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XII Congress of the Party: The Choice in Favor of Stalin

Selected Articles From"Lenin's political testament: the reality of history and the myths of politics" Sakharov V.A.

Svitlana M, Erdogan A

The XII Congress was faced with the fact of harsh criticism from Lenin in the "article" "On the question of nationalities or "autonomization"" of the newly created USSR, the entire course of the Central Committee of the party in the field of nation-state building and a proposal not to delay the liquidation of the USSR. Naturally, all these questions were at the center of the discussion at the congress. Stalin made a report on the national question. The report was sustained in the spirit of the fundamental decisions of the Tenth Congress of the RCP(b) and corresponded to the Leninist attitude about the factor of the East, formulated in the article “Better fewer, but better” [1433]. Stalin's report, along with the reports of Zinoviev, Trotsky, and Bukharin's speech, was noted by the XII Congress with "stormy, long-lasting applause"[1434]. Zinoviev, in the debate on the national question at the Twelfth Congress, admitted:

“The theses of Comrade. Stalin and the Central Committee are excellent, exhaustive, they are thought out to the end, completed, and no one can say that there is a mistake in them ... " [1435].

 Even Preobrazhensky, a longtime political opponent of Stalin, was forced to state:

“The report of Comrade. Stalin was extremely informative - I would say that it was a very sharp-witted report"[1436]. 

The content of the report and the course of the discussion at the congress indicate that Stalin did not bow his head before the authority of Lenin, that he fought the author of the notes on all the fundamental provisions formulated in it. 

In the discussion at the plenary sessions of the congress, the fundamental issues of national policy, as well as nation-building in Georgia and Ukraine, were discussed. More specific issues of nation-building, but very important for our topic, were raised during the discussion at the meeting of the section of the congress on the national question, which took place on April 25, 1923. Here, opponents of the formation of the USSR in the form of a federation with a strong central government criticized the report. In traditional historiography, it is believed that it was they who took upon themselves the defense of the "Leninist policy" in the field of the national question, formulated in the notes "On the Question of Nationalities" or "Autonomization". In reality, everything turns out to be more complicated since there was no unanimity among Stalin's critics in relation to these notes. 

Stalin first of all turned to the problem of confederalism, of which the author of the notes declared himself a supporter and showed that Lenin was an opponent of confederalism. Calling Rakovsky “an old Leninist” with frank irony, Stalin declared that “on the question of a confederation, even within the framework of international ones, comrade Lenin was resolutely opposed to it. Stalin spoke about his polemic with Lenin, which took place on the eve of the Second Congress of the Comintern. In the theses on the national question that Lenin prepared for this congress, he did not mention confederation as a possible form of unification. In a letter to Lenin, Stalin expressed his opinion: the confederation should not be abandoned as a form of unification of the socialist republics. And in response to this “Comrade Lenin sent a formidable letter - this is chauvinism, nationalism, we need a central world economy, controlled from one body. 

Stalin's appeal to this story may indicate that he himself considered Lenin's authorship of the newly appeared notes to be at least surprising, but rather doubtful. 

Stalin also noted that a number of the most important guidelines of the notes "On the question of nationalities ..." are in no way consistent with the Leninist position of 1920 and the practice of international relations of that time. He argued that under the current conditions it is impossible to fully implement the program provision on the right of nations to self-determination, since this involves the withdrawal of troops from the republics, which is impossible due to external threats. 

Further, Stalin entered into a direct, principled polemic with the author of the notes. And, naturally, it led it from Leninist positions. He examined the subordination of the national and social questions in the socialist revolution:

“There are limits to the national question. This is an important question. But there is another question, more important, and the question [this one] is about the power of the working class.” “We are obliged to put into practice the principle of self-determination of peoples.” - Of course, but, in addition, there is the right of the working class to its own power. There is a right to strengthen their power. You must honestly and openly tell all nationals (national seems to be a dirty word now), that we are sometimes compelled to go against the right of self-determination of nationalities, against their interests in order to keep the workers in power. This is not our fault, but our misfortune. And those who here willingly give out all sorts of promises must honestly say that we are violating the right to self-determination and cannot but violate it. For the national question is a subordinate question in relation to the workers' question. Do you need quotes from Comrade Lenin's books? I can provide as many quotes as I want. For Comrade Lenin, the national question is a question subordinate to a higher question, the workers’ question” (emphasis added. — B.C.) [1437]. 

Stalin again forces the congress delegates to choose between the well-known Leninist position and the notes ("article"), the Leninist authorship of which must be taken on faith. 

During the discussion, the opponents of autonomization carefully disguised their true intentions (confederation) since the inevitable consequence of the victory of their views and their systematic implementation would be the destruction of those national-state entities that had already taken shape during the socialist revolution and could become the basis for further integration of the Soviet republics. Stalin criticized P.G. Mdivani and M.Kh. Sultan-Galiev for their insincerity and demands for the disintegration of the republics, and therefore he criticized the Author of the Notes (supposedly written by Lenin. S.M) for a similar demand. He also showed that Lenin did not belong to the number of supporters of disintegration [1438]. Nobody protested this criticism of Stalin. 

The denial by the Author of the notes of the need to preserve the USSR in the form in which it was created also meant that the ZFSR should suffer the same fate. However, it is known that Lenin was an ardent supporter of the creation of the ZFSR, it was needed, in particular, to curb national enmity in the Caucasus. This was an urgent problem, and Stalin, in his report on the national question, showed on the facts both its acuteness and Lenin's attitude towards the ZFSR:

“It is also no coincidence that comrade Lenin was in such a hurry and pressed so hard that the federation (ZFSR. - BC) be introduced immediately. Nor is it accidental that three times our Central Committee confirmed the need for a federation in the Transcaucasus...it is not accidental that both commissions, and when they arrived in Moscow, Comrade Dzerzhinsky, comrade Kamenev and Kuibyshev, “they said that it was impossible to do without a federation” [1439]. 

Having shown that Lenin never came forward with demands to "liquidate" the RSFSR, Stalin actually made a statement that Lenin could not be the author of these notes. 

On the question of the dangers emanating from local nationalism and great-power chauvinism, Stalin also pointed out the fundamental difference in the positions of Lenin, on the one hand, and the Author of the Notes and the national deviationists (supporters of Mdivani, Sultan-Galiev [1440]) – on the other. Lenin, as a principled position, defended the need to fight both nationalism and great-power chauvinism. At the same time, Stalin declared that nothing separated him from Lenin on this issue, and, as proof of his words, he referred to the resolution on the national question adopted by the Tenth Party Congress and to the history of its creation: it was written by Stalin together with Lenin [1441]. 

Stalin recognized the correct assessment of Great Russian chauvinism, given in the “note” of December 30-31, 1922, as a great danger and “main enemy” [1442]. But, in solidarity with it, he, unlike the national deviationists and the Author of the Notes himself, who practically ignored the danger of the nationalism of small nations, did not idealize this nationalism, which led not to the strengthening of internationalism at the expense of weakening great-power chauvinism, but to the strengthening of bourgeois influence*. 

In contrast to the national deviationists and the author of the Notes, who saw only one way to fight Great Russian chauvinism - the weakening of the federal center, Stalin proposed ways to curb great-power (including Great Russian) chauvinism not at the expense of concessions to the nationalism of small nations, but at the expense of: (1 ) the creation of a second chamber (the chamber of nationalities)**, the creation of national military formations capable of taking on at least partially the task of defending their own territory from encroachments by neighboring states, the creation of national personnel. These proposals of Stalin [1443] lay in line with the fundamental decisions of the 10th Party Congress, which focused on the transition from formal equality to actual equality. 

Consequently, they fully corresponded to the principled position of Lenin. But the author of the notes offers something completely different -"go too far", i.e. move from formal equality to formal inequality and the creation of a new actual inequality. There is nothing internationalist here. This is a manifestation of anti-Russian nationalism. 

In his concluding remarks on the national question at the 12th Congress, Stalin declared:

“they tell us that it is impossible to offend the nationalities. This is absolutely correct, I agree with this, there is no need to offend them. But to construct from this a new theory that the Great Russian proletariat must be placed in a position of unequal rights in relation to the former oppressed nations is, to say, inconsistency. The fact that Comrade Lenin is a figure of speech in his famous article, Bukharin turned into a whole slogan "(highlighted by us. - BC) [1444]. 

It is clear that Stalin challenged not Bukharin, but the author of the notes on the national question. By emphasizing Bukharin, he only tried to save Lenin from the blow of this criticism. 

Stalin does not say directly that these notes do not belong to Lenin. But in fact, he is doing everything to make the congress delegates think about their conformity with Lenin's theoretical and political legacy. 

Stalin structured his speech at the Twelfth Congress in such a way that he never unequivocally connected the name of Lenin as the author with these notes. It seems that this is not accidental, he was not sure that they belonged to Lenin, or maybe he was convinced of the opposite. Another thing, he could not prove it. The congress delegates had no doubt that they belonged to Lenin, but at the same time, they could not agree with them on a number of issues and assessments. 

Stalin had to politically neutralize the notes, not only to blunt their anti-Stalinist orientation, but also to identify opposition to their Leninist views. It was necessary to prevent the penetration of anti-Leninist views into the politics of the Bolshevik Party under the guise of Leninist theoretical innovations. For Stalin, there was only one way - to link this text and the provisions contained in it, which were unusual for Lenin, with his morbid condition.

"Comrade Lenin forgot, he forgot a lot lately***. He forgot that together with him we adopted the foundations of the Union (VOICE: he was not at the plenum). Comrade Lenin forgot the resolution adopted at the October plenum on the creation of the Union, which refers to the merger of the five commissariats, the unification of the route (People's Commissariats of Railways. - BC) and leaving six commissariats intact. Comrade Lenin accepted and approved this. Then it was submitted to the Central Committee, which also approved it. I am ready to submit any document. ” [1445]. 

The tactics adopted by Stalin were all the more expedient because they allowed, on the one hand, to ensure criticism of the main provisions of the notes, and on the other hand, to remove Lenin himself from the “zone of criticism” and preserve his authority. Even the history of his disagreements with Lenin in 1920, when Lenin took a much tougher position, denying the expediency of using a confederation, Stalin presented in such a way that the theoretical side of the differences was left out. 

Another explanation was offered by A. Yenukidze, who, in particular, told the congress delegates: 

“Comrade Lenin became a victim of one-sided incorrect information. When a person who, due to illness, does not have the opportunity to follow his daily work, is approached and told that such and such comrades are offended, beaten, expelled, dismissed, etc., he, of course, has to write such a sharp letter. But everything attributed in this letter to Comrade Ordzhonikidze had nothing to do with either the national question or the deviationist comrades.

After all, this is a well-known fact, comrades, and why involve the question of the incident between Comrade Ordzhonikidze and one of the comrades who was not involved in the struggle between the deviators and the Zakkraykom, in questions raised by Comrade Lenin? [1446]. 

If we look at the discussion that took place at the XII Congress on the issues of building the USSR from the point of view of the notes "On the Question of Nationalities ..." and letters to Trotsky and Mdivani dated March 5 and 6, 1923, then a rather strange picture emerges, "strange" from the point of view of the traditional concept of "Lenin's testament". Firstly, very few of the speakers tried to rely on the provisions of these notes, although the ban was imposed only on quoting the text. Secondly, the range of political issues raised in them and in the speeches of Stalin's critics at the congress coincide little and very badly with each other. The only exception is, perhaps, only Bukharin and Rakovsky, who actively used in their speeches the fundamental (and clearly anti-Leninist) provisions of the notes [1447]. 

Bukharin's speech at the congress was, to a greater extent than the others, politically sharpened against Stalin. He turned out to be the only delegate who supported the thesis about the negative features of the Russians, which set them apart from other peoples, as well as the need to "go too far", correcting the guilt of the tsarist and bourgeois governments, etc. Bukharin supported the criticism of the approach to the unification of the republics from the standpoint of economic expediency [1448]. 

Rakovsky, at the section on the national question, criticized Stalin's theses (and, consequently, the report), saying that they hit "on the shadow, not on the subject." He used the same trick as the author of the notes: he went for the substitution of problems: instead of the existing USSR, he began to criticize the very idea of autonomization". Rakovsky, like the author of the notes, camouflaged his confederalism by criticizing the danger posed by haste and administrative enthusiasm, departmental bureaucratic psychology****. In order to persuade the delegates to his position, which consisted in an effort to reconsider the decision to form the USSR, Rakovsky decided to “frighten” them by stating that the principles on which the USSR was created would contribute to the “emergence of all sorts of colonialist tendencies,” and the process of the formation of the USSR, if not will be suspended and will go as it is going now, "promises us a civil war." "I'm starting to worry about Soviet power." Like the Author of the notes and with reference to them, Rakovsky recognizes the formation of the USSR as a mistake since it puts us in imperialist relations with other nations [1449]. 

However, this “prophecy” did not produce the desired effect on the congress delegates, since even Zinoviev, who experienced the strongest hesitation on this issue, noted that Rakovsky spoke “somewhat exaggeratedly” and that “some notes in his overly passionate speech slightly resembled an Austrian production of question” [1450]. 

During the discussion of the draft resolution, Rakovsky introduced an amendment, which is a fragment of the theses adopted by the party conference in Ukraine even before the notes were made public (supposedly Leninist) on the national question and echoing them on the most important issues. They stated that

“only the strictest coordination of our policy on the national question at home with the policy that we are pursuing on the national question...abroad can give the Union of Soviet Republics and the Communist Party that moral authority and that principled sincerity which will make of them the full support of the struggle of the world proletariat against imperialism” [1451].

The coincidence with a similar thesis in the notes "On the Question of Nationalities or "Autonomization"" is obvious. It has been shown above that Lenin held completely different views on this matter. 

It is noteworthy that this resolution makes no distinction between national politics before and after the seizure of power, within the framework of bourgeois society, on the one hand, and in the course of socialist construction, on the other.. Its political meaning lies in the subordination of national-state construction and the internal policy of the Soviet republics to the interests of the international revolution, in the desire to tie the center hand and foot in the matter of building the USSR and to secure the possibility of criticizing any measure aimed at strengthening its position. The Russian socialist revolution as a platform for the world revolution is its main purpose and destiny. This fully corresponds to the views of the Author of the Notes. It was shown above that Lenin looked at this problem differently, as evidenced by his last article “Better fewer, but better” [1452]. 

This provision of the resolution echoes the position of Rakovsky, set out in his comments on the draft resolution of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) on the relations of the RSFSR with the independent republics (September 28, 1922) and a letter from D.Z. Manuilsky dated September 29, 1922 [1453] And this is not surprising, since there are sufficient grounds to believe that Rakovsky, if he was not the author of this resolution, at least took part in its preparation. Thus, a number of the most important positions of the authors of the resolution of the Ukrainian conference and the confederalist Rakovsky are practically indistinguishable from the position of the author of the notes. How can this be explained? Maybe they were written by one "hand"? Or did one "head" supervise the creation of these two documents? The section of the XII Congress of the RCP(b) rejected Rakovsky's amendment [1454]. It means that Congress rejected the corresponding positions of the notes "On the question of nationalities or "autonomization"". 

Unexpected and striking (if one takes the position of traditional historiography) is the confrontation between the position of the Author of the Notes on the national question and the speeches of the leaders of the Georgian national deviators Mdivani, Makharadze and others  [1455], who ignored the arguments that allegedly Lenin's letters of 5 and March 6, 1923. And this is in the context of an open struggle using all possible materials and arguments, with attempts to rely in it on the authority of Lenin, on the notes “On the question of nationalities or “autonomization””! In fact, the author of the notes and letter to Mdivani dated March 6, 1923, was fighting Stalin in connection with the internal struggle within the KKE and offered his help in it, he was ready to unite various political forces for the sake of victory, and Mdivani "and others" * **** as if they didn't know about it. They did not say a word about receiving this letter from Lenin, they did not show their attitude towards it in any way. They pass over the proposals of the Author of the letter about alliance and support, as if they were politically so insignificant that they can be completely neglected. Even when they suffer a crushing defeat. Why? Didn't  they need? No, this answer will have to be abandoned, since Mdivani constantly tried to rely on the text of the notes "On the question of nationalities ...". Or maybe because they were initiated into the secret of its creation and did not risk drawing too much attention to it? .. 

Considering that not only Mdivani did not try to use the letter allegedly sent to him by Lenin on March 5, 1923, but also that neither Trotsky ******, nor Kamenev, no one else used this text and did not mention its existence [1456], then this circumstance can be regarded as an indirect argument against the Leninist authorship of the letter to Mdivani, Makharadze and others. There will be even less reason to accept it as a Lenin’s  document. 

Unlike Rakovsky and Bukharin, Mdivani, trying to rely on the text of the notes "On the Question of Nationalities ...", actually objected to their Author, i.e. supposedly Lenin. 

Mdivani and Makharadze continued their attacks on the unification policy from the same positions from which they conducted it in October 1922 and for which they received from V.I. Lenin's hard and sharp rebuke. Therefore, it is not surprising that they limit themselves to only general indications of the task of combating great-power chauvinism set in it, and grossly distorting (Makharadze) the essence of the matter, stating that it was here that Lenin first set this task [1457]. 

This was noticed by Yenukidze:

“Now about the letter of Comrade. Lenin (from the context it is clear that we are talking about notes dated December 30-31, 1922 ****** - B.C.). Here, Comrade Mdivani, in his speech every second, declined the name of Comrade Ilyich, and he wanted to create the impression that Comrade Lenin wrote this letter on purpose in order to support the comrade deviators and fully justify their policy. (Bukharin: "Of course, for this purpose.")  Not for this purpose, comrade Bukharin... The general policy pursued by comrade Ordzhonikidze there was outlined here” [1458]. 

Mdivani came up with proposals on many issues that ran counter to the proposals of the author of the "dictations" and "letters". 

Stalin pointed out the fundamental opposite of the attitude of Lenin and Mdivani to the method of Georgia's entry into the USSR (through the ZFSR or directly, which would mean its liquidation). Mdivani, according to Stalin, demanded to begin

"an immediate transition to the system of decomposition of the RSFSR into constituent parts, the transformation of constituent parts into independent republics" [1459]. 

Stalin's criticism was supported by Mikoyan, who described Mdivani's proposal to destroy the RSFSR with the formation of a new Russian republic as a "reactionary" attempt to "disperse the RSFSR", leading to the destruction of the national unity that already existed, endless conflicts between individual nations [1460], which inevitably happens under the conditions of the NEP, under the dominance of the market and in the conditions of the division of property and, as a result, to undermine Soviet power. 

Sh.Z. Eliava criticized Mdivani's attempts to argue against the creation of the ZFSR in favor of creating a federal council of the Transcaucasian republics instead of it (the republic). Frunze reproached Mdivani for his stereotyped, bureaucratic, administrative approach, “which Comrade V. Lenin", and also for the fact that he opposes the demands of Lenin, set out in the notes "On the Question of Nationalities or "Autonomization"" [1461]. 

R.A. made the same criticism. Akhundov, who noted in this regard that Mdivani and his supporters actually represented a national deviation from the policy pursued by the RCP(b) [1462]. 

The XII Congress of the Party reacted positively to the speech of Ordzhonikidze, which took place after the speeches of Mdivani and Makharadze, as indicated by the applause recorded in the transcript [1463]. 

In a number of speeches (Yenukidze, Ibragimov) there was the idea that the acuteness of the national question at the congress was largely artificially caused by forces pursuing their own political goals, which have nothing in common with the interests of the peoples on whose behalf they are trying to speak, which is as acute as the national deviators argued that the question is neither in Georgia nor in Ukraine. A. Yenukidze refuted as factually incorrect many statements by Rakovsky, Petrovsky, Mdivani, Makharadze [1464], duplicity, double-dealing, and unscrupulousness of which (and their supporters) at the congress were noted by many [1465]. 

At the congress, no one was going to follow the advice of the author of the notes and make Stalin "politically responsible" for the events in Georgia. The fault of Mdivani and Co. seemed to be clear to everyone. On the most fundamental issue, on which Stalin's opponents most often tried to rely on the authority of Lenin - the interpretation of nationalism and chauvinism - all the delegates of the congress demonstrated serious differences in their understanding of these problems from the author of the notes. 

Even Trotsky, declaring that he was fulfilling Lenin's request to defend his views set forth in the "dictations" and in the "letter", practically did not defend a single position (neither before the congress, nor at it). Moreover, nothing in his speeches reminded of the sharpness of the pre-Congress discussion on these issues. Without knowing this, one could say that he showed solidarity with Stalin in all important issues of national politics. It is clear that this was a tactic. What is the reason for it? Maybe because he saw that the absolute majority of the congress, while recognizing the authority of Lenin, was inclined to Stalin's arguments? In this situation, it was unreasonable for him to impose an open battle on Stalin on these issues. 

Despite the fact that the notes were consecrated by the authority of Lenin, many congress delegates entered into polemics with it, while directing their criticism at Mdivani, noting the inconsistency and unscrupulousness of his (and his supporters) position [1466] ******* *. 

The majority of the delegates to the 12th Congress did not accept the proposal of the Author of the Notes on exaggerating Great Russian chauvinism and obscuring the danger of nationalism and local chauvinism, on placing Russians in an unequal position in relation to other peoples. Even Bukharin was forced to admit this, noting the reaction of the audience to that part of Zinoviev's speech, when he spoke against local chauvinism –

"a thunder of applause was heard from everywhere. What wonderful solidarity! The picture is quite different when one speaks of Great Russian chauvinism [1467]. 

Opponents of the formation of the USSR in the leadership of the communist parties of Ukraine and Georgia received support from the representative of Tatarstan and some other autonomous republics, who sought to use the criticism of "autonomization" to argue their demands for the liquidation of the RSFSR, granting the autonomous republics the rights of union and establishing new relations on the basis of a confederation. Sultan-Galiev, supporting the proposals of Mdivani, demanded the formation of "immediately a Russian republic, etc.", which would mean the liquidation of the Russian Federation. Sultan-Galiyev tried to find support for these demands in the complex structure of the USSR, which was created according to the scheme of Lenin (there was no such complexity in the Stalin’s scheme), and in the inconsistency of the implementation of the principle of federalism in different parts of the Union. He saw the only guarantee of the equality of the peoples inhabiting the RSFSR in the destruction of the Russian Federation and giving them the opportunity to create union republics within the USSR [1468]. 

These thoughts and proposals were in complete agreement with what Mdivani and the author of the notes on the national question were proposing. It is also obvious that they opposed the views that Lenin held. 

A front of political forces arose, both inside and outside the RSFSR, striving (for various reasons) to eliminate it. Mdivani saw this as a pledge to eliminate the ZFSR he hated, and Sultan-Galiyev saw it as a way for the Tatars to gain an equal right with other peoples to create a national state. In fact, they proposed to go the same way that the author of the notes suggested, but frankly said what he had as an inevitable conclusion when bringing his proposals to its logical conclusion: if autonomization is fundamentally wrong, then the RSFSR should also be “cassified”. 

Which position of them was closer to that occupied by the author of the notes on the national question? 

The author of the notes, although he criticized "autonomization" as a principle of the national-state construction of the Soviet republics, did not reach the proposals for the liquidation of the RSFSR, which means that he was not interested in this. Consequently, he did not express the interests of the opponents of "autonomization" from the autonomous republics of the RSFSR (Sultan-Galiev and others). At the same time, it does not require the liquidation of autonomies in Georgia and Azerbaijan (Abkhazia, Adzharia, South Ossetia, Nakhichevan). So he's not interested in that either. The position of the Author on this issue corresponded to that held by Mdivani and his supporters in Georgia and Azerbaijan, who advocated the preservation of autonomous republics within Georgia and Azerbaijan. However, he did not demand the liquidation of the ZFSR, so his views could not be identified with the views of the Georgian national deviationists. 

Both, the coincidences, and serious differences in the views of them and the Author of the notes are obvious. 

Moreover, the differences relate to issues that are politically more relevant for the national deviators (they have already abandoned the “autonomization”, but it was decided to keep the ZFSR). Perhaps this explains the fact noted above that at the XII Congress of the Party, Mdivani and his supporters expressed views on the fundamental issues of nation-state building, which were very far from the views of the Author of the Notes [1469]. 

These contradictions are devoid of the views of the Author of the Notes and Rakovsky. Ukraine did not have autonomous entities, so for Rakovsky (and his supporters) the problem of combating "autonomization" as a principle of building a federation after the October (1922) Plenum of the Central Committee of the RCP (b), which took a course towards the creation of the USSR as a union of equal republics, was already irrelevant domestic political issue. The issues of distribution of power between the federal center and the republics became topical. However, for opponents of the formation of the USSR as a single state, the problem of “autonomization” remained relevant because it made it possible to create a common front of struggle against the supporters of a federation with a strong center and concentrate the blow on the main political figure who advocated its creation, Stalin. Stalin was the political force that interfered with many and therefore could serve as a factor in rallying supporters of the most diverse views. 

The calculations of the actual authors of the notes "On the question of nationalities ..." and letters of March 5 and 6, 1923, which "thrown" them into political life on the eve of the party congress, did not materialize. It can be said that the text of the notes (let alone letters) did not have a significant impact either on the position of the congress delegates, or on the course and results of the discussion, or on their attitude towards Stalin. It did not have a noticeable influence on the policy of the RCP (b) in the field of nation-state building, which in the eyes of the congress delegates was personified by Stalin. His authority in these matters turned out to be higher than that of Lenin. The delegates of the XII Congress of the RCP(b) read the "article" "On the question of nationalities or "autonomization"", listened to Stalin and supported him. He convinced the congress that he was right. The congress unanimously adopted the theses of the Central Committee of the RCP (b), developed by Stalin [1470], as well as the resolution "Project for the Organization of the Union of Soviet Socialist Soviet Republics", written by him [1471]. Stalin found a way out of this delicate situation. Without dropping the authority of Lenin, he certainly strengthened his authority and his influence. In many ways, this circumstance allowed him in the following months to complete the task of constituting the USSR as one state. 

The 12th Congress of the RCP(b) was Stalin's first triumph. And, paradoxical as it may sound, Trotsky himself, having put the Central Committee of the Party and the Congress of the RCP(b) before a choice between the authority of Lenin and the authority of Stalin, did a lot to ensure that this triumph took place. The party congress ignored the criticism of Stalin contained in the notes "On the Question of Nationalities ..." and supported the policy of which Stalin was the most active promoter in the eyes of the party. 

The election of a new composition of the Central Committee of the RCP(b) and its bodies recorded this victory. At its first meeting, the Central Committee, elected by the XII Party Congress (April 26, 1923), having discussed the issue "On the constitution of the organs of the Central Committee", approved the Secretariat of the Central Committee consisting of Stalin (general secretary), Molotov and Rudzutak. Stalin also entered the Orgburo (together with Molotov, Rudzutak, Dzerzhinsky, Rykov, Andreev and Tomsky), as well as the Politburo: Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov, Tomsky (candidates Bukharin, Rudzutak, Kalinin and Molotov) [1472].  

* The thesis about Great Russian chauvinism in the Caucasus as a factor that gives rise to local nationalism was criticized by the delegate from the Communist Party of Armenia Lukashin, pointing out the significant predominance of local personnel in government and administration over the Russians, as well as the fact that local nationalism has a non-anti-Russian orientation, that it is generated by the problems that exist in relations between the peoples of the Caucasus, as well as between them and Turkey:  “The entire Transcaucasian dispute, the entire dispute about Great Russian chauvinism, is at least three-quarters a dispute, if you like, inconclusive. The center of the issue is in national local relations... How is nationalism manifested in Armenia? It hates Turkey... What is Georgian nationalism? In defense of the privileged position that Georgia occupies.” 

** Interestingly, Lenin did not object to Stalin's proposal to create a second chamber, while the nationalist deviationists and their supporters in the Central Committee of the RCP(b) objected. 

*** There is an attempt in the literature to present this as a slander against Lenin for the purpose of Stalin's political self-preservation. But this is not so, Stalin's statement corresponded to reality. For example, Professor V. Kramer noted that during the December exacerbation of the disease (December 16-17 and December 22-23) "there were noticeable symptoms of memory loss" ( Volkogonov D.A. Lenin. Political portrait. M., 1994. Book 2 pp. 337–338). 

**** Stalin, who paid much attention to revealing the real position of Rakovsky as a supporter of the creation of the USSR on the principles of a confederation, did not consider it generally unacceptable, however, he believed that in this case a confederation as a way of uniting the Soviet republics was not advisable (Izvestiya of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4 pp. 171). 

***** In the summer of 1923, Mdivani continued to struggle in the course of the drafting of the Constitution of the USSR from his former positions. G.K. wrote about this. Ordzhonikidze to Stalin on June 10, 1923 (RGASPI. F. 558. Op. 1. D. 2479. L. 63). 

****** Trotsky spoke only about Lenin's letter to him dated March 5 (Izvestia of the Central Committee of the CPSU, 1991, No. 4, pp. 166, 168). 

******* A. Yenukizde said about this document: “Most of the letter of Comrade Lenin known to you is devoted to general questions of our national policy, and against these general thoughts, neither comrade. Stalin, nor comrade. Ordzhonikidze, of course, they don’t mind” (Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Verbatim report. April 17-25, 1923, p. 541). 

******** At the IV meeting of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) with senior officials of the national republics and regions M.Kh. Ibragimov (Tatar ASSR) actually entered into a discussion with Lenin on the issue of excesses. He proposed to simultaneously fight both great-power chauvinism and local nationalism, “but neither to the left nor to the right without overdoing it” (Fourth meeting of the Central Committee of the RCP (b) with senior officials of the national republics and regions in Moscow on June 9-12, 1923. Stenographer Report, p. 24). 


[1433] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. S. 440.  

[1434] Ibid. pp. 46, 62, 279, 322.  

[1435] Ibid. S. 557.  

[1436] Ibid. S. 133.  

[1437] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 171-172.  

[1438] Ibid. S. 172; Stalin I.V. Op. T. 5. S. 257.  

[1439] Stalin I.V. Op. T. 5. S. 257. 

[1440] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 162.  

[1441] XII Congress of the RCP(b). Transcript of the meeting of the section of the congress on the national question on April 25, 1923 // News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 173; No. 5, p. 165; Stalin I.V. Op. T. 5. S. 28. 

 [1442] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 172.  

[1443] Stalin I.V. Op. T. 5. S. 59, 189–190, 242–247.  

[1444] Ibid. pp. 264–265.  

[1445] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 171.  

[1446] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. S. 541.  

[1447] Ibid. pp. 561–564.  

[1448] Ibid. pp. 451, 540, 561–563.  

[1449] Ibid. pp. 529, 532-533; News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 3. S. 171-172.  

[1450] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. S. 553.  

[1451] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 5. S. 158.  

[1452] See: Lenin V.I. Full coll. op. T. 45. S. 402-405.  

[1453] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1989. No. 9. S. 209-213.  

[1454] Ibid. 1991. No. 5. S. 159.  

[1455] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. pp. 155-158, 454-459, 471-475, 541; News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 3. S. 170-174; No. 4. S. 162-164, 166-169, 174-175; No. 5. S. 158, 160-171, 175.  

[1456] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 3. S. 172-174; No. 4, p. 163; No. 5. S. 155-176. 

[1457] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. S. 474.  

[1458] Ibid. pp. 540-541.  

[1459] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. pp. 448-451; News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 172.  

[1460] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 158-159.  

[1461] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 3. S. 178, 179.  

[1462] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. pp. 527, 558-560.  

[1463] Ibid. S. 159.  

[1464] Ibid. pp. 537-539.  

[1465] Ibid. pp. 152, 553, 560; Izvestiya TsKKPSS. 1991. No. 4. S. 159.  

[1466] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. pp. 463-465; News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 3. S. 175, 176, 177; No. 4. pp. 158-159, 164.  

[1467] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. S. 564.  

[1468] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 4. S. 161–162, 172.  

[1469] Twelfth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stenographer. report. pp. 459-461, 537-558.  

[1470] News of the Central Committee of the CPSU. 1991. No. 5. S. 158.

[1471] Ibid. pp. 155-156.  

[1472] RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 2. D. 98. L. 1

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