NEP and the Third World Congress, 1921
THE winter of 1920-1 was an especially hard and difficult one for Soviet Russia. The Civil War had been terminated in 1920 by the defeat of the White General, Wrangel, and the expulsion from Russia of the last counter-revolutionary troops. Peace had also been concluded with Poland after a series of successes and defeats. The cessation of warfare did not result in any improvement in the condition of the Russian nation. The year 1920 had with all its other evils brought a bad harvest. Famine reigned in the villages as well as in the towns. The passive opposition and dislike of the peasants for Communism increased, and in the towns factories were for the most part idle. Civil War had not helped to restore the disorganized system of transport. Freezing and starving workmen became desperate. The Russian proletariat had been called upon to defeat the White and Polish armies and to restore productivity to the factories. In his hope of peace at home and in his belief in the progress of the World Revolution, the Russian workman had accomplished heroic deeds. Peace had come. But the sacrifices required of him only became heavier. Doubts began to be entertained as to the permanence of the existing system. In any case the Government was expected to take action to overcome the misery of the masses of the nation.
The tense atmosphere surrounding the Bolshevik Party discharged itself towards the close of the year in the form of a curious debate. Its subject was the Trade Union question. At this time the membership of the Russian Communist Party was about 600,000. Nevertheless, it was impossible to open the ranks of the ruling Party in a State containing 130 million inhabitants to professional revolutionaries alone. Necessity had turned Lenin's Bolshevik Party into a mass organization. At the same time care was taken to preserve the Bolshevik tradition by maintaining the authority of the