Article 6319

Title of the article

THE FOOD PROBLEM IN THE USSR AT THE FIRST STAGE OF THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY IN 1921–1925 

Authors

Zima Veniamin Fedorovich, doctor of historical sciences, senior staff scientist, Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences (19, Dmitriya Ulyanova street, Moscow, Russia), E-mail: zima.veniamin@yandex.ru 

Index UDK

82(356.2) «1921 – 1925» 

DOI

10.21685/2072-3024-2019-3-6 

Abstract

Background. The result of the drought of 1921, which swept the grain-producing areas of the Volga region, was famine, which paralyzed the country’s economy and threatened the existence of a young Soviet state. The government of the RSFSR was forced to urgently develop and adopt a plan for a new economic policy: to suspend the imposition of communism in the country by military methods and temporarily return the market economy under the control of Soviet power. In the village, the food unfolding that caused the uprisings of the peasants was replaced by a state food tax, the amount of which was announced in the spring. With such a specific tax, the peasantry was interested in obtaining a high harvest so that they could give part of it to the state and sell the rest on the market, directing the money received to strengthen and expand their economy. The Soviet state also got the opportunity to sell agricultural products abroad even more and to purchase the latest equipment for the construction of the heavy industry necessary for building socialism in the USSR for the currency earned from the sale. The purpose of the article is to show on the new archival material the significance for the Soviet government of adopting a new economic policy. With the help of NEP, the Bolsheviks wanted to accelerate the creation of an economic basis for building socialism in the USSR by eliminating two major problems: industrial and social. The village should have provided the means and labor to implement this political and economic task. At the first stage of NEP, on the whole, many of the tasks set were solved: the state budget was drawn up, financial reform was introduced, and the food supply of citizens improved. Due to the intensification and cooperation of agriculture, it was supposed to make an economic breakthrough to a higher socialist level of development of the country.
Materials and methods. In preparing the work, the scientific works of our predecessors were studied: economists, agrarians and historians. New, unpublished materials were found in the collections of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, the State Archive of the Russian Federation and the Russian State Archive of Economics. During the search, processing and use of primary sources, the method of historicism and an objective approach to documents and facts of the past were applied. New methods of applying computer technologies have accelerated a thematic study of the funds, inventories and affairs of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR and People’s Commissariats in their areas of activity in accordance with the plan of our study. The method of system analysis and synthesis provided significant assistance in the search and selection of archival reports on food stocks in the country and grain export.
Results. In the process of working in the archives, we collected and introduced in scientific circulation a significant amount of new, previously unknown historical material. This made it possible to introduce significant adjustments to previous ideas about NEP at the first stage of its development in 1921–1925: 1) The new economic policy of the Bolsheviks intensified the struggle and the split within the Political Bureau and the Central Committee of the CPSU(b); 2) NEP had more stringent political and state restrictions than previously thought. The influence of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU(b) was decisive in all state events; 3) the food problem remained secondary, and agriculture and the peasantry were considered only a source of funds for industrialization; 4) the exploitation of the peasantry intensified. Even the Committees of the peasant poor sometimes expressed dissatisfaction with the repressive measures of the Soviet regime.
Conclusions. Based on the generalization and study of new archival statistical data and convincing new factual material obtained by us, we can conclude that at the first stage of NEP as a whole, many of the tasks set were solved: the state budget was drawn up, financial reform was carried out, and food provision of citizens was carried out significantly improved. 

Key words

NEP, agriculture, industrialization, socialism, food problem 

 

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Дата создания: 14.11.2019 13:07
Дата обновления: 14.11.2019 14:02