The USSR on the eve of the Stalin's revolution.

Political policies, agriculture & Industry,

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  • 1917-18 - The current policy at this time was 'War communism'. Under this policy the USSR was crumbling, so Lenin introdiced the NEP.
  • The NEP allowed small businesses to re-open for profit, while the state controlled the banks and big industries. This allowed peasants to make more money than ever before. The idea was that no-one worked for anyone, instead they all worked together. This created Kulaks. They gained extra land and the initiative to work harder.
  • The government had a certain state procurement to take, when they took their procurement, the peasants could sell the Surplus that was left.
  • The communists however did not like the NEP. It was against everything they worked for in the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. That's why the left's (Kamenev, Zinoviev & Trotsky) wanted to get rid of the NEP.
  • The NEP was very beneficial to the economy, it was a step towards modernizing the economy. However it cannot be forgotten that it was only supposed to be a temporary measure. The USSR were not in favour of anything helping the working man or woman.
  • The NEP was also a step towards the industrialisation fo Russia; it was primarily in place for agriculture
  • The NEP was not communist, and this was very important.
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What happened to agriculture?

  • Recovery was very uneven. Grain recovered quicker than fruit & Veg. Central & Southern recovered slower than the Eastern & Northern.
  • The richer the peasant, the more they were taxed. This all depended on the size of their fields, heards and harvests. Peasants began hiding possessions to lower tax - Peasants were taxed more under the NEP, and despite free trade they were often charged when they attempted to sell their surplus.
  • Farmers kept more of their produce for themselves - half of their grain produce was sold between 1913 - 1926. The more surplus food they had for themselves, the better quality goods they could buy. Dairy and other products sold privately - the gov could not control this.
  • This ultimately lead to the grain crisis (1927-28) which lead to collectivisation. Collectivisation helped smaller farms to grow, However Stalin only did this to attack the Kulaks - it was not for the intrest of the people.
  • Exports fell - grain was a quater of what it was in 1913.
  • Majority of peasants used a strip system for farming - machinery was scarce so everything had to be done by hand.
  • Peasants could only decide what to buy and sell if they could afford it - didn't support the plans of industrialisation.
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The Growth of Agriculture.

  • In some areas, land under cultivation incresed by more than 25%.
  • as farms were split into State (Sovkhoz) and private (Kolkhoz) farms, the private farms were doing much better. The peasants worked harder as they earned their money by producing more grain - those on state farms had a set wage, and therefore did not work as hard. They lost their work initiative, making lazy peasants. This meant the whole economy would suffer.
  • This lead to the procurement crisis of 1928. The government were still taking their average procurement no mattter how much or how little grain was being produced.
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How did the peasants react?

  • Peasants complained of discrimination when it came too tax, education and medical care.
  • 1924-27 - Peasant unions were established - destroyed by gov soon after. although local communists showed support for these unions as they also felt suppressed at time.
  • In the 1925 Congress elections communists attempted to make a change and failed. The elected refused to accept party directives - but supported them in 'counter revolutionary' activities, like repairing churches.
  • Farming was becoming hard to control as it was so big. Police weren't equipt to deal with the problems, and the party only had 595 members, 2/3 of them were illiterate.
  • Authorities attempted to distinguish Kulaks from peasants, they were unsuccessful. Peasants saw through the communist propaganda.
  • Kulaks were soon branded a danger to society.
  • However at this point collectivisation was still a choice, it wasn't until 1931-2 it was forced upon the peasants, following Stalins 1931 "Dizzy With Success speach". he changed what he was saying before to the liking of the peasants tricking them
  • When collectivisation was forced, the Kulaks suffered and lost everything.
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  • Industrial production dropped due to the War Communism - NEP didn't cure the problem instantly (March 1921) industry remained nationalised.
  • State-run enterprises did not adjust well to the economic changes of 1920 - money based economy introduced after 1921. Enterprises lost money - meaning less produce was made and people were fired.
  • Many strikes in the 1920's. GPU took action against them.
  • workers were reported as being unenthusiastic about their work, they refused to believe they were apart of the 'blossoming new economic and social' order.
  • The situation eventually improved by the mid 1920's, but it was never at it's pre-war standard.
  • Workers were much less motivated and given out of date machinery to operate - production fell behind - this was not helped by the housing shortages.
  • In the 1930's industry was more about the quantity of goods than the quality - profits were rarely made as the money went to the state - not the enterprise.
  • Smaller businesses did better, eventhough they often paid the state more.
  • Communists attempted to address the problems, but to no avail. There weren't as many consumers due to the current policies the peasants were following, The state took what they wanted regardless of the cost.
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Industry - continued :)

  • 1927-28 - Drive to increase efficiency - this was done by increasing targets, but not wages.
  • Strikes were breaking out which was devistating for production. Workers continued to show their disillusionment - areas of production suffered (mining & metal).
  • Unemployed workers protested which lead to many arrests - food for workers was often in short supply & sometimes physical attacks on communist leaders and Jews broke out.
  • The authorites blamed the scapegoats (Class Enemies, Bourgioise specialists and saboteours.
  • The state of the market indicated that the NEP was not fit for the state-owned industry - there was high production costs = higher prices = less people buying products.
  • The low wages meant unmotivated workers - Authorities realised the NEP was not working practically or ideologically.
  • Changes were needed - industrialisation was promoted - lead to socialism. The NEP was not meeting the USSR's needs.
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Models of Socialist Development (Bukharinite Model

  • The future of the Soviet economy was in the deabate of when the NEP Russia would become a Soclialist Russia.
  • One main model was the Bukharinite Model:

This model was very gradual, it allowed market forces to drive the economy forward.

  • Peasants were influenced to get rich - this was of course only to bennefit the government. The wealth of the peasants would allow the USSR to industrialise peacefully without disruption.
  • Bukharin believed a dicatated planned economy of the Proletrait was the best way forward.
  • Believed the USSR should focus on heavy industry (metal ect) before the country could develop into a socialist one. Bukharin believed that voluntary activity should be encouraged alongside the work of the party - this would create a strong consumer market - would increase the peasants demands for consumer goods.
  • This would soon inprove the state-run industrial sector which would replace the NEP - Poorer and middle class peasants would soon displace the Kulaks.
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Great resource; really helps for my exam

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