The Great Patriotic War led to a dramatic change in the gender and age structure of the country's population. Especially heavy losses suffered the male population in the most capable age. To the 27 million dead in the war should be added a significant reduction in the birth rate and an increased mortality rate. As a result, the labor resources of the state were significantly reduced. The number of workers and employees decreased by 5.3 million people. On the eve of the war, 35.5 million people were employed in agriculture, and in 1945, only 29.3 million people.
The total amount of direct losses only caused by the war is estimated at 679 billion rubles (125 billion dollars). If we also take into account the money spent on the conduct of the war, the loss of income due to the occupation of the territories, it turns out that almost 1/3 of the total national wealth of the country has been lost.
The war led to a complete restructuring of the economy on a war footing. In many industries, production significantly decreased. Thus, the smelting of pig iron in 1945 decreased as compared with 1940 from 14.9 to 8.8 million tons, and steel from 18.3 to 12.3 million tons. A similar picture was observed in agriculture. During the war years, the yield dropped from 8.6 to 5.6 centners per hectare. In general, agricultural production in 1945 was less than 50% of the pre-war level.
In August 1945, the USSR State Planning Committee was instructed to prepare the fourth five-year plan for the development of the national economy for 1946-1950, which envisaged a complete economic recovery of those areas that had undergone German occupation. The plan was to increase (compared with 1940) the output of agricultural products by 27%; industry - by 48%, and in the liberated areas by 15%; to ensure the growth of labor productivity by 36%; national income by 38%.
First of all, the enterprises of the ferrous metallurgy and the fuel and energy base of the south of the country were subject to restoration. It was these sectors of the economy that were given the main attention. An integral part of the reforms aimed at putting the national economy on a peaceful course was the reduction of the army. By September 1945, the first stage of demobilization was completed. 3.3 million people returned to peaceful work. In 1948, this process was completed completely. 8.5 million people joined the national economy, 2.8 million servicemen remained in the army.
Particular difficulties caused the solution of problems of agricultural recovery. The situation was significantly complicated by drought and famine of 1946-1947. The drought covered almost all grain areas of the country: Ukraine, Moldova, the right bank of the Lower and Middle Volga, the Central Black Earth region. In terms of the strength and scope of the area, the natural disaster was reminiscent of the drought of 1891, surpassing even the notorious 1921
In addition to natural phenomena, the fact that in the first post-war year the collective and state farms could not counter the drought of such a set of measures that would not allow its harmful effects: the basic requirements of agricultural technology were not met (sowing time, quality of seed, etc.). ). In Ukraine, Belarus, many collective farms had to use cows instead of horses for spring sowing.
The national average grain yield in 1946 was 4.6 centners per hectare - half as much as in 1940 and significantly less than in 1945. Crop failure demanded changes in the state’s procurement policy, creating conditions for collective farm interest in selling their products . This, however, did not happen. To increase the pace of grain procurement, special commissioners were sent to the field, who made extensive use of emergency methods. At the beginning of 1947, the grain procurement plan was fulfilled by 78.8%. In all categories of farms, 17.5 million tons were collected (in 1945, 20 million tons, in 1940, 36.4 million tons). Thus, the collected food stock was about half as much as in 1940, which suggested its preservation and use with the greatest frugality. But, despite its food difficulties, the USSR provided great help to Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and Czechoslovakia at that time. Exports of grain from the USSR in 1946 amounted to 1.7 million tons or 10% of the total procured for the year, which was a significant withdrawal from the state's modest food fund.
The country had to maintain a rationing system for grain, to abandon the transition to free trade in 1946, as outlined in the five-year plan. A number of areas of the USSR affected by drought, starved. In Moldova alone, about 80 thousand people died of dystrophy and related diseases at that time. Child mortality has risen sharply. The plight of the villagers was the impetus for more active migration of collective farmers to the cities - to work in industry and construction. Even their lack of passports could not completely stop this process. In 1946-1953 about 8 million villagers left their villages. Thus, it was agriculture that remained the most vulnerable link in the post-war economy.
Monetary reform was a heavy blow to the village. On December 14, 1947, I. Stalin and A. Zhdanov signed a resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), which said that the reform was carried out in order to strengthen the ruble and withdraw a large amount of counterfeit money from circulation. In addition, it was supposed to prevent speculative elements, which had accumulated large sums of money during the war years, to buy goods after the cancellation of the card system. The exchange of old money for new was made with restrictions, namely, 10 rubles in old money for 1 ruble in new. Revaluation of household deposits in savings banks and the State Bank was carried out on more favorable terms - deposits up to 3 thousand rubles inclusive remained unchanged, that is, 1 ruble was revalued with old money for 1 ruble new. The decision of December 14, 1947 noted that during the conduct of monetary reform, "known victims" would occur. It was declared that "the state assumes most of the victims. Ho it is necessary that a part of the victims take over themselves and the population, especially since this will be the last victim." The reform led to the compulsory withdrawal of money from all those who in any way amassed a considerable amount. Mainly those who kept money in “ku-bulls”, outside the state savings banks, suffered. Most of all among this category of the population turned out to be rural residents.
Simultaneously with the monetary reform, the abolition of the card system was carried out. In the USSR, this happened earlier than in other countries - participants of the Second World War. Uniform retail prices for food and industrial goods were set. At the same time, prices for bread, flour, cereals and pasta were reduced by 10-12%; meat, fish, fats, sugar, salt, potatoes, vegetables and confectionery products remained at the same level. At the same time, it was noted that the prices of milk, eggs, tea, fruit, as well as on fabrics, shoes, clothes are "too low." After the implementation of the reform and the abolition of the rationing system, the prices of consumer goods became higher than the previous normalized, but lower than the commercial ones, corresponding to market conditions. With an average salary in a country that does not even reach 500 rubles per month, this meant that most of the population would not immediately feel the "increase in the level of material well-being," promulgated by a resolution of December 14. Nevertheless, monetary reform helped to improve the finances of the state and contributed to the recovery of the economy as a whole.
In the next few years, retail prices for consumer goods in the USSR were regularly reduced. As a rule, it was announced that this measure was connected with "the successes achieved in the field of industrial and agricultural production, the growth of labor productivity and the reduction of production costs". However, the basis of this policy was the transfer of funds from agriculture. To a large extent, price cuts were subordinated to political, rather than economic, goals. It grew out of the colonial policy towards the village and led to a further deterioration in the financial situation of the peasants.
In 1950 in the USSR began the massive consolidation of collective farms. It was assumed that this measure will contribute to the concentration of the means of production, land use and labor resources. Only in one year, the number of collective farms decreased from 225 thousand to 125 thousand, and by the end of 1952 - to 94 thousand.
By the end of the fourth five-year period, the most important branches of agriculture were basically restored, and all agricultural products in 1950 amounted to 97% of the 1940 level. It was not possible to surpass the prewar level as a whole in all branches of production, although the Central Statistical Office under the USSR Council of Ministers regularly reported that "a good harvest of grain crops was obtained", and the task of the five-year plan "was fulfilled with excess".
Malenkov, speaking at the XIX Party Congress, passing the wishful thinking, proudly stated that the grain problem in the country was "finally resolved." He was echoed by Mikoyan, calling for "special emphasis on the rapid growth of animal husbandry, on the growing of large quantities of well-fed beef cattle and the achievement of plenty of milk." At the same time, it was noted that since there is an improvement in the nutrition of the population, then "there is a need and an increase in the production of all kinds of beverages that improve the appetite." According to Mikoyan, the production of champagne and cognac increased by 2 times in 1952 and continued to grow rapidly. In general, despite the victorious reports of the leaders; growth rates in agriculture remained very modest.
In the industry in 1946-1950. have been a time of rapid growth in the production of the most important product types. Only in 1950, according to official data, the gross industrial output of the USSR increased by 23% compared with 1949. Over the next few years, growth has declined substantially. This was due both to the arbitrary revision of plans, towards an increase in the indicators, and the continuation of repression against the leaders of the State Planning Commission and other departments. At the XIX Party Congress, according to the report of the Chairman of the State Planning Committee M. 3. Saburov, directives of the Central Committee and the USSR Council of mines were adopted according to the fifth five-year plan for 1951-1955. In the field of industry, it was planned to raise the level by 70% with the average annual growth rate of all gross output by 12%. It was planned to double the total capacity of power plants in 5 years, and hydroelectric power plants three times.