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The New Economic Policy

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Introduction

The New Economic Policy (NEP) The Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 was followed by over two years of civil war in Russia between the new Communist regime (the Reds) and its enemies - the pro-tsarist and anti-Bolshevik military officers commanding the so-called White armies. The great struggle which involved the deaths of up to nine million people saw much brutality and cruelty by both sides with the peasants suffering most from extortionate requisitioning of food supplies and recruits by both sides. Through the repressive and dictatorial methods, much similar to those of the Tsarist Regime, of the Bolshevik government had alienated the countryside peasantry and industrial workers, the original loyal support of the regime. In doing so the Bolsheviks caused the mutiny of former loyal regime supporters - the sailors at the Kronstadt naval base in March 1921. ...read more.

Middle

During their rebellion the Kronstadt sailors presented a list of demands to the Bolshevik government including the re-election of soviets, freedom of speech, the right for a peasant to do what he will with his land and his yield, and most importantly the right to free marketing. Although Lenin crushed the rebellion and did not concur to demands immediately, he recognized that things must be changed to keep the lower working classes in favor of the Bolshevik regime. The passing of the New Economic Policy meant that some private ownership was restored to farms and small workshops/shops. This replaced the original War Communism policies that Lenin enforced during the Civil War, which consisted of state ownership of everything and compulsory requisitioning of grain by government agents. ...read more.

Conclusion

Since the Bolshevik government did not employ any industrialisation techniques it provided an imbalance in the Russian economy, with the agricultural production exceeding the heavy industry production. To balance this out factories put prices up so peasants had to produce more grain to purchase these products. This was known as the Scissor Crisis. This led to peasants withholding surpluses for higher prices to sell them to "nepmen" middle class business men who went against the principles of communism and were disliked by the Bolshevik leaders. Eventually the Bolsheviks put an end to the scissor crisis by fixing factory and grain prices. In conclusion I believe the NEP was generally a great success. It managed to restore Russia and to stabilise the economy on most accounts. Lenin's quick thinking made the NEP it the success it was as he and the other Bolsheviks were able to combat difficulties as and when they came. ...read more.

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