Pravda (Lead Article), The All-Union Census — a Most Important Government Task. November 29, 1938
Original Source: Pravda, 29 November 1938, p. 1.
The All-Union census of the population has great meaning for the entire economic, cultural, and political life of the country. At the 13th Party Congress, Comrade Stalin said:
“No construction work, no government work, no planning work is conceivable without accurate calculation. But calculation is inconceivable without statistics. Without statistics, calculation cannot move forward even a single step.”
The people in our country are its most valuable capital; for that reason the all-Union census of the population, which will take place in January 1939, is a most important political matter. A precise calculation of the population will help the further unswerving construction of socialist society. That is why the all-Union census of the population is a great concern of all the people.
Under the sun of the Great Socialist Revolution is occurring an astonishingly rapid, never-before seen increase in population. Mighty socialist industry has called into life new professions. Tens of thousands of people, who yesterday were unskilled laborers, today have become qualified masters in the most diverse branches of production. Yesterday’s Stakhanovites today have become technicians and engineers. Millions of peasant smallholders, eking out a beggarly life, have become prosperous collective farmers, creators of socialist harvests. The best of the people have mastered fields of study, constantly reinforcing the ranks of the Soviet intelligentsia. The all-Union census of the population must show all the great changes that have happened in the life of the people, the growth of the cultural and material level of the masses, the increase in the qualification of factory workers and office workers.
In 1882, Lev Tolstoy in an article “About the census in Moscow” wrote: “For society, the interest and significance of the census is that it gives a mirror in which all society and each of us can, if we wish, see ourselves… We know in truth, that among us, among tens of thousands of people, tens of thousands live without food, clothing, and shelter.”
These numbers speak for themselves. They are the clearest indication of the backwardness, in which pre-Revolutionary Russia languished.
With the years of Soviet authority, our country has become a wealthy and mighty socialist power. In the Soviet Union the population is growing with extraordinary speed. In a speech of Comrade Stalin, made to leading combine-drivers in 1935, are the following significant words:
“With us, everyone now says, that the material situation of the workers has significantly improved, that living has become better and happier. That is, of course, true. But that means that the population has begun to increase more rapidly than in former times. Mortality has become less, and fertility more, and net growth appears incomparably more quickly. That, of course, is good, and we welcome it. Now our net growth of population every year is about three million souls. That means, that every year we get an increase equal to all of Finland.”
In what other country is such a significant increase of population conceivable?!cr2 Fertility increases relentlessly: in 1937 it was 18% higher, than in 1936. The number of those born in the USSR in the third quarter of 1938 increased in comparison to the corresponding half year of 1937 by 63 and a half thousand people. The sharp increase in fertility, the fall in mortality, the unrelenting growth in population — that is what characterizes our motherland, the country of socialism.
The all-Union census once again with show the whole world the striking results of the victories of socialism. It will show the growth in the well-being of the Soviet people. It will strengthen the cause of building socialism
Less than two months remain before the census. Preparations for the census are in full swing. Leading census personnel are completing special courses. From 1 December will begin the preparation of enumerators and instructor-inspectors. 500 thousand people will take part in the census — a whole army! The task is carefully to prepare the enumerators, inspectors, and supervisory census personnel so that they can successfully fulfill their work of such great importance. Census workers have been chosen from a number of people, politically checked and competent in business matters, and have been personally confirmed by the organs of Soviet authority. This shows what significance is being given to the census.
In the meantime, nowhere near all local Party and Soviet organizations understood the significance of the census. Thus, for example, the leader of the Kuzbass Complex, Comrade Postoutenko recently issued an order, forbidding directors of trusts and leaders of mines from releasing for preparatory work on the all-Union census, persons working in the complex and already designated enumerators, instructors, inspectors, and supervisors of census offices. With this decree, Comrade Postoutenko brought disorganization into the preparation for the census, certifying that he did not understand the great governmental importance of this task. In Kursk province, several district organizations — Belgorod, Belov, Greater Poliansk, Belenikhin — ignore the decision of the provincial executive committee about the dispatch of census workers to special courses.
The success of the census will depend in large part on mass-publicity work. There are many indications, however, indicating that in Cheliabinsk, Perm, and Sverdlovsk provinces, mass-publicity work is being carried out very weakly. In Sverdlovsk province, for example, there is not enough agitation material. “The Agitator’s Notebook,” dedicated to the census, has appeared in the province in such small numbers, that in some districts 5 to 10 agitators “adhere” to each copy.
The provincial and regional press must play a substantial role in exposing deficiencies in preparation of the census. It must systematically illuminate the course of preparatory work, reveal deficiencies hindering the conduct of the census.
The 1937 census showed the great interest of the Soviet people in that extremely important measure. Contemptible enemies of the people, occupying the Census headquarters did everything to make the results of the census worthless. The enemies have now been unmasked The all-Union census of 1939 should reflect a precise and correct picture of the life of the Soviet nation.
The duty of every citizen of the USSR is actively to assist in preparing and carrying out the census. The duty of the half-million army of census workers is to do everything to carry out the census in an exemplary manner, so that its results will serve as a reliable basis for socialist planning for the further victories of socialism.