Marx-Engels | Lenin | Stalin | Home Page
The development of the Soviet economy
Nationalization of banks and industry
The most important task of the dictatorship of the working class in the general plan of building socialism is the expropriation of capitalist property, the transformation of the means of production into socialist property. The working class must use its power, Marx pointed out, to seize the means of production from the bourgeoisie by means of a revolutionary invasion of private property and organize production in the interests of society. The conquest of commanding economic heights, that is, the nationalization of land, banks, industry, transport, foreign trade, and means of communication, was a necessary condition for the organization of production on socialist principles.
“In order to undermine the economic strength of the bourgeoisie and organize a new Soviet national economy, first of all, to organize a new, Soviet industry, banks, railways, foreign trade, the merchant fleet and all large-scale industry in all its branches were nationalized: coal, metallurgical, oil, chemical, engineering, textile, sugar, etc.” ["History of the CPSU (b)". Short course, p. 205.].
The Soviet government approached the solution of this problem by taking a number of preparatory measures and, first of all, by introducing workers' control over the production and distribution of products.
On November 27 (14), 1917, the Council of People's Commissars issued the "Regulations on Workers' Control". Production, purchase and sale, finances of plants, factories, etc. were placed under the control of elected working bodies. Both the owners of enterprises and the representatives of workers and employees chosen to exercise workers' control were declared responsible to the proletarian state for the strictest order, discipline, and protection of the property of the enterprise.
The "Regulations on Workers' Control" was the first step in establishing a planned socialist economy. The main meaning of this historic event was that it organized the creative activity of the working class, preparing the transition to the planned regulation of the entire national economy, to the state management of production.
The task of workers' control included monitoring production, establishing a minimum output, and taking measures to determine the cost of manufactured products. The organs of workers' control had the right to control all the business correspondence of the enterprise. The owners were liable for the concealment of correspondence in court. Thus, the first step was taken towards organizing accounting and control over the production and distribution of products in the country, towards mastering the means of production by the working class.
The exploiters and their accomplices fought furiously against workers' control. They spread vile slanders about anarchy in the press and sabotaged the measures taken by the Soviet government. The All-Russian Congress of Factory Owners and Factory Owners in November 1917, having discussed the decree on workers' control, adopted a resolution: not to recognize workers' control and to provide all possible opposition to its introduction, up to the closure of factories and plants. The Petrograd Society of Factory Owners and Factory Owners came out even more sharply against the Soviet government and the measures it was taking: it was decided to close enterprises where an attempt would be made to introduce workers' control. The Moscow Union of Engineers supported the bourgeoisie, suggesting that its members do everything they could to "defend the public-state point of view", opposing it to class workers' control [Trud, December 2, 1917].
The sabotage of the bourgeoisie took the most varied forms. Thus, the capitalists conducted a wrecking technical and financial economy at their enterprises, provoked conflicts with the workers on the basis of refusal to recognize new tariffs, deliberately aggravated relations between workers and engineering and technical personnel by bribing individual employees and technical personnel. Huge stocks of goods accumulated at factories, factories, enterprises suffered financial difficulties, but the necessary goods did not appear on the market. The textile, tobacco, and match industries experienced overstocking. In the coal and oil industries, stocks grew due to the disruption of transport. Many entrepreneurs, for the purpose of speculation, practiced exchanging their products for basic necessities and hoarding stocks, depriving consumers of necessary goods.
The commission, created under the Moscow City Council to account for food stocks and essentials, in the very first days of its work, revealed in Moscow huge warehouses of goods that had long been absent from the markets. 300 thousand pounds were found in Petrograd. kerosene, 22 thousand pounds. butter, 150 cars of matches, 120 typewriters, 800 thousand pounds. soap, a lot of meat, corned beef, lard, potatoes, tea, etc.; in one of the private warehouses there were 8,000 pairs of children's shoes, which had been without movement since 1914, and 1,500 pairs of women's shoes. Along the way, many weapons, locksmith tools, boots, etc. were found [The Sotsial-Democrat newspaper, an organ of the Moscow Committee of the RSDLP, No. 16, January 23 (February 5), 1918].
The speculator entered into relations with the capitalist entrepreneur, with the bourgeois cooperator-saboteur, with the bribe taker on the railways, and disorganized the country's economy. In the spring of 1918, the Cheka determined the daily turnover of Sukharevka at several tens of millions of rubles. It was a trade in goods acquired by dark ways. This shows how acute was the task of real workers' control over the production and distribution of products.
The enemies of the Soviet power fought furiously against workers' control. The Bulletin of the Petrograd Society of Breeders and Manufacturers wrote on November 21, 1917, that the decree of the Council of People's Commissars on workers' control would lead to the destruction of industry. The Mensheviks, while defending the capitalists, also considered workers' control a destructive measure.
Lenin, speaking at the Extraordinary All-Russian Congress of Railway Workers in early January 1918, said that “the main reason for the devastation that threatens to starve in cities and industrial areas lies in the domination of saboteurs, in the economic devastation that these saboteurs support, blaming it on us” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XXII, p. 240.].
The mastery of the country's financial centers—the State Bank and large private banks—played a most important role in strengthening workers' control and in preparing for the nationalization of industry. Even Marx brilliantly foresaw that "... the credit system will serve as a powerful lever during the transition from the capitalist mode of production to the mode of production of associated labor - but only as one of the elements in connection with other great organic upheavals in the mode of production itself" [Marx, Capital, vol. III, 1938, p. 537.].
Contrary to the provocative, anti-Leninist demands of the "Left Communists" for the destruction of money, the Soviet government from the first days of its existence set the main task of mastering the monetary and credit system in order to strengthen the dictatorship of the working class. To do this, it was necessary first of all to take control of the central bank and the issuing apparatus of the country - the State Bank.
On November 20 (7), an armed detachment of the Military Revolutionary Committee, headed by Comrade Menzhinsky, Deputy Chief Commissar at the Ministry of Finance, seized the State Bank. At a meeting of bank employees, Comrade Menzhinsky pointed out that the top officials of the bank were sabotaging the issuance of funds to the Council of People's Commissars for the needs of the revolution and were delaying the payment of wages to the workers of the Petrograd factories. At the same time, he read out an appeal from the Military Revolutionary Committee, in which the committee called on bank employees to break the sabotage of senior officials and enable the Soviet government to receive the necessary funds from the bank.
Bank employees, with the exception of the lower staff (counters and couriers), responded to the seizure of the State Bank and the demand for the issuance of money to the Council of People's Commissars by declaring a strike. The bank was left without an apparatus in the hands of the Soviet government. The employees took with them the keys to the cash registers and safes and the keys to the cabinets where documents, operating journals, current account books, etc. were stored.
Representatives of the Soviet government, with the greatest difficulty and perseverance, began to seize the huge and inactive banking mechanism. Lenin demanded the organization of the strictest control over the issuance of funds from the bank. Not a single penny could be spent without a carefully checked supporting document. From the very first days, the Soviet government established the strictest accounting and control over the spending of the national property stored in the bank.
The takeover of the State Bank placed at the disposal of the proletarian state the means to finance revolutionary measures, as well as financial control over private banks, as a transitional measure towards the nationalization of all banking.
Before the nationalization of the banks, the Soviet authorities sought to bring private banks under their control through the State Bank. The State Bank, as a "bank of banks", provided loans to private banks. In addition, private banks held their cash reserves in the State Bank and received cash almost exclusively from the State Bank. Thus, private banks were dependent on the State Bank. But the impact on private banks through the State Bank was hampered by the sabotage of employees of the State Bank.
Private banks, both in Petrograd and in Moscow, tried to create their own settlement department, independent of the Soviet state, at one of the private banks. In Petrograd, such a department was created at the Azov-Don Bank, where on November 29 an operation was carried out to offset the checks issued by banks. However, private banks needed cash, which could only be obtained from the State Bank. The termination in December of the strike of employees of the State Bank made it possible to resume receiving financial reinforcements from the State Bank. But the latter was already entirely in the hands of the Soviet government. The State Bank concluded an agreement with private banks, according to which cash reinforcements should be issued only on the condition that these banks are actually subject to the control of the Soviet government.
Having formally accepted the terms of the agreement, the private banks actually sought to evade their fulfillment and use the financial reinforcements received from the State Bank to combat workers' control in production, and also to enable the capitalists to extract their money savings from the bank. Some banks did not give the required information at all, while another part of the banks gave deliberately false information that concealed the real nature of their financial transactions.
The Moscow Council repeatedly encountered anti-Soviet operations by private banks. So, for example, having discussed the statement of the factory committee of the enterprise "Ludwik and Smith", the Moscow Council on November 28, 1917, decided that money from the current account of "Ludwik and Smith" should not be issued without the consent of the factory committee of the said plant.
On November 29, the Moscow Council discussed the situation at the Likinskaya Manufactory and issued a resolution: to urgently obtain the sanction of the Council of People's Commissars that all personal capital of the owners of the Likinskaya Smirnov Manufactory become the property of the state; to resolve this issue, one member of the board of the Likinskaya manufactory is delegated to Petrograd; apply to the Commercial and Industrial and Moscow State Banks, the treasury and the commissariat with an order not to issue money to the former board of the Likinskaya manufactory; indicate to the above banks that if they do not comply with the presidium's order not to issue money to the former board of the Likinskaya manufactory, they will not receive reinforcements from the State Bank and their current accounts will be closed; due to the attempt of the directors of the board of the Likinskaya manufactory V. A. and A. V. Smirnov and M. S. Smirnova, by forgery, obtain funds belonging to the state, give an order to search for and arrest the named persons and bring them to trial [See. CAOR, f. 641, op. 369, d. 12, l. 13.].
This resolution, like many others similar, reflects the struggle of the proletariat against the attempts of the bourgeoisie to use the banks for counter-revolutionary purposes. The directors of enterprises tried to free themselves from workers' control, to stifle the latter "not with a cudgel, but with a ruble": they sought to seize the finances of the enterprise, to appropriate all the money savings of the enterprise that were in the bank. Here the goal was pursued, on the one hand, to bleed the enterprises financially, paralyze their activities, cause unrest among the workers, and on the other hand, to get at their disposal financial resources that could be used to fight the Soviet regime.
In November, the Urals miners decided that enterprises in which workers' control would be established should not be funded. In December, the Conference of Miners of the Urals sent out an order to all plant administrations to stop sending money to factories and close factories if workers' control is introduced at them.
A frankly undisguised form of struggle against workers' control, an attempt to disrupt workers' control primarily by cutting off financing for industry and by means of a direct lockout, was characteristic of the policy of factory owners and factory owners mainly in the first two or three months of the existence of Soviet power. The nationalization of banks, and, on the other hand, repressive measures against obvious saboteurs (confiscation of enterprises, arrest of the Bureau of the Council of Congresses of Miners of the Urals, etc.) had their effect. But sabotage did not stop, but only took on other, more covert forms.
After the nationalization of individual enterprises, the struggle of the bourgeoisie for the disposal of finances at these enterprises became even more aggravated.
On December 25 (12), 1917, a decree of the Council of People's Commissars, signed by Lenin and Stalin, was published on the introduction of representatives of the Soviet government into the accounting and loan committees, offices, and branches of the State Bank. This measure was of great importance, because the accounting and loan committees determined the amount of loans to private banks and enterprises, which were intensively fed on the issuing resources of the State Bank. The use of the issue by the clientele of the State Bank, including private banks, was thereby placed under the control of the Soviet government, which was especially important in the provinces, where the administration of the branches of the State Bank basically remained the same.
The active and stubborn sabotage of the banks showed that as long as the banks remain in private hands, they will evade workers' control in every possible way and use the monetary mechanism in the interests of the capitalists in a covert form to fight the dictatorship of the proletariat. That is why it was necessary to speed up the implementation of the program demand of the Bolshevik Party on the nationalization of banks: “One of the first measures aimed at ensuring that not only the Russian landlords disappear from the face of the earth, but also to undermine the rule of the bourgeoisie and the possibility of capital oppression over millions and tens of millions of working people—there was a transition to the nationalization of the banks” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XXII, p. 214.].
The nationalization of the banks wrested from the hands of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie and landlords this most important apparatus for lending and financing the national economy and for controlling production.
However, even after the nationalization of the banks, the owners of enterprises sometimes contrived to receive money from the State (People's) Bank by fraudulent means without the knowledge of the organs of workers' control. Let us cite the following characteristic episode in the struggle of the capitalists for monetary power. On April 20, 1918, the board of the Triangle partnership appealed to the chief commissioner of the People's Bank with a protest about the arrest of funds in its provincial branches. The protest was motivated by the fact that the branches of the "Triangle" are deprived of the opportunity to manage money and, in particular, cannot transfer money to Petrograd to the conditional current account of the board in the People's Bank to repay the loan received by the partnership. In fact, it turned out that the real motive for this statement was by no means concern about the repayment of the loan received by the Triangle - it was only a pretext for the Triangle branches to be able to uncontrollably dispose of their cash savings in the field. In Petrograd, Triangle spent more money than it received; in the provinces, on the contrary, its branches mainly sold their products and received money, which was then drawn to Petrograd. The Board of the Triangle decided to take emergency measures to save its working capital, to get into its pocket all the proceeds accumulated in the provincial offices from the sale of finished products.
For this, "loyal people" were secretly sent to the localities, for the same purpose the directorate addressed the said statement to the chief commissioner of the People's Bank. The Triangle board's complaint indicated that it was free to dispose of its funds elsewhere. Therefore, four days after receiving the Triangle's statement, on April 24, 1918, the chief commissioner of the People's Bank sent a telegraphic order to the local branches of the People's Bank, warning that the agents of the Triangle intended to extract money from the Triangle's cash desk, as well as withdraw money from his current accounts and bank transfers. The chief commissar suggested that these agents "detain and immediately appoint commissars to the Triangle branches." It should be instructed to especially monitor the distribution of money and immediately report the measures taken by telegraph to the Petrograd Bank" [CAOR, f. 2324, op. 37, d. 17, l. 67.].
Despite all this, the capitalists still managed to get money from the banks. In this they were helped by "their people" in the State, later People's Bank.
The nationalization of the banks carried out by the Central Executive Committee on December 14, 1917, made it possible to centralize the entire business of lending, financing, and settlements and to put the use of emissions under the complete control of the proletarian state. This created the prerequisites for the use of money circulation as an instrument for planning and regulating the national economy in accordance with the tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It was necessary to properly organize the work of a unified monetary mechanism, to master the technique of issuing, lending, and settlement, to introduce strict discipline in the bank apparatus.
Comrade Stalin, in his report at the solemn meeting of the Baku Soviet on November 7, 1920, said: “In the field of economic management of the country, the most characteristic thing is the removal from the hands of the bourgeoisie of the main nerve of the economic life of the bourgeoisie - banks. The banks were taken from the hands of the bourgeoisie, and the latter was left, so to speak, without a soul” [Stalin, On the October Revolution, 1932, p. 27.].
The Soviet government, relying on the nationalization of banks and workers' control over production, could take control of the money turnover of the bourgeoisie, the movement of money capital and the whole process of reproduction of industry that had not yet been nationalized at that time. This is the most important significance of the nationalization of the banks, as a measure that strengthened workers' control over production, organizationally and economically prepared the transition to the nationalization of industry, to the creation of Soviet socialist industry.
In order to complete the control of production and prepare the nationalization of industry from an organizational and financial point of view, it was necessary to undermine the monetary power of the bourgeoisie, not only in the form of banking capital, but in all other forms.
With the colossal impoverishment of the whole country, the catastrophic fall in real wages and profiteering from the famine, money was a powerful force that the urban bourgeoisie and the rural kulaks used against the proletariat and working people.
Following the nationalization of the banks, the revision of bank safes and the monopolization of the gold trade in the hands of the state, the crushing blows to the monetary power of the bourgeoisie were dealt by the following decrees aimed at the elimination of titles of ownership of capital (fictitious capital). On December 29, 1917, a decree was published on the termination of the payment of coupons on bonds and the payment of dividends on shares, on the prohibition of transactions with securities; On January 21, 1918, a decree was published on the annulment of all external and internal loans concluded by the tsarist and provisional governments, and all state guarantees for private loans; January 23, 1918 - decree on the annulment of bank shares and the confiscation of the share capital of private banks; April 18, 1918 - on the mandatory registration of all shares, bonds and other interest-bearing securities.
Lenin, in his report at the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets, said that “we were moving from workers' control to the creation of the Supreme Council of the National Economy. Only this measure, together with the nationalization of banks and railways, which will be carried out in the coming days, will enable us to set about building a new socialist economy” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XXII, p. 215.].
Railway transport in Russia was mainly in the hands of the state before the revolution. During the World War, the private railways were de facto taken over by the state. The October Socialist Revolution nationalized the rest of the railways. In January 1918, water transport was also nationalized.
Stubborn resistance - sabotage, unwillingness to recognize workers' control, the flight of entrepreneurs dictated the only politically and economically expedient measure - the nationalization of enterprises. The workers' decisions to nationalize enterprises and their readiness to assume full responsibility for the organization of production were the most important prerequisites for the revolutionary expropriation of the expropriators. The first decrees of the Council of People's Commissars on the nationalization of individual enterprises motivated its necessity by the refusal of entrepreneurs to submit to workers' control, sabotage, the desire to close the plant or factory, the debt of the enterprise to the treasury or its special importance for the state.
In November 1917, the Council of People's Commissars nationalized the factory of the association of the Likinskaya manufactory A.V. Smirnov, on December 22 (9), 1917, a decree of the Council of People's Commissars "On the confiscation and declaration of the property of the Russian Republic of all the property of the Joint-Stock Simsk Society of Mining Plants" was issued. The decree also gave the motivation for the confiscation - a reference to the society's refusal to obey the decree of the Council of People's Commissars on the introduction of workers' control over production. The same reasoning was in the decree of December 20 (7), 1917 "On the confiscation and declaration of the property of the Russian Republic of all the property of the joint-stock company of the Bogoslovsky Mining District." The Board of the Russian-Belgian Metallurgical Society, not wanting to submit to workers' control, announced the liquidation of the enterprise on January 18 (5), 1918 by the Council of People's Commissars, seeing the obvious sabotage of the entrepreneur, decided: “... To confiscate mines, factories, mines, all living and dead inventory, both on the territory of the Petrovsky Metallurgical Plant, Sofia, Verovsky, Bungovsky, Narnevsky mines, and in Petrograd, and in general all property, no matter what it is consisted and wherever it is, in Russia or abroad, belonging to the Russian-Belgian Metallurgical Society, and declare it the property of the Russian Republic" ["Collection of legalizations and orders for 1917", No. 9, art. 130.].
By the end of February 1918, together with state-owned factories, which were from the very first days of the October Socialist Revolution under the jurisdiction of special bodies of the People's Commissariat for Military and Naval Affairs and sequestered during the war, 914 enterprises were listed as nationalized by the central and local bodies of Soviet power.
The nationalization of individual industrial enterprises and the organization of work in a new way at plants and factories declared the property of the republic were carried out by the Supreme Council of the National Economy (VSNKh). The Supreme Economic Council was granted the rights of confiscation, requisition, forced syndication of various industries and trade, as well as regulation of production, distribution of products and financing of industry.
The intervention of local authorities, which often nationalized enterprises of national importance without any preparation, made it difficult for industrial development of industrial enterprises. But this was inevitable in some cases, for example, when sabotage, obvious sabotage was discovered, or in cases where an entrepreneur fled.
By the summer of 1918, the main levers of state regulation and control over production and distribution were in the hands of the Soviet government. The strengthening of workers' control bodies at plants, factories, and mines that had not yet been nationalized, and the experience of managing nationalized enterprises created the prerequisites for the further socialization of production.
Railway and water transport was entirely in the hands of the state. Only small vessels remained un-nationalized, as well as those belonging to artels and cooperatives, whaling, fishing societies and partnerships.
There was preparation for the nationalization of the fuel industry - coal, oil - and the largest enterprises in the metal industry. A special government commission in Kharkov was preparing the nationalization of the Donbass coal industry. Representatives of the Soviet government worked in Baku to prepare for the nationalization of the oil industry. At the same time, preparations were underway for the nationalization of the Moscow region coal basin. In Sormov, Kolomna, an emergency commissariat with broad powers of the government worked, preparing the nationalization of the Sormovo-Kolomenskaya group of machine-building plants.
In May 1918, a conference of representatives of nationalized enterprises took place in Moscow (Sormovo, Kolomna, Bryansk, Zlatoust, Kulebak plants, a car-building plant in Tver, etc.). On the agenda of the conference was the question of the forms of management and the state of the metallurgical industry. All representatives of the workers came out against the drafts of trusting machine-building plants with the participation of capitalist shareholders. A resolution was adopted on the need to nationalize all metallurgical and machine-building plants.
At the beginning of May 1918, the sugar industry was nationalized.
On June 20, 1918, the Council of People's Commissars adopted a decree on the nationalization of the oil industry. At the same time, trade in oil and products of its processing was declared a state monopoly. The management of the oil industry was entrusted to Glavkoneft, a committee established in May 1918 under the Fuel Department of the Supreme Economic Council. The nationalization of the oil industry already in the summer of 1918 enabled the Soviet government to significantly improve production in this area. Further development of the oil industry was interrupted by the outbreak of intervention and civil war. In August 1918, the Baku region was occupied by British troops. Subsequently, with the support of the German-Turkish interventionists, the counter-revolutionary power of the Azerbaijani bourgeois nationalists-Mussavatists was established in Baku, and until the beginning of 1920, the counter-revolutionary power was established.
The Decree of the Supreme Council of National Economy, published on June 30, 1918, nationalized the Sormovo-Kolomenskaya group of machine-building plants. Thus, the first stage of work to conquer the economic commanding heights of the dictatorship of the proletariat was completed. The civil war, which had already begun in mid-1918, hastened the nationalization of industry.
Until the end of June 1918, 1553, enterprises were nationalized by separate government decrees. By decree of the Council of People's Commissars of June 28, 1918, large joint-stock enterprises of the mining, metallurgical, textile, electrical, sawmilling and woodworking, tobacco, glass and ceramics, leather and cement industries, steam mills, and railway enterprises were nationalized. The property of these enterprises was declared the property of the republic. But until further notice, the owners of nationalized enterprises, according to the decree, continued to run enterprises, finance them, and make a profit.
The nationalization of industry after the decree of the Council of People's Commissars on June 28, 1918, took place as soon as local bodies and workers' organizations were ready to master this enterprise.
Industrial enterprises of national importance, as a rule, were nationalized by decree of the central bodies—the Council of People's Commissars, the Supreme Council of National Economy, and the central administrations. Medium-sized enterprises were often nationalized by decrees of local authorities.
Of the total number of 3668 enterprises from November 8, 1917, to January 1, 1919, the following were nationalized:
to the end
Council of People's Commissars, Supreme Council of National Economy, and head offices
Regional, regional and district authorities
provincial or district
Factory committees, general meetings of workers, trade unions
It is not known which authorities
The process of nationalization of industry was accompanied by a corresponding organizational restructuring, the unification of enterprises by industry in central offices. So, for example, on the basis of the nationalized enterprises of the joint-stock company of Kolchugin's brass and copper-rolling plant and the joint-stock company of the Tula copper-rolling and cartridge plants, in October 1918, the Central Board of State Enterprises of the Copper Processing Industry (Tsentromed') was created.
By the same time, the Central Board of State Enterprises of the Cement Industry was finally formalized, and the Main Board of the Textile Industry (at the Supreme Council of National Economy) was established. On November 19, 1918, on the basis of the Sormovo-Kolomenskaya group of plants, the Central Board of State United Machine-Building Plants (GOMZY) was organized.
Not being operational production bodies as early as 1918, many central offices and departments newly organized under the Supreme Council of National Economy turned into an apparatus for state regulation of the entire industry of this industry. According to the industrial census, out of 2,935 registered enterprises in 1918, 1,506 worked on the orders of the chiefs. The rest carried out private orders from individual enterprises, worked for the free market, etc.
The nationalization of industry in the summer and autumn of 1918 took place in the conditions of a fierce class struggle against entrepreneurs, senior officials, Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries, and other enemies of the revolution. Representatives of foreign states covered up the speculative tricks of the capitalists - there were often cases when the warehouses of large firms turned out to be sealed by foreign consulates. Many entrepreneurs tried to hide behind fictitious documents of foreign citizenship. Foreign consulates willingly helped these fraudulent tricks of the capitalists.
The Russian bourgeoisie, defending itself against the expropriation of the Bolsheviks, tried to hide behind the broad back of foreign capital and in this way preserve its property. After the conclusion of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the "patriotic" Russian capitalists, who a few months ago had advocated a "holy war against the German monster," now tried in every possible way to transfer to German citizenship, in order, of course, to obtain protection certificates from German consuls and in this way save their enterprises from nationalization.
Among the most important measures of the Soviet power in the first period is the decree on the monopoly of foreign trade. The state body in charge of foreign trade was the People's Commissariat for Trade and Industry. By establishing a monopoly of foreign trade, the danger of foreign economic intervention and the undermining of the young socialist economic system that was then taking shape from the technically and economically stronger capitalist countries was overcome.
The nationalization of the largest enterprises in the decisive branches of industry and the nationalization of the banks created the necessary conditions for all-round control, regulation and planning of economic life within the country. These measures undermined the economic base of the exploiters; they were truly socialist measures.
By canceling foreign and domestic loans entered into by the tsarist and bourgeois governments, the dictatorship of the proletariat dealt a serious blow to finance capital. By introducing a monopoly of foreign trade, the Soviet government ruled out the possibility of exploitation of the working people of our country by foreign imperialism, the possibility of an economic war against the Soviet Republic, by artificially maintaining prices at a level favorable to the bourgeoisie in order to undermine our socialist industry. The Soviet state took directly into its own hands the matter of organizing economic relations with the capitalist world. Foreign trade turned into one of the outposts of the socialist economic system, into an instrument in the struggle against capitalism, into an instrument for building socialism.
Trotskyists and "Left Communists", hiding behind false phrases about the world revolution, made plans for the restoration of capitalism, actively fought against the measures of the Soviet government. For example, one of the active members of the "Left Communists" group, Osinsky, at the first congress of economic councils openly opposed the nationalization of industry, offering to surrender to the mercy of foreign imperialists.
The intervention of foreign imperialists, which began in the summer of 1918, deprived the Soviet Republic of the possibility of normal work to restore industry. Donetsk coal and southern metallurgy, the entire oil industry, factories in the Urals and Ukraine, the grain-growing regions of the Volga region were at that time captured by the White Guard "rulers" and interventionists. The industry of the central provinces of the Soviet Republic was deprived of raw materials, fuel, and food sources. All this could not but affect the state of industry in 1918.
Surrounded on all sides by enemies, fighting against the madly resisting exploiters, the Soviet government succeeded in laying the foundations of socialist industry. At the VI All-Russian Extraordinary Congress of Soviets, on the first anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, Lenin said: “Despite the enormous obstacles, the workers managed to take this fundamental step, which laid the foundation for socialism ... They brought their work to the end. Now this work will be done differently than then; now the entire working mass, and not just the leaders and advanced workers, but really the broadest layers, know that they themselves are building socialism with their own hands, they have built the foundation, and no force within the country will prevent this work from being carried through to the end” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XXIII, pp. 251 - 252.].
The mastery of the commanding heights of the national economy in the very first year of the revolution created the economic basis for the dictatorship of the working class. The nationalization of the banks, railways, foreign trade, the merchant fleet, and all large-scale industry undermined the economic strength of the bourgeoisie. Nationalization was the basis for the organization of the new Soviet national economy.