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Russia Under Stalin

Russia Under Stalin


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Published by: api-3832366 on Oct 18, 2008
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Russia Under Stalin (1924-1939


Rise of Stalin
 Before 1917 Revolution Stalin helped Lenin in revolutionary activities  After the October Revolution, he was made Commissar of Nationalities  During the Civil War, he was successful in defending Petrograd against the Whites’ attack  At the end of 1923, Lenin was dying. Stalin allied himself with other prominent figure to seize power

 Lenin died in January, 1924 at the age of 54. It opened the way for Stalin and Trotsky to struggle for power.  Both Stalin and Trotsky were important assistants of Lenin  Although Trotsky regarded as ‘ an eminent mediocrity’, Stalin was in a strong position since he was the General Secretary of the party

The Power Struggle
 Besides the position in the Party, there were also ideological conflicts:  Trotsky advocated “Permanent World-wide Revolution”  He believed that Socialism in Russia could never be successful until capitalism was overthrown in surrounding countries  Trotsky’s doctrine conflicted with Stalin’s “Socialism in one country”  After a three-stages power struggle, Stalin had established his unchangeable dictatorship

The Five-Year Plans
 In order to achieve “Socialism in one country” and transform Russia into a modern industrial state, Stalin carried out the Five –Year Plans  After economic recovery under the NEP, He abandoned it and embarked on his first Five-Year Plan in 1928

The First Five Year Plan(192832)
 Aim: 1. To develop heavy industry; and 2. establishing collective farms Priority was given to develop mining, machinery manufacturing, tractor production and electricity generating (Heavy industries)

Collective Farms
 In the agricultural field, the small farm owners allowed to exist under the NEP were now ordered to surrender all their land and live-stocks to form collective farms  Peasants were to own and work on these farms under state directions  Peasants who opposed collectivization were imprisoned, exiled or even executed  Famine appeared in 1930 since peasant destroyed their crops and live-stocks

The Second Five-years Plan (1933-37)
 The process of industrialization and collectivization continued  At first it still stressed heavy industries, but later turned to light industries, consumer goods and transportation  The rise of Nazi Germany, Stalin laid greater emphasis on defense industries  Stalin made some concession to collectivization since there were strong opposition. Stalin allow peasants to keep a small piece of land to grow their own crops  Agricultural production thus increased

The Third Five-year Plan (1938-1942)
 At first it concentrated on the production of consumer goods  The threat of Nazi Germany and the outbreak of WWII, the plan shifted to the production of armaments and defense

Overall Effects
 The Five-year Plans had successfully converted Russia from a backward agricultural country to a world industrial power  By 1941 industrial production was 9 times that of 1913, the area of cultivation increased by more than 25% since 1913  The establishment of a planned economy enabled Russia to prevent unemployment and to get rid of the disastrous effects of the Great Depression

 However, human labour was mercilessly exploited and personal freedom and even lives sacrificed  Since the plans emphasized on heavy industries, the living quality of Russian did not improve  Quantitatively and qualitatively, by western criteria, standards of Production were still low

The Great Purge (1936-38)
 Stalin was confident that the elimination of the “Old Bolsheviks” in the party and army was the precondition for the establishment of his personal dictatorship  8 million people were arrested, tried, sentenced to concentration camps or executed. Near all those who had worked with Lenin to make the revolution a success, with the exception of Stalin, fell victims in the Great Purge

The Constitution of 1936
 Stalin introduced a constitution in 1936 to justify his personal rule and to give the appearance of democracy to Western countries  The Supreme Soviet was composed of two Houses: the Soviets of the union and the Soviet of Nationalities  Candidates were nominated and voted by citizens over 18, but the candidates were all from the Communist Party

 The Supreme Soviet had a Presidium. The Chairman of Presidium was the head of USSR  The Supreme Soviet also elected a Council of People’s Commissars  The power held in the hand of the Communist Party, headed by the Secretary-General, thus he was the real ruler of the country

Stalinist Russia - a totalitarian state
 State control over economy: Five-years Plans and Collectivization  State control over society All decision were made by the Communist Party Intellectuals were subject to strict supervision Secret police were employed to spy upon the people

 State control over education All student, teacher and textbooks were controlled by the Communist Party Students were taught to loyal to the Party

Foreign policy
 Since Stalin’s idea of “Socialism in one state”, he supported of the Comintern was a low profile  The rise of Hitler alarmed Stalin, he then sought a closer relations with the non-Fascist states  He joined the League of Nations in 1934  He also signed military pacts and nonaggressive pacts with countries such as France, Czechoslovakia and Poland

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