USSR 1917-1991 Topic 2

What was the key problem facing the development of Soviet economic policy in 1917?
There was no certainty about what communist economic policy would entail
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What did Marx argue a communist society would be established along the lines of?
Along the lines of a "common plan."
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Where did most communists in the early 20th century believe the revolution would take place?
Britain, the USA, Germany or France: industrialised Western economies
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What economic problems faced Russia?
Russia's economy was unsophisticated and backward; it had not industrialised with the Western European nations
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When had Russia begun to industrialise?
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What else had damaged the Russian economy?
It had been shattered by the First World War; needed to reconstruct the economy and promote economic growth
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Why did Lenin believe that socialism was possible?
He believed that the revolution would spread across Europe, advanced countries would send aid to poorer countries
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What was Lenin's initial priority?
Building the economy so that people had food and that the economy was strong enough to provide the tools to defend the revolution
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What did Lenin argue that the October Revolution had created?
A society between capitalism and socialism; he called this 'state capitalism'
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What was Lenin's view of a socialist economy?
He believed that it would be highly efficient, workers would be free in the sense that they would no longer be working for capitalists, would no longer resent the work they did
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What did Lenin believe that the socialist economy would require?
Modern technology, expert management and well educated and highly disciplined
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What would workers be expected to do though?
Have little leisure time; yet would have better pay and would be better treated
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How did nationalisation end capitalism?
Took industry away from middle-class owners
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Who ran all nationalised industries?
The Supreme Soviet of the National Economy - Vesenkha
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What was the Vesenkha designed to do?
Ensure factories were properly managed by placing them under the control of well-paid specialists; co-ordinate economic production to meet the needs of new society
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What were small factories and workshops controlled by?
Controlled by workers or handed back to capitalists
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What was the reaction to state capitalism?
It was extremely unpopular, there was very little difference between it and life before the revolution
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What did Bukharin advocate?
The establishment of workers' control
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When did this remain gov't policy until?
June 1918, when change was necessitated by the outbreak of the civil war
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Why was land reform introduced?
To win support and stimulate agriculture
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What was land reform?
Followed Lenin's 1917 Decree on Land, large estates belonging to the church or to aristocratic landowners were broken up and peasants were allowed to own the land they worked
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What was the reaction to land reform?
It was incredibly popular
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What was War Communism designed to ensure?
High levels of industrial production of war goods, efficient allocation of workers, food production to feed soldiers and civilians
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Why was it brought in?
It was brought in as a series of emergency measures to ensure communist victory in the Civil War
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Why was War Communism popular with radicals?
Embodied many features of communism, they viewed it as a step towards true communism
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Why was the "Food Dictatorship" brought in?
To ensure access to food for workers and soldiers
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What were its key features?
Grain requisitioning, Cheka squads would seize grain and other forms of food from peasants without payment; rationing
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How was rationing carried out?
The Supply Commissariat rationed the seized foods; largest rations went to the soldiers and workers, smallest to the bourgeoisie
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How did labour discipline change under War Communism?
In 1918 the working day was extended to eleven hours, in 1919 work was made compulsory for all able-bodied people between 16 and 50 years of age
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What measures were brought in to try and abolish the market?
The abolition of money, abolition of trade, complete nationalisation, conscription
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What was the effect of the abolition of money?
In the short term, the government simply printed more money, which led to hyperinflation
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What happened under complete nationalisation?
All businesses were taken over by the state
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What did Lenin argue had been achieved under War Communism?
It was a step away from capitalism and towards socialism; it destroyed the powers of the capitalist class
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What economic problems did War Communism create?
Grain requisitioning led to lower rates of agricultural production; industrial production declined significantly
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What issue led to low labour morale?
Peasants were not paid for their grain or their labour and therefore the policy provided no incentive to work
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What issues did the decline in agricultural production lead to?
Hunger led many people to leave the cities and look for work on farms where there was more chance of being fed
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What statistic can be used as evidence of this?
Industrial workforce declined from 3 million workers in 1917 to 1.2 million in 1922
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By the 1913 index, what the gross output of all industry compared to 1920?
In 1913 it was 100, in 1920 it was 31
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Similarly, what was the decline in agricultural production?
In 1913 it was also 100, by 1920 it was 60
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What percentage of food consumed in Russia's cities came through rationing?
Only 40% of food consumed came through rationing, around 60% came from the black market
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What had happened by mid-1921?
The Russian economy was near collapse; there were shortages in all kinds of commodities
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What evidence was there of this?
By late 1920 workshops in major cities were closing due to a lack of fuel
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What was the 1921 harvest compared to the 1913 harvest?
The 1921 harvest was only 46% of the 1913 harvest
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How many people died in the resulting famine?
6 million people
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What was the political result?
Peasants in the Tambov region rebelled against the communist gov't; in Kronstadt loyal sailors mutinied against the new government
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How did the communists respond?
With extreme military force
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What reasons were there for Lenin introducing the NEP?
To retain political power; to revive the economy; to build socialism
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What did Lenin argue that the NEP was?
An economic retreat designed to stop a political defeat, Lenin made economic compromises to retain political power
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Why did Lenin need to revive the economy?
Needed a policy that would stimulate grain production to end the famine
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What event convinced Lenin that it was necessary?
The lack of a pan-European revolution; Lenin needed an economic policy that would allow Russia to build socialism without foreign aid
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What measures did the NEP bring in?
Created a mixed socialist-capitalist economy; agricultural production was left to the free market; denationalisation; money was re-introduced
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What did agricultural production being left to the free market entail?
Peasants could buy, sell and produce freely. Grain requisitioning was replaced by a tax in kind
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What is a tax in kind?
A tax that is paid with goods and services rather than money
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What was denationalisation?
Small factories and workshops employing fewer than 20 people were denationalised; allowed to trade freely; large factories and major industries remained nationalised
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What was the most un-communist thing about it?
Even gov't services were expected to turn a profit, people were now expected to pay for services such as transport
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What were the consequences of ending grain requisitioning?
Ending grain requisitioning was incredibly popular among the peasants, free trade led to more food being grown and the end of the famine
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How was ending grain requisitioning a pragmatic choice?
It won support from the peasants, who made up 80% of Russia's population
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What was the grain harvest in 1923 compared to 1920?
1920 = 46.10 1923 = 56.60
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What were the successes of the NEP in terms of industrialisation?
By 1926, industrial production, with the exception of pig iron and steel, had recovered to 1913 levels
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What issue was created from this?
While taxing the peasants provided sufficient funds to reopen and modernise existing factories, failed to provide the money to build new large-scale factories
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What was the Scissors Crisis?
Greater food supplies led to a drop in agriculture prices, industrial prices grew steadily, a gap opened up between farmers' incomes and industrial prices
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Why was it named the Scissors Crisis?
The lines on the graph illustrating the problem looked like a pair of scissors
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What happened in 1923 when this reached its worst?
Farmers' incomes and industrial prices had reached crisis point, rise in industrial prices meant that farmers could not afford to buy industrial goods
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How did this in turn affect agriculture?
The inability to buy industrial goods meant that farmers could not afford to buy industrial goods
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How did the government respond?
Government subsidised the prices of industrial products, however this meant there was less money available to improve the economy
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What did the Scissors Crisis indicate to radicals like Trotsky?
NEP was not capable of industrialising the economy
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What were Nepmen?
Produced by the NEP, spotted gaps in the market. Would travel across the country transporting desirable goods from factories and farms to the markets
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How did the communist government view the Nepmen?
They were seen as parasites because they produced nothing, and made money from selling luxury goods
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How did the Cheka attempt to clampdown on Nepmen?
Some were arrested by the Cheka for profiteering
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How did Nepmen prove to be a hole in the communist system?
They grew rich by trading, while peasants who worked hard stayed poor
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What happened to corruption and prostitution?
It grew, alongside drug dealing
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Why did the NEP lead to great debate among the Communist Party?
It was arguably not ideologically backed in Marxism
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What did the left propose instead?
They wanted to adopt a radical socialist policy: the Dictatorship of Industry
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What did the right propose?
Advocated continuing with the NEP to ensure social peace
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What did the centre (including Stalin) propose?
Backing whichever policy worked
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What was Dictatorship of Industry?
A policy of forced agricultural collectivisation, merging farms under state control would allow them to take all the profit generated by farming and use it to industrialise
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Why was this ideologically sound?
Trotsky argued that this would end all private property, end the capitalist market and therefore end inequality
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What did Trotsky acknowledge was a problem?
It would lead to massive discontent among the peasants
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What did Bukharin argue about the NEP?
It was slowly allowing the economy to grow, industrialisation would eventually happen, fostered a harmonious society
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What did he argue the slow pace of economic growth would do?
Keep the peasants contented, which was necessary for maintaining harmony
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What did the left argue about this policy?
That it was dangerous, it would lead to the re-emergence of a capitalist class determined to overthrow socialism
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What was Stalin's view on the matter?
Economic policy was not an ideological issue but a practical one, until 1927 Stalin supported the NEP, afterwards he supported whatever worked
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What was the legacy of War Communism?
The left celebrated War Communism as a period where the government implemented true communism, the right argued that War Communism provoked chaos and rebellion
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What was the Great Industrialisation debate?
A vital part of the leadership struggle, the right-wing constantly won debates at Congress
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What did most communists think?
Supported the NEP for pragmatic reasons, therefore when the NEP started to fail Stalin proposed a more left-wing version.
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What did this attract?
A great deal of support from the Party
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What were the aims of the Five Year Plans?
Industrialise Russia by combining centralised planning with large-scale investment.
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What was Stalin's bold claim?
The USSR was 100 years behind Britain and the USA, but through central planning could catch up in 15 years
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How did the NEP influence Stalin's economic policy?
Believed that government-controlled production and redistribution; wanted to remove Nepmen
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What did the NEP fail to do that Stalin sought to do?
NEP helped to revive existing Soviet industry, but had not led to the development of new factories
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How did the Plans reflect Soviet military concerns?
Stalin and many in government feared that Germany would invade the USSR; defending Soviet territory would require modern industry
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What did Stalin also want?
To assert his own authority; 5YPs more ambitious than any of Lenin's schemes
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What were they designed to do?
Increase production
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What was Gosplan's role in the Five Year Plans?
They formulated production targets for every factory, mine and workshop in the Soviet Union
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What did the massive propaganda campaign entail?
Focused on the heroic objectives of the plan, celebrated the successes of the plans
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What did the propaganda campaigns claim had been achieved?
The destruction of capitalism, it described the modern, industrial future the plans would provide
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What did Stalin's plans not provide?
There was no attempt to ensure that factories had the resources they needed in order to reach their targets; no clear ideas about what the goods would be used for
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What term could be applied to the USSR's economy at this point?
A command economy, rather than a planned economy
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How much did production of coal increase by from 1927 to 1940?
1927 = 35.40 1940 = 165.90 million tons
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How much did production of steel increase by from 1927 to 1940?
1927 = 4.00 1940 = 18.30 million tons
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How much did production of electricity increase by from 1927 to 1940?
1927 = 5.05 1940 = 48.30 milliard Kilowatts
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How was this achieved?
Through the construction of new factories: for example Magnitogorsk
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What were two major transportation achievements of the Five Year Plans?
Moscow Metro opened in 1935 and the Moscow-Volga Canal was constructed between 1932 and 1937
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What was one issue with the Soviet economy at this time?
Labour productivity was very low, particularly when compared to Britain or the USA
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What may partially explain this?
Long hours, low pay and lack of incentives
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What was Stalin's 1935 initiative to improve labour productivity?
Stalin authorised a system of payments and rewards for the most productive workers
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Who were Stakhanovites?
Workers who exceeded their targets, named for Alexei Stakhanov
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What were Stakhanovites entitled to do?
Reorganise their workplaces to make them more efficient
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What problems did this lead to?
Stakhanovite workers were resented by their colleagues or their management because they got higher pay
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What was one element in which the Five Year Plans were very successful?
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What prompted economic planners to prioritise arms production?
The looming threat of the Second World War
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What were some facts about rearmament?
By 1940, one-third of government spending was geared towards rearmament, nine military aircraft factories were constructed between 1939 and 1941
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What held up arms production?
Shortages of quality materials such as steel
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What issues emerged with production?
Plans set targets for production, not for quality; factory managers were rewarded for producing large amounts, not good quality stuff
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What other issues existed?
Plans did not specify what the goods would be used for, materials often decayed rather than being used
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Of what was produced, how much was wasted?
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What issue did Stalin's purge lead to?
It led to the purge of industrial managers and economic planners
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What issue did Gosplan pose?
Unrealistic targets, industrial managers were under enormous pressure to ensure high levels of production, would falsify figures
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What does historian Donald Filtzer argue?
Soviet economic growth was "self-consuming": the process of economic growth was so inefficient that it consumed extremely high levels of resources
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What could these resources have been used for instead?
Improving the quality of life of Soviet citizens
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Between 1928 and 1941 what were there constant shortages of?
Consumer goods; such as clothes, shoes and furniture
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What were these shortages a result of?
Stalin's focus on heavy industry and defence rather than consumer production, poor planning
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What could the Soviet economy do?
By the mid-1930s the Soviet economy could produce large amounts of raw materials such as iron, steel and coal
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What could the Soviet economy not do?
Produce more complex consumer goods required more sophisticated techniques, which the Soviet economy lacked
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How did the government respond?
Between 1928 and 1941, most consumer goods were rationed
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What were there in the 1930s?
There were often shortages
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What were the lengths of shoe queues in Moscow in the early 1930s?
Shoe queues often exceeded 1000 people
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What was the issue with housing under the Plans?
The Plans required a huge increase in the urban workforce, however the necessary housing was never built
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What basic amenities did most housing built during this period lack?
Running water; bathhouses were scarce
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What was the fact about the Liubertsy district of Moscow?
There was not a single bathhouse available for the 650,000 people
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What was Magnitogorsk planned with?
State of the art housing for the workers who would build the factory, inhabited by the managers while the workers lived in mud huts
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What was a genuine failing of the plan?
A better standard of living was never one of Stalin's key objectives and this was a genuine failure of the Plan
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What issues did workers face?
Barring a three year period, food rationing continued for much of the Plan, working conditions were harsh
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In what way were working conditions harsh?
Workers were forced to work seven days a week, long hours were common, lateness and absenteeism were criminalised
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How did the Five Year Plans lead to the emergence of black markets?
Shortages of materials led to a thriving black market, workers would steal goods and materials and sell them to the highest bidder
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What was collectivisation?
A process by which small farms were merged into large farms, ownership of the land and resources was taken over by the state
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What did communists believe about private property?
It was one of the foundations of capitalism and inequality
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What had happened under the NEP?
Peasants with large farms had been able to grow rich, while peasants with smaller farms hadn't
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What did the communists want to do?
Abolish private property and replace private farming with state-run farming
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What were the desires of Russian peasants?
To own the land on which they worked; implied an individualistic desire to make money
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How did they seek to rectify this through collective farms?
They hoped that through collectivisation, the peasants would embrace the superiority of socialist methods
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How would collectivisation benefit the economy?
The communists believed that collectivisation would make the economy more efficient
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What led to the decline of the NEP?
Agricultural production fell because there was no market for additional farmed goods, there was a limit to the amount of food that Soviet consumers wanted
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What did this lead to in 1927?
What the right-wing described as the "grain procurement crisis"; farmers reduced production to push up grain prices
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How did left-wing communists view this?
They viewed it as the "Kulak Grain Strike"; kulaks were putting private profit above the USSR's need to industrialise; viewed this as the re-emergence of class war
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What did this lead many communists to believe?
That the NEP had run its course and needed to be replaced by a more radical policy that dealt with the kulaks and restored economic growth
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What political reasons did Stalin have for wanting to end the NEP?
Stalin and Bukharin had defeated the United Opposition: Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky who supported industrialisation, leaving the left wing with no leader; by moving to the left gained more support than Bukharin
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How did this work out for Stalin?
By moving to the left Stalin gained a majority of support in the Central Committee and was able to become undisputed leader of the Communist Party
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In 1928, what did Stalin propose versus 1929?
In 1928, Stalin did not propose full-scale collectivisation, he did in 1929
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What did Stalin claim in 1930?
100% success
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What were Stalin's 1928 emergency measures?
In 1928, Stalin ordered the Cheka to requisition grain from the peasants
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What would the requisitioned grain be used for?
Requisitioned grain would be used to feed workers and to sell overseas
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What did requisitioning do?
Effectively end the NEP, which had been based on free trade and taxation
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What prompted dekulakisation?
Peasants hid or destroyed grain as they hated requisitioning
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What did Stalin claim that this was?
An attack on socialism by the capitalist kulaks
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What was dekulakisation in theory?
In theory it was meant to take farms and equipment from the richest peasants
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What did dekulakisation mean in reality?
Mass deportations and killings of all peasants who resisted government policies
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How many peasants were sent to labour camps as a result of dekulakisation?
Around 1.5 million
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What was collectivisation and when was it introduced?
Introduced in late 1929; farms were forcibly merged, equipment was taken from richer peasants and given to poorer peasants
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What were peasants allowed to keep?
A small amount of grain to live on
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Where did the rest of it go?
Used to feed workers in cities or sold abroad to provide money to fund industrialisation
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What were the effects of collectivisation?
It devastated Soviet agriculture, but released more money to fund industrialisation
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Why did Stalin temporarily halt the collectivisation drive?
The drive to ensure that all farms were collectivised led to chaos, it was restored in 1931
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How many sheep and goats and how many cattle were destroyed to avoid requisitioning?
60 million sheep and goats, 26 million cattle
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How much grain was procured in 1932 versus 1934?
1932 = 69.6 million tonnes 1934 = 67.6 million tonnes
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What led to the reduction of agricultural production?
Execution of kulaks, who were often the most successful farmers; farmers couldn't make a profit, absence of incentives
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Why did Stalin launch the famine in the Ukraine?
Resistance to collectivisation had been fiercest in Ukraine, Stalin seized their grain and livestock
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How many people died in the famine?
5 million
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How did the Soviet government aim to encourage mechanisation?
Gov't allowed farms to hire tractors from machine tractor stations
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How many tractors were provided?
75,000; had little impact on Soviet farming
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In 1928, how much grain was procured by the government?
10.8 million tonnes, rose to 22.6 million tonnes by 1932
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How much did grain exports rise by?
Rose from less than 1 million in 1928 to 5 million in 1931
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What was the issue with agriculture?
Less grain was procured than under the NEP
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What led to lower grain procurement?
Collective farms were less productive than private farms
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How much grain could private farms produce compared to collective farms?
Private farms = 410 kilos per hectare Collective farms = 320 kilos per hectare
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Until 1941, what percentage of farmers were independent of the collective system?
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What is evidence that collectivisation couldn't meet the needs of the Second World War?
Harvests declined from a pre-war high of 95.5 million tonnes to 46.8 million tonnes in 1945
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What else?
Potato rations fell by 80%
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In 1945, what was total output?
Two-thirds less than it was in 1940
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What did the Fourth Five Year Plan focus on?
Industrial growth
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When was the Fourth Five Year Plan?
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What did pig iron output increase by?
In 1945 it was 8.8 million tons in 1950 it was 19.2 million tons
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Likewise what about steel?
Grew from 12.3 million tons to 27.30 million tons in 1950
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What did post-war plans continue to focus on?
Military spending, the emergence of the Cold War influenced policy
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What did military expenditure grow by from 1950 to 1952?
In 1950, 79.4 milliard roubles: in 1952, 113.8 milliard roubles
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How much investment went into food and consumer goods?
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What did reconstruction focus on?
Factories rather than homes
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What was given priority in reconstruction?
Historic cities were given priority over more remote towns
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Why were wages kept low?
Women would have to go out and work, expanding the workforce, more money was available for reconstructionn
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What did Stalin re-impose over Soviet farms at the end of the war?
Strict discipline; private trading not allowed
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What did Khrushchev argue that?
Reforms were necessary to increase productivity and to secure a better standard of living
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How did Khrushchev seek to improve incentives in farming?
He wanted to offer farmers higher prices for their produce
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How did he do this?
Reduced the quota and introduced higher prices for everything produced in addition to the quota
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What did this lead to?
A 250% increase in farm incomes between 1952 and 1956
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What did Khrushchev announce in 1954?
The construction of new fertiliser factories and an increase in the production of tractors
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What did this lead to in 1955?
A 30% increase in the number of tractors available and a 40% increase in the amount of fertiliser produced
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What did Khrushchev hope to achieve through the Virgin Lands Scheme?
An increase in Soviet agricultural production by turning unfarmed lands into new farms
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Where were these unfarmed lands?
The northern Caucasus, Kazakhstan and Western Siberia
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How much did agricultural investment grow by from 1954 to 1959?
It grew from under 3% a year to 12.8% of the Soviet budget
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How much did the total area sown increase by from 1953 to 1964?
1953 = 18.2 1964 = 97.4 (million hectares)
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How much did the total amount of labour increase by?
1953 = 2.6 1964 = 8.6 (million workers)
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What did Khrushchev encourage farmers in the Ukraine to grow?
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What was Khrushchev's plan?
To shift wheat production to the newly created Virgin Lands while maize would be produced in the traditional farms of the Ukraine
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What would the maize be used for?
Fed to animals, would increase the amount of meat available to Soviet consumers
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Why did the Corn Campaign fail?
Khrushchev's initiative was based on the success of US farms; yet Soviet farms could produce 50% of the corn per hectare of US farms
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What meant that Soviet farms could not rival US farms in productivity?
Differences in climate, lower labour productivity and the inferiority of Soviet tractors and fertilisers
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What was also caused?
As a result of growing loads of maize, Soviet farms produced less hay
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What did this lead to?
A 30% drop in the amount of animal feed produced by Soviet farms between 1958 and 1964
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What is evidence of the initial early success of the VLS?
Overall agricultural production rose by 35.3% between 1953 and 1958
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What did the scheme lead to between 1953 and 1958?
A grain harvest increase from 82.5 million tons in '53 to 134.7 million in '58
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What did greater farm production lead to?
A 400% increase in the incomes of farm workers
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How did it benefit Khrushchev?
It allowed him to consolidate his position and push for even more ambitious schemes
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What did Khrushchev announce in 1956?
A new commitment to produce more food than the US by 1960
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What suggests that this was ambitious?
It required a 300% increase in four years
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What made the VLS expensive in Kazakhstan?
The country is naturally dry and so the farms needed sophisticated irrigation systems
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During the 1950s and 1960s what proportion of Soviet labourers worked on farms?
Between 44% and 54%
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What percentage of the American population worked on farms?
5%, and they produced twice as much food
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By 1964, agriculture was what percentage higher than it was in 1958?
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What was the issue with this?
The targets were nowhere near to the ridiculous targets that Khrushchev had set
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What two things led to slower growth rates between 1958 and 1964?
Machine and tractor stations (MTS) were abolished therefore farmers less able to obtain modern farming equipment; Khrushchev repeatedly reformed ministries dealing with agriculture
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What was the issue with pay for agricultural workers?
Increased; but was still inadequate
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What issue was there with local conditions?
They were not taken into account, therefore farming could never be truly effective
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What could K-Man's reforms not address?
Could not deal with the inefficiencies in the system
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What was the emphasis of the new leadership?
Modernising the Soviet economy
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What was the Soviet system built on?
Economies built to hit targets in heavy industry
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What were the world's advanced economies moving towards?
Light industry and production of consumer goods
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What issue did this create?
Planning methods that worked so well in creating heavy industry didn't work in creating a modern economy
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Why had Stalin kept living standards at a low level?
To ensure a high degree of spending for the military
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What was the fundamental problem with the Soviet economy?
Soviet economy did not produce enough wealth to continue high levels of military spending
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What did Khrushchev do from 1955?
Initiated cuts in military spending
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What did military spending fall by from 1955 to 1958?
Fell from 12.1% in 1955 to 9.1% in 1958
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What led Khrushchev to increase military spending?
A series of nuclear standoffs between the Soviet Union and the USA
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By 1964, what percentage of GDP had military spending reached?
Around 11%
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What critically did this coincide with?
A fall in economic growth, indicating that increased military spending led to a reduction in economic growth
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What were the aims of the Seven Year Plan?
Boost agricultural production and the production of consumer goods by investing in light industry
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When was it launched?
January 1959
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What did Khrushchev hope that more chemical production would lead to?
Better fertilisers, increased production of crops as well as synthetic fibres which could be used to make clothes
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What did Khrushchev believe would be achieved by greater chemical production?
Aimed to do this through light industry; believed that this would deal with the two elements of the Soviet economy that needed dealt with
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What view did this reflect?
Construction of heavy industry had been completed, therefore there was no need to invest in it
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What did Khrushchev believe that he had laid the foundations for?
The USSR overtaking the USA by 1970 and building Communism by 1980
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What factors made Khrushchev optimistic?
The apparent successes of the Virgin Lands Scheme until 1958; Soviet technical success in the space race
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What was the increase in the production of consumer goods?
60%; which was 5% below Khrushchev's target
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What was the increase in fertiliser production?
19 million tons; 3.5 million tons short of the target
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What led to failings in Khrushchev's plan?
Khrushchev's continual economic reforms and the nature of the Soviet economy
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What were two examples of reforms that Khrushchev brought in?
Feb. 1957 sovnarkhoz reforms decentralised planning from Gosplan to regional planning authorities; from 1958 to 1964 K then re-centralised
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What did Khrushchev do in February 1962?
Divided the Party so one half was responsible for agriculture and one for industry
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What was a joke made about Khrushchev?
He had replaced the Five-Year-Plan with "three plans a year"
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What was the fundamental economic problem?
Designed to meet targets; not produce consumer goods
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What was an example of this?
Soviet factories produced thick sheet steel because it weighed more than thin sheet steel; thin sheet steel needed for consumer goods
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What other failing was there?
Consumer industries were set targets for the value of the goods that they made
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What did this lead to?
It made sense for factories to produce a small number of expensive goods rather than large quantities of cheap goods
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What's an example of this?
Soviet factories produced sofas too expensive for Soviet consumers
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What did planners have to do?
Guess at consumer needs; goods produced were often useless, undesirable or unaffordable
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What did Khrushchev's fall lead to?
A rejection of a number of his reforms
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Which reforms were reversed?
The agricultural and industrial sections of the Party were reunited; Seven-Year-Plans abandoned
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What did Khrushchev and Brezhnev share?
Like Khrushchev, Brezhnev hoped to increase consumer good production
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How did Brezhnev differ?
Much less ambitious than Khrushchev in terms of the quality and quantity of consumer goods produced
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What did Kosygin advocate?
Reforms that were designed to cut investment to the least efficient collective farms and divert the money to light industry
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What did he propose giving to factory managers?
Power over production; judging their success by the profits they made
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What undermined the Kosygin reforms?
Similar reforms in Czechoslovakia had been part of a series of reforms that led to a rebellion against communist rule
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What did Kosygin's reforms being revoked lead to?
Authority being handed back to central planners
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What did Brezhnev do to military spending?
Increased it from 11% in 1964 to 13% in 1970
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What did Brezhnev want to achieve?
Parity with the USA; Khrushchev had to back down to the USA because he knew that they had a larger nuclear arsenal
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What did this lead to?
It was a significant drain on the economy, which led to economic problems
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What did Brezhnev do?
Dropped Khrushchev's commitment to building communism by 1980
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Increased military spending meant that there was no hope of turning the USSR into a land of plenty
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What did he replace it with?
Developed socialism
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What did this mean?
The USSR should provide a rising standard of living for all its citizens
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What were other elements of developed socialism?
Low food prices and job security
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How were food prices kept low?
By importing large amounts of grain from the West
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What did Brezhnev accept about the black market?
It was a necessary evil
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Why did he accept this?
It increased access to consumer goods and food; aided his goal of raising living standards
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What did Andropov and Brezhnev share?
Both were unwilling to talk of reform
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What did they differ on?
Andropov admitted that there were problems with the Soviet economy
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What did Andropov believe the key issue was?
Labour discipline
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What was the first campaign Andropov initiated?
Anti-Corruption Campaign; investigated Party officials using Soviet resources to get rich
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What was an example of somebody investigated?
Brezhnev's Minister of the Interior Nikolai Shchelokov
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What was the Anti-Alcohol Campaign?
Workers could be sacked for drunkenness, could be fined for damaging machinery if they were drunk at work
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What was Operation Trawl?
KGB officers visited parks arresting people who were drunk or absent from work
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How successful was Brezhnev's anti-alcohol campaign?
Led to a reduction in consumption of vodka, yet a rise in the consumption of Andropovka
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What led to drunkenness and absenteeism staying at about the same level?
The campaigns were poorly enforced
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What had Soviet economic growth decreased to by 1964?
An average of 5.3%
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What had it decreased to by the 1970s?
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What fundamental problem did this reflect?
Command economy was good at producing extensive growth, that was based on building new workshops and factories, or new mines
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However, what was it not so good at?
Producing intensive growth, which was reliant on information about how individual factories worked
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Why was it not so good at this?
Because of the nature of central planning
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What was the Soviet economy built upon in the 1970s?
The rising price of oil, which masked the flaws in the Soviet economy
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What did oil production increase by from 1965 to 1980?
It was 243 million tons in 1965, rose to 603 million tons in 1980
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What did this allow the Soviet economy to do?
It allowed the Soviet economy to keep importing grain from the West
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What did this also allow the Soviet gov't to do?
Borrow money from Western governments
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What seeming paradox did this lead to?
Standards of living continued to improve despite lower growth rates
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What was Brezhnev's policy on the Soviet economy?
Accepted it as it was
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What did Andropov's reforms attempt to achieve?
Tried to address Soviet economic decline; but remained committed to central planning of agriculture
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What did Marx argue a communist society would be established along the lines of?


Along the lines of a "common plan."

Card 3


Where did most communists in the early 20th century believe the revolution would take place?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What economic problems faced Russia?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


When had Russia begun to industrialise?


Preview of the front of card 5
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