SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR
The new economic policy had its prototype in the form of program documents of the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties of 1918-1920, in which the ideas of a “mixed” (state-market) economy were combined with the ideas of political democracy. Thus, in April 1919, the Central Committee of the Socialist Revolutionary Party addressed the party organizations with a declaration on the problems and prospects of world socialist revolution.
The main content of this declaration is the fruitful idea of synthesizing the old capitalist and new socialist forms of relations that did not exclude, but complement each other. The document emphasized that "the existence of a new social system is possible only to the extent and consistency in which the individual components of its activities first pass through the consciousness and will of the majority, finding the ground in the real conditions of its life and psychology."
In July 1919, the manifesto of the Central Committee of the Menshevik Party "What to do?" outlining the socio-economic and political platform. It was intended, while keeping large industrial enterprises in the hands of the state, to allow everywhere, “where it promises improvement, expansion or cheapening of production,” the use of private capital. The manifesto contained articles about the rejection of the nationalization of small-scale industry, the system of food dictatorship. They were to be replaced by the purchase of grain by the state at bargain prices, the granting of freedom of cooperation and individuals, while maintaining state regulation of the most important consumer goods.
A few years later, the Bolsheviks began to implement the economic program of opposition socialist parties, from which NEP was born. However, in the first half of the 1920s. theoretical systems are emerging, like the one formulated by E. A. Preobrazhensky. His concept of “original socialist accumulation” indicated that socialism and the New Economic Policy were allegedly incompatible. Denying NEP, Preobrazhensky nevertheless believed that it could not be swept away with one blow and destroyed immediately. It is necessary to conduct a systematic conscious "devouring" of the private economy by the accelerated powerful development of the socialist system, which strengthens its base with the process of enhanced "accumulation".
Moreover, the basis of the “initial socialist accumulation”, as Preobrazhensky believed, should be the withdrawal of funds from the countryside and from the farms of small producers. Initially, Preobrazhensky did not even hesitate to say directly that the socialist system should “exploit” the village and small producers in the city. He later replaced the "operation" with softer terms. Soon the recipes of Preobrazhensky, somewhat modifying them, Stalin will begin to actively use, implementing his idea of building socialism in the USSR.
At the household level, the idea of coagulation of NEP begins to grow in the second half of the 20s. The Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) receives quite a few letters from ordinary citizens calling for "suspending the growth of NEP," "singing him a waste," etc. Some of the party-state leadership nevertheless held a different opinion. So, in 1925, Bukharin put forward a slogan from which he was forced to refuse at the XIV Party Congress: "To the entire peasantry, to all its layers, it must be said: enrich themselves, accumulate, develop their economy." Bukharin’s change in his views allowed Trotsky to be bitterly aware that he was "turning" the theoretical mare "now with his tail, now with his face, depending on the structure." In his turn, Bukharin declared: "The Trotskyists are" gardeners ", pulling the plant behind the hush, so that it grows faster."
Since 1926, versions of the first five-year plan began to be developed in the USSR. G. Ya. Sokolnikov and other experts of the People's Commissariat (the economists N. D. Kondratiev and N. P. Makarov agreed with them) considered that the most important task is the development of agriculture to the highest level. In their opinion, only on the basis of agriculture that has grown strong and has risen to "prosperity", which is capable of feeding enough power, conditions may arise for the expansion of Soviet industry.
One of the variants of the progressive movement, developed by Gosplan specialists (V. A. Bazarov and others), provided for the development of all industries producing consumer goods and those types of means of production, the need for which was widespread. The economists of this direction proved that everywhere in the world intensive industrial development began with the support of these particular industries.
Bukharin and his group suggested systematically developing heavy and light industries. The money they received was expected to be directed at accelerating the pace of industrialization, but in such a way that there would also be an expansion in the production of consumer goods. Otherwise, in their opinion, accelerated industrialization will lead to a decrease in the standard of living of the working masses.
At the head of one of the key departments that were developing plans for the development of industry, from the beginning of 1924, F. E. Dzerzhinsky was. Of all the leaders of the Supreme Economic Council, according to N. Volsky (Valentinov), who personally knew many Bolshevik leaders, Dzerzhinsky was the best. He was even appreciated by non-partisan specialists who said after the sudden death of his boss: “Sorry, Dzerzhinsky died. He was good at working. We, specialists, he valued and defended. We could sleep peacefully at his place. We were not afraid that the“ black raven ”would come ". Quite different was the attitude to the "former" by Stalin, who said that they "stink like ferrets" and need to keep them from themselves at a distance.
Dzerzhinsky, while serving as chairman of the Supreme Economic Council, in a categorical form, spoke out against solving economic problems by volitional methods. He was convinced that the growth rate of industry must be consistent with the growth and needs of agriculture. “In our relations with the village,” emphasized Dzerzhinsky, “there should not be a place of exploitation with the expectation that agriculture will bring the necessary capital for the development of the industry.”
However, even in the Supreme Economic Council, not everyone supported its chairman. Deputy Dzerzhinsky G.L. Pyatakov, whom Iron Felix called the “largest industry disrupter,” was a supporter of the accelerated development of the industry, while advocating an increase in the wholesale prices of industry. The latter, as Dzerzhinsky believed, would only exacerbate the gap between the city and the village.
The death of Dzerzhinsky (July 20, 1926) seriously undermined the position of that wing in the leadership that sought to preserve NEP. An offensive on private capital began, the withdrawal of "surplus" from the peasants. The choice of the path of forced industrialization meant the end of NEP. In August 1926, V. Kuibyshev, loyal to Stalin, became the chairman of the Supreme Council of National Economy. He tried as soon as possible to remove the slogans of Dzerzhinsky from the practice of the Supreme Council of National Economy and replace them with new ones - with Stalin.
By the XV Congress of the CPSU (b), in the leading circles of the party, not only the idea of industrialization, but also the idea of the need for a high rate of its implementation was established. At the same time, a transition was made to a rigid centralization and concentration of all resources, to the regulation of the national economy with the help of state plans. The once influential group of Bukharin was defeated in 1928.
By the beginning of the work of the XVI Party Conference (April 1929), the Gosplan specialists prepared two versions of the plan: the minimum ("starting") and maximum ("optimal"). Indicators of the latter were higher on average by 20%. Attempts to make some adjustments to the plan, undertaken by A. I. Rykov, were not crowned with success. Party conference, and behind it the V All-Union Congress of Soviets in May 1929 adopted the "optimal" version of the five-year national economic development plan for 1928 / 1929-1932 / 1933. *
At the time of approval of the plan, its implementation was already beginning. For five years, it was planned to increase industrial output by 180%, production assets - by 230%, agricultural growth should have been 55%, and national income 103%. During the same years, real wages should have increased by 71%, peasant incomes by 67%, and industrial labor productivity by 110%. The accepted plan was exceptionally tense, it provided for overcoming a multitude of difficulties. Nevertheless, with a favorable set of circumstances, it was real to fulfill. However, soon the planned figures will begin to artificially become overstated, which will lead to enormous deformations not only in the socio-economic sphere, but also in the political one.
Thus, 1929 was the year of the "great turning point". By this time, NEP turned out to be actually curtailed, and the leadership of the country regarding the further development of the state was dominated by Stalin's point of view, and a system of centralized government was established on all sides of society.
[*] The financial and agricultural year in the USSR lasted from October 1 to September 30. Since 1931, planning and financial calculations began to coincide with the astronomical year (from January 1 to December 31).
History of the Soviet Union and Russia in the 20th Century