Domestic Policy : USSR 1922-1928

In 1922 J.V. STALIN was appointed GENERAL SECRETARY of the Communist Party, an office created at that time and ill-defined. LENIN suffered a stroke in 1922; he died in 1924.
Meanwhile Stalin had won the debate over the future policy of the RSFSR/USSR, his policy of Developing Socialism in Russia First prevailing over Trotsky's policy of World Revolution First. Stalin, via his intimus BERIA, also controlled the secret police. Lenin, on his death-bed, warned the Central Committee members of Stalin's ambitions; yet it was too late. TROTSKY was expelled from the Central Committee in 1927, exiled to Alma Ata in 1928, deported to Turkey in 1929

Foreign interventions, the KRONSTADT REBELLION (1921) and assassinations of Soviet politicians showed that the Soviet system was not secure yet. Large numbers of farmers resented collectivization; many among the ethnic minorities were ruled by communist Russians just as they before had been ruled by czarist Russians.
In order to prevent a counterrevolution, a system was established in which everybody was subject to supervision; files were darwn up which contained information on education and career, private life and political stand of the individual. The political police was all- powerful, an independent justice system non-existent, constitutional rights of the individual existed only on paper. The Siberian camps were filled with those regarded politically unreliable or, worse, counterrevolutionaries.
The years from 1924 to 1928 were a period in which Stalin sought to consolidate his power, Trotsky having been the strongest opponent.

On December 30th 1922 the SOVIET UNION (USSR) was established, including besides the RSFSR Belarus, the Ukraine, Transcaucasia, Turkestan and Kyrghyzstan. Autonomous regions for ethnic minorities within the republics were formed (a concept to be more extensively implemented in the mid-1930es). In 1922 the constitution of 1918 was modified.
In 1918 the government had formulated the principle of separation of church and state; religion as a private belief was tolerated, but the church was deprived of most of its property (confiscations); atheism was propagated, some priests even suffered arrest and deportation.
The government promoted school education, as, especially in the rural districts and in the lands of ethnic minorities, illiteracy rates were high. School education was made compulsory in 1930.
Education and jobs were opened up to women; schools usually were coeducational.
Compared to the years 1914-1921, living standards slowly increased. People had roofs over their heads (in the cities usually shared housing) and sufficiently to eat (food remained rationed, and their was little choice).

From Five Year Plan to the Purges, Part III of Russia : from Revolution to Counterrevolution, by Ted Grant (151 K)
The Red Book of the Peoples of the Soviet Union, by Ants Viires
Leon Trotsky, illustrated online-biography by Fred Buch
DOCUMENTS KGB-OGPU-NKVD GULAG Currency, from Wad Nensberg's Home Page
(Russian banknotes)
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Lenin on deathbed, Jan. 21st 1924, Trotsky departing from Russia
REFERENCE Communist Russia, the Early Years, pp.408-429 in : Melvin K. Wren, The Course of Russian History, Prospect Heights 1994 [G]
Article : USSR, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1924 pp.1238-1263, 1925 pp.1246-1264, 1926 pp.1209-1234, 1928 pp.1244-1265 [G]
Article : Russia, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.772-778, 1928 pp.702-709 [G]
Article : Russia, in : New International Year Book 1923 pp.665-673, 1925 pp.620-625, 1928 pp.668-672 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 24th 2007

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