In the evening there were four people in the collective farm’s administration: the bearded cattle breeder Tsipyshev, the storekeeper Shchukin, the brigade leader of the field-brigade Ivan Konoplev and the collective farm chairman Pyotr Kuzmich Kudryavtsev. They were waiting for the start of the party meeting, but the teacher Akulina Semenovna, the fifth member of the party organization, was late. They waited in anticipation.
“They said, plan from the bottom, let the collective farm decide what to sow,” the sagging chairman said, “and in the district they do not approve of our plan: the district plan is lowered from above, I was in the district right away, I say, are you doing with us? “And he says:” We need to overfulfill the plan, actively introduce a new one. You, he says, are now our levers in the village. “” He will not be here for a long time, “said Tsypyshev. “He does not listen to people, he decides everything himself.” People for him are just leverage. Without rigor can not. At the meeting, he looks at everyone as he growls – the soul is going to his heels. “” We are not only teaching, we need to listen, “added Konoplev. – And then everything above and above. Plans from above, yields from above. You can not do it, that means you’ve dismissed the reins. And are we not sick for one thing, do we have different interests? “Taking both hands with a pot of cigarette butts, Konoplev went to the threshold and threw cigarette butts into a corner. And suddenly, from behind a wide Russian stove, a commanding old-fashioned cry was heard: “Where do you sypesh, dead? You do not sweep.” Paul only washed it, again they packed up everything. “
From surprise the peasants shuddered and exchanged glances. It turns out that one more person was present in the hut all the time. The conversation broke. Long silent, smoked… One Schukin could not resist and finally burst out laughing loudly: “Oh, and the damn woman scared us!”
Pyotr Kuzmich and Konoplev exchanged glances and laughed too. “Suddenly, because of the stove, I bark.” Well, I think he came himself, caught us… “
Laughter defused tension and restored people their normal state of health.
“And what are we afraid of, men?” – Suddenly, Pyotr Kuzmich said thoughtfully and a little sadly: “We ourselves
are afraid of ourselves!”
Finally the teacher came. It was necessary to open a party meeting. But what happened to Tsipyshev? His voice acquired firmness and authority, his eyes became stern. In the same dry, stern voice as the secretary of the district committee said before the start of the meeting, he said the same words: “Let’s begin, comrades, are we assembled?”
And there were only five of them. The faces of all became concentrated, tense and boring. The meeting began. And the very thing about which they had just spoken so openly began, vilifying the bureaucracy and bureaucracy.
“Comrades,” said the chairman, “the District Committee and the regional executive committee did not approve our production plan, it’s not to us.” We did not conduct explanatory work with the masses and did not convince it. “
The essence of the report was that the collective farm rotation plan should be corrected in accordance with the instructions of the district and district executive committees. There was no discrepancy in the opinions, they decided to write in the resolution: “In the conditions of a high labor upsurge, the collective farm is developing…”
Suddenly, the radio began to talk: materials were being transmitted about preparations for the 20th Congress. All the hope of the peasants was now at the congress: they would determine how to live.
And when, on the way home from Kudryavtsev and Konoplev, the conversation resumed-the one that was going on before the meeting-it was again heartfelt, direct people. People, not leverage.