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Soviet Union Economy

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Introduction

By the end of 1920s, Russia was in a period of changes to come. The economic policy that it had implemented, NEP, was not producing the sort of society that many communists wanted. The right wing of the party, on the other hand, did support the NEP. So, in this conflict, one thing they agreed on and was sure: Russia needed to be industrialized and modernized as quickly as possible. On how to do it there was a conflict. The NEP, from the Bolsheviks point of view, was not going quickly enough and it was not developing an industrial, urban, proletarian and socialist society. So, at the Fifteenth Party Congress in December 1927, the Five-Years Plans were announced marking the end of the NEP. This change in Russia's economy was called The Great Turn. These plans aimed towards a more rapid industrialization and the setting of high targets for industry to achieve, through a so called "command economy". The extent to which the Five-Years Plans were succeeded in industry is partial. Firstly, the Five-Years Plans were successful because Russia did achieve one of the main goals that she had pre-established which were was creating the industrial base necessary for a powerful armaments industry, by increasing rapidly the growth of heavy industry. ...read more.

Middle

Industrialization made peasants emigrate from the countryside to urban places and there, work in projects for heavy industry. Also the USSR moved into first place in Europe and second in the world, only behind the U.S, in gross industrial output. Russia was a rival to the U.S and Germany in terms of industrial production. The government by having a command economy and by having all national resources under its control enabled it to impose a stricter hold on the workers. With all these, Russia had the tools to consolidate as a socialist country and be directed towards a communist state. Even if the targets of the Five-Years Plans were sometimes unrealistic, they were designed to drive people forward to achieve the impossible. For one reason or another, people were helping to build the socialist Russia. The reason why the Five-Years Plans were not successful in industry is that they did not provide a systematical growth, but a very unbalanced one and also economic, politic, and social chaos. First, some industrial branches as coal, oil armaments, farm machinery, steel and iron grew faster at the expense of other as electricity, transports, chemicals and consumer goods, producing scarcity in the market of indispensable goods for people. Official Soviet statistics showing the extent to which the targets of the first and second Five-Years Plans were achieved. ...read more.

Conclusion

Russia's economy became chaos, with the exception of the period of the second Five-Years Plans and specially the so called "three good years" during 1934-36 and was affected by corruption and bribery. Was it worthy? That the peasants and their families suffered to death? It is a big controversial, because what if Russia had been totally defenseless by when the II World War started? People may have suffered the same or even more. Russia may have been torn apart. "Some historians have concluded that the type of command economy that emerged, with clearly set priorities, seemed reasonably well suited to the circumstances of the USSR in the 1930s."7 Therefore, this quote states that the rapid the development of industrialization was necessary and that Russia commanded its economy successfully towards what had to be done by that time and in their condition. 1 R. Hutchings, Soviet Economic development (Oxford 1967), ch.6 in Stephen J. Lee, Stalin and the Soviet Union (Routledge, 1999) p. 44. 2 Class handout. 3 Stephen J. Lee, Stalin and the Soviet Union (Routledge, 1999) p. 52 4 Stephen J. Lee, Stalin and the Soviet Union (Routledge, 1999) p. 89 5 Chris Corin and Terry Fiehn, Communist Russia under Lenin and Stalin: London (Hodder Murray, 2002) p. 181 6 S. Kotin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilisation (1995), pp. 90-92 in class handout. 7 Chris Corin and Terry Fiehn, Communist Russia under Lenin and Stalin: London (Hodder Murray, 2002) p. 196 ...read more.

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