The Soviet State: A Study of Bolshevik Rule

By Bertram W. Maxwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
SUPERVISION OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL LIFE

INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, TRADE, AND AGRICULTURE

As soon as the Bolsheviks established their authority in Russia, they were confronted not only with the task of establishing a government but with the gigantic problem of economic reconstruction. On the one hand the workingmen, under the mistaken idea of liberty, proceeded to interfere with the entire machinery of production by attempting to apply anarchistic, syndicalistic, and other destructive measures in the administration of industry; on the other hand, former owners and technical staffs were obstructing by sabotage the operation of industrial plants. Between 1917 and 1920 the government made superhuman efforts to establish a Communistic dictatorial organization, which eventually eliminated the destructive interference of labor and technical staffs. It furthermore created a highly centralized organization which unified, regulated, and controlled the entire economic life of the country. But the ruling powers seemed to have conceived the idea that the most important task was to create organization; hence organs continued to multiply so that at one time there were fifty-nine administrative organizations in existence, in addition to the National Economic Council. All these bodies set to work producing plans for the economic regeneration of the country, but a great number of the overlapping organizations had to be abolished before progress could be made. By February 1920, 4,273 industrial undertakings, which employed over a million workers, had been nationalized. Over 400 small scale enterprises, employing over a quarter of a million workers, were still to be nationalized. Nearly 3,000 nationalized plants, which were under the immediate control of the National Economic Council and were organized into 179 state trusts, were operating under a centralized financial administration and unified supply of raw

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