War Of Communism
The formation of a Supreme Economic Council in December 1917 can be seen as the first step toward the policy known as war of communist. This period is found between 1918 and 1921.
The main features of war of communism were: strict centralised control of all forms of economic production and distribution; virtual outlawing of all private trade;destruction of the money economy by the printing of vast quantities of bank notes.
All food distribution was centralised into the hands of a commissariat of food and a commissariat of agriculture.
These divided the population into four categories;the highest category had one-seventh of the calories received by German worker,the lowest had rations was insufficient to prevent starvation.
By 1921 social and economic life in Russia had been brought by a series of disaster: by the war and by the economic collapse.
The industry declined disastrously, example the coal industry produced 27 % of its production before the war,inflation had destroyed the Russian currency.
This had bring Russia to a famine situation were probably 5 million of people are death.
This situation had carried to the revolt at the Kronstadt naval base in march 1921, were the sailors demands for the freedom of the press,elections by secret ballot,the release of political prisoners,political parties and the abolition of special privilege for Communist Party officials.
This revolt was suppressed in a brutal way with many death, but had illumined Lenin to the decision of promote a New Economic Policy (NEP) outlined during the tenth party congress.
The essential feature of NEP was the reversal of the policies of war communism.
The main particularity of this policy regarded the agriculture and the abandon by the government of the requisition of the grain supplies and the possibility for the peasants to sell the grain and make private profit.
Peasants were free to cultivate the land as they whised, workers could be also fired by their employers.
Despite this,the land remained the property of the state also the large factories producing coal, iron, electricity etc., would still be under the control of the state.
Another important point was the restoration of a stable soviet currency with the introduction of the new rouble.
The NEP also loosened trade restrictions, which caused the nation to regain alliances with foreign countries.
Lenin preferred concessions to the peasants rather than destruction of his life works, in 1921 he said: we are bolsheviks because they drove out landowners,but we are not for the communist because they are against individual holdings.
Lenin justified NEP on grounds that “state cpitalism” was the last stage of capitalism before socialism evolved. One Poland historian Lewin Moshe writes in 1968 that Lenin used the term “state capitalism” because he was counting on the cooperation of Russian capitalism, he thought that Russia needed a long period of capitalist development in order to assimilate organization methods and acquire intellectual abilities.
According to Lenin the principal enemy of the state was no longer big capital but the fragmented burgeois sector that eluded all state planning and control.
The result of the policy was an increasement of the agricultural production but this sector was growing much faster than the heavy industry.
To keep their income high, the factories started to sell their products at higher prices. Due to the rising cost of manufactured goods, peasants had to produce much more products for be able to buy goods.
This fall in prices of agricultural goods and high prices of industrial products was known as the Scissor crisis,also harvest and drought in 1921 cancelled out most of the benefits caught up by the peasants.
To combat the price of consumer goods the state took measures to decrease inflation and enact reforms on the internal practices of the factories. The government also fixed prices to halt the scissor effect.
Alan John Percivale Taylor an English historian say that: Lenin did more than any other political figure to change the face of the twentieth century world. The creation of soviet Russia and its survival were due to him. He was a very great man and even,despite his faults, a very good man.
I think that his views is subjective and influenced by its own political views, what he says is true but he whatches only the positive aspects he doesn t mention about the killing of thousands of opponents during the red terror, or the milion of people that are died because of the lack of food caused by the wrongs economy policies.
Also the statistics that are introduced by historians are subjective.
Example the statitics about Russian production,quoted in John Laver in 1991,show that production decreased very fast between 1923 and 1920 and it grows between 1920 and 1926 catching up or exceeding the production of the period before the war. But if I analyze the statistics I can say that the size of Russia between 1913 and 1920 is drastically changed and 1920 many men were died during the war or were injured,and for this reasons they weren t anymore able to work. Problably if I compare this statistics with another european country shows that there is a big gap in production in favour of the west europe country.
There is also a big contrast about the opinion of one britain refugees in Russia and Marxim Gorky,an Russsian friend of Lenin. The refugees speaks very bad about economics condictions and says that the peasants work under threath of death,and the barter is necessary for survive,bolsheviks are tyranny and Lenin lives in luxury condictions.
Marxim Gorky instead say that he did never met anyone like Lenin who did suffered a lot and our ideal is not to use force against anyone.
The first main contrast is the place from where they came from,one is Russian and he hasn t problably see another country and the other is British and because he s born in another country he can compare these two.
But the British is carried to have this ugly opinion because of the situation,refugees, in which he is found. The Russian instead is very influenced buy the relation of friendship that he has with Lenin.
At the end the NEP it was used also after the death of Lenin in 1925 until 1928 when was abandoned by Stalin in favour of the fist five year plan.
The NEP was generally believed to be intended as an interim measure but Lenin is quoted to have said “The NEP is in earnest and long-term” , which has been used to surmise that if Lenin were to stay alive longer, NEP would have continued beyond 1929, and the collectivization would have never happened, or it would have been carried out differently.