Stalin and the Soviet Union

By Stephen J. Lee | Go to book overview

3

STALIN'S ECONOMIC POLICIES

BACKGROUND NARRATIVE

Immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution (October 1917), the new regime began to take steps to transform the economy. The first changes comprised the transfer of the land from the aristocracy to the peasantry and the nationalisation of key armaments factories and foreign trade. Between 1918 and 1921 the process was accelerated by War Communism, under which the grain produced by the peasantry was requisitioned for the urban workers and the army; at the same time, the remaining industrial enterprises were placed under state control. By 1921 it had become apparent that War Communism was deeply unpopular and that the regime was facing a crisis of confidence. Lenin therefore introduced the New Economic Policy, which restored an element of private enterprise to agriculture and industry. The peasantry were permitted to grow grain for the market, under licence, while most of the smaller industrial enterprises were denationalised. By the time of Lenin's death the NEP had attracted widespread support and its continuation was urged by the Rightists within the Party, including Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky.

Some, however, considered that a more appropriate strategy would be rapid industrialisation and the introduction of collective farming. Trotsky, in particular, favoured this approach as part of his strategy of Permanent Revolution. At first, Stalin supported the continuation of the NEP, which he associated with 'Socialism in One

STALIN'S ECONOMIC POLICIES

-35-

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Stalin and the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • 1 - Stalin's Rise and Rule 1
  • 2 - Stalinist Politics and Terror 16
  • 3 - Stalin's Economic Policies 35
  • 4 - Society and Culture 54
  • 5 - Stalin's Foreign Policy, 1929-41 65
  • 6 - The Soviet Union at War, 1941-5 79
  • 7 - Stalin's Post-War Regime, 1945-53 96
  • 8 - An Overall Summary 110
  • Notes 113
  • Bibliography 118
  • Index 121
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