SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR



Industrial Russia


The main importance of NEP in the field of industrial production was not the recognition of private property or private control over the mass of small enterprises, but the change in attitude towards the management of large-scale nationalized industry. In the years of the civil war, a system of management of state enterprises was formed through the central board at the Supreme Economic Council. It was associated with a rigid centralization of the management of all spheres of activity of enterprises and in the conditions of NEP, requiring independence, efficiency in a rapidly changing market, turned out to be ineffective.


On August 12, 1921, by resolution of the Council of Labor and Defense (HUNDRED), the largest, technically equipped and conveniently geographically located, and also provided with raw materials, materials, and labor, enterprises were united into trusts. This allowed to a certain extent to decentralize the operational functions of the management of individual enterprises. Until the end of the 20s. Trusts remained the main production unit in the domestic industry. They were empowered with the rights of planning, distribution of funds, placement of personnel, carrying out trade operations both between the trusts themselves and in the free market. 90% of all nationalized enterprises that were not leased were included in various trusts.


Trusts were created at a time when state commerce and its apparatus did not yet exist, and private traders played a large role in mediation operations. Therefore, in the 20s. born such a specific economic organization as a trade syndicate. By the end of 1923, syndicates united up to 50% of large trusts of various industries. In total, about 20 syndicates were formed. They studied the market capacity, regulated trading operations, prices, procured raw materials. A number of syndicates took over the function of selling most or even all the products of leading industries (textile, oil, salt, clothing), that is, they carried out wholesale trade. The share of private traders in the wholesale trade in 1923/1924 was approximately 18%, which indicated its concentration in the hands of the state. The situation was different in retail trade, where the turnover of the public sector in these years was only 20%, and 80% was accounted for by private traders.


The difficult financial situation of the workers at the time of the end of the civil war forced the Soviet leadership to focus on wage issues and material and reward forms. The bonus system has been changed. Already in April


In 1921, the decree "On natural remuneration" in a progressive amount increased natural payments for more productive work. Since the summer of 1921, a closer link has been established between wages and the quality of work of production teams. The system of piecework wages was widely used again. From the rations, the state gradually transitioned (returned) to wages, in which the monetary part increased, and the natural part decreased.


So, in 1920, the monetary part of the average monthly salary of a factory worker was only 7.4%, and the natural part was 92.6%. By the end of 1921, payment in cash increased to 19.3% - in the first half of 1922 - up to 32%; in the second half of 1922 - up to 61.8%; at the beginning of 1923 - up to 80%.


However, the depreciation of money during the years of the civil war led to the fact that a constant digging of denominations of banknotes occurred. In 1921, the so-called "Obligations of the RSFSR" came into circulation (popularly nicknamed "sheets" for a large amount), to the bearer of which 1 million, 5 million, or 10 million rubles were paid out of turn, with the settlement marks of smaller merits In other republics, inflation also differed not only by an increase in the issue of banknotes, but also by an increase in their denominations - up to 10 billion rubles in Transcaucasia.


To eliminate a large variety of currency in circulation, as well as their surrogates and to save paper and paints (in 1920, 3 thousand tons of paper were used to make calculating marks) at the end of 1921 it was decided to conduct a denomination ie, the exchange of old money for new but a certain ratio. Sovnarkom decided to put into circulation new banknotes. All types of state banknotes circulating in the country (and at that time were the money of the tsarist government; the Provisional - the so-called "Duma" and "Kerenki"; credit cards of the sample of 1918; settlement marks, or Sovznaks issued in 1919-1921 yr.) traded on banknotes of the sample of 1922 by the ratio of 1 new ruble for 10 thousand old rubles of all previous issues. This denomination eradicated a variety of paper money in the country. The recalculation from the old course to the new one was to be done by “dropping four nulls”, which seriously hampered the use of new banknotes. Therefore, in October 1922, the SNK decided to conduct a second denomination. One ruble of new banknotes of the sample of 1923 was equal to 100 rubles of the sample of 1922 or 1 million rubles with the signs of old issues withdrawn from circulation. The counting order introduced with the second denomination became more convenient.


However, despite the holding of denominations, bank notes of the Soviet government were unstable, devalued every day. The issue of hard currency in the conditions of transition to NEP was of decisive importance and was fully matured by the beginning of 1922, becoming the impetus for financial and economic reform in 1922-1924. Its creators were well-known economists and banking practitioners — V. V. Tarnovsky (before the revolution, director of the Siberian Commercial Bank in St. Petersburg), N. N. Kutler (Minister of Agriculture and Land Management in 1905-1906), N. D. Kondratiev, L.N. Yurovsky, and others, who proposed to the People's Commissar of Finance, G. Ya. Sokolnikov, the project for the creation of a parallel currency.


On October 11, 1922, the SNK by decree "On granting the State Bank the right to issue bank notes" decided to issue new banknotes in gold terms, the dignity of which would be expressed in gold pieces. Chervontsy were produced (unlike the sovznak) not to cover the budget deficit, but for the needs of economic turnover, in the interests of regulating money circulation.


The decree on the issue of chervonets did not establish any correlation between it and the common sign. On November 28, 1922, at the first quotation of the chervonets, the State Bank valued it at 11,400 rubles with banknotes of the sample of 1922 (at a value of ten dozen gold minted in the private "free" market at 12,500 rubles).


Since the chervonets was a large monetary unit, its spread throughout the country ran into certain difficulties, in particular, the chervonets slowly penetrated the village. As early as the summer of 1923, there were cases of unwillingness of peasants and workers to accept gold pieces not only in the suburbs, such as, for example, in Turkestan, but also in Petrograd. Soon, grain harvesting became an excellent conductor of the chervonets to the village. The peasants invariably demanded payment of the bread to be donated by gold pieces.


The parallel circulation in the country of two currencies (the declining one — sovznak and the stable one — chervonets) bore a number of negative points. It adversely affected the situation of the population. The salary received in the presence of a falling currency quickly depreciated. A number of enterprises and organizations, as in the years of "war communism", began to issue their bank notes. Due to the slow turnover of goods and money in the countryside, the peasants suffered heavy losses. All these conditions together have led to the need for monetary reform in the country. The so-called "price scissors" have also become a kind of impetus to this.


At the initial stage of NEP, the main task of state bodies in organizing trade was to provide the most favorable conditions for an intensive rise in industry: a wide market; procurement of raw materials and materials at a reasonable price; high rate of return. At the same time, insufficient attention was paid to strengthening the economic union of the workers and peasants. This led to an increase in market imbalances in the ratio of prices for industrial and agricultural goods ("price scissors"). The hitch with the sale of industrial goods was felt in the spring of 1923, and in the fall a real sales crisis broke out, which was a result of lower procurement prices for the most important grain crops and an excessive increase in the selling prices of industrial goods. The peasants, despite the great need for industrial goods, could not buy them because of too high prices. So, before the war, the peasant had to sell 6 pounds of wheat to pay for the cost of the plow, and in 1923 - 24 pounds; the cost of mowing for the same period increased from 125 pounds of grain to 544.


By February 1924 it became clear that the peasants did not refuse bread to the state. On February 2, 1924, the II All-Union Congress of Soviets decided to introduce into circulation a stable currency of the all-Union sample (chervonets were formally republican money). Decree of the CEC and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR on February 5, 1924 announced the release of the USSR government treasury notes. Starting February 14, 1924, printing of Sovznaks was discontinued, and from March 25 - their release into circulation. With the completion of monetary reform in most parts of the country, new samples of Chervonets with the emblem of the USSR were put into circulation.


With the transition to NEP, impetus was given to the development of private capitalist entrepreneurship. The main position of the state in this matter was that free trade and the development of capitalism were allowed only to a certain extent and only under the condition of state regulation (supervision, control, etc.). In industry, the sphere of private sector activity was mainly limited to the production of consumer goods, the extraction and processing of certain types of raw materials, and the manufacture of simple labor tools; in trade - mediation between small commodity producers, sales of private industry goods; on transport - the organization of local transportation of small shipments; in the field of credit - servicing private industry and trade.


In order to prevent the concentration of private capital, the state used such a measure as taxes as leverage. A large share of savings was withdrawn by financial authorities. In the 1924/1925 business year, the taxation absorbed from 35 to 52% of the total income of private owners. In the early years of NEP, there were few medium and large private industrial enterprises. In 1923/1924, as a part of the entire qualifying industry (i.e. industrial enterprises with at least 16 workers with a mechanical engine and at least 30 without an engine), private enterprises produced only 4.3% of products.


Private traders preferred to use in their activities such a form of relations with the state as rent, which was primarily of a short-term nature. Contracts were concluded for 3-5, 5-10 years. However, the efficiency of leased private enterprises was higher than leased cooperative or state enterprises. The main reason for this state of affairs was apparently the fact that private tenants were most often former owners of enterprises who were well acquainted with their production. In addition, wages at private enterprises were 15–20% higher than at state-owned enterprises and created an incentive for attracting skilled labor to the private sector. But in general, the number of workers employed in enterprises rented by private individuals remained very modest. So, by the end of 1923/1924, the number of establishments leased in Petrograd was 167, where only 11 thousand workers were employed. Thus, the level of development of private industry in the years of NEP was not high.


One of the characteristic signs; NEP became concessions - enterprises based on contracts between the state and foreign firms. The very idea of ​​concessions arose long before the introduction of NEP. Back in July 1918, V.I. Lenin spoke positively about them (albeit, as a forced measure). In November 1920, 3 months before the 10th congress of the RCP (B), a decree of the CPC appeared, setting forth the question of concessions in the form most acceptable to capitalist entrepreneurs. But those who did not rely on the stability of the Soviet regime and the duration of NEP did not rush into large capital investments.


The very fact of granting concessions to foreign entrepreneurs had both economic and political significance. From an economic point of view, concessions were considered as one of the means of attracting capital, advanced equipment and technology in order to accelerate the development of the productive forces of the country and build the economic foundation of socialism. The political significance of the concessions was that they promoted the establishment and development of peaceful, equal relations with capitalist countries, strengthened the economic basis of the policy of peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems.


However, in our country, concessions have never been considered the main or decisive factor for economic development and growth. Concessions were placed under the control of the Soviet state, which provided for the timing and regulation of their activities within the framework of general labor legislation. In total, from 1921 to 1929, Soviet Russia received from Western entrepreneurs about 2670 proposals for the creation of concessions. The number of actually operating enterprises with the attraction of foreign capital was small: 1924 - 55, 1925 - 70, 1925/1926 - 82, 1926/1927 - 74, 1927/1928 - 68, 1928/1929 - 59. In 1925/1926, concession enterprises produced goods for 35.4 million rubles. In subsequent years, in monetary terms, the volume of their products increased by 3 times, but the proportion in the gross output of the country's industry remained extremely low - 0.6% in 1927/1928. In the price industry, concessions gave about 5% of gross output. In December 1925, at the Fourteenth Party Congress, JV Stalin proudly noted that the share of concessions and leases is minimal in our country - "the first have 50 thousand workers, the second - 35 thousand." At the same time, the thesis about "eliminating economic dependence on foreign countries" was proclaimed.

Thus, by the end of the recovery period (mid-20s) and with the beginning of the reconstruction of the national economy (1925-1927), the process of ousting capitalist elements from the country's economy, which continued with increasing power in the late 20s, intensified. ., providing not only a relative, but also an absolute reduction in private capital.


NEP was an integral, inseparable complex of economic, political, social, ideological, psychological measures. For a proper understanding of what happened in the 20s. transformations should be considered both from the point of view of radical changes associated with the transition to the market and commodity-money relations, as well as from the position of continuity established in 1918-1920. realities, i.e., nationalization or nationalization of industry, when the state established a system of economic relations. In general, the transformation of the 20s. characterized by sharp contradictions, lack of integrity of approaches to management and the decisive clash between economic and administrative methods, especially in the public sector of the economy. The main task of the state, due to the complexity of the conditions, was to establish the right proportions between what it could “digest”, subjecting it to its direct impact, and the fact that it didn’t give in to such an impact or didn’t give in at all, referring to market elements.


History of the Soviet Union and Russia in the 20th Century







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