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Molotov Letter to the Central Committee of the CPSU -1965 on Stalin cult of personality

Extracts from "On the problem of the cult of personality of I.V. Stalin and about the program of the CPSU.

Source: Issues of History, Nos. 1-6, 8-11, 2011, Nos. 1.3-2012

Archive: RGASPI F.82, Op.2, D. 198a L.1-357

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"We are now being dragged back on a matter that was decided long ago, a matter which the All-Russia Central Executive Committee endorsed and explained, namely, that Soviet socialist democracy and individual management and dictatorship are in no way contradictory, and that the will of a class may sometimes be carried out by a dictator, who sometimes does more alone and is frequently more necessary. "

"I ask calmly and categorically which is better, to imprison several scores or hundreds of instigators, guilty or innocent, deliberate or unwitting, or lose thousands of Red Army men and workers? The first is better. 

I don’t care whether I am accused of committing every mortal sin imaginable and of violating liberties, I plead guilty, but the interests of the workers will be furthered."

It is what keeps me from being silent. Silence when, in my opinion, perhaps erroneous, but nonetheless the deepest inner conviction, based on a thorough and comprehensive study of materials and documents on the history of the CPSU, this circumstance is quite deliberately caused for the masses and is one of the main sources of that clearly revisionist, clearly opportunistic turn in the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism, which Khrushchev and his supporters introduced into them with the help and support of some leaders of the Western European communist and labor movement.

You can't be silent.

It is impossible to remain silent when it comes to discrediting the very idea of the proletarian dictatorship, the very idea of the socialist revolution.


The first question that confronted me when studying the problem of the so-called Stalin's personality cult, there was a question of how and why in 1956, i.e. three years after the death of I. V. Stalin, the need arose for the very formulation of this problem. Was there a need for this, and if it was, what objective reasons did it dictate?


none of the congress delegates connected these violations directly with the name of Stalin or any of his associates in the Politburo or the Presidium of the Central Committee.

Khrushchev and others like him, are pretending that they do not know anything about the trials of 1937-1938.

Khrushchev's logic is not the logic of a Marxist-Leninist, but the logic of an ordinary embittered tradesman, and it does not suit us.

In fact, Lenin wrote:

We need the authority of the theoreticians of world social democracy in order to clarify the program and tactics. But this authority, of course, has nothing in common with the official authority of bourgeois science and police policy. This authority is the authority of a more versatile struggle within the same ranks of the world socialist army.

Lenin, when he, speaking of the differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, wrote:

"All disputes are explained by 'personal scores', 'struggle for power in the party', and at hand a rumor is spread that some 'masters from the revolution' are to blame for everything, they are afraid of losing their influence.

To litter the heads with gossip, phrases, personalities and thus escape from the need to explain one's position - these are the author's goals. But if it was just gossip - half the trouble. This is the gossip of an angry renegade - that's the point"


It turns out great according to the CPSU Program and the compilers! Well, how can we not remember, again V. I. Lenin, who wrote:
“Here is an example of philistine credulity and forgetfulness of the class struggle. The government appears to be something like a supra-class or supra-partisan government, only it is ‘pressed’ too hard from the right, it needs to be pressed harder from the left”.
Indeed, according to the Program of the CPSU, it turns out that the governments of the imperialist states are some kind of supra-class or extra-class bodies, independent of "big monopolies", "military", "a narrow handful of monopolists"

The struggle against the most reactionary and rabid representatives of the bourgeois class or its accomplices is necessary because both for the cause of the working class and for the cause of peace, as V.I. Lenin said, the difference "between the Lloyd Georges and the Hendersons, between the Hendersons and the Churchills" is not indifferent.

But one cannot be a Marxist by reducing the class struggle to a struggle against individual representatives of a hostile class.

One cannot be a Marxist by reducing the struggle to prevent war to a struggle against individual members of the imperialist class. 

One cannot be a Marxist by reducing the struggle against war to a struggle against individual "big monopolies". 

One cannot be a Marxist and fight against imperialism without touching the economic foundations of imperialism.

It is impossible to remain silent when the words of V. I. Lenin that

“...only by overcoming the greatest crises with revolutionary enthusiasm, with revolutionary energy, with revolutionary readiness for the heaviest sacrifices, can the proletariat defeat the exploiters and finally rid humanity of wars ... There is no other way out, because the reformist attitude towards capitalism gave rise yesterday (and will inevitably give rise tomorrow) imperialist slaughter of people and all sorts of crises without end" (vol. 30, p. 317).
Precisely because "the reformist attitude towards capitalism ... will inevitably give rise tomorrow to an imperialist slaughter of people," it is impossible, criminally, to remain silent when they try to convince us that war can be averted by an agreement with the governments of the imperialist states, by a certain agreement on the policy of the so-called "Peaceful coexistence".

It is impossible to remain silent when, in such conditions, they shout about the unity of all "left" forces, ignoring the words of V. I. Lenin that
“The clever opportunists are most concerned with preserving the former “unity” of the old parties... They believe that it would be very dangerous for the bourgeoisie if Social Democracy were to go even further to the right: “It must preserve the character of a workers’ party with socialist ideals. For on the day, it renounces this, a new party will arise which will take over the program that the former party renounced and give it an even more radical formulation" (vol. 22, p. 102)


Everyone remembers the formation of the so-called "anti-Comintern pact", the "Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis", actively supported by the forces of all international reaction. In the face of the imminent threat of a new war, the refusal of the Western powers from the measures repeatedly proposed by the Soviet Union to curb fascism and organize collective security, the Soviet country was forced to strain all its forces to strengthen defense, to fight the intrigues of a hostile capitalist encirclement.


We rightfully call V. I. Lenin the most humane person on earth, but this is not at all because he was infinitely philanthropic and gentle in dealing with people...

Lenin's philanthropy, his humanism was concretely embodied in his Marxist teaching about the socialist revolution, about the dictatorship of the proletariat, about communism, in which, and only in it alone.

Only by approaching the assessment of the personality of V.I. Lenin, it is possible and should appreciate all the deepest humanism of his following statements:

"Comrade Hungarian workers! Be firm. If there are vacillations among the socialists who yesterday joined you, the dictatorship of the proletariat, or among the petty bourgeoisie, suppress the vacillations mercilessly. Execution is the legitimate fate of a coward in war" (vol. 29, p. 360- 361).

“We must say that either those who wanted to destroy us and about whom we believe that he must die must perish - and then our Soviet Republic will remain alive - or, on the contrary, the capitalists will remain alive, and the republic will perish ... Sentimentality there is no lesser evil than selfishness in war ...


V. I. Lenin in his works repeatedly addressed this, the most exciting issue of the 20th century. And this is the answer he gave:

"Wars are rooted in the very essence of capitalism; they will stop only when the capitalist system ceases to exist" (Militant Militarism, 1918).

"Under capitalism, especially in its imperialist stage, wars are inevitable" (Pacifism and the slogan of peace).

"War is not an accident ... but an inevitable stage of capitalism" (The Position and Tasks of the Socialist International).

"Intensification of militarism, intensification and acceleration of preparations for new imperialist wars, an increase in the number of wars throughout the world ..." (Theses on the international situation. 1920).

"War ... is a continuation of the policy of peacetime" (From a letter from I. Armand).

Lenin's general line of foreign policy proceeded from a sober, objectively accurate analysis of the correlation of class forces in the world.
“Until an international socialist revolution engulfing several countries breaks out,” said V.I. Lenin, “so strong that it could defeat international imperialism, until then the direct duty of the communists who have won in one (especially backward) country is not to accept battle with the giants of imperialism, to try to evade combat, to wait until the clash between the imperialists among themselves will further weaken them, bring the revolution in other countries even closer" (vol. 27, p. 294).
Lenin taught us that
"It is impossible to blame individuals for starting the war - it was created by capital. Capitalism has reached a dead end. This dead end is nothing but imperialism" (vol. 28, pp. 62-63).
"If militarism is a child of capitalism, then wars cannot be destroyed by the intrigues of rulers and diplomats, and the task of socialists is not to awaken illusions on this score, but, on the contrary, to constantly expose the hypocrisy and impotence of diplomatic "peaceful" steps" (Militant Militarism).
"War is not engendered by the evil will of predatory imperialists... War is engendered by the entire development of world capital, by its billions of threads and connections" (The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution).
For V. I. Lenin, war is an inevitable companion of imperialism as the last stage of capitalism, one of its main defining features. For V. I. Lenin, it is indisputable that wars are “inevitable on the basis of private property” and that therefore they cannot be abolished or prevented by an agreement between governments, cannot be abolished by “struggle against warmongers”, “big monopolies”, etc. representatives of the class of private owners.

For the theoreticians and compilers of the CPSU Program, war is just politics, just a product of the evil will of the "big monopolies", the "military", "a narrow handful of monopolists," and so on.

And there is nothing surprising in the fact that, following the logic of its compilers and theoreticians, the Program of the CPSU replaces the struggle against the imperialist class as a whole, the struggle for the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, as an objective source of wars, by the struggle against individuals or groups of "tycoons".

But one cannot be a Marxist and reduce the class struggle to a struggle against individual representatives of a hostile class. One cannot be a Marxist and reduce the struggle to prevent war to a struggle against individual members of the imperialist class. One cannot be a Marxist and reduce the struggle against war to a struggle against individual "big monopolies". One cannot be a Marxist and fight against imperialism without touching the economic foundations of imperialism.

Let's remember Lenin, who wrote -
“The questions of whether a reformist change in the foundations of imperialism is possible, whether to go forward, towards a further sharpening and deepening of the contradictions generated by it, or backward, towards blunting them, are the fundamental questions of criticism of imperialism” (Imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism).
It turns out, as Lenin said, that we
"... we are tearing the policy of imperialism from its economy... It turns out that monopolies in the economy are compatible with a non-monopoly, non-violent, non-grabbing mode of action in politics. It turns out that the territorial division of the earth, completed just in the era of finance capital and forming the basis of the originality of the present forms of competition between the major capitalist states, are compatible with non-imperialist politics. The result is obscuration, blunting of the most fundamental contradictions ... instead of revealing their depth, what is obtained is bourgeois reformism instead of Marxism" (ibid.).
Extremely interesting in this regard is that part of V. I. Lenin’s speech at the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, in which he speaks of the “Appeal for all countries” of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, where it was said in particular: “The time has come to begin a decisive struggle against the grasping aspirations of the governments of all countries. The time has come for the peoples to take the solution of the question of war and peace into their own hands." It was about these words that Vladimir Ilyich remarked:
"The government, whatever form of government it may be, expresses the interests of certain classes, which is why to oppose the government and the people ... there is the greatest theoretical confusion, there is the greatest political helplessness, there is a condemnation of themselves and their entire policy to the most precarious and unstable position" (vol. 25, pp. 16 - 18).
Nothing else can be added to these words of V. I. Lenin.

V. I. Lenin proved that the growth of state-monopoly capital, the territorial division of all land between individual imperialist powers, the struggle for spheres of influence, for spheres of investment of capital, for sales markets, their redistribution, their narrowing - lead and cannot but lead " to a gigantic aggravation of all capitalist contradictions, both within the capitalist countries and between them. V. I. Lenin proved that all these factors, all these contradictions of imperialism lead and cannot but lead to imperialist wars, which are economically inevitable.

And if we are Marxist-Leninists, it is unlikely for us to forget V. I. Lenin’s instruction that
"to single out "foreign policy" from politics in general, or even more so to counterpose foreign policy to domestic policy, is fundamentally wrong, not a Marxist, not a scientific idea" ("On the Caricature of Marxism and on "Imperialist Economism").
What does the rejection of wars in general, of all and all wars, mean? It seems to me that this question can be answered correctly only by returning again to the work of V. I. Lenin, in which he wrote that "if we are forced to endure such scoundrels as capitalist thieves ..."

The words of V. I. Lenin, which I have underlined, have a great meaning; they contain a fundamental, radical opposition to the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of wars from the point of view on this issue of the Program of the CPSU.

In the same speech, a few words above, just as openly and loudly, to the entire world, as he proclaimed that a war between the imperialist states would greatly help us, V. I. Lenin declared:
"As soon as we are strong enough to defeat all of capitalism, we immediately grab it by the collar" (vol. 31, p. 413).
The program of the CPSU, its theoreticians and supporters solemnly proclaimed that today it is not imperialism, but socialism that determines the fate of the world, that in our country socialism has finally and irrevocably triumphed, i.e., that now we are not afraid of any military or other encroachments of imperialism.

V. I. Lenin taught (I have already referred to these quotes):
"The foreign policy of the Soviet government must not be changed in any way. Our military training has not yet been completed ...".

"Our point of view is this: as long as great concessions and the greatest caution..." "As long as capitalism and socialism remain, they cannot live peacefully..." "Only after we overthrow, finally defeat and expropriate the bourgeoisie throughout the world, and not just in one country, wars will become impossible." "The final victory in one country is impossible."
If we compare all these statements of V. I. Lenin with one another, then we will clearly see how they are all inextricably linked into one whole. The question of the final victory of socialism in our country, the question of proletarian internationalism, the question of world revolution—all these questions will prove to be inseparable from the question of revolutionary wars.

According to V. I. Lenin, socialism can finally win only if socialist revolutions are victorious in a number of major, advanced capitalist countries. Socialism and capitalism cannot live peacefully. War between them is inevitable. Wars between imperialist states are inevitable. Wars bring innumerable disasters to humanity.

And, hence - as soon as we become stronger than imperialism - "we will immediately grab him by the collar."

The clear, consistent, Marxist thinking of V. I. Lenin gave him the right to declare with good reason:
“We are not pacifists. We are opposed to imperialist wars over the division of spoils among the capitalists, but we have always declared it absurd if the revolutionary proletariat were to renounce revolutionary wars that might be necessary in the interests of socialism” (Vol. 23, p. 361).
To tell us that we must wage only a defensive war, when a knife is still raised above us, when, despite our hundreds of proposals and in the face of unheard-of concessions to which we are making ... - to tell us this means to repeat ... the phrases of the petty-bourgeois If, in front of such constantly actively hostile forces, we should take a vow, as we are offered, that we will never embark on certain actions that may turn out to be offensive in military-strategic terms, then we would not only be fools but also be criminals. That is where these pacifist phrases and resolutions lead us. They lead to the fact that they want to tie the Soviet government, surrounded by enemies, hand and foot and hand over to be torn to pieces by world capitalist predators" (vol. 31, p. 488).
While proclaiming support for the sacred struggle of the oppressed peoples, the Program of the CPSU, meanwhile, completely ignores Lenin's instruction that when
“we are talking about defending our alliance with the oppressed class, with the oppressed peoples,” we must “remain faithful to this alliance ... This task is not easy. This task does not let us forget that under certain conditions we cannot do without a revolutionary war, the revolutionary class cannot renounce revolutionary war, because otherwise it will force itself into ridiculous pacifism... It is impossible to renounce this war. .

 This is exactly what the Program of the CPSU did, proclaiming the renunciation of wars in general as the fundamental principle of the policy of peaceful coexistence.



  1. Anonymous12:30 PM

    ''The final victory in one country is impossible.''

    What is the source of this Lenin quote,, mentioned in the end of the article?

    1. Anonymous5:01 PM

      He is talking about "final victory" in the sense of world scale victory, as the second stage of socialism- "communism". Meaning that as long as the capitalist encirclement exists, there cannot be a transition to "communism" - stateless society- which is the final victory. He is not talking about "socialism" but "communism". Molotov gives the quote, must be in the book, but subject is discussed in various articles of Lenin and Stalin.

  2. Anonymous11:18 AM



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