collectivisation revison notes

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Communist Government crisis in 1921


Economic - By 1921 the peasants were refusing to plant more than they could eat for fear of confiscation. Towns were shrinking: Petrograd had only one–third of its former population. A famine would kill about 5 million Russians by 1922.

Peasantry - The peasants were alienated by the confiscations of War Communism, and had no real links with the Communist Party. Lenin viewed them as a separate group within the country, with whom his proletariat would have to make an agreement.

Political - The Communist Party seemed to be splitting up internally between: those who wanted increased Party democracy, but inside the Party structure (Democratic Centralists) and others those who wanted a swift transition to a planned economy and workers’ armies (Trotsky, Preobrazhensky) those who wanted more democracy based on Trade Union power (Alexandra Kollontai and the Workers’ Opposition) These ‘platforms’ threatened the existence of the Party. Its membership was falling and it was isolated within the country.

The New Economic Policy (NEP) Lenin enforced a truce with the peasantry. This was the opposite of War Communism.

- Forced requisitioning of farm produce was replaced by a smaller ‘tax in kind’ (i.e. tax paid in produce).

- This allowed peasants to sell their surplus on the free market. Small-scale businesses were denationalised. This allowed a large sector of the market to return to normal.

- ‘The commanding heights of industry’ (coal, steel, transport etc.) remained in government hands.

- A purge of Party membership, a reduction in persecution of ‘class enemies’ and the creation of law codes to allow a return to normal life -

- Many people in the Communist Party hated…

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