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Communist Russia under Stalin, 1928 - 1939.

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Introduction

COMMUNIST RUSSIA UNDER STALIN, 1928 - 1939 * Stalin's Economic Aims * Main Features of a Centrally-Planned Command Economy * The Five Year Plans and Industry * The Results Stalin wanted the USSR or Russia to become more powerful than other countries. To do this he had to modernise the USSR's economy by a programme of rapid industrialisation. This means developing industry to such an extent that a country that mainly depends on agriculture or farming is changed into one which mostly depends on industry. Stalin said that the USSR was 50 or 100 years behind the advanced countries. He aimed to catch up with and surpass them within ten years. Russia's industry was recovering from the effects of war, but even then, production from heavy industry was low compared with other countries. Stalin felt it was necessary to catch up with the West because the West that hated Communism threatened the USSR. To survive an attack from the West, the USSR had to rapidly expand its heavy industries: coal, iron, steel and power. This would allow the USSR to expand and strengthen its military. Rapid industrialisation was also necessary for the county's defence was surrounded by countries whose governments hated Communism: Iran, Romania, Finland and Poland. ...read more.

Middle

The government exercised tight control over the labour force. Ordinary workers were harshly disciplined. There were heavy punishments for poor workmanship and absence. The state told workers where to work. Millions of peasants were directed into the towns and cities to work in the factories and mines. Heavy industries were given priority. Consumer industries were almost totally neglected. Agriculture was reorganised for the benefit of industry. Each plan had particular objectives and targets so that the overall aims of transforming Russia into a powerful industrialised country could be achieved. The first Five Year Plan 1928 - 1932 aimed to expand and modernise existing industries, establish new industries and relocate industries in the west further eastward so they would be more secure from a possible attack by the West. Unrealistic targets were set: a 250% increase in total industrial output and a 350% increase in heavy industry. The plan concentrated on heavy industry. The second Five Year Plans 1933 - 1937 aimed to build on the first plan as well as give more attention to improving the quality of goods. The targets were still very high but more realistic than before. The second plan was carried out more smoothly as the unskilled workers were becoming more competent and the state increased its control of the labour force. ...read more.

Conclusion

The state tightened its control over the work force. For instance in 1937 workers found guilty of absenteeism were dismissed and deprived of their living accommodation which meant, in effect, starvation. The emphasis on heavy industry meant Russia's economy was unbalanced. There was a serious shortage of Consumer goods. Shops were empty; clothing was in short supply and what was available was dull and badly made; many basic household items were unavailable. The lack of consumer goods was one example of the fall in the standard of living. Because of the huge movement of people into the cities, there were not enough houses, schools and medical facilities. The workers in general were poorly paid. However by the mid- to late- 1930s things did improve as better education, medical care and paid holidays became more widely available. Worker productivity Russia was able spectacular results directed millions of unskilled workers, especially peasants from the countryside, to the various projects. Russia had a vast pool of human labour. But the amount that each worker produced compared to his counterpart in other industrial countries, was low. Overall, from the government's point of view the Five Year Plans were a great success. Russia was transformed into an industrial power. Its economy was transformed into a Communist economy. The state controlled the resources and the people. Nauman Shahid 11.3 DXR NAUMAN SHAHID 11.3 DXR ...read more.

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