CHAPTER 28 Sovietization of Economic Life

IN summing up the life of Communist Czechoslovakia, it can be said that the Soviet Union stands at the beginning of the chain of cause and effect. Soviet demands upon Czechoslovakia are spelled out in trade "agreements" which are renewed and expanded from time to time. Each time Soviet needs call for a new "agreement," Czechoslovakia's economic plans have to be revised. This has made necessary one complete revision and several partial revisions of the Czechoslovak five-year plan. Each revision shifts more of the country's resources into heavy industry because the Soviet Union wants the products of Czechoslovakia's heavy industry for itself and other People's Democracies. Light industry, including consumers' goods, is cut down commensurately. The cost comes out of the Czechoslovak standard of living, still the highest in the Communist world. Although many Czechoslovakians were deluded by the Communists at the beginning of the regime, they are now resisting this exploitation. One of the ways they resist is by producing less.

At the same time, the Soviet Union, through Communist Party and trade-union officials, puts the heat on the workers to increase production. The heat is applied in the form of purges, individual and collective. The purges began in early 1950 and reached a climax on November 27, 1951. Here, at the end of the chain of cause and effect, Soviet schemes appear to have gone slightly awry. For President Klement Gottwald has used the purges to get rid of some of the Soviet Union's most devoted agents, who happen also to be his personal enemies.

Here, in the form of a chronology, is the relationship between Soviet demands and events in Czechoslovakia:

Stalin's move on July 9, 1947, preventing Czechoslovakia from joining the Marshall Plan, led to the conclusion of the first five-year trade agree-

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