Background. This article is devoted to the actual problem – the food policy of the Soviet state in the 1920s. The most significant event of that time was the new economic policy (hereinafter referred to as “NEP”), of which the solution of the food problem was an integral part. The article deals with the activity of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, headed by A. I. Rykov on the development and implementation of food policies that can ensure the implementation of NEP plans. The problem was to prevent disruptions in the provision of food for the citizens of the USSR and to export as much agricultural products as possible (mainly grains and flour) abroad. The Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR had to solve this problem in unfavorable international, climatic, economic and political conditions, so it was not possible to quickly accomplish the task. Because of the aggravation of the political struggle in the higher echelons of Soviet power, in the second half of the 1920s the activity of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, headed by A. I. Rykov was recognized as unsatisfactory and does not meet the requirements of the time.
Materials and methods. This article is based on unpublished documents of the State Archives of the Russian Federation. Statistical data was drawn from the funds of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History and the Russian State Archive of Economics. During the preparation of the article, the classical method of historicism and an objective evaluation of the most important decisions adopted by the secular authorities were observed. With the same purpose, the methodology of comparative analysis and thematic synthesis of trends in archival and published statistical data was applied, the likelihood of their correspondence to real facts and actual
events. Methods of traditional research practice of working with archival sources were applied. The actual side of the food problem was given enough attention. All this, on the whole, made it possible to formulate scientifically grounded conclusions on the food policy pursued by the SNK of the USSR, headed by A. I. Rykov.
Results. The main purpose of the NEP was to create a socialist economy with the help of agriculture. In 1924 the deputy V. I. Lenin on the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR A. I. Rykov was elected chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR and supervised the conduct of the NEP in life. He was actively engaged in the development and implementation of the food policy of the USSR. Thanks to the measures taken, in three years the agriculture of the USSR was restored and for the production of gross output approached the prewar level of 1913. In the political and state structures, an acute struggle was raging over the continuation of the NEP and its threat to the building of socialism of the USSR.
Conclusions. The government’s food policy A. I. Rykov was of great importance not only for the restoration and development of agriculture, but also for the industrialization of the USSR. She liberated the peasantry from food distribution. The Soviet state attracted the poorest peasantry to its side, provided them with great tax benefits. The directive of the December 1925 Fourteenth Congress of the CPSU (B.), that the priority task is the development of heavy industry, was a signal for the beginning of the tax race, arrests of non-payers. By the decision of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), all this resulted in the complete collectivization of agriculture. A. I. Rykov and his like-minded people were accused of right deviation and freed from their posts, as the lost parties and people’s trust.
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