New Economic Policy

The Introduction of a Planned Economy

By 1928 Stalin regarded his position as Secretary General of the Communist Party sufficiently secured, and turned to a major reform of the economic policy. He was dissatisfied with the results of the NEW ECONOMIC POLICY, especially with the slow pace of voluntary COLLECTIVIZATION, and the slow pace of industrialization.
Stalin introduced a new economical approach in form of the FIVE YEAR PLANS, which were based on a state-planned massive expansion of the nation's industrial capacities, as well as on forced collectivization of arable land. The plans focussed on HEAVY INDUSTRY.
Stalin singled out the KULAKS, simple farmowning peasants, heavily conccentrated in the fertile plains of Ukraine and stubbornly resisting collectivization, as STATE ENEMY NUMBER ONE.
The industrial part of the plan was successful beyond expectation; the goals of the first Five Year Plan (1929-1932) were reached before the end of the period and a second plan was immediately launched (1934-1938). Russia built up a steel and machinery industry, together with coal mines (for instance in the DONBASS region) and oil fields. This industry was to supply Russia with the arms (T 34 tanks, Kalazhnikov machine guns) the nation needed to defeat the Germans in World War II.
The transportation network was expanded, canals were built, the MOSCOW METRO opened in 1935.
Russia went through a period of industrial boom at a time when the western democracies suffered from the GREAT DEPRESSION, a fact exploited everywhere by communist propaganda. In 1935 coal miner ALEXEY STAKHANOV had overfulfilled the production norm by 14 times; men such as him were presented by the propaganda as role models in the socialist society. 1936 was proclaimed the Stakhanov year. The award HERO OF SOVIET LABOUR was created in 1937.

From Five Year Plan to the Purges, Part III of Russia : from Revolution to Counterrevolution, by Ted Grant (151 K)
Collectivization and Industrialization, from Library of Congress Soviet Archives Exhibit
Soviet Economic Development 1928-1967, by G. Rempel
The First Five Year Plan (1929-1932), The Great Purges (1933-1939), chronological tables from Soviet Literature, 1917-1953 at Pitt;
DOCUMENTS KGB-OGPU-NKVD GULAG Currency, from Wad Nensberg's Home Page (Russian banknotes)
Central Committee Resolution on the forced collectivization of livestock, 1931, from the Library of Congress Soviet Archives Exhibit
Letter from Feigin, on the situation of farms/kolkhozes/livestock in the Novosibirsk region 1932, from Library of Congress Soviet Archives Exhibit
Stalin, The Results of the First Five Year Plan, report Jan. 1933, from From Marx to Mao
Soviet Posters, from IISG, scroll down for (many) posters on the 5 Year Plans, click on thumbnail pictures
Revolution by Design : the Soviet Poster, from International Poster Gallery, a commercial site, numerous illustrations
Hero Of Socialist Labor Gold Hammer And Sickle Medal, from Soviet Medals
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Dniepr Hydroelectric Dam, May 1st 1932

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 8th 2004

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