How far do you agree that Stalins Five-Year Plans (1929-1941) improved the Russian economy?

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How far do you agree that Stalin’s Five-Year Plans (1929-1941) improved the Russian economy?

Stalin’s five year plans did improve the Russian economy due to heavy industry increased the production of steel, iron, oil and coal. However, the five year plan was unsuccessful in terms of consumer goods and labour productivity. Additionally, the plans did not fully succeed in fulfilling Stalin’s targets for war preparation.

Heavy industry was successful in improving the economy primarily due to the first three five year plans. Evidently, Industries like coal steel and iron grew enormously. For instance Coal production in 1928 prior to the five year plan was 36million tonnes, and in 1932 it was 65 million tonnes. Furthermore, Magnitogorsk which was constructed during the first five year plan aided the trebling of steel production during the second year plan. However, the production of crude oil only rose marginally, from 29 million tonnes in 1037 to 31 million tonnes in 1940. Additionally the production of steel stagnated. Although economy grew by 14%, they failed to meet official targets and as a result the local party officials were sacked or demoted. Overall, the Russian economy improved massively changing from a backward peasant economy at the end of the 1920’s to a highly industrial economy by 1941.

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In terms of consumer goods there was no a significant improvement. The Five Year Plan tried to eradicate free trade which meant that people could not afford what they wanted. Furthermore, there were shortages of consumer goods because of the state control of private industries. As a result it encouraged an illegal trade in products such as vodka, cigarettes, footwear and food. Furthermore, the black market was so widely spread that it was difficult t police effectively. This illustrates that the economy worsened in terms of consumer goods. Additionally, even though in the early 1934 bread rationing ended, in ...

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