Lenin. Stalin. "War Communism" in Russia: politics and ideology. HISTORY OF SOVIET RUSSIA - USSR

SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR



"War Communism" in Russia: politics and ideology


Since the second half of 1918, the Soviet state carried out a series of emergency measures aimed at centralizing state control and management of all spheres of economic life . The complex of these extraordinary actions was called "war communism". This term was introduced into circulation before October 1917 by the famous Marxist theorist, the author of a number of utopian novels A. A. Bogdanov, who died tragically in 1928 as a result of a failed experiment on blood transfusion. V. I. Lenin first used the expression “war communism” in April 1921 in an article with the modest title “On the Food Tax”.


The main accelerator of emergency measures in the economy has become a civil war. In the period from November 1917 to mid-1918, according to M. N. Pokrovsky, there was nothing "military-communist" in the policy implemented by the Bolsheviks.


With regard to industrial production, it should be noted that since the summer of 1918 the government began to nationalize all the largest enterprises of the main branches of industry. June 28, 1918 a decree was issued on the nationalization of enterprises with a capital of more than 500 thousand rubles.


The economic policy pursued by the Soviet government was due to the fact that already in 1917 the Bolshevik Party formulated a number of basic principles on the issue of the nature and forms of the proposed political system:


- the new system should be based on public ownership of the means of production;


- the system will have a proletarian-class character and implement the dictatorship of the proletariat;


- the workers themselves will be involved in government, becoming at the same time managers and managers.


This policy meant the removal from participation in the economic life of entire segments of the population. However, in the first months after October 1917 it became clear that the bureaucratic apparatus could not be completely replaced. At the expense of the old party guard, which on the eve of the revolution constituted about 7% of the number of Bolsheviks, it turned out to be impossible to satisfy the needs of even the leaders of many central and local bodies. By the autumn of 1918, the share of the "former" among the administrative personnel of the staff reached 97.5% in the People's Commissariat of Finance, 80% in the People's Commissariat of State Control, 88.1% in the People's Commissariat of Communications, and from April 29, 1918. a higher wage was introduced for specialists. Thus, in the concrete practice of state and economic construction, the painters were initially guided by pragmatic considerations, expediency, rather than theory. The realities of life corrected theoretical schemes.


During the years of "war communism", money depreciated and the increase in subsistence wages (food ration at preferential prices, overalls, and cheaper utility services) increased. The naturalization of economic ties, payments for labor was perceived by some economic scientists as a transitional measure towards the elimination of money in general. To a certain extent, the prospect of extermination of money in the future society did not rule out V. I. Lenin. The Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of May 2, 1919 proposed that all payments of institutions be made between themselves not by cash settlements, but by accounting records, without regard to money. January 19, 1920 was abolished the People's Bank. However, in these years, the money was practically driven out only from the sphere of state industry. The state could not completely abandon them even under the conditions of "war communism." In May 1919, the government allowed to issue money (put it into circulation) "within the real needs of the national economy in currency," i.e., without restriction.


In 1918-1920 The process of nationalization of industrial enterprises proceeded at an accelerated pace. The census conducted on August 28, 1920 took into account 396.5 thousand large, medium-sized and small industrial enterprises, including handicraft-craft type. Of these, 38,200 enterprises with about 2 million workers were nationalized, i.e. over 70% of all employed in industry. At the same time, the role of cupolas and centers increased substantially (if in 1918 there were 18 of them, then by 1920 it was 52). I won the trend of over-centralization of industrial life in Russia.


Until May 1918, the agrarian policy of the Soviet government developed in the spirit of the decree on land, adopted on October 26, 1917. The decree itself, as is known, repeated the order issued by the Social Revolutionaries on the basis of 242 local decrees. Land was transferred to the local councils. However, hunger and civil war pushed the Bolsheviks on the path of emergency measures in agriculture. The power went to the forcible seizure of food in the villages. However, the food monopoly was not a Bolshevik invention. The resolution on the bread list was signed on November 29, 1916 by A. A. Rittikh, head of the Ministry of Agriculture, and came into force in January 1917. Thus, the policy of fixed prices and rationing of the population (introduction of food ration cards) was carried out by the government.


In May 1918, the Soviet government carried out a series of measures, the totality of which received the title of food dictatorship. On May 13, a decree was adopted, which endowed the People's Commissariat of Food and its agencies with extraordinary powers in the field of procurement and distribution of food and confirmed the inviolability of the state’s grain monopoly and solid prices for bread. All those who had bread, but who did not take it to the dumping points or used it for brewing, were declared enemies of the people. By a decree of May 27, the organs of the People's Commissariat were reorganized in the center and in the field in order to make them more energetic agents of the food policy of the Soviet government.


Already in the fall of 1917, the first food squads began to be sent to the grain-growing provinces of the country. After the appeal of A.I. Lenin and the People's Commissar of Food A.D. Tsyurupa to the workers of Petrograd (June 4, 1918) with a call to seize excess bread from the kulaks by force, a mass "crusade" was organized in the village. The number of working food squads increased every month. A significant part of the members of these detachments were unemployed workers who were attracted to participate in them by wages and money, but especially in kind in proportion to the number of products confiscated. The number of all food detachments in November 1918 was 72 thousand people, in 1919-1920. it ranged from 55 to 82 thousand people. These units were disbanded only at the end of civil war.


On June 11, 1918, a decree was adopted on the organization of combats — committees of the village poor. It became the most important link in the system of measures taken by the Soviet authorities in the countryside, and marked the beginning of the establishment of the policy of "war communism" in agriculture. In November 1918, in the 33 provinces of European Russia and Belarus there were 139 thousand, poor committees headed by communists from workers and peasants, former soldiers. At the end of 1918 - the beginning of 1919, the combat officers were transformed and merged with the Soviets, which to a certain extent was recognition by the Bolsheviks of the unviableness of this institution.


On the part of the peasantry, the blatant requisition of arbitrarily established surpluses caused various forms of protest: armed demonstrations, hiding stocks, refusing to plant more land than was necessary to feed their families.


The decree of January 11, 1919 indiscriminately searches for food surplus replaced the price with the centralized and planned surplus system. The increase in grain procurements was facilitated by the activity of the Prodarmia, which began to be formed in May 1918 after the publication of the decrees on the introduction of the food dictatorship.


The duties of the army soldier included to organize the peasant-yang poor; receive food from the property of the population; conduct propaganda work; suppress counter-revolutionary speeches; guard food loads; carry protective service; to assist local Soviet authorities, etc. By November 1918, more than 29 thousand people were in the Prodarmia, by October 1919 - 45.5 thousand, and by September 1920 - 77.5 thousand . person. However, at the end of the civil war, the Prodarmia detachments were brought to grain procurements only in exceptional cases — in areas of peasant uprisings. With the transition to NEP, Prodarmia ceased to exist.


In the course of the grain campaign of 1916-1917. (from August to August) 320 million pounds of grain were prepared in the country, in the campaign of 1917-1918. managed to collect only 50 million pounds. With the commencement of emergency measures, the situation has been somewhat improved. In the grain procurement campaign of 1918-1919. collection amounted to 107.9 million pounds of bread, cereals and grain fodder (only in the European part of Russia), in 1919-1920. -: 212.5 million pounds. Of this number, 180.5 million pounds came to European Russia. During the campaign of 1920-1921. 367 million pounds of bread were collected.


The policy and practice of hard centralism during the civil war was justified. It helped save the country's economy from collapse, although it did not contribute to economic growth. The negative consequences of "war communism" most affected the peasantry and contributed to the maturation and explosion of the anti-Bolshevik uprisings of 1920-1921.


In the years of the civil war, an unsolvable task was to try to find the boundary, dividing line, the right combination between the functions of central and local economic management bodies. The most sober-minded leaders of the Bolshevik party already in 1920 thought about changing approaches to solving national economic problems (programs for the economic revival of the country in 1919 were proposed by the Social Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks, and also the figures of the National Center - representatives of non-socialist parties). But it took serious upheavals of 1920 - the beginning of 1921, so that the Soviet leadership made the adjustment of the economic course.


Thus, the highest point of the policy of "war communism" came at the end of 1920. The main features of the economy of the civil war period were:


- the elimination of private capitalist elements, the transfer of the basic means of production into the hands of the working people;


- a management system covering all nationalized property and the entire national economy;


- the militarization of the economy, the subordination of the entire economic activity of the state to the interests of the civil war;


-        the use of forced measures such as surplus.



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