The Five-Year Plans

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First Five-Year Plan October 1928 – December 1932


The emphasis was on heavy industries – coal, oil, iron and steel, electricity, cement, metals and timber. This accounted for 80% of total investment.


-        Electricity production trebled

-        Coal and iron output doubled

-        Steel production increased by 1/3

-        Engineering industry developed and increased the output of machine-tools, turbines etc.

-        Huge new industrial complexes were built or were in the process of being built

-        Huge new tractor works were built in Stalingrad, Kharkov and other places to meet the needs of mechanized agriculture


-        There was very little growth and even a decline in consumer industries such as house-building, fertilisers, food processing and woollen textiles.

-        Small workshops were squeezed out, partly because of the drive against Nepmen and partly because of shortages of materials and fuel

-        Chemical targets were not fulfilled

-        The lack of skilled workers created major problems. Workers were constantly changing jobs, which created instability.


In reality, many targets were not met. The Great Depression had driven down the price of grain and raw materials, so the USSR could not earn enough from exports to pay for all the machinery it needed. Also, a good deal of investment had to go into agriculture because of the forced collectivisation programme. However, the soviet economy was kick-started: there was impressive growth in certain sectors


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