerners. The opportunists are out of touch with these basic realities, their theory is useless and their movement irrelevant as an alternative for the workers of the world.

Utopian defeatism

But why do the opportunists so vehemently oppose Socialism in One Country? One reason maybe that they oppose anything associated with the Soviet Union or Stalin. However more often then not from trotskyists one hears them express one of the following three reasons

1) that they oppose Socialism in One Country on ”internationalist” grounds
2) view that a single socialist country can never survive
3) they think socialism can’t be built in a poor country

The first claim I already dealt with. They either don’t understand what they’re talking about or are dishonest. I already explained why the third argument is troubling, together with argument number two it falls under the category of defeatism, that unless the revolution happens in many countries at the same time, and in the West it’s pointless to even try. Or that if the revolution happens in only one country then it must somehow aggressively try to spread the revolution elsewhere. Since the USSR actually did spread it to other countries it seems the opportunists think it should have simply been more aggresive. This seems tactically and ideologically questionable.

Basically the opportunists have no good alternative to propose and this has been proved by history. Trotskyists or any other opponents of Socialism in One Country have never been able to carry out a revolution, let alone a world-wide revolution. The only theory that has been able carry out victorious socialist revolutions not in one, but in multiple countries is the theory of Socialism in One Country.

Quotation mongering?

It is ironic that though Opportunists often accuse Marxist-Leninists of ”quotation mongering” they themselves are quick to use quotations when they suit their own needs. The difference is of course, that only a small handful of carefully selected out-of-context quotes, actually help the case of the Opportunists. This is why they tend to use quotations less often.

Truly, only an Opportunist would even use a term like ”Stalinist quotation monger”, as if using evidence to justify one’s claim was somehow bad. In this I am unrepentant, guilty as charged. I will continue to quote Lenin.

study theory

Quotes are not bad!  “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement” ~LENIN

The alleged ”counter-argument” by Engels

Opponents of Socialism in One Country will point to a passage of Engels from the Principles of Communism, a pre-cursor to the Manifesto of the Communist League. First Engels states:

“Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?

No. By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others…”* (see end notes)

This is actually not what the opponents of Socialism in One Country would want. The argument Engels makes is that a Communist Revolution would spread almost by necessity. In fact this did happen in Europe in the aftermath of WWI, though all those revolutions were defeated with the sole exception of the October Revolution. Engels continues:

”Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon…”

This is also in perfect accordance with Lenin and even with Stalin’s conception. In ”Results of the July Plenum of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.)” Stalin states that revolutions happen in individual countries, but because of the global nature of capitalism this turns into a world-wide struggle of two great camps or centres; ”the centre of world capitalism and the centre of world socialism.” as he called them. This is exactly what the Cold War was. Engels continues:

”…but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries―that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany. It will develop in each of these countries more or less rapidly, according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces…”

This is perhaps the most interesting part for us. The immediate question is how rapid this ”simultaneous” event is? Engels calls it ”more or less rapid” so we don’t really know. His argument about the different conditions of each country is sound but it implies that this process is not really all that rapid at all. By ”simultaneous” he seems to only mean the process happens in all capitalist countries due to the global nature of the system. This is not really in any great contradiction with Stalin’s view at all. He continues:

…Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England. It will have a powerful impact on the other countries of the world, and will radically alter the course of development which they have followed up to now, while greatly stepping up its pace…”

This further implies that the process is actually very much gradual. One should also point out that he talks about a Communist Revolution, not the building of a Socialist Society. We know that Communist Revolutions can succeed in individual countries as was proven by October, but Engels is perfectly correct in pointing that these Revolutions by their very nature will spread to other countries and exist in a context of global class-struggle. I’ll deal with this topic in further detail when talking about the ”Final Victory of Socialism.”

Lastly Engels states about the Communist Revolution:

”…It is a universal revolution and will, accordingly, have a universal range.”

This re-iterates what we said previously. Obviously Communism will have to be a global system, although this has somewhat different implications in our context as opposed to when Engels wrote his text. Now let us briefly return to one earlier point and also look at Stalin’s comments on this passage by Engels. This is what Stalin says about it:

”That was written in the forties of the last century, when monopoly capitalism did not yet exist. It is characteristic that there is not even a mention here of Russia; Russia is left out altogether. And that is quite understandable, since at that time Russia with its revolutionary proletariat, Russia as a revolutionary force, did not yet exist and could not have existed. Was what is said here, in this quotation, correct in the conditions of pre-monopoly capitalism, in the period when Engels wrote it? Yes, it was correct. Is this opinion correct now, in the new conditions, the conditions of monopoly capitalism and proletarian revolution? No, it is no longer correct.”
~Stalin, The Social-Democratic Deviation in our Party

Stalin points out the different stage of history Engels wrote his text in, the age before modern imperialism. Engels proposes the classic orthodox Marxist prediction that revolution will happen in developed European states. This did occur post-wwi but the revolutions failed everywhere except Russia. On top of that in the epoch of modern imperialism it has become clear that the frontline of revolution was shifted towards the developing world, not first world imperialist countries. Engels was correct in his own context, but its safe to say things have taken an unforeseen turn. To claim nothing has change since Engels would be nothing but opportunism.

Opponents of Socialism in One Country should keep in mind that Engels says nothing about Socialism being impossible in Russia, what he does is propose that Revolution would begin in the West. Granted he bases his prediction on the idea that capitalism is more developed in the West, but he wrote before the birth of imperialism.

Let’s refer to Lenin on this issue:

“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone…”
~Lenin, “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”

Is Lenin contradicting Engels? Not exactly, he is merely pointing out the new historical situation, the epoch of modern imperialism. As Stalin said: ”[I]n the period when Engels wrote… Yes, it was correct.”

Furthermore one should keep in mind that when Engels wrote the West itself was less developed then in the early 1900s. Urban Russia in 1917 was in many ways comparable to urban Germany in 1847. The Opportunists who claimed dogmatically that Socialism was utterly impossible in Russia were already destroyed by Lenin:

”Infinitely stereotyped, for instance, is the argument they learned by rote during the development of West-European Social-Democracy, namely, that we are not yet ripe for socialism, but as certain “learned” gentleman among them put it, the objective economic premises for socialism do not exist in our country… “The development of the productive forces of Russia has not yet attained the level that makes socialism possible.” All the heroes of the Second International, including, of course, Sukhanov, beat the drums about this proposition. They keep harping on this incontrovertible proposition in a thousand different keys, and think that it is decisive criterion of our revolution… You say that civilization is necessary for the building of socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create such prerequisites of civilization in our country by the expulsion of the landowners and the Russian capitalists, and then start moving toward socialism? Where, in what books, have you read that such variations of the customary historical sequence of events are impermissible or impossible?”
~Lenin, “Our Revolution” (1923)

Lenin’s statement is in perfect accordance with the mindset of what Engels said earlier, though Engels speaks of revolution and not socialist construction:

”…the communist revolution … will develop in each of these countries … according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces. Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England…”

Engels says the process will meet more difficulties in less developed Germany, but he at no point implies it to be impossible. In fact Engels explains what he seems to perceive as adequate capitalist development for a ”civilized” (modern industrial) country as follows:

”…it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day…”

The fact that bourgeoisie & proletariat are the decisive classes seems to be enough for him. Another question is to define what he means by ”decisive”. Opportunists will scream that the developing world is not ready because they have many peasants, but in 1847 so did the Western countries. Clearly decisive means something else then numerical superiority, it means the emergence of those two classes as independent political forces and the emergence of capitalist relations in the country. Lenin’s thesis was the alliance of the proletariat & the peasantry, even Trotsky and other opportunists had to eventually agree to the correctness of this.

Exploring this topic in-depth is beyond the scope of this article, but I will say is that an alliance of this kind under the leadership of the proletariat is perfectly in accordance with Marxism:

”…we consider the small peasant living by his own labor as virtually belonging to us, but [helping them is] also in the direct interest of the Party. The greater the number of peasants whom we can save from being actually hurled down into the proletariat, whom we can win to our side while they are still peasants, the more quickly and easily the social transformation will be accomplished.”
~Engels, The Peasant Question in France and Germany



Under Stalin’s leadership while applying Lenin’s theory the Soviet Union became a socialist country


The alleged ”counter-arguments” by Lenin

Trotskyists and other Opportunist will occasionally point out a Lenin quote that seemingly argues that socialism in Russia is impossible. They do this to justify their defeatism, their utopian need to reject any real-life revolutions as not representing the rosy picture in their mind.

Now let’s take a look at some of these quotes. I will have to use guess-work to some degree as no quote from Lenin truly argues in favor of the Opportunists. As no such quote exists I will look at some which could be misinterpreted as doing so. Here is one:

”Capital is an international force. To vanquish it, an international workers’ alliance, an international workers’ brotherhood, is needed. We are opposed to national enmity and discord, to national exclusiveness. We are internationalists.”
~Lenin, Letter to the Workers and Peasants of the Ukraine (1919)

Opportunists like quotes where Lenin uses the word ”internationalism” because in their fantasy Stalin and therefore Socialism in One Country was opposed to internationalism. This is of course false. We will look at this in greater detail in connexion with ”the Final Victory of Socialism.” For now I will simply present this short passage, as if this even needed to be said:

”We must be true to the end to the cause of proletarian internationalism, to the cause of the fraternal alliance of the proletarians of all countries.”
~Stalin, Report to the 17th Party Congress on the Work of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (1934)

One of the more frequently used quotes is this:

We are now, as it were, in a besieged fortress, waiting for the other detachments of the world socialist revolution to come to our relief… Slowly but surely the workers are adopting communist, Bolshevik tactics and are marching towards the proletarian revolution, which alone is capable of saving dying culture and dying mankind. In short, we are invincible, because the world proletarian revolution is invincible.”
~Lenin Letter To American Workers (1918)

Really this talk of a ”besieged fort” does not greatly differ from classic Stalinist rhetoric about ”capitalist encirclement” or in any way contradict Stalin’s view.

At this point I can’t remember any quotes where Lenin or some other Bolshevik stated that without outside help their revolution wasn’t going to survive but I am fairly certain I’ve seen such a quote. In any case if such a quote exists it only means two things:

1) They were talking about the survival of their insurrection. This is a question of military strength, not a theoretical question.

2) They would have been mistaken, since they actually did end up surviving.

Basically such notions would have been fairly standard stuff for the time. The Bolsheviks all wanted the Revolution to succeed all over the world, e.g. this is Lenin in the same letter to American workers in 1918:

”We are banking on the inevitability of the world revolution, but this does not mean that we are such fools as to bank on the revolution inevitably coming on a definite and early date…”

He is writing in the dire military situation when they hoped some other country would come to their aid. However after their power consolidated and the European revolutions failed Lenin & the Bolsheviks chose a different tone:

“…when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth.”
~Lenin, “Speech to the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets”

“Since Soviet power has been established, since the bourgeoisie has been overthrown in one country, the second task is to wage the struggle on a world scale… On the other hand, since the rule of the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, the main task is to organise the development of the country.”
~Lenin, “The Achievements and Difficulties of the Soviet Government”

Even in his 1918 letter to America Lenin makes the clarification that they don’t know how long they’ll be the only socialist country in the world and their immediate situation is not untennable. This all relates to the ”Final Victory of Socialism” which we shall look at in the next part.


Lenin and Stalin are suspicious of opportunism

”The Final Victory of Socialism”
First let’s cover some basic ”stalinist” terminology:

Capitalist encirclement

The USSR was a single Proletarian state surrounded by hostile capitalist countries. A base for world revolution. This situation was referred to as ”capitalist encirclement.”

Complete Socialist Society

Term coined by Lenin which meant a society in the low stage of communism (to use orthodox marxist terminology) i.e. The means of production are owned in common (by state & collective sectors), private property and market economy have been abolished. When agriculture was collectivized and five-year plans implemented Stalin proclaimed that the USSR had reached this stage.

Final Victory of Socialism

Guarantee against capitalist restoration or invasion.

Now let’s look at this last term more closely. In 1924 Stalin pointed out that according to Lenin:

”The dictatorship of the proletariat is a power which rests on an alliance between the proletariat and the laboring masses of the peasantry for “the complete overthrow of capital” and for “the final establishment and consolidation of socialism.”
~Stalin, The October Revolution & the Tactics of the Russian Communists (1924)

Interestingly in the first edition of The Foundations of Leninism Stalin stated:

”…can the final victory of socialism be achieved in one country, without the joint efforts of the proletarians in several advanced countries? No, it cannot. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are sufficient; this is proved by the history of our revolution. For the final victory of socialism, for the organisation of socialist production, the efforts of one country, particularly of a peasant country like Russia, are insufficient; for that, the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are required”

However in Concerning Questions of Leninism he explains:

”I modified and corrected this formulation in my pamphlet The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists (December 1924); I divided the question into two―into the question of a full guarantee against the restoration of the bourgeois order, and the question of the possibility of building a complete socialist society in one country. This was effected, in the first place, by treating the “complete victory of socialism” as a “full guarantee against the restoration of the old order,” which is possible only through “the joint efforts of the proletarians of several countries”; and, secondly, by proclaiming, on the basis of Lenin’s pamphlet On Co-operation, the indisputable truth that we have all that is necessary for building a complete socialist society”

It was standard dogma for Marxists to echo the statements similar to the Engels passage we looked at in the beginning of this article, that the revolution relied on the developed Western countries. That said I find it fascinating that Stalin held the more orthodox Marxist view longer then Lenin. On Co-operation was written in 1923 and was Lenin’s last major theoretical contribution. Socialism in One Country truly was Lenin’s invention, merely applied and carried out by Stalin.

So in the last formulation ”the final victory of socialism” means:

“the final victory of Socialism, in the sense of full guarantee against the restoration of bourgeois relations, is possible only on an international scale”
~Resolution of the Fourteenth Conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

“The final victory of Socialism is the full guarantee against attempts at intervention, and that means against restoration, for any serious attempt at restoration can take place only with serious support from outside, only with the support of international capital.”
~Stalin, Problems of Leninism

In his ”On the Final Victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.” Stalin presents the following Lenin quote to explain his view:

“We are living not merely in a State but in a system of States, and it is inconceivable that the Soviet Republic should continue to coexist for a long period side by side with imperialist States. Ultimately one or other must conquer. Meanwhile, a number of terrible clashes between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois States is inevitable. This means that if the proletariat, as the ruling class, wants to and will rule, it must prove this also by military organization.”
~Lenin (Collected Works, Vol. 24. P. 122.)** (see end notes)

So final victory means guarantee against restoration and intervention. In my opinion Stalin somewhat over emphasized foreign invasions though one can hardly blame him. He said that possibly even the existence of several Socialist countries could be sufficient guarantee but this has been proven to be overly optimistic.

That said the basic formulation of ”final victory” remains correct. Personally I would define guarantee against restoration as: global victory of the revolution, complete or near complete elimination of capitalism on a global scale. Call me pessimist but I think only at such a stage can we truly say we’ve won.

LENIN on ‘Socialism in one country’

Here I will leave a series of quotations from Lenin talking about Communist Revolution in One Country or building Socialist Production in One Country. Of course when we talk about ”Socialism in One Country” we mean the latter.

“Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organising their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world―the capitalist world…”
~Lenin, “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” (1915)

“…Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries…”
~Lenin, “The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution” (1916)

“…when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth.”
~Lenin, “Speech to the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets” (1918)

“Since Soviet power has been established, since the bourgeoisie has been overthrown in one country, the second task is to wage the struggle on a world scale… On the other hand, since the rule of the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, the main task is to organise the development of the country.”
~Lenin, “The Achievements and Difficulties of the Soviet Government” (1919)

Socialism is no longer a matter of the distant future… We have dragged socialism into everyday life, and here we must find our way… Permit me to conclude by expressing the conviction that, difficult as this task may be, new as it may be compared with our previous task, and no matter how many difficulties it may entail, we shall all―not in one day, but in the course of several years―all of us together fulfil it whatever happens so that NEP Russia will become socialist Russia
~Lenin, “Speech At A Plenary Session Of The Moscow Soviet Nov. 20, 1922”

”As a matter of fact, the political power of the Soviet over all large-scale means of production, the power in the state in the hands of the proletariat, the alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small and very small peasants, the assured leadership of the peasantry by the proletariat, etc, …is not this all that is necessary in order from the co-operatives – from the co-operatives alone, which we formerly treated as huckstering, and which, from a certain aspect, we have the right to treat as such now, under the new economic policy – is not this all that is necessary in order to build a complete socialist society? This is not yet the building of socialist society but it is all that is necessary and sufficient for this building.”
~Lenin, “On Cooperation” (1923)

”Infinitely stereotyped, for instance, is the argument they learned by rote during the development of West-European Social-Democracy, namely, that we are not yet ripe for socialism, but as certain “learned” gentleman among them put it, the objective economic premises for socialism do not exist in our country… “The development of the productive forces of Russia has not yet attained the level that makes socialism possible.” All the heroes of the Second International, including, of course, Sukhanov, beat the drums about this proposition. They keep harping on this incontrovertible proposition in a thousand different keys, and think that it is decisive criterion of our revolution… You say that civilization is necessary for the building of socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create such prerequisites of civilization in our country by the expulsion of the landowners and the Russian capitalists, and then start moving toward socialism? Where, in what books, have you read that such variations of the customary historical sequence of events are impermissible or impossible?”
~Lenin, “Our Revolution” (1923)

STALIN on ‘Socialism in one country’

Here will be Stalin quotes to the same effect explaining what considers ”Socialism in One Country”:

”The dictatorship of the proletariat is the instrument of the proletarian revolution, its organ, its most important mainstay, brought into being for the purpose of, firstly, crushing the resistance of the overthrown exploiters and consolidating the achievements of the proletarian revolution, and secondly, carrying the revolution to the complete victory of socialism.”
~Stalin, The Foundations of Leninism (1924)

”This fact shows that socialised funds constitute a very large share of the total, and this share is growing compared with the share of property in the non-socialised sector… Our system as a whole is transitional from capitalism to socialism”
~Stalin, The Fourteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) (1925)

”And so, what is the victory of socialism in our country? It means achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat and completely building socialism, thus overcoming the capitalist, elements in our economy through the internal forces of our revolution.”
~Stalin, The Social-Democratic Deviation in our Party (1926)

”Only the blind can deny that the progress in the building of socialism in our country”
~Stalin, The Trotskyist Opposition Before and Now (1927)

”…the victory of socialism is possible in separate countries, thus envisaging the prospect of the formation of two parallel centres of attraction – the centre of world capitalism and the centre of world socialism.”
~Stalin, Results of the July Plenum of the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.) (1928)

“the question stands as follows: either one way or the other, either back―to capitalism, or forward―to socialism. There is not, and cannot be, any third way.”
~Stalin, Concerning Questions of Agrarian Policy in the U.S.S.R. (1929)

Quotes about the ”Final Victory of Socialism”

”…when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and of its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth. The final victory of socialism in a single country is of course impossible.”
~Third All-Russia Congress Of Soviets Of Workers’, Soldiers’ And Peasants’ Deputies (1918)

We are living not merely in a state, but in a system of states, and it is inconceivable for the Soviet Republic to exist alongside of the imperialist states for any length of time. One or the other must triumph in the end.”
~Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) (1919)

“The final victory of Socialism is the full guarantee against attempts at intervention, and that means against restoration, for any serious attempt at restoration can take place only with serious support from outside, only with the support of international capital.”
~Stalin, Problems of Leninism (1934)

“the final victory of Socialism, in the sense of full guarantee against the restoration of bourgeois relations, is possible only on an international scale”
~Stalin, On the Final Victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. (1938)


I know it might be annoying to some but all quotes are in italics. This is to ensure they stand out from my own commentary.


this Lenin quote was given in an early edition of Lenin’s works. The quote originates from Lenin’s speech at the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) It is translated differently in the new edition with the word ”conquer” changed to ”triumph”. As a result of this people have had some difficulty finding it and some Opportunists on the internet have jumped to the baseless conclusion that the quote is a Stalinist fabrication! This is a slanderous lie. On top of that there would be absolutely no point to commit such fabrication as Lenin said similar things in many other writings.


On the Alleged Forgery of ”Lenin’s Testament”

(Thoughts regarding V.A. Sakharov’s article)

I have previously talked about some of the myths surrounding the collection of documents known as ”Lenin’s testament” or more accurately Lenin’s Letter to the Congress. We know Leon Trotsky distorted the whole meaning of these documents in order to use them as a political weapon against Stalin, his rival, and this is still a favorite pastime of Trotskyists to this day. They rarely stop to analyse the deeper meaning of the documents and focus on quoting and repeating ad nauseam a couple of select lines critical of Joseph Stalin.

In this article I won’t be going into the meaning or context behind those well-known passages (”Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General” etc.) instead I will give my personal opinion on a controversial topic that has recently been on my mind – the alleged forgery of Lenin’s letters. My interest was sparked initially by V. A. Sakharov’s article published in English as The Forgery of the ‘Lenin Testament’ (1997).

How could it be?

At first the mere thought of the letters being forged seems too incredible. Afterall nobody doubted their authenticity at the time. Even Stalin rather then contesting their authenticity chose to apologize to Lenin and admit his rudeness publicly. However certain facts that have come to light raise some questions.

Sakharov divides the letter documents into two categories:

1) the texts and articles provably written by Lenin himself for instance the articles Better fewer, but better (January-March 1923) and On Cooperation (Jan 4-6 1923)

2) the texts which cannot be proven to have been written by Lenin. These are basically the later dictated additions to the letter. Curiously its precisely these few additions that cannot be proven to have come from Lenin’s pen which are also the ones critical of Stalin.

What is the evidence?

At this point everyone should be wondering about the evidence. The unfortunate fact is (as is often the case with controversial historical topics) that we might never know for absolute certain but here are the things we do know: the dictations are not signed by Lenin. Their authenticity could be verified by the diary of his secretariat but this is typically not the case, the diary was partially incomplete and filled retro-actively. On top of that the personal papers of Lenin’s doctors often outright contradict the alleged dates of the dictations, some of which are dated at times when Lenin’s doctors explicitly say he was not working with his secretaries or dictating anything.

While this does not prove the dictations to be forgeries it casts serious doubt on their authenticity. This taken with the fact that they are strikingly dissimilar to Lenin’s own writings both stylistically and in content and character I personally cannot anymore believe them to be authentic. Previously I held the view that the change in style and content to be the result of Lenin’s illness, that he was dying. However I no longer believe that to be the case.

The Argument

So what exactly do the forged segments say? They are critical of Stalin of course, questioning his ability to handle responsibility and his moral character, calling him rude etc., One might argue that surely if the supporters of Trotsky and Zinoviev had forged the documents then surely they would have been even more critical of Stalin? That is not necessarily the case. If you were trying to forge a Lenin document then what would you do? There were virtually no ideological or political differences or disagreements between Lenin and Stalin.

That leaves few options: questioning Stalin’s capabilities, referring to his rudeness (Zinoviev knew about the incident between Stalin & Krupskaya and even later tried exploiting it for political gain though this was promptly put an end to by Krupskaya and Maria Ulyanova), and criticizing Stalin’s practical work rather then theoretical or ideological position. Coincidentally (?) this is precisely what the dictated (forged?) segments exhibit. The seemingly illogical and uncharacteristic dictated addition on Stalin’s rudeness, a section questioning his capabilities to handle power and lastly the letters relating to Stalin’s, Orjonikidze’s and Dzershinsky’s handling of the war effort in Georgia.

Needless to say it would have been uncharacteristic for Lenin to criticize someone behind their back or conspire. Also taking matters personally and being offended or holding grudges would have been equally unlike him. In short, on top of being of unverified authenticity the dictated sections read like someone trying to attack others in Lenin’s name – pretending to be Lenin and doing a pretty bad job at it!


The Forgery of the ‘Lenin Testament’” by V. A. Sakharov

On the Relations between Lenin and Stalin” by Maria Ulyanova


The results of the 1st & 2nd Five-Year Plans: Soviet industrial revolution.

The following are economic statistics from the Soviet Union’s First and Second Five-Year Plans with my commentary giving some context and helping you better interpret the numbers.

The four periods depicted in these statistics are the following:

1) The last Czarist census of 1913. This represents the height of the economic development of the Russian Empire. The economy of the Russian Empire declined during WWI (1914-1917).

2) The NEP figures of 1929. These figures depict the state of the economy before planned economy was fully implemented. During the NEP industry was largely nationalized but farming was mostly done by private producers and there existed a private sector of capitalist manufacturers. The goal of the NEP was to rebuild the country after the devastating Civil War (1918-1922). At the beginning of the NEP the Soviet Economy was in shambles and production at a worse state then in 1913.

3) The First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932). The implementation of Planned Economy, Industrialization and the Collectivization of Agriculture. All sectors of the economy grew during this time especially industry but also food production, consumer goods production and military spending.

4) The Second Five Year Plan (1933-1938) Consolidation of Collective Farming, the completion of the vast industrial projects of the first plan, massive increase in military spending. The 1937 constitution: implementation of free healthcare, free compulsory schooling. Massive improvements in education: construction of thousands of schools, academies and institutions of higher learning, cinemas, theaters and cultural institutions for the common people.



Co-operative farming and use of modern technology allowed the cultivation of previously unused land. Area under crops increased both compared to the last Czarist census of 1913 and the NEP figures. The bad weather of 1932-33 caused a temporary decrease:

Area under crops in ussr 1913-1933.jpg


The trend of fast growth continued and intensified during the Second Five-Year Plan:

Areas under all crops in ussr 1913-38.jpg



Most of the land was cultivated by Collective Farmers while the remaining land was cultivated by private farmers and the State Sector:

Area under crops per sector 1929-33.jpg
The Collective Farm Movement that had existed in Russia since at least 1905 gained new energy after the October Revolution and fastened it’s pace even more during the NEP. In 1928 it became an official government campaign and reached a tremendous speed. The rate of collectivization in 1930-32 was blindingly fast, even too fast. Stalin said the Collective Farm Activists were being “Dizzy With Success”. In 1933-38 the speed was reduced to a more manageable rate:




The amount of food crops produced increased tremendously during both Five-Year Plans as did the production of industrial crops. Notice the fluctuation in the level of sugar-beet farming: The 1929 figure represents the aftermath of the devastating Civil War that destroyed the economy, production increased massively in 1930. In 1931-32 the sugar-beet sector was reorganized which also caused a temporary reduction. In 1933 production began to increase yet again:

Area under industrial crops in ussr 1913-1933.jpg



During the Second Five-Year Plan the growth continued at a more consistent rate. At first glance you might think the production of grain actually didn’t increase much however this is not true: the production of grain increased from 1929 and from 1933 figures which were lower then the 1913 pre-War numbers. Secondly although grain production was only 118,6% of the pre-War figures it was achieved with a vastly smaller proportional work force. During the 1930s the USSR had gone from an agrarian country to an industrial country. Millions of people had moved from the countryside to the cities and an increasing amount of farmland had been harnessed for farming industrial crops. Despite all of this food production was greater then ever before!

“A peasant population rising from 120.7 to 132 million people between 1926 and 1940 was able to feed an urban population that increased from 26.3 to 61 million in the same period.” ~Ludo Martens (Another View of Stalin)

gross production of grain and industrial crops in the ussr 1913-38.jpg


The amount of livestock decreased during the First Five-Year Plan. The reasons were twofold:

1) The sabotage by Kulaks and the Middle Peasants under Kulak influence. Almost all draft animals used to be owned by Kulaks. This allowed them to kill such a high number of them. (The idea that killing of animals was widespread among poor peasants is a myth, since the poor peasants typically owned no animals at all.) This caused serious economic damage to the USSR.

2) The breeding of animals was done almost exclusively by the Kulaks. It took several years for the Kulak animal breeding to be replaced by Collective Farm animal breeding since during the First Five-Year Plan most Collectives focused on crop production:

Livestock in ussr 1916-1933.jpg



During the Second Five-Year Plan the number of livestock increased as animal breeding was taken over by Collective Farmers. The number of horses increased less then other animals because draft horses were being replaced by tractors more and more:

livestock in the ussr 1916-38.jpg



The development of industry, construction of machine building plants greatly benefited agriculture. The number of tractors used by peasants went from basically nothing to tens and hundreds of thousands. The Soviet State setup Machine and Tractor Stations (MTS) which supplied the Collective Farmers with machinery:

Number of tractors used 1929-33.jpg


As new tractor plants were built the amount of tractors also increased in State Sector Farms:

Number of tractors in state farms 1930-33.jpg




Number of tractors in Tractor stations 1930-33.jpg


Amount of tractors used doubled during the Second Five-Year Plan:

Tractors employed in the USSR 1933-38.jpg


During the Second Five-Year Plan the amount of combines grew by 600%. Amount of lorries by more then 700%, cars by 240% and other vehicles by around 150%:

harvester combines and other machines used in ussr 1933-38.jpg


The 1930s Great Depression devastated the economies of the Capitalist countries but had little impact on the economically blockaded Socialist Soviet Union. On the contrary the USSR was developing at a staggering rate due to it’s policy of industrialization. Soviet GDP growth at the time was fastest in the world:




The growth was biggest in the industrial sector. While the Capitalist economies stagnated and collapsed the USSR’s output more then tripled that of the Russian Empire, UK, USA, Germany and France:

Industrial output 1913-33 official soviet statistics.jpg




The USSR’s industrial output doubled between 1929-1933!

Industrial output 1929-33 official soviet statistics.jpg



During the First and Second Five-Year Plans (1928-1938) the industrial output of the USSR more then quadrupled! During this time Capitalist countries had only negligible growth:

industrial output 1929-38.jpg

industrial progress of the ussr 1934-38.jpg




Industrial output by sectors. The bulk was State Industry but a substantial chunk belonged to worker Co-ops and a small amount to remaining private producers and foreign corporations with trade deals with the Soviet government:

Output of large-scale industry according to sector 1929-1933.jpg



By the end of the First Five-Year Plan big industry had become 70% of the GDP. The USSR had become an industrial nation!

Relative importance of industry 1913-1933.jpg


Machine and Factory Building compared to Consumer Goods production at the end of the First Five-Year Plan. Construction of machines doubled while production of consumer goods increased by 60%:

Relative importance of two main brances of industry 1929-1933.jpg

While in the Russian Empire most industry was involved in raw materials (mining and especially cotton) in the USSR Machine Building became the leading branch of industry:

Relative importance of various brances of industry 1913-1933.jpg





National trade. Steady increase in the sale of  consumer goods, commercial products, trade among collectives, co-ops and State enterprises:

Trade turnover in the ussr 1933-38.jpg


Freight traffic increased together with increased trade and as a result of the building of new roads, railways and channels:

Freight traffic in the ussr 1933-38.jpg


According to the last Czarist census of 1897 literate people made up 28,4% of the population while only 13% of women were literate. Among the rural population the number was only 19%. It is estimated that in 1917 around 30% of the population was literate but during the civil war the number decreased.

In 1919 the Bolsheviks began the literacy campaign Likbez. In 1926 51% of the population were literate. By the end of the Second Five-Year Plan male literacy was 90.8% and female literacy 72.5%.


Amount of elementary schools increased by four thousand between 1933-1939. Amount of secondary schools doubled. The number of public libraries, worker clubs and cinemas also increased. Before the industrialization & electrification campaign most people had never seen movies or had access to a library. In fact most people couldn’t even read.

rise in the cultural level of people in ussr 1933-39.jpg

The number of schools quadrupled as 16,000 were built between 1933-38!

number of schools built in ussr 1933-38.jpg


The amount of people graduating from the new Soviet Higher Educational Institutions doubled between 1933-1938:

young specialists graduated from higher education institutes in ussr 1933-38.jpg



In the 1937 Soviet Constitution healthcare was guaranteed as a human right.

According to the 1913 Czarist census life expectancy among the population was 32.3 years. By 1958 the life expectancy had doubled to 68.6 years.


After 1937 life expectancy increased rapidly:



Its quite dramatic that the Russian life expectancy has not really increased after the dissolution of the USSR! In the mid-late 90s it actually decreased. In 2012 Russian life expectancy was 69 years:



Russian imperial census (
Russia U.S.S.R.: A Complete Handbook New York: William Farquhar Payson. 1933. p. 665.
Stalin’s peasants New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 225-6 & fn. 78 p. 363. 

The Russian Federation Before and After the Soviet Union, Alexey Shumkov
Official data of soviet statistical bureau available here

Life expectancy