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The Soviet state was established at the expense of Soviet people - discuss.

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Introduction

Linda Lapina Essay in history Word count: 2212 The Soviet state was established at the expense of Soviet people Russia has never been known as a humane country, or its governments, beginning with the tsars like Ivan the Harsh, as having much respect for human life. One or two millions' loss in the vast population has never been a cause of concern for the government. The policies through which the Soviet state was established under Stalin was not only the same as the ones had before- they were even crueler than the long-practised Russian governing traditions would predict. Therefore, I fully agree with the given statement. To prove this view, I will examine Stalin's policies chronologically- in agriculture and collectivisation, industrialisation, purges and labour camps, showing how they benefited the USSR at the expense of the people inhabiting it. One of the first signs that Stalin was ready to sacrifice a lot in order to bring Russia up to the same industrial level as the developed anti- communist Western countries, was industrialisation, started in 1927, when Stalin ordered Gosplan (State Planning Commission, established in 1921) to start on producing 5-year plans. New economic policy (NEP) had been abandoned before, and now Stalin made an emphasis on mechanisation to increase agricultural and industrial productivity. ...read more.

Middle

He declared in an official speech in 1929 that his intention was to "crash kulaks so that they would never rise again". Of course, this required drastic methods, which Stalin was truly fond of using. Kulaks were separated in three groups. Ones who were considered to be the most hostile to the regime were sent in exile to Siberia and other remote corners of the USSR to be placed in the labour camps or even executed; the wealthiest kulaks were transported to other regions, and the third group, said to be the least harmful to the regime, were assigned to remain where they lived, but on the worst land. The property of kulaks was confiscated. However, Stalin did not care about the vast expenses of removing so many people, even though the country was claimed to be in a lack of money. However, kulaks were not the only ones who suffered from collectivisation, nor the ones who suffered most. The peasants, especially in some regions of the country, were strongly opposed to collectivisation. Some left the countryside and moved to the cities to work in the factories, where they had to face lack of space and bad working conditions, and be fast with learning jobs that they had no skills for. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is also notable that the slave labour at the camps was more efficient to the government- prisoners did not have to be paid, motivated or given social guarantees, and it was not found necessary to secure them with proper food, machinery or living quarters. On the whole it can easily be inferred that Stalin really did build the Soviet state and economy at the expense of the Soviet people. There might be different interpretations of whether these policies were justifiable or not. Some might state that, as Stalin said it himself, USSR was lagging behind the more developed Western economies and it was necessary to catch up fast or the USSR really might be "crushed". But this is a matter mostly depending on the judger's ethical norms. However, to me deaths of millions of people, which were the results of USSR's economical policy, are not acceptable at any money cost. Famine, slave labour, terrible conditions of the people could be avoided by taking more moderate measures and more time to develop the economy. Besides, as it could be seen in the case with Great Terror, Stalin was not that much concerned about growth and development of USSR as he was about obtaining and preserving his own unlimited power. Fulfilment of one man's personal interests was what caused death casualties of millions, and one must have strange moral norms to find this policy morally acceptable. ...read more.

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