Stalin’s letter style

Stalin may not have had the acerbic edge of Lenin’s letter style, but he prided himself on going straight to the point. With that in mind, here is a letter template from Stalin, drawing upon various phrases from his correspondence:

Comrade …,

I am very late in replying. You have a right to be angry with me, but you must bear in mind that I am unusually remiss as regards letters and correspondence in general. Don’t scold me for being straightforward and blunt concerning your report. Yes, comrade, I am straightforward and blunt; that’s true, I don’t deny it!

It is very praiseworthy that you should have wanted to use your own brains. But just look at the result: on the peace issue you used your own brains, and came a cropper; then in the trade-union discussion you again tried to use your own brains, and again you came a cropper; and now, I do not know whether you are using your own brains or borrowing someone else’s, but it appears that you have come a cropper this time too. I have a notion that certain comrades are not all there in their upper storeys.

Although this fantastic report needs no refutation because of its obvious absurdity, nevertheless, perhaps it will not be superfluous to state that this report is a gross mistake and must be attributed entirely to the author’s imagination. Why, then, do you continue to circulate all kinds of nonsense and fable?

In short, your report is a frightful dream, but thank God only a dream.

Instead, you should emphasise that our country can and must become a land of metal. After all, the party has been forged out of hard steel and tempered in battle. Without such an approach, our work will become meaningless, criminal and futile, which will give us the right, or rather will force us, to go anywhere, even to the devil himself.

In closing, comrade, let me say that I do not undertake to prophecy.

God grant us a new year every day!

With communist greetings,

J. V. Stalin

(from Works, vol. 4, p. 288; vol. 5, pp. 100-1, 226, 386; vol. 6, pp. 36, 201, 285; vol 7, pp. 47, 133, 191-92, 372-73)

Stalin writing 01