REPUBLIC AFTER THE DEFEAT OF THE INTERVENTION AND END OF THE CIVIL WAR.
DIFFICULTIES OF THE RESTORATION PERIOD
C H A P T E R N I N E
THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE
PERIOD OF TRANSITION TO THE PEACEFUL WORK OF ECONOMIC
1. SOVIET REPUBLIC AFTER THE DEFEAT OF
THE INTERVENTION AND END OF THE CIVIL WAR. DIFFICULTIES OF THE
2. PARTY DISCUSSION ON THE TRADE UNIONS. TENTH PARTY CONGRESS.
DEFEAT OF THE OPPOSITION. ADOPTION OF THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP)
3. FIRST RESULTS OF NEP. ELEVENTH PARTY CONGRESS. FORMATION OF
THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS. LENIN'S ILLNESS.
LENIN'S CO-OPERATIVE PLAN. TWELFTH PARTY CONGRESS
4. STRUGGLE AGAINST THE DIFFICULTIES OF ECONOMIC RESTORATION.
TROTSKYITES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LENIN'S ILLNESS TO INCREASE THEIR
ACTIVITY. NEW PARTY DISCUSSION. DE FEAT OF THE TROTSKYITES.
DEATH OF LENIN. THE LENIN ENROLMENT. THIRTEENTH PARTY CONGRESS
5. THE SOVIET UNION TOWARDS THE END OF THE RESTORATION PERIOD.
THE QUESTION OF SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION AND THE VICTORY OF
SOCIALISM IN OUR COUNTRY. ZINOVIEV- KAMENEV "NEW OPPOSITION."
FOURTEENTH PARTY CONGRESS. POLICY OF SOCIALIST INDUSTRIALIZATION
Having ended the war, the Soviet Republic turned to the work of
peaceful economic development. The wounds of war had to be healed. The
shattered economic life of the country had to be rebuilt, its industry,
railways and agriculture restored.
But the work of peaceful development had to be undertaken in
extremely difficult circumstances. The victory in the Civil War had not
been an easy one. The country had been reduced to a state of ruin by
four years of imperialist war and three years of war against the
The gross output of agriculture in 1920 was only about
one-half of the pre-war output -- that of the poverty-stricken
Russian countryside of tsarist days. To make matters worse, in 1920
there was a harvest failure in many of the provinces. Agriculture was in
Even worse was the plight of industry, which was in a state of
complete dislocation. The output of large-scale industry in 1920 was a
little over one-seventh of pre-war. Most of the mills and
factories were at a standstill; mines and collieries were wrecked and
flooded. Gravest of all was the condition of the iron and steel
industry. The total output of pig-iron in 1921 was only 116,300 tons, or
about 3 per cent of the pre-war output. There was a shortage of fuel.
Transport was disrupted. Stocks of metal and textiles in the country
were nearly exhausted. There was an acute shortage of such prime
necessities as bread, fats, meat, footwear, clothing, matches, salt,
kerosene, and soap.
While the war was on, people put up with the shortage and
scarcity, and were sometimes even oblivious to it. But now that the war
was over, they suddenly felt that this shortage and scarcity were
intolerable and began to demand that they be immediately remedied.
Discontent appeared among the peasants. The fire of the Civil War
had welded and steeled a military and political alliance of the working
class and the peasantry. This alliance rested on a definite basis: the
peasants received from the Soviet Government land and protection against
the landlords and kulaks; the workers received from the peasantry
foodstuffs under the surplus-appropriation system.
Now this basis was no longer adequate.
The Soviet state had been compelled to appropriate all surplus
produce from the peasants for the needs of national defence. Victory in
the Civil War would have been impossible without the
surplus-appropriation system, without the policy of War Communism. This
policy was necessitated by the war and intervention. As long as the war
was on, the peasantry had acquiesced in the surplus-appropriation system
and had paid no heed to the shortage of commodities; but when the war
ended and there was no longer any danger of the landlords returning, the
peasants began to express dissatisfaction with having to surrender all
their surpluses, with the surplus-appropriation system, and to demand a
sufficient supply of commodities.
As Lenin pointed out, the whole system of War Communism had come
into collision with the interests of the peasantry.
The spirit of discontent affected the working class as well. The
proletariat had borne the brunt of the Civil War, had heroically and
self-sacrificingly fought the Whiteguard and foreign hordes, and the
ravages of economic disruption and famine. The best, the most class
conscious, self-sacrificing and disciplined workers were inspired by
Socialist enthusiasm. But the utter economic disruption had its
influence on the working class, too. The few factories and plants still
in operation were working spasmodically. The workers were reduced to
doing odd jobs for a living, making cigarette lighters and engaging in
petty bartering for food in the villages ("bag-trading"). The class
basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat was being weakened; the
workers were scattering, decamping for the villages, ceasing to be
workers and becoming declassed. Some of the workers were beginning to
show signs of discontent owing to hunger and weariness.
The Party was confronted with the necessity of working out a new
line of policy on all questions affecting the economic life of the
country, a line that would meet the new situation.
And the Party proceeded to work out such a line of policy on
questions of economic development.
But the class enemy was not dozing. He tried to exploit the
distressing economic situation and the discontent of the peasants for
his own purposes. Kulak revolts, engineered by Whiteguards and
Socialist-Rev- olutionaries, broke out in Siberia, the Ukraine and the
Tambov province (Antonov's rebellion). All kinds of
counter-revolutionary elements -- Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries,
Anarchists, Whiteguards, bourgeois nationalists -- became active again.
The enemy adopted new tactics of struggle against the Soviet power. He
began to borrow a Soviet garb, and his slogan was no longer the old
bankrupt "Down with the Soviets!" but a new slogan: "For the Soviets,
but without Communists!"
A glaring instance of the new tactics of the class enemy was the
counter-revolutionary mutiny in Kronstadt. It began in March 1921, a
week before the Tenth Party Congress. Whiteguards, in complicity with
Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and representatives of foreign
states, assumed the lead of the mutiny. The mutineers at first used a
"Soviet" signboard to camouflage their purpose of restoring the power
and property of the capitalists and landlords. They raised the cry:
"Soviets without Communists!" The counter-revolutionaries tried to
exploit the discontent of the petty bourgeois masses in order to
overthrow the power of the Soviets under a pseudo-Soviet slogan.
Two circumstances facilitated the outbreak of the Kronstadt
mutiny: the deterioration in the composition of the ships' crews, and
the weakness of the Bolshevik organization in Kronstadt. Nearly all the
old sailors who had taken part in the October Revolution were at the
front, heroically fighting in the ranks of the Red Army. The naval
replenishments consisted of new men, who had not been schooled in the
revolution. These were a perfectly raw peasant mass who gave expression
to the peasantry's discontent with the surplus-appropriation system. As
for the Bolshevik organization in Kronstadt, it had been greatly
weakened by a series of mobilizations for the front. This enabled the
Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Whiteguards to worm their way
into Kronstadt and to seize control of it.
The mutineers gained possession of a first-class fortress, the
fleet, and a vast quantity of arms and ammunition. The international
counter-revolutionaries were triumphant. But their jubilation was
premature. The mutiny was quickly put down by Soviet troops. Against the
Kronstadt mutineers the Party sent its finest sons -- delegates to the
Tenth Congress, headed by Comrade Voroshilov. The Red Army men advanced
on Kronstadt across a thin sheet of ice; it broke in places and many
were drowned. The almost impregnable forts of Kronstadt had to be taken
by storm; but loyalty to the revolution, bravery and readiness to die
for the Soviets won the day. The fortress of Kronstadt fell before the
onslaught of the Red troops. The Kronstadt mutiny was suppressed.