To What Extent Did Stalin Transform The Society And Economy Of The Ussr?

2063 words - 9 pages

To what extent did Stalin transform the society and economy of the Soviet Union?

Joseph Stalin ceased power after the death of Lenin in 1924; by 1928 Stalin was a prominent figure in the Communist party and was ready to implement his transformation of the USSR. He transformed the Soviet Union to an immense degree; he brought about total change. Stalin introduced a command economy after the introduction of Socialism in one country; the command economy was when all the decisions were made only by the government and Stalin himself. Stalin felt that Russia could no longer rely on world Revolution as Lenin believed (permanent revolution). Stalin believed that priority had to be given to the ...view middle of the document...

The factories were built with the help of American Engineers who were equipped with German machinery.
The construction of massive public works was also a central part of the plan; examples of some of the schemes are the white sea-Baltic canal, the Moscow Donets Railway system, the Dnieper Hydroelectric dam, the Moscow Volga Canal and the Moscow underground, but with government emphasis on heavy industry there were widespread shortages of everyday consumer goods and food was rationed. Living standards of workers fell and targets were not met, terror was used with show trials held for managers who were accused of sabotage, for example, deliberately destroying farming machinery. Workers were severely disciplined for minor offences, they could even be sent to the Gulags.
Stalin’s other main concern was agriculture; he believed that it needed to be improved to be more efficient. He introduced Collectivization. The aim was to transfer soviet agriculture from individual farms into a system of large farms called ‘collectives’. Each collective farm was called a ‘’Kolkhoz’’, where approximately 50-100 families would be working on. Stalin believed that Collectivization would make farming more efficient, hence producing grain reserves enough to feed the growing urban workforce. The peasants resisted these policies initially as they did not want to share their land that was passed from generation to them. The state responded with its usual tactic, terror. Stalin had hatred for the Kulaks, who were the wealthier farmers. Stalin believed they were a huge problem for Russia and later he blamed them for the failure of collectivization. Stalin blamed the kulaks for resisting against his policies, Stalin said "Now we have the opportunity to carry out a resolute offensive against the kulaks, break their resistance, eliminate them as a class and replace their production with the production of kolkhozes and sovkhozes." A huge number of kulaks were killed or deported to the Gulags where they were exposed to the harsh brutality of Russian winter where it reaches very low temperatures below zero degrees. Stalin was determined to break peasant resistance and hence used famine as a state policy. His particular target was the Ukraine, the traditional bread basket of the USSR. In 1932 Stalin raised Ukraine’s quota by 44%. This meant that there would not be enough grain for the peasants to feed themselves. Under the constitution, no grain could be given to the collective farmers until the government’s quota was met. Peasants were closely monitored by the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police to make sure they do not steal grain and that their quotas were met, if not, they were severely disciplined.

The NKVD arrested millions of Russians, many of which were innocent and arrested without trial because of something as little as suspicion of being an opponent of the Communist Government. The arrests took place in the middle of the night. Anyone who had been abroad was definitely a...

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