Russia's Iron Age

Excerpt

the Soviet Union during the last five years has undergone more fundamental and sweeping changes, in daily life, in psychology, in economic and social organization, than some countries which have experienced externally more spectacular revolutions. The decisions of the Soviet leaders to drive forward the industrialization of the country at a feverish pace, to take away from the peasants the individual method of farming the land, to banish the last remains of private ownership and initiative from the economic life of the country, to institute a gigantic all-embracing system of centralized state economic planning, affected very much more than the economic life of the country. They modified a thousand aspects of the country's life, from the character of its contemporary literature to the methods of recruiting labor.

All these changes were brought about with such uncompromising and ruthless disregard of the human cost involved that the period which witnessed them may fairly be called Russia's Iron Age. Such features of Soviet life as the erection of a far-flung network of new factories and electric power plants, the widespread employment of forced labor, the compulsory regimenting of the peasants in collective farms, the great famine of 1932-1933, did not exist at the time when my Soviet Russia was originally written in 1929, and they tend to make many parts of this work of . . .

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