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 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 CON- GRESS. POLICY OF SOCIALIST
INDUSTRIALIZATION OF THE COUNTRY
For over four years the Bolshevik Party and the working class had
been working strenuously along the lines of the New Economic Policy. The
heroic work of economic restoration was approaching completion. The
economic and political might of the Soviet Union was steadily growing.
By this time the international situation had undergone a change.
Capitalism had withstood the first revolutionary onslaught of the masses
after the imperialist war. The revolutionary movement in Germany, Italy,
Bulgaria, Poland and a number of other countries had been crushed. The
bourgeoisie had been aided in this by the leaders of the compromising
Social-Democratic parties. A temporary ebb in the tide of revolution set
in. There began a temporary, partial stabilization of capitalism in
Western Europe, a partial consolidation of the position of capitalism.
But the stabilization of capitalism did not eliminate the basic
contradictions rending capitalist society. On the contrary, the partial
stabilization of capitalism aggravated the contradictions between the
workers and the capitalists, between imperialism and the colonial
nations, between the imperialist groups of the various countries. The
stabilization of capitalism was preparing for a new explosion of
contradictions, for new crises in the capitalist countries.
Parallel with the stabilization of capitalism, proceeded the
stabilization of the Soviet Union. But these two processes of
stabilization were fundamentally different in character. Capitalist
stabilization presaged a new crisis of capitalism. The stabilization of
the Soviet Union meant a further growth of the economic and political
might of the Socialist country.
Despite the defeat of the revolution in the West, the position of
the Soviet Union in the international arena continued to grow stronger,
although, it is true, at a slower rate.
In 1922, the Soviet Union had been invited to an international
economic conference in Genoa, Italy. At the Genoa Conference the
imperialist governments, emboldened by the defeat of the revolution in
the capitalist countries, tried to bring new pressure to bear on the
Soviet Republic, this time in diplomatic form. The imperialists
presented brazen demands to the Soviet Republic. They demanded that the
factories and plants which had been nationalized by the October
Revolution be returned to the foreign capitalists; they demanded the
payment of the debts of the tsarist government. In return, the
imperialist states promised some trifling loans to the Soviet
The Soviet Union rejected these demands.
The Genoa Conference was barren of result.
The threat of a new intervention contained in the ultimatum of
Lord Curzon, the British Foreign Secretary, in 1923, also met with the
rebuff it deserved.
Having tested the strength of the Soviet Government and convinced
themselves of its stability, the capitalist states began one after
another to resume diplomatic relations with our country. In 1924
diplomatic relations were restored with Great Britain, France, Japan and
It was plain that the Soviet Union had been able to win a
prolonged breathing space, a period of peace.
The domestic situation had also changed. The self-sacrificing
efforts of the workers and peasants, led by the Bolshevik Party, had
borne fruit. The rapid development of the national economy was manifest.
In the fiscal year 1924-25, agricultural output had already approached
the pre-war level, amounting to 87 per cent of the pre-war output. In
1925 the large-scale industries of the U.S.S.R. were already producing
about three-quarters of the pre-war industrial output. In the fiscal
year 1924-25, the Soviet Union was able to invest 385,000,000 rubles in
capital construction work. The plan for the electrification of the
country was proceeding successfully. Socialism was consolidating its key
positions in the national economy. Important successes had been won in
the struggle against private capital in industry and trade.
Economic progress was accompanied by a further improvement in the
condition of the workers and peasants. The working class was growing
rapidly. Wages had risen, and so had productivity of labour. The
standard of living of the peasants had greatly improved. In 1924-25, the
Workers' and Peasants' Government was able to assign nearly 290,000,000
rubles for the purpose of assisting the small peasants. The improvement
in the condition of the workers and peasants led to greater political
activity on the part of the masses. The dictatorship of the proletariat
was now more firmly established. The prestige and influence of the
Bolshevik Party had grown.
The restoration of the national economy was approaching
completion. But mere economic restoration, the mere attainment of the
pre-war level, was not enough for the Soviet Union, the land of
Socialism in construction. The pre-war level was the level of a backward
country. The advance had to be continued beyond that point. The
prolonged breathing space gained by the Soviet state ensured the
possibility of further development.
But this raised the question in all its urgency: what were to be
the perspectives, the character of our development, of our construction,
what was to be the destiny of Socialism in the Soviet Union? In what
direction was economic development in the Soviet Union to be carried on,
in the direction of Socialism, or in some other direction? Should we and
could we build a Socialist economic system; or were we fated but to
manure the soil for another economic system, the capitalist economic
system? Was it possible at all to build a Socialist economic system in
the U.S.S.R., and, if so, could it be built in spite of the delay of the
revolution in the capitalist countries, in spite of the stabilization of
capitalism? Was it at all possible to build a Socialist economic system
by way of the New Economic Policy, which, while it was strengthening and
augmenting the forces of Socialism in the country in every way,
nevertheless still promoted a certain growth of capitalism ? How was a
Socialist economic system to be constructed, from which end should its
All these questions confronted the Party towards the end of the
restoration period, and no longer as theoretical questions, but as
practical questions, as questions of everyday economic policy.
All these questions needed straightforward and plain answers, so
that our Party members engaged in the development of industry and
agriculture, as well as the people generally, might know in what
direction to work, towards Socialism, or towards capitalism.
Unless plain answers were given to these questions, all our
practical work of construction would be without perspective, work in the
dark, labour in vain.
The Party gave plain and definite answers to all these questions.
Yes, replied the Party, a Socialist economic system could be and
should be built in our country, for we had everything needed for the
building of a Socialist economic system, for the building of a complete
Socialist society. In October 1917 the working class had vanquished
capitalism politically, by establishing its own political
dictatorship. Since then the Soviet Government had been taking every
measure to shatter the economic power of capitalism and to create
conditions for the building of a Socialist economic system. These
measures were: the expropriation of the capitalists and landlords; the
conversion of the land, factories, mills, railways and the banks into
public property; the adoption of the New Economic Policy; the building
up of a state-owned Socialist industry; and the application of Lenin's
co-operative plan. Now the main task was to proceed to build a new,
Socialist economic system all over the country and thus smash capitalism
economically as well. All our practical work, all our actions
must be made to serve this main purpose. The working class could do it,
and would do it. The realization of this colossal task must begin with
the industrialization of the country. The Socialist industrialization of
the country was the chief link in the chain; with it the construction of
a Socialist economic system must begin. Neither the delay of the
revolution in the West, nor the partial stabilization of capitalism in
the non-Soviet countries could stop our advance -- to Socialism. The New
Economic Policy could only make this task easier, for it had been
introduced by the Party with the specific purpose of facilitating the
laying of a Socialist foundation for our economic system.
Such was the Party's answer to the question -- was the victory of
Socialist construction possible in our country?
But the Party knew that the problem of the victory of Socialism
in one country did not end there. The construction of Socialism in the
Soviet Union would be a momentous turning point in the history of
mankind, a victory for the working class and peasantry of the U.S.S.R.,
marking a new epoch in the history of the world. Yet this was an
internal affair of the U.S.S.R. and was only a part of the problem of
the victory of Socialism. The other part of the problem was its
international aspect. In substantiating the thesis that Socialism could
be victorious in one country, Comrade Stalin had repeatedly pointed out
that the question should be viewed from two aspects, the domestic and
the international. As for the domestic aspect of the question, i.e.,
the class relations within the country, the working class and the
peasantry of the U.S.S.R. were fully capable of vanquishing their own
bourgeoisie economically and building a complete Socialist
society. But there was also the international aspect of the question,
namely, the sphere of foreign relations, the sphere of the relations
between the Soviet Union and the capitalist countries, between the
Soviet people and the international bourgeoisie, which hated the Soviet
system and was seeking the chance to start again armed intervention in
the Soviet Union, to make new attempts to restore capitalism in the
U.S.S.R. And since the U.S.S.R. was as yet the only Socialist country,
all the other countries remaining capitalist, the U.S.S.R. continued to
be encircled by a capitalist world, which gave rise to the danger of
capitalist intervention. Clearly, there would be a danger of capitalist
intervention as long as this capitalist encirclement existed. Could the
Soviet people by their own efforts destroy this external danger, the
danger of capitalist intervention in the U.S.S.R.? No, they could not.
They could not, because in order to destroy the danger of capitalist
intervention the capitalist encirclement would have to be destroyed; and
the capitalist encirclement could be destroyed only as a result of
victorious proletarian revolutions in at least several countries. It
followed from this that the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., as
expressed in the abolition of the capitalist economic system and the
building of a Socialist economic system, could not be considered a
final victory, inasmuch as the danger of foreign armed intervention
and of attempts to restore capitalism had not been eliminated, and
inasmuch as the Socialist country had no guarantee against this danger.
To destroy the danger of foreign capitalist intervention, the capitalist
encirclement would have to be destroyed.
Of course, as long as the Soviet Government pursued a correct
policy, the Soviet people and their Red Army would be able to beat off a
new foreign capitalist intervention just as they had beaten off the
first capitalist intervention of 1918-20. But this would not mean that
the danger of new capitalist intervention would be eliminated. The
defeat of the first intervention did not destroy the danger of new
intervention, inasmuch as the source of the danger of intervention --
the capitalist encirclement -- continued to exist. Neither would the
danger of intervention be destroyed by the defeat of the new
intervention if the capitalist encirclement continued to exist.
It followed from this that the victory of the proletarian
revolution in the capitalist countries was a matter of vital concern to
the working people of the U.S.S.R.
Such was the Party's line on the question of the victory of
Socialism in our country.
The Central Committee demanded that this line be discussed at the
forthcoming Fourteenth Party Conference, and that it be endorsed and
accepted as the line of the Party, as a Party law, binding upon
all Party members.
This line of the Party came as a thunderbolt to the
oppositionists, above all, because the Party lent it a specific and
practical character, linked it with a practical plan for the Socialist
industrialization of the country, and demanded that it be formulated as
a Party law, as a resolution of the Fourteenth Party Conference, binding
upon all Party members.
The Trotskyites opposed this Party line and set up against it the
Menshevik "theory of permanent revolution," which it would be an insult
to Marxism to call a Marxist theory, and which denied the possibility of
the victory of Socialist construction in the U.S.S.R.
The Bukharinites did not venture to oppose the Party line
outspokenly. But they furtively set up against it their own "theory" of
the peaceful growing of the bourgeoisie into Socialism, amplifying it
with a "new" slogan -- "Get Rich!" According to the Bukharinites, the
victory of Socialism meant fostering and encircling the bourgeoisie, not
Zinoviev and Kamenev ventured forth with the assertion that the
victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. was impossible because of the
country's technical and economic backwardness, but they soon found it
prudent to hide under cover.
The Fourteenth Party Conference (April, 1925) condemned all these
capitulatory "theories" of the open and covert oppositionists and
affirmed the Party line of working for the victory of Socialism in the
U.S.S.R., adopting a resolution to this effect.
Driven to the wall, Zinoviev and Kamenev preferred to vote for
this resolution. But the Party knew that they had only postponed their
struggle and had decided to "give battle to the Party" at the Fourteenth
Party Congress. They were mustering a following in Leningrad and forming
the so-called "New Opposition."
The Fourteenth Party Congress opened in December 1925.
The situation within the Party was tense and strained. Never in
its history had there been a case when the whole delegation from an
important Party centre like Leningrad had prepared to come out in
opposition to their Central Committee.
The congress was attended by 665 delegates with vote and 641 with
voice but no vote, representing 643,000 Party members and 445,000
candidate members, or a little less than at the previous congress. The
reduction was due to a partial purge, a purge of the Party organizations
in universities and offices to which anti-Party elements had gained
The political report of the Central Committee was made by Comrade
Stalin. He drew a vivid picture of the growth of the political and
economic might of the Soviet Union. Thanks to the advantages of the
Soviet economic system, both industry and agriculture had been restored
in a comparatively short space of time and were approaching the pre-war
level. But good as these results were, Comrade Stalin proposed that we
should not rest there, for they could not nullify the fact that our
country still remained a backward, agrarian country. Two-thirds of the
total production of the country was provided by agriculture and only
one-third by industry. Comrade Stalin said that the Party was now
squarely confronted with the problem of converting our country into an
industrial country, economically independent of capitalist countries.
This could be done, and must be done. It was now the cardinal task of
the Party to fight for the Socialist industrialization of the country,
for the victory of Socialism.
"The conversion of our country from an agrarian into an
industrial country able to produce the machinery it needs by its own
efforts -- that is the essence, the basis of our general line," said
The industrialization of the country would ensure its economic
independence, strengthen its power of defence and create the conditions
for the victory of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.
The Zinovievites opposed the general line of the Party. As
against Stalin's plan of Socialist industrialization, the Zinovievite
Sokolnikov put forward a bourgeois plan, one that was then in vogue
among the imperialist sharks. According to this plan, the U.S.S.R. was
to remain an agrarian country, chiefly producing raw materials and
foodstuffs, exporting them, and importing machinery, which it did not
and should not produce itself. As conditions were in 1925, this was
tantamount to a plan for the economic enslavement of the U.S.S.R. by the
industrially developed foreign countries, a plan for the perpetuation of
the industrial backwardness of the U.S.S.R. for the benefit of the
imperialist sharks of the capitalist countries.
The adoption of this plan would have converted our country into
an impotent agrarian, agricultural appendage of the capitalist world; it
would have left it weak and defenceless against the surrounding
capitalist world, and in the end would have been fatal to the cause of
Socialism in the U.S.S.R.
The congress condemned the economic "plan" of the Zinovievites as
a plan for the enslavement of the U.S.S.R.
Equally unsuccessful were the other sorties of the "New
Opposition" as, for instance, when they asserted (in defiance of Lenin)
that our state industries were not Socialist industries, or when they
declared (again in defiance of Lenin) that the middle peasant could not
be an ally of the working class in the work of Socialist construction.
The congress condemned these sorties of the "New Opposition" as
Comrade Stalin laid bare the Trotskyite-Menshevik essence of the
"New Opposition." He showed that Zinoviev and Kamenev were only harping
on the old tunes of the enemies of the Party with whom Lenin had waged
so relentless a struggle.
It was clear that the Zinovievites were nothing but ill-disguised
Comrade Stalin stressed the point that the main task of our Party
was to maintain a firm alliance between the working class and the middle
peasant in the work of building Socialism. He pointed to two deviations
on the peasant question existing in the Party at that time, both of
which constituted a menace to this alliance. The first deviation was the
one that underestimated and belittled the kulak danger, the second was
the one that stood in panic fear of the kulak and underestimated the
role of the middle peasant. To the question, which deviation was worse,
Comrade Stalin replied: "One is as bad as the other. And if these
deviations are allowed to develop they may disintegrate and destroy the
Party. Fortunately there are forces in our Party capable of ridding it
of both deviations."
And the Party did indeed rout both deviations, the "Left" and the
Right, and rid itself of them.
Summing up the debate on the question of economic development,
the Fourteenth Party Congress unanimously rejected the capitulatory
plans of the oppositionists and recorded in its now famous resolution:
"In the sphere of economic development, the congress holds that
in our land, the land of the dictatorship of the proletariat, there is
'every requisite for the building of a complete Socialist society' (Lenin
). The congress considers that the main task of our Party is to
fight for the victory of Socialist construction in the U.S.S.R."
The Fourteenth Party Congress adopted new Party Rules.
Since the Fourteenth Congress our Party has been called the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) -- the C.P.S.U.(B.).
Though defeated at the congress, the Zinovievites did not submit
to the Party. They started a fight against the decisions of the
Fourteenth Congress. Immediately following the congress, Zinoviev called
a meeting of the Leningrad Provincial Committee of the Young Communist
League, the leading group of which had been reared by Zinoviev,
Zalutsky, Bakayev, Yevdokimov, Kuklin, Safarov and other double-dealers
in a spirit of hatred of the Leninist Central Committee of the Party. At
this meeting, the Leningrad Provincial Committee passed a resolution
unparalleled in the history of the Y.C.L.: it refused to abide by the
decisions of the Fourteenth Party Congress.
But the Zinovievite leaders of the Leningrad Y.C.L. did not in
any way reflect the mind of the mass of Young Communist Leaguers of
Leningrad. They were therefore easily defeated, and soon the Leningrad
organization recovered the place in the Y.C.L. to which it was entitled.
Towards the close of the Fourteenth Congress a group of congress
delegates -- Comrades Molotov, Kirov, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Andreyev and
others -- were sent to Leningrad to explain to the members of the
Leningrad Party organization the criminal, anti-Bolshevik nature of the
stand taken up at the congress by the Leningrad delegation, who had
secured their mandates under false pretences. The meetings at which the
reports on the congress were made were marked by stormy scenes. An
extraordinary conference of the Leningrad Party organization was called.
The overwhelming majority of the Party members of Leningrad (over 97 per
cent) fully endorsed the decisions of the Fourteenth Party Congress and
condemned the anti-Party Zinovievite "New Opposition." The latter
already at that time were generals without an army.
The Leningrad Bolsheviks remained in the front ranks of the Party
Summing up the results of the Fourteenth Party Congress, Comrade
"The historical significance of the Fourteenth Congress of the
C.P.S.U. lies in the fact that it was able to expose the very roots of
the mistakes of the New Opposition, that it spurned their scepticism and
sniveling, that it clearly and distinctly indicated the path of the
further struggle for Socialism, opened before the Party the prospect of
victory, and thus armed the proletariat with an in vincible faith in the
victory of Socialist construction." (Stalin, Leninism, Vol. I, p.
B R I E F S U M M A R Y
The years of transition to the peaceful work of economic
restoration constituted one of the most crucial periods in the history
of the Bolshevik Party. In a tense situation, the Party was able to
effect the difficult turn from the policy of War Communism to the New
Economic Policy. The Party reinforced the alliance of the workers and
peasants on a new economic foundation. The Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics was formed.
By means of the New Economic Policy, decisive results were
obtained in the restoration of the economic life of the country. The
Soviet Union emerged from the period of economic restoration with
success and entered a new period, the period of industrialization of the
The transition from Civil War to peaceful Socialist construction
was accompanied by great difficulties, especially in the early stages.
The enemies of Bolshevism, the anti-Party elements in the ranks of the
C.P.S.U.(B.), waged a desperate struggle against the Leninist Party all
through this period. These anti-Party elements were headed by Trotsky.
His henchmen in this struggle were Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin. After
the death of Lenin, the oppositionists calculated on demoralizing the
ranks of the Bolshevik Party, on splitting the Party, and infecting it
with disbelief in the possibility of the victory of Socialism in the
U.S.S.R. In point of fact, the Trotskyites were trying to form another
party in the U.S.S.R., a political organization of the new bourgeoisie,
a party of capitalist restoration.
The Party rallied under the banner of Lenin around its Leninist
Central Committee, around Comrade Stalin, and inflicted defeat both on
the Trotskyites and on their new friends in Leningrad, the Zinoviev
Kamenev New Opposition.
Having accumulated strength and resources, the Bolshevik Party
brought the country to a new stage in its history -- the stage of
Socialist industrialization .