Eleventh Congress of the Russian Communist Party Bolshevik
Eleventh Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)
held in Moscow from Mar. 27 to Apr. 2, 1922, and attended by 522 delegates with a casting vote, representing 532,000 party members, and 165 delegates with a consultative vote.
The agenda included the political report of the Central Committee, which was delivered by V. I. Lenin; the organizational report of the Central Committee, which was read by V. M. Molotov; the report of the Auditing Commission, which was presented by V. P. Nogin; the report of the Central Control Commission, which was delivered by A. A. Sol’ts; and the report of the RCP(B) delegation to the Comintern, which was read by G. E. Zinoviev. Also on the agenda were reports on the trade unions (M. P. Tomskii, A. A. Andreev), the Red Army (L. D. Trotsky), and financial policy (G. Ia. Sokol’nikov, E. A. Preo-brazhenskii). The Report on the Results of the Party Purge and the Strengthening of the Party Ranks was presented by M. F. Shkiriatov and G. E. Zinoviev. (Supplementary reports on work among youth and on the press and propaganda were delivered by G. I. Safarov and Ia. A. Iakovlev.) The final item on the agenda was the election of the Central Committee, the Central Control Commission, and the Auditing Commission.
The main task of the Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B) was to draw conclusions regarding the first year of the New Economic Policy (NEP). In the political report of the Central Committee, Lenin declared that the retreat—that is, the concessions to the private capitalist economy—was over, that a link was being established between the new economy and the peasant economy, that the alliance of the working class and the peasantry had grown stronger, and that economic gains were at hand. He set a new task: to halt the economic retreat and regroup forces for an offensive against capitalist elements. Essentially, this proposition signified that the permissible limits of capitalism under the conditions of the period of transition had been established and tested in practice. It was necessary to put an end to the broadening of the framework and opportunities for the development of capitalism under the conditions of a mixed economy. The peasant masses should gradually be enlisted in building socialism on the basis of the broad use of trade and money exchange relations. In other words, a new economy should be built jointly with the entire toiling peasantry.
The question of “who will win” in the struggle between the socialist and capitalist elements would be decided in favor of socialism. However, as Lenin pointed out, in order to defeat capitalism, the Communists had to learn to manage the economy and prove that they could run it better than the capitalists. Lenin proposed the slogan “Learn to trade” and called on the Communists to improve the organization of the management of the national economy and to raise cultural standards. He sharply criticized conceit and the covering up of mistakes and shortcomings. Furthermore, he emphasized the need for the correct selection and assignment of cadres and the organization of a system of checking up on administrative bodies.
The Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B) approved the Central Committee’s political and organizational line and pointed out in a resolution that enough concessions had been made to the private capitalist economy and that the present task was to regroup party forces to mount an offensive against capitalist elements. The resolution noted the need for a clearer delineation of the work of party and soviet agencies and drew attention to the elevation of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the local soviets to the role of actual leaders of the economy. The congress approved the work of the RCP(B) representatives on the Executive Committee of the Communist International and expressed complete solidarity with the Comintern’s united front tactics.
The Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B) stressed the importance of strengthening the role of the trade unions under NEP, pointing out that the trade unions should always be the government’s closest and most reliable assistants in all political and economic activities. The resolution on financial policy presented measures intended to strengthen the ruble, increase state revenues, and stabilize prices.
The resolution On Work in the Countryside condemned attempts to apply administrative pressure against the agricultural cooperatives. As stated in the resolution, the party’s main task in the countryside was to provide the peasantry with practical assistance aimed at increasing agricultural production.
The congress paid a great deal of attention to increasing the theoretical and ideological competence of Communists, improving the quality of the party membership, and strengthening the ranks of the party. The conditions for admission to the party were changed, making it more difficult for “elements not purely proletarian” to become members. The congress confirmed the resolution of the Eleventh All-Russian Conference of the RCP(B) On Strengthening the Party, in View of the Experience of the Verification of Its Members.
In the resolution on the Red Army the congress stated that the army’s combat capability should be improved. The congress adopted the resolution On the Tasks and Aims of Control Commissions and confirmed the Statute on Control Commissions and the Statute on the Central Auditing Commission. In addition, it approved the resolutions On the Russian Communist Youth League, On the Press and Propaganda, and On Work Among Women Workers and Women Peasants.
The last (closed) session heard a report by a commission that had been established by the congress to discuss the matter of a number of members of the former Workers’ Opposition, including A. M. Kollontai, S. P. Medvedev, G. I. Miasnikov, and A. G. Shliapnikov. Violating the decision of the Tenth Congress of the RCP(B) in 1921 on the elimination of all factions, they had engaged in factional activity. On the eve of the Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B) they had sent the Comintern a statement in which they painted a false picture of conditions in the party and the country and alleged that the party had abandoned the interests of the working class, thereby distorting the facts regarding the actual relations between the RCP(B) and the working class as a whole. The Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B) resolutely condemned the activity of the former members of the Workers’ Opposition, expelled the most malicious disrupters of party discipline from the party, and instructed the Central Committee to expel the remaining members of the Workers’ Opposition, if they indulged in antiparty behavior.
In the closing speech Lenin criticized the erroneous views expressed by Preobrazhenskii, N. Osinskii (V. V. Obolenskii), Shliapnikov, and others, who had tried to revise the party line on the implementation of NEP. Pointing to the gains made by the Soviet Republic, Lenin emphasized that no power on earth “can annul the major gains of our revolution, for these are no longer our but historic gains” (Poln. sobr. sock, 5th ed., vol. 45, pp. 136–37). The Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B) was the last party congress attended by Lenin. At its first session, the Central Committee of the RCP(B) elected by the Eleventh Congress elected J. V. Stalin general secretary.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. sock, 5th ed., vol. 45.
Odinnadtsatyi s”ezd RKP(b): Stenograficheskii otchet. Moscow, 1961.
M. A. MANASOV