20th Congress of the Communist Party

1956-02-17 - Georgy M. Malenkov


Comrades, in the central committee’s report, Comrade N. S. Khrushchov summed up the results of the great constructive work the Soviet people have accomplished under the tried and tested guidance of our Communist Party since the 19th Congress. These results are evidence of the Soviet Union’s new achievements, both in international and domestic affairs.

In the international sphere the Soviet Union, in close co-operation with the Chinese People’s Republic, with all the people’s democracies, has scored big successes in the lofty cause of upholding and strengthening peace.

The Soviet Union’s consistently pursued policy of developing contacts and peaceful relations with all states is a salient feature of the past years. All peoples see the Soviet Union’s energetic efforts to strengthen peace throughout the world. The U.S.S.R. has graphically and convincingly demonstrated that in its entire foreign policy it adheres strictly to the Leninist principle of peaceful co-existence of countries with different social systems. The peace initiative and steadfast peace policy of the Soviet Union have considerably strengthened the positions of the U.S.S.R. and the entire socialist camp in the international arena.

In the domestic sphere the past period is characterised by a fresh upsurge of the national economy and a rise in the living standards of the Soviet people. The immense work accomplished by the Communist Party has resulted in an enhancement of the might of our socialist state, further con­solidation of the moral and political unity of Soviet society and the fraternal friendship of the peoples of the Soviet Union, and in the strengthening of Soviet law and socialist democracy.

In the report of the central committee, N. S. Khrushchov noted with full justification that during the period under review the political leadership of the party’s central committee has been at an adequate level and that the party has worked out correct solutions to problems connected with the development of the state and the party, and has competently led the country along the Leninist path.

The general results of the country’s development since the 19th Congress of the party show that the rate of growth of the Soviet Union’s economy remains at a level unknown to the capitalist countries. The advance of its national economy continues and is based on the implementation of a programme for peaceful construction.

Guided by the injunctions of our leader and teacher V.I. Lenin, the Communist Party is unswervingly pursuing the policy of turning the Soviet Union into an advanced, increasingly powerful industrial country. The achievements scored by the U.S.S.R. are truly immense. We are indebted for these achievements to the constant concern of our party and its central committee for the utmost progress of heavy industry, which is the bedrock foundation of development in all branches of the national economy and a further rise in the material and cultural standards of the Soviet people. The line of priority development of heavy industry has been and remains the general line of our party.

What is characteristic of the past years is the implementation of a pro­gramme of concrete measures to eliminate the failings in a number of major branches of the national economy, the policy of ensuring technical progress in all spheres of socialist construction, and of carrying out important measures to advance agriculture. The party is waging a purposeful battle along all lines for the swift and comprehensive development of socialist agriculture and livestock farming. The disclosure of big mistakes and a substantial improvement in the guidance of agriculture, both at the centre and in the localities, the consistent and correct application of the principle of material incentive to collective farms and their members, the resolute removal of shortcomings in this respect-all this is already producing constructive results and will no doubt make it possible to overcome the lag in agriculture in a short time and to ensure its rapid advance.

In the report, Comrade N.S. Khrushchov not only summed up the great results of the work accomplished but also outlined the major tasks which our party and the Soviet people will have to carry out. The report indicated the ways for the further consolidation of the material and technical basis of communism, raised the principal tasks for advancing our country’s productive forces, and set forth the most important measures of the party for further raising the material and cultural standards of the Soviet people. The fundamental principles formulated in the report on the questions of peaceful co-existence of the two systems, the possibility of preventing wars in the present era, and the forms of transition of different countries to socialism fully conform to the Marxist-Leninist teaching, and are a creative’ application and development of Marxism-Leninism in the new, present-day situation.

As for the party’s internal life, there is no doubt that the entire party membership has received with great satisfaction the important measures taken by the central committee during the period under review, measures designed resolutely to eliminate serious abnormalities in party life and methods of party leadership, to secure strict adherence to the principle of party guidance and standards of party life worked out by Lenin, the strictest observance of the supreme principle of party leadership-collective leadership. We all realise that the firm line pursued by the central committee against the cult of the individual, which is alien to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism, is of fundamental and vital importance. The report rightly emphasises that the cult of the individual is a distortion of the Marxist-Leninist teaching, and this distortion inevitably leads to a belittling of the role of the party and its leading centre, to stifling the creative activity of the party rank and file. There is no need to prove that the weakening, and all the more so, the liquidation of the methods of collective leadership, the distortion of the Marxist understanding of the role of the individual and the cult of the individual-all this led to peremptory one-man decisions, to arbitrariness, and during a definite period did great harm to the guidance of the party and the country.




Only the collective political experience, the collective wisdom of the central committee based on the scientific foundation of Marxist-Leninist theory, ensures correct leadership in building communism in our country and makes for the unbreakable unity of the party ranks.

Our party is strong and mighty by virtue of the unity of its ranks, its inseverable bonds with the people. We are confident of the strength and advantages of our system and for this reason boldly promote criticism and self-criticism. The interests of the people are the supreme concern of our party. Everything else must be subordinated to this concern. It is to the credit of the central committee that, guided by Leninist principles and for the good of our common cause, it lays bare mistakes, whoever commits them, does so resolutely, irrespective of personalities, and rightly corrects anyone who makes these mistakes.

Not only our friends but also our enemies understand the decisive im­portance the unity of our party and its leadership has for the cause of building communism. The enemies of the Soviet Union have always dreamt of disunity in the ranks of the Communist Party and its leadership. But their calculations on differences in our midst always fail badly. It is a matter of record that the imperialists placed a high stake on Beria, that malignant enemy of our party and the people. The exposure of this dyed-in-the-wool agent of imperialism and his accomplices was a big victory for the party and its collective leadership. The party has rallied its ranks still closer round the central committee, the guiding collective of our party, which is leading the Soviet people, under the banner of Marxism-Leninism, to great victories of communism.

The genuinely Bolshevik atmosphere of solidarity and party unity, founded on Leninist principles, which prevails at our congress infuses each one of us with. the greatest energy and confidence.;:

There is no doubt that the party will successfully accomplish the tasks confronting it and will confidently lead the country to new victories, for the good and happiness of the Soviet people.




Electrification-Major Prerequisite for Higher Labour Productivity­




Comrades, accomplishment of the cardinal economic task of the U.S.S.R. demands a further vast expansion of production, which should first of all be based on a sharp rise in the productivity of labour.

In the report and in the draft directives on the Sixth Five-Year Plan submitted to the congress, the central committee of the party, in full conformity with the injunctions of the great Lenin, again and again stresses that the task of raising labour productivity confronts us now in all its decisive significance. The manifold increase in production, necessary for surpassing economically the most developed capitalist countries, can only to a small degree be attained by increasing the number of workers. In the Sixth Five-Year Plan higher labour productivity is to account for 85 per cent of the expansion in industrial output.

Together with the continuous expansion of production, the systematic and rapid increase in labour productivity is in the Soviet Union the main means for the maximum satisfaction of the rising requirements of the people, and at the same time the chief method for achieving a faster rate of increase in production per head of population as compared with the United States of America.

Struggle for higher labour productivity makes up the chief content of our peaceful economic competition with the capitalist system, in the course of which the advantages of the new social system will be revealed triumphantly.

Peaceful co-existence of the socialist camp with the capitalist camp means economic competition of the two world social systems, the results of which will ultimately decide the historic destinies of all mankind. Our firm conviction that in this great, historic competition socialism will triumph is based on a scientific understanding of the advantages of a social system founded on social ownership of the means of production, a system to which exploitation, racial and class inequality are alien and which can assure the highest level in satisfying the requirements of the masses of the working people.

Marxism-Leninism teaches us that the ability of the socialist system of economy to ensure a higher level of labour productivity, as compared with capitalism, is the economic foundation of the victory of socialism in this competition. The full significance of the Leninist proposition that “capitalism can be finally defeated, and will be finally defeated, by the fact that socialism gives rise to a new, much higher labour productivity” (Works, Russian Edition, Vol. 29, p.394), is now revealed in all its entirety more than ever before.

The course of historical development has fully confirmed the correctness of this remarkable Marxist proposition, which Lenin so daringly put forward at a time when our country was gripped by the gravest economic chaos and when labour productivity had