East Central Europe and the World: Developments in the Post-Stalin Era

By Stephen D. Kertesz; Karlis Kalnins et al. | Go to book overview
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Stephen Fischer-Galati

Since 1955 the process of "socialist construction" in the Rumanian People's Republic has undergone significant modifications affecting both domestic developments and foreign relations. The postwar phase of rapid industrialization and ruthless annihilation of actual and potential obstacles to the "socialist transformation" of the country according to the blueprint of Stalinist Russia went into partial eclipse with the adoption of the "new course" shortly after Stalin's death in 1953. Further changes following Khrushchev's policy of moderation were introduced, at first gradually, then with increased, if not always even, momentum during the course of the Second Five-Year Plan inaugurated in 1956. This tendency toward moderation emerged as early as 1952 when the pattern of communist totalitarian dictatorship had been firmly established in Rumania. With the country's political, economic, cultural and religious life completely controlled and the struggle for leadership of the Rumanian Workers' Party resolved in favor of the middle-of-the-road elements, the Party was now able to come to grips with the problems related to the achievement of the visionary goals of the First Five-Year Plan. Stalin himself had apparently understood that the Rumanian working class could not attain the productivity goals set in 1950, that the peasantry was indomitably opposed to agricultural collectivization, and that the rapidly created Party was insufficiently reliable to overcome these difficulties and provide the effective leadership necessary to unify and win over the anticommunist and anti-Russian population. The new course gave official sanction to trends that had been tolerated earlier. By lowering the unrealistic goals of the First Five-Year Plan, by reassuring the peasantry of the regime's intention to prevent forcible agricultural collectivization, and by promising vastly improved living standards to all engaged in "socialist construction," the Party and government promulgated the principles of moderate communism from which they have but infrequently deviated.


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East Central Europe and the World: Developments in the Post-Stalin Era


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