RESULTS OF NEP. ELEVENTH PARTY CONGRESS. FORMATION OF THE UNION OF
SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS.LENIN'S ILLNESS. LENIN'S CO-OPERATIVE PLAN.
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
The New Economic Policy was resisted by the unstable elements in
the Party. The resistance came from two quarters. First there were the
"Left" shouters, political freaks like Lominadze, Shatskin and others,
who argued that NEP meant a renunciation of the gains of the October
Revolution, a return to capitalism, the downfall of the Soviet power.
Because of their political illiteracy and ignorance of the laws of
economic development, these people did not understand the policy of the
Party, fell into a panic, and sowed dejection and discouragement. Then
there were the downright capitulators, like Trotsky, Radek, Zinoviev,
Sokolnikov, Kamenev, Shlyapnikov, Bukharin, Rykov and others, who did
not believe that the Socialist development of our country was possible,
bowed before the "omnipotence" of capitalism and, in their endeavour to
strengthen the position of capitalism in the Soviet country, demanded
far-reaching concessions to private capital, both home and foreign, and
the surrender of a number of key positions of the Soviet power in the
economic field to private capitalists, the latter to act either as
concessionaries or as partners of the state in mixed joint stock
Both groups were alien to Marxism and Leninism.
Both were exposed and isolated by the Party, which passed severe
stricture on the alarmists and the capitulators.
This resistance to the Party policy was one more reminder that
the Party needed to be purged of unstable elements. Accordingly, the
Central Committee in 1921 organized a Party purge, which helped to
considerably strengthen the Party. The purging was done at open
meetings, in the presence and with the participation of non-Party
people. Lenin advised that the Party be thoroughly cleansed "of rascals,
bureaucrats, dishonest or wavering Communists, and of Mensheviks who
have repainted their 'facade' but who have remained Mensheviks at
heart." (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XXVII, p. 13.)
Altogether, nearly 170,000 persons, or about 25 per cent of the
total membership, were expelled from the Party as a result of the purge.
The purge greatly strengthened the Party, improved its social
composition, increased the confidence of the masses in it, and
heightened its prestige. The Party became more closely welded and better
The correctness of the New Economic Policy was proved in its very
first year. Its adoption served greatly to strengthen the alliance of
workers and peasants on a new basis. The dictatorship of the proletariat
gained in might and strength. Kulak banditry was almost completely
liquidated. The middle peasants, now that the surplus-appropriation
system had been abolished, helped the Soviet Government to fight the
kulak bands. The Soviet Government retained all the key positions in the
economic field: large-scale industry, the means of transport, the banks,
the land, and home and foreign trade. The Party achieved a definite turn
for the better on the economic front. Agriculture soon began to forge
ahead. Industry and the railways could record their first successes. An
economic revival began, still very slow but sure. The workers and the
peasants felt and perceived that the Party was on the right track.
In March 1922, the Party held its Eleventh Congress. It was
attended by 522 voting delegates, representing 532,000 Party members,
which was less than at the previous congress. There were 165 delegates
with voice but no vote. The reduction in the membership was due to the
Party purge which had already begun.
At this congress the Party reviewed the results of the first year
of the New Economic Policy. These results entitled Lenin to declare at
"For a year we have been retreating. In the name of the Party we
must now call a halt. The purpose pursued by the retreat has been
achieved. This period is drawing, or has drawn, to a close. Now our
purpose is different -- to regroup our forces." (Ibid., p. 238.)
Lenin said that NEP meant a life and death struggle between
capitalism and Socialism. "Who will win?" -- that was the question. In
order that we might win, the bond between the working class and the
peasantry, between Socialist industry and peasant agriculture, had to be
made secure by developing the exchange of goods between town and country
to the utmost. For this purpose the art of management and of efficient
trading would have to be learned.
At that period, trade was the main link in the chain of problems
that confronted the Party. Unless this problem were solved it would be
impossible to develop the exchange of goods between town and country, to
strengthen the economic alliance between the workers and peasants,
impossible to advance agriculture, or to extricate industry from its
state of disruption.
Soviet trade at that time was still very undeveloped. The
machinery of trade was highly inadequate. Communists had not yet learned
the art of trade; they had not studied the enemy, the Nepman, or learned
how to combat him. The private traders, or Nepmen, had taken advantage
of the undeveloped state of Soviet trade to capture the trade in
textiles and other goods in general demand. The organization of state
and co-operative trade became a matter of utmost importance.
After the Eleventh Congress, work in the economic sphere was
resumed with redoubled vigour. The effects of the recent harvest failure
were successfully remedied. Peasant farming showed rapid recovery. The
railways began to work better. Increasing numbers of factories and
plants resumed operation.
In October 1922, the Soviet Republic celebrated a great victory
Vladivostok, the last piece of Soviet territory to remain in the hands
of the invaders, was wrested by the Red Army and the Far Eastern
partisan from the hands of the Japanese.
The whole territory of the Soviet republic having been cleared of
interventionists, and the needs of Socialist construction and national
defence demanding a further consolidation of the union of the Soviet
peoples, the necessity now arose of welding the Soviet republics closer
together in a single federal state. All the forces of the people had to
be combined for the work of building Socialism. The country had to be
made impregnable. Conditions had to be created for the all-round
development of every nationality in our country. This required that all
the Soviet nations should be brought into still closer union.
In December 1922 the First All-Union Congress of Soviets was
held, at which, on the proposal of Lenin and Stalin, a voluntary state
union of the Soviet nations was formed -- the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics (U.S.S.R.). Originally, the U.S.S.R. comprised the Russian
Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (R.S.F.S.R.), the Trancaucasian
Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (T.S.F.S.R.), the Ukrainian Soviet
Socialist Republic (Ukr. S.S.R.) and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist
Republic (B.S.S.R.). Somewhat later, three independent Union Soviet
Republics -- the Uzbek, Turkmen and Tadjik -- were formed in Central
Asia. All these republics have now united in a single union of Soviet
states -- the U.S.S.R. -- on a voluntary and equal basis, each of them
being reserved the right of freely seceding from the Soviet Union.
The formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics meant
the consolidation of the Soviet power and a great victory for the
Leninist Stalinist policy of the Bolshevik Party on the national
In November 1922, Lenin made a speech at a plenary meeting of the
Moscow Soviet in which he reviewed the five years of Soviet rule and
expressed the firm conviction that "NEP Russia will become Socialist
Russia." This was his last speech to the country. That same autumn a
great misfortune overtook the Party: Lenin fell seriously ill. His
illness was a deep and personal affliction to the whole Party and to all
the working people. All lived in trepidation for the life of their
beloved Lenin. But even in illness Lenin did not discontinue his work.
When already a very sick man, he wrote a number of highly important
articles. In these last writings he reviewed the work already performed
and outlined a plan for the building of Socialism in our country by
enlisting the peasantry in the cause of Socialist construction. This
contained his co-operative plan for securing the participation of the
peasantry in the work of building Socialism.
Lenin regarded co-operative societies in general, and
agricultural cooperative societies in particular, as a means of
transition -- a means within the reach and understanding of the peasant
millions -- from small, individual farming to large-scale producing
associations, or collective farms. Lenin pointed out that the line to be
followed in the development of agriculture in our country was to draw
the peasants into the work of building Socialism through the
co-operative societies, gradually to introduce the collective principle
in agriculture, first in the selling, and then in the growing of farm
produce. With the dictatorship of the proletariat and the alliance of
the working class and the peasantry, with the leadership of the
peasantry by the proletariat made secure, and with the existence of a
Socialist industry, Lenin said, a properly organized producing
co-operative system embracing millions of peasants was the means whereby
a complete Socialist society could be built in our country.
In April 1923, the Party held its Twelfth Congress. Since the
seizure of power by the Bolsheviks this was the first congress at which
Lenin was unable to be present. The congress was attended by 408 voting
delegates, representing 386,000 Party members. This was less than was
represented at the previous congress, the reduction being due to the
fact that in the interval the Party purge had continued and had resulted
in the expulsion of a considerable percentage of the Party membership.
There were 417 delegates with voice but no vote.
The Twelfth Party Congress embodied in its decisions the
recommendations made by Lenin in his recent articles and letters.
The congress sharply rebuked those who took NEP to mean a retreat
from the Socialist position, a surrender to capitalism, and who
advocated a return to capitalist bondage. Proposals of this kind were
made at the congress by Radek and Krassin, followers of Trotsky. They
proposed that we should throw ourselves on the tender mercies of foreign
capitalists, surrender to them, in the form of concessions, branches of
industry that were of vital necessity to the Soviet state. They proposed
that we pay the tsarist government's debts annulled by the October
Revolution. The Party stigmatized these capitulatory proposals as
treachery. It did not reject the policy of granting concessions, but
favoured it only in such industries and in such dimensions as would be
of advantage to the Soviet state.
Bukharin and Sokolnikov had even prior to the congress proposed
the abolition of the state monopoly of foreign trade. The proposal was
also based on the conception that NEP was a surrender to capitalism.
Lenin had branded Bukharin as a champion of the profiteers, Nepmen and
kulaks. The Twelfth Congress firmly repelled the attempts to undermine
the monopoly of foreign trade.
The congress also repelled Trotsky's attempt to foist upon the
Party a policy towards the peasantry that would have been fatal, and
stated that the predominance of small peasant farming in the country was
a fact not to be forgotten. It emphatically declared that the
development of industry, including heavy industry, must not run counter
to the interests of the peasant masses, but must be based on a close
bond with the peasants, in the interests of the whole working
population. These decisions were an answer to Trotsky, who had proposed
that we should build up our industry by exploiting the peasants, and who
in fact did not accept the policy of an alliance of the proletariat with
At the same time, Trotsky had proposed that big plants like the
Putilov, Bryansk and others, which were of importance to the country's
defence, should be closed down allegedly on the grounds that they were
unprofitable. The congress indignantly rejected Trotsky's proposals.
On Lenin's proposal, sent to the congress in written form, the
Twelfth Congress united the Central Control Commission of the Party and
the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection into one body. To this united body
were entrusted the important duties of safeguarding the unity of our
Party, strengthening Party and civil discipline, and improving the
Soviet state apparatus in every way.
An important item on the agenda of the congress was the national
question, the report on which was made by Comrade Stalin. Comrade Stalin
stressed the international significance of our policy on the national
question. To the oppressed peoples in the East and West, the Soviet
Union was a model of the solution of the national question and the
abolition of national oppression. He pointed out that energetic measures
were needed to put an end to economic and cultural inequality among the
peoples of the Soviet Union. He called upon the Party to put up a
determined fight against deviations in the national question -- Great
Russian chauvinism and local bourgeois nationalism.
The nationalist deviators and their dominant-nation policy
towards the national minorities were exposed at the congress. At that
time the Georgian nationalist deviators, Mdivani and others, were
opposing the Party. They had been against the formation of the
Trancaucasian Federation and were against the promotion of friendship
between the peoples of Transcaucasia. The deviators were behaving like
outright dominant-nation chauvinists towards the other nationalities of
Georgia. They were expelling non-Georgians from Tiflis wholesale,
especially Armenians; they had passed a law under which Georgian women
who married non-Georgians lost their Georgian citizenship. The Georgian
nationalist deviators were supported by Trotsky, Radek, Bukharin,
Skrypnik and Rakovsky.
Shortly after the congress, a special conference of Party workers
from the national republics was called to discuss the national question.
Here were exposed a group of Tatar bourgeois nationalists --
Sultan-Galiev and others -- and a group of Uzbek nationalist deviators
-- Faizulla Khodjayev and others.
The Twelfth Party Congress reviewed the results of the New
Economic Policy for the past two years. They were very heartening
results and inspired confidence in ultimate victory.
"Our Party has remained solid and united; it has stood the test
of a momentous turn, and is marching on with flying colours," Comrade
Stalin declared at the congress.