Communism in russia
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First 5 Year Plan 1928-32
1936 The First Show Trial
Bourgeoisie V Proletariat
‘Communist Manifesto’ with Engels
‘the Proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains’
of the world
Removal of profit
Factors of production in state hands.
Worldwide revolution in industrialised countries.
Lenin (early years)
Alexander executed affected Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.
Became a lawyer but exiled to Siberia for political activities.
Moved to Switzerland and became editor of ‘Iskra’
Engineered split between Bolsheviks (elitist) and Mensheviks (populist).
1917 led the October Revolution and became ruler of Soviet Russia
1917 Brest-Litovsk lost 1/3 of land and ½ of industry
1918 shot. Never fully recovered.
1918-21 led the Reds against the Whites in the Civil War.
1921 dropped War Communism in favour of the New Economic Policy.
Stopped taking all food from peasants. Took 10% and allowed them to sell the rest.
Small factories returned to their owners.
The NEP improved things but food was still scarce and expensive.
Many regarded as a betrayal of communist ideals.
1922 a stroke may explain failure to appoint a successor.
died of a brain haemorrhage
Millions died in war and starvation.
Less exploitation by industrialists.
Realistic in transitional approach.
Showed the effectiveness of terror against opponents.
Creation of elite made it possible for Stalin to come to power.
In his ‘Political Will’ he warned of the danger of giving Stalin power.
Stalin Seizes Power
Stalin, Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev in a power struggle.
Other 3 turned against Trotsky who still favoured world revolution.
Stalin proposed ‘Socialism in one country’
1927 Trotsky expelled from the Party, later banished from USSR and assassinated in 1940.
1927 Stalin turned on the other two, claiming they were too liberal and they were expelled from the Party and executed in the 1936 purge.
Stalin was now addressed as ‘Vozhd’ (leader)
Stalin’s main aim was to turn USSR into an industrial and military power quickly.
The state planning body, Gosplan, came up with 5 year plans.
In order for these to succeed, rural workers had to be moved to the cities.
First 5 Year Plan 1928-32
State took control of all aspects of the economy.
It was a law setting targets rather than a plan.
250% increase in industrial production. 150% in agriculture.
Infrastructure (power stations, mines,
, canals and roads), industrial and agricultural machinery were given priority.
Second Plan 1933-38
Focus on heavy industry and agricultural equipment continued.
Stakhanov (15 times his quota) became a national hero
Extra pay, holidays and prizes for great workers.
Huge hours, accidents common, dreadful conditions. Unemployment not tolerated.
Scale of projects (Magnitogorsk) was enormous
Plan started to produce radios
, bicycles and other household goods but war put an end to that.
Great success economically.
Human cost huge.
Full employment did mean a better standard of living.
Figures were often exaggerated.
Quality of goods often poor.
Big emphasis on education.
Stalin believed peasants were hoarding grain and reducing production to push prices up.
He also wanted 25 million workers for industry
Collective farms (kolkhoz)
Kulaks preferred to destroy their farms than give them up.
Over 5 million were executed or deported.
Agricultural production dropped as farmers did little on the collectives.
1932-33 about 10 million died of famine as a result of this and bad harvests.
Eventually things improved but never reached targets
THE RED TERROR 1928-40: Repression Under Stalin
‘Class Enemies’ or ‘wreckers’. Engineers and industrial planners suffered.
Stalin called for the ‘liquidation of the Kulaks as a class’. 1 million killed or deported.
Half of the 35,000 officer class executed of jailed.
This was a prison system that was really a slave labour camp.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Gulag Archipelago’
The Moscow Show Trials: Case Study
The Ryutin Platform
Many were against forced collectivisation.
Martemyan Ryutin was the most vocal.
Stalin wanted him killed but it was 1932 and he was outvoted (1932).
Sergei Kirov did most to save Ryutin (got 10 years and died in jail).
The ‘Kirov Flood’
Kirov was very popular
in the Party was murdered
, probably on Stalin’s orders.
Stalin used the murder as an excuse for the secret police (NKVD) to arrest all possible opponents, their families and friends.
This included Kamenev and Zinoviev.
A massive ‘cult of the leader’ propaganda campaign was in progress with an emphasis on the ‘enemies of the people’.
Thousands were sentenced to death.
1936 The First
These trials were big media events in front of carefully chosen audience and foreign correspondents.
Kamenev, Zinoviev and 14 others accused of killing Kirov, of plotting to kill Stalin’ of being wreckers and of being Trotskyites.
All pleaded guilty and all executed within 24 hours.
Their families and friends ‘disappeared’.
The 1937 Show Trial
17 pro Trotsky supporters ‘admitted’ that Trotsky had organised wrecking.
2 were spared because they implicated Bukharin, Rykov and Kretinsky who had been members of Lenin’s Politburo. They died in jail anyway.
The 1938 Show Trial
Bukharin had wanted to continue with the NEP.
Torture, interrogation and finally threatening his family forced him and the others to confess to sabotage and spying. They also implicated others.
They were executed.
The Final Figures
At least 7 million executed or died in the Gulag.
10 million from famine.
Between 19 and 22 million in all excluding war victims.
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