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Documents about the "Stalin Constitution"

Source: Siegelbaum, Sokolov: Stalinism as a way of life

Document 56

Letter from I. Vasil'ev to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta on discussion of

Constitution, July 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll. 77-78. Typewritten copy.

"The Ghost That is Not Coming Back"

A film drama by that title was to be shown on 5 July of this year in the Park of Culture and Recreation at Prokhladnaia Station in Primalkinsky Raion, Kabardino-Balkarian Autonomous Oblast.

Well, the raion leaders decided to use this movie to work on the Constitution. They began to assemble people at about 4 p.m. Some organizations arrived in an organized manner, in formation and singing songs. They were taken to the summer theater, and the order from above was not to let anyone leave the hall, yet by about 8 p.m. it had emptied out. What should they do? The decision was, when the people come in for the movie, we'll do some work with them. After two bells the people took their seats based on their tickets. The theater was full, the presidium was assembled and exultant, but the audience was perplexed at seeing a table draped in red and the raion leaders on the stage instead of a screen. The secretary of the VKP(b) RK was Comrade Kashkozhev; the chairman of the RIK was Comrade Biriun, and his deputy, Comrade Opal'ko [was also present].

After the third bell, instead of the movie, Comrade Kashkozhev made introductory remarks, basically saying, we're going to work on Stalin's Constitution. One person in the audience dared to point out that people don't pay money to work. Comrade Kashkozhev shot back that anyone who didn't wish to could leave--and many people left the theater to get their money back at the box office, but the box office had been warned not to give refunds.

Just look at how lacking in consciousness our people are: they don't want to double their pleasure for their eighty kopeks and both work on the Constitution and see a movie. Instead they demand their money back.

Comrade Opal'ko, needless to say, delivered a good report. At a raion level she is a brilliant speaker, but people listened involuntarily, because they didn't want to see their eighty kopeks go to waste. The movie, too, was a good one, based on Henri Barbusse [(1873-1935), writer and veteran of the First World War, joined the French Communist Party in 1923, after which he worked tirelessly to defend the U.S.S.R. Many of his realist novels were translated into Russian and were widely known in the U.S.S.R.]. The report lasted an hour. The presidium appeals, urges and requests the public to speak out, make statements and express its opinion. That took half an hour. Finally some factory worker, whose name wasn't announced, came up and began to speak; but the way he spoke did a disservice to the presidium. The theater was filled with an incredible din, shouting, laughter and hissing.

The militia appeared, and so did Comrade Samarinko himself, chief of the Narkomvnudel RO [district branch of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD)], surrounded by his associates. They spread out among the crowd, kept an eye on the people who were acting restless, and after the movie, at one o'clock in the morning, certain people were detained to provide an explanation.

Comrade Biriun, the RIK chairman, seeing that no one was making any statements, made his own statement and declared: I am the head of the raion and tomorrow I will make you all chew on the Constitution at shop-floor meetings. Where do you think you have come to, to some wretched movie. . . .

This is the cinema, which Lenin said is the best of all the arts, yet to Comrade Biriun it is a wretched movie. So we never did work on Comrade Stalin's Constitution at Prokhladnaia Station on 5 July, the raion's workers flopped and made a spectacle of themselves and, it must be said, the way things came out was not nice.



Document 57

Letter from kolkhoznik P. I. Voronov to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta proposing revisions to Constitution, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll.74-75. Typewritten copy.

The farmers of our kolkhoz welcome Stalin's Constitution with

great joy. The kolkhoz farmers listened to me and approved this Constitution. Altogether twenty five people took part in the meeting, but none of them could express themselves, and then I, kolkhoz farmer Voronov, suggested adding a few more clauses, and they started asking me to write these clauses and send them in. So with the consent of all the kolkhoz farmers, I wrote them down, and when I read everyone what I wrote, the entire meeting sang the Internationale and resolved:

1. That we kolkhoz farmers enjoy no lesser rights than city workers, that we kolkhoz workers work for money rather than work-days.

2. That we kolkhoz farmers all be made trade-union members and have trade-union booklets, so that we can have full rights like city workers.

3. That lumber distribution for the kolkhoz be free of charge for all kolkhoz needs, at least a certain percentage for kolkhoz needs should be issued free of charge.

4. That there be an uninterrupted supply of goods for sale in our villages, especially flour, because we get flour very seldom here, and for bread kolkhoz farmers have to travel thirty kilometers to get baked bread to feed their family, a number of other goods are never available at the cooperatives, and as for leather footwear we never see anything like it anywhere around here.

5. We also ask that the work be set up at our kolkhozes so that we do not work all together but each person works on his own attached plot, which would be attached to us for the whole summer, and that entries be made in our labor books every ten days and they be given to us so that every kolkhoz farmer can know, otherwise we work all summer and don't know who earned how much. We tell the brigade leader to give it to us every month and every ten days. He says, I don't have time, I have too much work, but what does he do? He doesn't do anything on our kolkhoz. We have a chairman and an accounts clerk and a brigade leader, but we don't see anything getting done. The chairman gallivants around, so does the brigade leader, and the accounts clerk we don't see anywhere. They gave him 225 work-days--he doesn't do anything and we ask for help and getting rid of all the shortcomings on our kolkhozes. We have just twenty workers on our kolkhoz. The kolkhoz chairman and the brigade leader set themselves up nicely when there are just twenty workers on the whole kolkhoz, but as for us nobody gives any help to straighten things out; the village librarian lives on our kolkhoz, but even she doesn't take any part--these problems, of course, exist all over Soligalich Raion.


Document 58

Letter from rural correspondent P. Grigor'evich to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta proposing revisions to Constitution, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll. 59-60. Typewritten copy.

We, the farmers of the Red Fighter Kolkhoz, have heard a report on the adoption of the new Constitution of the U.S.S.R. of 1936.


To approve for us the joyful draft of the new Constitution and to approve the chairman of the Constitutional Commission, Comrade Stalin. We see in the person of Comrade Stalin and in the draft of the new Constitution a keen sensitivity to all working people of the U.S.S.R. We know that there is no difference in our country in labor discipline either for women or for men. Women also enjoy the same rights as men.

We see with our own eyes that women along with men are building a socialist society at all enterprises and institutions. We know that in a capitalist country women bear an eternal burden, the poor things have nowhere to appeal or complain, because they are looked upon the way women in our country were looked upon before the Revolution.

Comrade Stalin correctly noted in the draft of the new Constitution

that the people who count in our country are those who march forward together with us and build a socialist society, while whoever doesn't work, doesn't eat. We kolkhoz farmers are waging a struggle in our socialist fields. We kolkhoz farmers want to give the country seven to eight billion poods of grain, and we will give it.

We will not go to borrow grain from capitalist countries and we will not bow to the kulaks, who have had their day. We know that there is nothing frightening for hands hardened by toil. Our Red Fighter Kolkhoz has subscribed one hundred percent to the new loan. We have finished stacking the winter grain and have started threshing, above all we are fulfilling the grain [quota] for the state, the payment in kind for the MTS, and we will provide grain through the cooperatives. Last year each kolkhoz farmer produced three kg, 800 g, per work-day, and in money terms, one ruble, three kopeks. Today we plan to distribute five kg of grain and in money terms, one ruble, fifty kopeks. In the future we are going to make more use of agricultural machinery so we can turn the Red Fighter Kolkhoz into a Bolshevik kolkhoz and make kolkhoz farmers prosperous.

We know that our country is surrounded all around by capitalist

countries, and we see how the enemy is doing everything it can to get closer to the border of the U.S.S.R. live off our plot of land. In 1929 I was on the KVZhD [the Chinese and Eastern Railroad] myself. We succeeded in defending the U.S.S.R. border and will always succeed in strongly repulsing the enemy. We know that the capitalists of all countries can never accept us, they are rabidly preparing to make war on us, but we are ready.

But as soon as Europe threatens us first, we will say, excuse us to those who are bringing us war rather than peace, we will say without hesitation that our bayonets are sharp and our powder is dry too and we will point the way back with our bayonets.


Document 59

Letter of appreciation from F. M. Postnikov to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll. 58-59. Typewritten copy.

It's a pity that I am seventy years old, the young people are lucky to have such a free life and to have such a leader as Comrade Stalin. But still I did have some good life during Soviet rule. After all, it is awful to remember how I lived in the old days under the tsar. I was born to a poor family, my father led a very hard life, he didn't have much land, he was illiterate and didn't teach me. From the time I was very little I had to work as a farmhand and for no less than fifteen years I worked as a shepherd. There was nothing to live on at home, I had one son, who died for Soviet rule, he was killed at the front in the ranks of the Red Army. He left a wife and child, and his wife died too, so my granddaughter remained in my care, and I brought her up and freely taught her and now she is a student, she even helps the old woman and me. And even as an old man I am still making a living. In 1934 I produced 200 work-days, and in 1935 I had 150 work-days, and I also caulked a school and the village soviet and earned quite a bit. I get two or three bonuses for my honest labor on the kolkhoz, and this year my life has gotten even better, I got a piglet as a bonus, which I've never had before. Then I take part in olympics [Competitions of amateur artists, orchestras, choirs, dance ensembles and theatrical troupes, often on a national basis]. I take part in the singers' chorus, I perform alone and when they put me on in our village of Morozovka, the culture people liked it and they took me to the raion together with all of our performers. Our chorus and our performance in the raion won first prize. As for me, they gave the old man a prize of twenty five rubles for my separate song "Cheryomushka [Little Bird Cherry Tree]," and they promise to take me to the krai besides.

So that is where a happy life is, comrades. If I was young, I would definitely study to be a fine performer and singer, but I am already on in years. But if I go to Arkhangel'sk, I will take a good look at those cars, which I have never seen, and all that building. Thanks to Comrade Stalin, although I am an old man, I still managed to get myself a bit of a happy life and I suggest the Constitution not forget about us old people.


Document 60

Letter of complaint of F. M. Plindina, Voronezh Oblast, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, l. 83. Typewritten copy.

Maybe some people are shy about writing, but I will write the real truth, the whole opinion of the people: everybody thanks Soviet rule for the fact that the government took all the enterprises away from the landowners, and everybody thanks it for saying that there should be no war. But people on the kolkhoz are not happy that everybody is hungry and are quietly saying, but are obviously afraid to say, that because the whole enterprise belongs to the state, the peasant does all this work and has to give a certain amount from each hectare to the state, so that there will be no war.

Because I see that people don't want to work on kolkhozes, is it really possible that people at the newspaper haven't heard this--peasants want to put in the new Constitution, I hear it from the people, but everybody's afraid of saying at the meetings that we don't want to be on the kolkhoz, we work and work, and there's nothing to eat. Really, how can we live? Everybody says we have almost no bread on the kolkhoz now, and where are we going to scrape together a ruble per kilo.


Document 61

Letter from K. F. Shestakova to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta proposing revisions to Constitution, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll. 80-82. Typewritten copy.

I, the undersigned kolkhoz farmer, have decided to write you a letter and tell you about my life. I have a very hard life. Every spring there is not enough bread. I have two sons, the first sixteen years old, the second five. It is very hard for me to raise them. I have no husband--he died. I hear from the newspapers (my son reads them) that kolkhoz farmers write that they are well off and pass their own law. In the old days the poor people kept quiet at meetings, and the folks who were well off managed everything. Now we poor people are electing poor people to the administration, but we don't get much joy out of it. For instance, I am a poor widow, and every winter I starve. My son was in the fifth grade in the raion six kilometers away, and in the fall he was happy to go, as long as it was warm and there was bread, but midway through the winter the bread ran out and the cold weather was brutal, and my son stopped going to school because he wasn't eating enough, he began to slow down as far as understanding his studies, he had no boots, and he had no warm overcoat either. These were the main reasons he didn't finish his studies.

Who is going to help me, a poor widow? The kolkhoz board gave sixteen kg for my two sons for a month, and I ate with them. They write that our law is not only not for the poor, it is for the well-off. We poor people say that we're not able to pay for milk and meat and wool, the poor should be relieved of this. But our words are not taken into consideration, whatever the well-off people say, that is what is resolved. At the general meeting of kolkhoz farmers things are not done our way either. I have lost all my strength from not having enough to eat, and it's hard to work at the same level as the others.

I often remember Lenin, how kind he was for us, for the peasants, he took the land away from the landowners, gave it to the peasants and ordered them to divide it among everybody. In those days everybody was well fed, nobody went hungry. Lenin died too early. Now things are worse for us, poor widows, than they were before the Revolution. At that time the capitalists were in charge and didn't ask anything of us: no wool, no meat, no milk. Now the Communists are in charge and ask for absolutely everything. There is no bread. They order us to turn in the milk, and even to deliver meat. We have to buy the meat and turn it in. Why do the Communists treat us so badly, in a way that the capitalists didn't--they didn't starve poor peasants?

You write that we should write our suggestions to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta. So I deem it necessary to insert in the draft--exempt low-capacity poor farms from milk and meat deliveries, exempt farms ruined by White bandits. Why has it come about in the U.S.S.R. that there are two classes--one liberated and the other oppressed? The state buys everything at low prices from us and sells to us at high prices. It buys grain for six rubles a centner and sells bread to us ninety five rubles a centner.

The new draft refers to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. And we poor people are asking the editors to write our letters in the newspaper. We have a hard life, we want to live better, so that we can also see a well-to-do life in our families.

We need the freedom to sell only our surpluses, and not this way--leaving our children hungry and turning in and selling the milk to the state. We are all working people, like the workers and office clerks and kolkhoz farmers--a kolkhoz farmer is a human being too, he also needs to eat well. Don't leave the poor kolkhoz farmers to go hungry. Only the ones with children and families are poor. Lenin felt sorry for the peasants with many children and ordered that the land be divided among everybody. The peasants without children said it should be divided among workers. Right now the peasants without children have a very easy and good life, they are the only ones giving praise, but there are hundreds of thousands of poor people, hungry and unclothed.

Please put into the draft: any farm that suffered at the hands of a White gang in 1919 for the cause of socialism is to be exempted from deliveries to the state of milk and meat and wool. Exempt poor farms with three or four small children, they need to eat well, but we don't have enough milk and our children often get sick.

A widowed kolkhoz farmer, half-starved, I write and wash myself in tears.


Document 64

Excerpt from summary report on religious activity among Germans in Volga Region, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, l. 52. Typewritten copy.

In the village of Gnadentau in Zel'man Canton, situated in the Republic of Germans of the Volga Region, the chairman of the church council, a man named Shefer who had formerly been stripped of his voting rights, raised a question at a villagers' meeting: can they now reopen a church that had been closed down for refusing renovations that were needed to preserve state property and for refusing to pay appropriate taxes. Can the church council now assemble church meetings without permission from the village soviet and the KIK [canton executive committee].[sic; no question marks in original]

This same Shefer, a man named Klaub and Karpukha, bookkeeper for the Staraia Poltava Canton Consumers' Union, have been and are agitating to the effect that churches should now be opened without turning in the appropriate taxes and renovating the church; that the pastor (priest) will now come back, regains his voting rights and religious meetings, processions and so forth may be freely organized at any time without permission from the village soviet and the canton executive committee.

The aforementioned Klaub tried to teach kolkhoz farmers to demand for themselves from the kolkhoz board a seven-hour workday and ten to fifteen rubles' pay per day, and at least six kg of bread per work-day.

The above-mentioned Shefer held a gathering of Betbrüder [devotees] in his house without any permission from the village soviet or the canton executive committee.

Betbrüder assembled in the same village of Gnadentau without any permission, and to call the meeting they used a church bell that was in decrepit condition and had not been used for several years.


Document 65

Letter from party organizer V. S. Kolesnikov to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta on "perverse" understandings of Constitution, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll. 71-73. Typewritten copy.

I wanted to personally write to the Central Committee about the draft of the new Constitution that has been released, with regard to the way it is understood in various backward areas, especially here by the minority Greeks on the Stalinist Kolkhoz, where I work as a party organizer, under the Prokhladnoe Village Soviet in Grechesky [Greek] Raion. First I will take the blame for the fact that I have not yet educated the masses, but in three months it is impossible to do that, because people have lived for centuries and re-education comes very hard, and besides I am myself not completely literate, both politically and especially in general education. You can conclude this from my letter. But now I will go on to the main issues.

1. When the new Constitution came out in the provinces, it was badly perverted, for example Article 136 has been understood and interpreted a hundred times to say that everybody takes part in elections, so priests can be voters too, not understanding that the church is separated from the state. And because priests live on unearned income, they should be deprived of voting rights and of being elected.

Articles 9 and 10 are being perverted to mean that in the spring everyone who wants to be independent peasants, they can quit the kolkhoz and add Article 10, that citizens' personal property is protected by law, which means that we are going to pay the same taxes as kolkhoz farmers. The articles relating to krai, central and other organizations are distorted less, because these are issues right close to them, and that of course is completely understandable. But in general there is a lot of idle talk on the part of certain leftover sons of plantation owners and former exploiters, who have sort of edged their way onto kolkhozes and are setting down roots in socialism as crooks. The long-haired priests and church elders are playing an especially big role in this. Soon after the Constitution [evidently after publication of the draft] they managed to take up renovation of the church and restoration of the fence, and on that basis they conducted agitation to the effect that all churches should be restored and special schools established for priests. The self-proclaimed apostle Yura in particular had to appear at our kolkhoz about these inventions, and a private discussion was held with him three times. . .

You will especially run into a lot of talk on the part of the ataman's drazhnily [meaning unclear] or the older factory workers, as they call themselves. But these are workers in quotation marks, and they walked around with sticks and beat up workers, but by various excuses they stayed on the kolkhoz. Such individuals are first Aleksei Shkrum and second Potap Nedel'sky. These individuals were not left much land, half a hectare. But what is typical is that Shkrum only worked since the spring until the crops ripened in his truck garden, then he quit the kolkhoz altogether and is working exclusively in his own garden and the labor-intensive crops that are sown to 0.50 hundred[ths of a hectare] are quite enough for him and his wife they only have to cultivate and sell them at the market for profiteers prices, and such people have crops, as well as grapes, fruit trees, strawberries, vegetables and various other combinations, and if he and his ilk are given a hectare or more of land, then of course he will not find the time or the need to work on the kolkhoz, so that is why they spread the word that the government was wrong to leave 0.50 hundred[th] of a hectare of land apiece for personal use by kolkhoz farmers. Of course, we managed to rebuff such shenanigans on the spot and expose such people and their ilk. But these elements don't want to understand and go, to put it crudely, underground, although they aren't dangerous, but there are already plenty of sneaks like that [The last part of the letter, about abortions, has been omitted].


Document 66

Letter from S. Kirillovsky praising the Constitution, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll. 56-57. Typewritten copy.

I am hastening to share thoughts which I have developed as a summary of all the tenets in Stalin's great creation. Unprecedented in the history of mankind, this greatest of state laws could have been produced only by a brilliant personality. What is potentially set down in it, so to speak, are all of the wishes and thoughts of working people on kolkhozes that have been expressed or could be expressed, so they may become part of the Constitution only as a footnote to one article or another. Here is an example: Article 123, in principle, provides for unprintable profanities and hooliganlike insults to religious feelings and female modesty and other manifestations of savage barbarism and crude manners in the sense that it displays hatred, contempt and disrespect for citizens as individuals, and this could be added as a footnote to Article 123. Exceptional cases of murder, theft and other excesses, which so to speak upset normal life, also come only under accountability based on Articles 128, 130 and 131, and therefore the working people's desire to detain such individuals without the prosecutor's sanction, in order to prevent them from eluding justice and protect life, honor and property, can be entered as a footnote to Article 127. The village soviet can detain them on its account as abnormal individuals and enemies of the people until a trial. The desire of working men and women on kolkhozes to reduce the powers of deputies are [sic] envisaged by Article 142, under which a deputy who does not fulfill the hopes of voters may be recalled at any time. Other desires of the working people, as material for the forthcoming congress, may be submitted to the congress upon final approval of the draft. . . [Gap in the text. What is apparently meant is that "there are proposals which if they were" (text picks up at this point)] to be implemented, would be a fly in the ointment, but time affords an opportunity to everybody to speak their piece and to think over what is good, the unclear and misinterpreted aspects become clear, everything, so to speak, is digested in the popular consciousness and the Constitution appears in even greater brilliance and majesty. With this Constitution Comrade Stalin, and I will put it in the words of Pushkin,"has erected himself a monument not of human hands, the people's trail to it shall not become overgrown."

While the 1861 reform gave rise to disturbances by peasants, and in some places to revolts that were brutally suppressed, Stalin's Constitution produced a huge upsurge in morale and enthusiasm. This draft, as the esteemed Comrade Kalinin has said, laid bare the ranks of classes alien to the Revolution and won over those who have a conscience and talent and previously were frustrated by a life of deprivation but were eager to join socialist construction. The atmosphere of socialism has lifted up the popular masses and united them into a single entity, as though by a law of physics. . .[Apparently a gap in the text: it isn't clear what it moves by a law of physics.] moving, it lifts up all objects, and this law is binding both on the physical world and it is binding on the world of the psyche. While the 1861 reform sent many people to prison and hard labor, Stalin's draft Constitution will release many inmates from imprisonment and forced labor with a broad amnesty for this year's anniversary of 7 November [date of the 1917 Revolution]--these are the desires and hopes of the working people. It is time for citizens to realize that no matter who they were in the past, the road is open for everyone to public activity and the construction of socialism. That is what esteemed Comrades Molotov and Kalinin said at workers' rallies. Aside from his other beneficial activities, the name of dear, brilliant Comrade Stalin should be recorded in the history of mankind in conspicuous lettering for the draft Constitution alone and the our century should rightfully be called the century of Lenin and Stalin.


Document 67

Letter from kolkhoznik V. Ye. Mel'nikov to Krest'ianskaia Gazeta proposing revisions to the Constitution, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, ll. 83-85. Typewritten copy.

The published draft of the U.S.S.R. Constitution of 12 June 1936 is one of the most precious gifts from Soviet authority to the peoples of the Union since its rule began.

If the coming congress of soviets will see fit to approve it in its entirety after a general discussion, a new era in life will indeed begin for the peoples of the U.S.S.R., because the thoughts and aspirations of the progressive minds of the old and new world will be realized and implemented.

Then we will be entitled to say to the Westernizers: Citizens! We are not slaves without rights, either, but are free citizens who are building our life in our own way, and with our flesh and blood are forging the rights of citizenship and our homeland, which we will cherish and protect as the apple of our eye. These inalienable rights of citizenship will definitely be mighty and strong in every respect of public life and if anyone thinks [of raising a hand] against the U.S.S.R. with such a Constitution, either from within or from outside, he will get a devastating rebuff.

Under the coming elections to the soviets, based on Article 134, the peoples of the U.S.S.R. will be the supreme holders of power, and consequently the future bodies of power will have the source of the people's will.

Of all the different forms of government one must consider the best to be the one that fulfills the people's happiness and security more completely and that provides the most guarantees against bad administration.

After all, everyone thinks and feels that an encroachment on the basic most important rights of the human individual and citizen not only dulls civic-mindedness but even causes a person to build up a feeling of hatred toward the state and a desire to demolish and destroy the state authority that nullifies the main purpose of human and civic existence.

In order to make the government's laws and directives more sensible and stable, I think this should be added to Chapter III, Article 34: people elected to the Supreme Soviet shall be at least fifty years of age and have a higher education.

To the Council of Nationalities, at least thirty years of age, with a broad life experience.

Add to Chapter IX, Article 102: The death penalty shall be abolished, as a measure of social protection that is degrading for mankind in the twentieth century, and replaced by the penalty of exile from the U.S.S.R. with confiscation of property.

Add to Article 108: When krai or oblast courts consider cases from people's courts, the assessors in any session shall consist of four workers and six peasants. Ten percent of people's judges shall have a higher education.

Chapter X, Article 125, should be amended since freedom of the press is one of the greatest underpinnings of political freedom, therefore any restriction on the press should be regarded as an act of tyranny, and all citizens should be granted the right to express their opinion in the press without any censorship and without any obstacle to subscribing to and receiving from abroad newspapers and magazines of various parties and shadings.

Add to Article 129: All citizens of the Union shall be granted the right freely to go abroad, to work, travel or for scholarly purposes, to any country in the world.

Add to Article 141: In each election district, not only organizations but private individuals shall enter nominations in the lists of candidates, because not all organizations know all of the good people around them.

My sincere request to the esteemed editors of Krest'ianskaia Gazeta is the following: provide a broad introduction for our newspaper's readers in the immediate future to the constitutions of the advanced countries throughout the world, because most of the population does not even have the slightest inkling of the principles of these states. In particular, people should be familiarized with the French Constitution of 1789 [It is unclear whether reference is to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) or the Constitution of the Constitutional Monarchy (1791).] and the American, published in 1772 [sic], as one that was fostered in the struggle for independence against English dominion in the colonies.


Document 68

Letter from kolkhoznik I. A. Tiushin proposing Peasant's Union, 1936

RGASPI, f. 17, op. 120, d. 232, l. 79. Typewritten copy.

I propose, according to the draft sent down by the Constitutional Commission, that Article 126, which says for the purpose of developing organized independent activities ["For the purpose of developing organized independent activities" appears in Article 126.] be amended to give all kolkhoz and independent peasants the right to organize a direct Peasants' Union under every village soviet and which would directly handle all needs and clarifications with the central land administrations in view of the bureaucratic attitude of village soviets and kolkhoz boards, which in most cases lead kolkhoz peasants not to a prosperous, cultured life but to the collapse of the kolkhozes and their deterioration and the provision of public services for peasants should not be considered in a general way--[on a] nationwide scale--but according to living conditions, especially in the northern oblasts.


Document 71

Collective letter from women of Dnepropetrovsk Oblast to TsK VKP(b) on alimony and libertinism, 1936

GARF, f. 3316, op. 41, d. 82, ll.13-15. Original manuscript.

. . . . About alimony and libertinism, which is at a high level in our country, it is wrong that the law Constitution says one-quarter [of the earnings] are used for the first child and one-third for two, because this has led to the point where they only judge everywhere about alimony, i.e. they let men change wives, after all divorce is expensive, so men do not get a divorce or do not register--they just get together and then break up, but they bring orphans into the world, and they are given the shameful name of "bastard," in order to destroy this libertinism and the shameful name of bastard for a child we submit this suggestion:

1. If a girl gives birth from an unmarried man (the marriage is unregistered)--she gets fifty percent of his wages "so there are no snickers at women." If he does the same thing with another one, the second one gets one-quarter for her child (so she knows that he has a child and so his wife doesn't get any ideas that he left one girl but not me, he won't leave me, and this will make men settle down). But if he does it with a third one, then the child is to be placed in a foundling hospital, and he and she are to pay the hospital three hundred rubles apiece, plus they must both do forced labor for three months.

2. If a widow or a girl begets a child with a family man, it is the same thing--he does three months and four hundred rubles, and she does three months and three hundred rubles for child rearing. When men paid one-third of their wages for alimony, men settled down a little, but when it became one-quarter, the level of libertinism rose by fifty percent--"men were given freedom"--we demand a stop to it. For an abortion a woman should get three months in prison, since abortions have now become very common and the strangulation of the newborn is continuing. We ask especially that the unmarried men be hit, what is going on is unbearable, they have five children apiece. The level of libertinism has reached the point where a man begets five children with five women. . . .


Document 72

Proposals on demographic policy submitted by L. V. Kashkin, Leningrad, 1936

GARF, f. 3316, op. 41, d. 79, ll. 56-57, 59, 61, 69-71. Typewritten original.

1. Natal citizens--from conception to weaning. Until now neither the embryo nor the intrauterine or extrauterine fetus was recognized as a citizen. This, of course, is wrong. Excluding this age from a citizen's lifetime and depriving it of rights have no legal basis. But the responsibility of natal citizens, since they cannot take care of themselves, equals zero, while the responsibility of the birth mother for them equals 100 percent.

2. Young citizens--from weaning to real maturity. Subgroups are children, adolescents and young people. Their responsibility for their health increases from zero to one hundred percent.

3. Mature citizens, their level of responsibility equals one hundred percent.

4. Old citizens. Our goal is to achieve universal longevity for the population and to eliminate senility while maintaining people's capacity to work. But for the present their responsibility for their health declines from one hundred percent to zero.

YThe health of a natal citizen relates to the health of the same citizen's other ages roughly in the same way as the country's natural riches relate to their future exploitation. The magnitude and quality of the internal riches that are extracted from the depths of the maternal organism are decisive for the development of the capacity to work in maturity. But a poorly organized extraction of natural riches may lead both to their nonproductive loss during the extraction process and their spoilage. . .

. . . Absolutely everything in a woman's behavior is reflected one way or another in the composition of her blood and in the uniformity and regularity with which all parts of her body and the fetus are supplied with blood. Hence it is the woman's duty to take care of the health of new generations. . . As for the man, he has no duty to the new generation, since children are produced not by him but by the woman. The man bears responsibility in health terms only for the quality of his fertilizing impregnation. That is the man's duty.

The very first steps of the new Population Policy along the path of eliminating these social vices, which are detrimental to the population's capacity for work and longevity, will completely change the public face and social status of Soviet women. Their awareness that childbearing production is being converted from a private matter to a state matter, that by conscientiously performing their duties in this production they can increase, in an unlimited way, our homeland's might in every field that requires a capacity for work and longevity from citizens, will give them an awareness of their dignity that they have never had before in the history of the human race.

Women in the highest childbearing categories--Stakhanovites of childbearing production who set the highest standards in it--will enjoy a level of honor and respect in our country that has never been conferred on any queen. Our new Population Policy will transform the slogan "Clear the way for the woman!" from a pretty phrase into an actual practice, into living, concrete reality. Women from other countries will have to marvel at our country, where women and children are "paramount." During the difficult minutes of their lives they will remember this.

Article 6. Every natal citizen of the U.S.S.R. shall be listed in one of the categories established by the government, based on his natal health level. The natal health level shall be entered in the citizen's birth certificate, and subsequently in his [internal] passport as a permanent fact about his identity. The natal health level shall serve simultaneously as an indicator of the citizen's future capacity for work and, on the other hand, as an indicator of his producer's (in everyday language: his mother's) fulfillment of childbearing discipline.

Citizens who were born before the law on women's childbearing responsibility takes effect and whose natal level is unknown shall be listed in the category based on their current health level.

An improvement or decline in a current health level resulting from the personal health efforts or health negligence of young citizens shall entail, on a mandatory basis, a corresponding rise or fall in his childbearing category and the amount of social security for childbirth.

Article 7. A woman's childbearing right to produce citizens and a man's impregnation right to fertilize an embryo, as a socialist right, shall be separated from the personal, individualistic conjugal right to sexual cohabitation between spouses. Childbirth-capable women and impregnation-capable men shall make a commitment, upon entering into matrimony, to take the necessary preventive measures against conceiving an embryo.

In the event that a childbirth-capable woman who is married decides to give the country a new citizen, she shall be required, prior to conception, to apply to the childbirth bureau for a formal divorce and for certification of the impregnation ability of the man she has designated for impregnation and for certification of the normal natal level of her future child.

The marriage shall be permitted to resume only upon termination of the citizen's natal age, i.e. after weaning. Liability for violation of this law shall remain in effect even in the event that the natal level of the infant does not fall into the lower categories.

Article 8. Every male citizen of the U.S.S.R. shall care for the quality and fullness of his fertilizing agent. Based on the fullness of their agent, men shall be divided into officially established categories, which shall be registered by the childbirth bureau.

Both the category of the childbearing woman and the category of the impregnating man shall be considered in the establishment of a normal natal level for a future natal citizen.