The Economy of the USSR under Stalin 1928-53


1. Reasons and aims, general successes and failures

• Economic: USSR was 100 years behind Europe and USA but needs to catch up in 15 years, NEP failed to develop new factories and by 1927 it was failing.

• Political: Lenin was a great leader as he had lead the political revolution but Stalin wanted to be viewed as great for leading the industrial revolution and modernizing the USSR.

• Ideological: Get rid of capitalism, Nepmen and Kulaks.

• Aims: Modernize the economy and develop industry, and catch up with the well advanced west.

• Gosplan, the Soviet central planning agency, set out production targets for every region, factory, work unit and individual worker.

• Successes: From 1927 to 1940 coal production increased from 35.5 to 166 million tones, and steel production from 4 to 18.3 million tones. And many new industrial sites were built like Magnitogorsk. Transport was developed and rearmament took place.

• Failures: Lack of planning of what to do with produce, quality sacrificed for quantity, lack of consumer goods (queues could be 1000s of people long), poor housing and working conditions.

2. FYP1

• Focus: Heavy industry, rapid industrialization and industrial cities built like Magnitogorsk in 1931. Dams to provide HEP.

• Successes: Production figures rose, cities like Magnitogorsk population developed from 2 dozen to 200,000.

• Failures: Low labour productivity due to low pay, long hours and lack of incentives. Too focused on heavy industry and living standards dropped.

3. FYP2

• Focus: Heavy industry, but also transport and communications, more focus on living standards.

Successes: Moscow metro system opened in 1935 – workers can travel easily, Moscow-Volga Canal opened 1937. Labour productivity increases as wages are higher and a reward system is introduced.

• Failures: Still not much focus on living standards and consumer goods.

4. FYP3

• Focus: Rearmament as threat of war from Germany increases.

Successes: By 1930 1/3 of government investment was on the military. 9 military…


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Russia - 19th and 20th century resources »