Lenin’s hanging order for the kulaks (1918)

Lenin’s hanging order against the kulaks was sent to commissars in Penza, about 300 miles south-east of Moscow, in August 1918:

“(Send this to Penza – to Comrades Kuraev, Bosh, Minkin and other Penza communists.)

Comrades! The revolt by the five kulak volosts [regions] must be suppressed without mercy. The interest of the entire revolution demands this because we have now before us our final decisive battle with the kulaks.

We need to set an example. You need to hang – hang without fail, and do it so that the public sees – at least 100 notorious kulaks, the rich, and the bloodsuckers. Publish their names. Take away all of their grain. Execute the hostages – in accordance with yesterday’s telegram.

This needs to be accomplished in such a way that people for hundreds of miles around will see, tremble, know and scream out: let’s choke and strangle those blood-sucking kulaks. Telegraph us acknowledging receipt and execution of this.”


“P.S. Use your toughest people for this”

Approximately one week later, Lenin sent this follow up telegram:

“I am extremely indignant that there has been absolutely nothing definite from you as to what serious measures have at last been carried out by you for ruthless suppression of the kulaks of five volosts and confiscation of their grain. Your inactivity is criminal. All efforts should be concentrated on a single volost which should be swept clean of all grain surpluses. Telegraph fulfilment.”