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Flashcards in Lenin: Industrial and agricultural change Deck (52):

what does Trotsky's theory of "combined and uneven development" argue?

that Russia could skip a phase of development and leap straight from feudalism and socialism.


who did the White Armies consist of and where did they exist?

the White Armies consisted of former Tsarist generals, nationalist independence movements and the Social Revolutionaries and existed at the periphery of Bolshevik territory.


why was the Red Army struggling to arm and equip itself during 1918?

because Russian heavy industry was in chaos following the two revolutions of 1917


despite good harvests, why did Russia experience serious food problems in 1916?

due to: the collapse of the transport network, the fact that the government fixed grain prices artificially low, and rising inflation ate into any profits the peasantry might make.


Food problems in 1916 encouraged the peasants to do what?

hoard their grain instead of selling it to the state.


what policy did the government introduce to tackle grain hoarding and was it continued?

the government introduced razvyortska, making the hoarding of grain illegal and giving the right to collect surpluses. The Provisional Government continued with this policy as did the Bolsheviks.


why did the size of the Red Army during the Civil War put pressure on the peasants?

By 1920 it had swelled to over 3 million men, all of whom needed to be fed and clothed. They also needed to requisition as many horses as possible and conscript large numbers of peasants who would otherwise be harvesting their crops


by 1918 why were Russian cities starving and how many people left for the countryside as a result?

By 1918 Russian cities were beginning to starve as the peasants were reluctant to sell their produce believing the ruble was losing its value due to inflation. This and a collapsing rail network caused mass hunger and led to 70% of Petrograd's population and 50% of Moscow's leaving the city for the countryside.


who were Bagmen and why did they burden the railway system?

Bagmen were those who stole items from the factories where they worked and then traded the goods for food in the villages. They were one of the main sources of food supplies to the starving cities but as tens of thousands of Bagmen poured on to trains to the countryside every day, the already weakened railway system came close to collapse.


what was the role of the Vesenkha?

the Vesenkha was the soviet supreme economic council, established in December 1917. When the Bolsheviks government took most industries under state control, the Vesenkha directed their work and output. It also had the power to seize any assets from their owners. The Vesenkha was one of the main organisations through which War Communism was established in Russia.


when did the Bolsheviks impose martial law across central Russia?

May 1918, as they faced total collapse.


what decree did the Bolsheviks announce in May 1918?

Grain Monopoly: all grain was declared state property and the peasants were required to hand over any surpluses.


when did the Bolsheviks announce the Nationalisation Decree and what was it?

June 1918: The factories that had been taken over by the workers during 1917 were made the property of the state.


what are some of the arguments historians have provided in order to explain Lenin's intentions in creating the policies of War Communism?

Desperation: perhaps he did not originally envisage extending state control over the entire economy. Instead, the pressures of the civil war forced Lenin to establish a grain monopoly and abolish private trade.
Class War: an opportunity to eliminate "enemy" social classes. The bourgeoisie and the former nobility either starved or were reduced to such penury thy had no influence. Workers (Mensheviks or SRs) were controlled through hunger and over work. The peasants were subjected to immense brutality, Kulaks in particular.
Creating a Socialist Economy: a chance to create an economy that eliminated private trade. But Lenin himself did not believe in the short term that this was possible.


the abolishment of private trade meant what for the cities?

by abolishing private trade the cities were pushed closer to starvation and the Bolsheviks were forced to send thousands of soldiers to procure grain from the peasants instead of fighting at the front.


how did the Bolsheviks attempt to sow division into the village communities?

through the establishment of Poor Peasants Communities; each village was given a quota to fulfil and the poor peasants were encouraged to place the burden of the quotas on their better off neighbours. Often the committees were filled with party activists who had travelled from the cities and were viewed as outsiders.


Under Lenin, why did some villages resist attempts to create division?

because the peasants were inter-related within the village, they did not see themselves as "rich" or "poor" but viewed each other as equally impoverished or they resented attempts to stir up trouble.


why were PPCs abolished?

they often acted illegally, running some villages in a manner close to barbarism which was a powerful contributing factor to waves of revolt in 1918 and 1919. They were abolished in Dec. 1918 at the 6th Party Congress when Lenin realised the policy had failed.


how did the government use grain requisitioning to their advantage?

government propaganda emerged that portrayed kulaks as greedy speculators and class enemies. Lenin made a series of speeches demanding death to the Kulaks and a Bolshevik "food army" of armed requisitioning was formed to occupy peasant villages and use whatever violence was necessary to extract food from the peasants.


why was the grain monopoly declared?

when the village soviets refused to send grain to the cities because the price was too low and there was nothing to buy with the paper money they received in return. Because so many workers had left for the countryside, factories stood empty and the manufactured goods the peasants normally bought were not produced.


how many troops left from Russia's cities to the countryside in food brigades?



how did food brigades act and why? what was Lenin's reaction?

the brigades included few disciplined professional soldiers and were made up of criminals, vagrants and men desperate for work and food. As well as requisitioning grain, they plundered villages, taking grain seed to ensure village starvation, torturing and murdering peasants, and raping women and girls. Villages would run into the forest in fear when they approached. Lenin's full reaction is unclear but his rhetoric seems to have encouraged the squads, and Bolsheviks supporters, to see violence against the peasants as necessary.


what happened to the food collected by food brigades?

much of the food was stolen or left in warehouses to rot, as the railway network was too chaotic to transport it to the cities.


why did famine arise in 1921?

three years of requisitioning resulted in widespread hunger in the countryside, but a poor harvest tipped large parts of peasant Russia into famine. The level of requisitioning had left some peasants with no food reserves at all.


how did Lenin and his government react to regional officials?

regional officials messaged the government explaining that a famine was imminent, but Lenin and his government did not reduce the quotas.


how many people died in the 1921 famine?

6 million, mainly in the Volga region.


what did the Civil War mean for workplace democracy?

it could no longer be tolerated. Instead, a military style factory discipline had to be imposed to produce the munitions and supplies the Red Army were so desperate for.


why did the workers feel betrayed by the Bolsheviks in 1918?

offering workers full workplace democracy had been vital in convincing them to overthrow their employers and they felt betrayed because the Bolsheviks had employed their own managers into all major factories, replacing previous bourgeois managers.


why did the Bolsheviks want to re-gain industrial control in 1918?

•Workers had contributed to inflation by voting for large pay rises
•They had attacked and killed many technical experts and managers out of a spirit of hatred and revenge, robbing Russian industry of expertise.
•Workplace soviets did nothing to bring about factory discipline-absenteeism, theft and a refusal to work were constant features of working life.
•The factory soviet and trade unions were often opposed to the Bolsheviks- there were frequent strikes and demonstrations in 1917 and 1918 against the party, especially as food supplies from the countryside dwindled.


what did those who were angry with the Bolsheviks do in 1918?

They formed a network of protest groups called the Extraordinary Assemblies of Factory and Plant representatives who by June 1918 had over a quarter of a million members - they wanted a return to democracy and believed the "worker's revolution" had been replaced with Bolsheviks control and the promises of the revolution had been betrayed.


What did Lenin do in April 1918?

• Decided that worker control of the factories must be replaced by state control
• He wrote an essay “The Immediate Tasks of Soviet Power” claiming that until the economy had been rebuilt, it was futile trying to overthrow capitalism
• He believed: Bourgeois “experts” and managers needed to be retained in order to make industry work, there would be different levels of pay for factory workers and managers and they would have to have a more privileged status, equality had to take second place to efficient management, because the managers would now be state employees the power to control factories shifted from the soviets and trade unions to the government.


what happened in May 1918? what did the Bolsheviks do?

There was a large strike in Petrograd after the secret police, the Checka, had opened fire on protesting workers. The Bolsheviks responded by arresting and executing strike leaders associated with the opposition parties and threatening to sack any striking worker. They shut down opposition newspapers, outlawed the Extraordinary Assemblies and expelled non Bolsheviks from factory soviets.


what happened in February 1921?

In Feb. 1921 the factories in Petrograd ran out of fuel and 93 of them were closed, throwing 30,000 workers out of their jobs and ending their entitlement to food. Ten days later they re-opened but in that time tens of thousands of angry workers had taken to the streets to demand the end of the Bolshevik regime.


what did War Communism result in?

An explosion of protest and violence by 1921, from the very groups the Bolsheviks claimed to represent, the peasants, workers, and the Kronstadt sailors. Lenin said that he viewed the peasants' uprising as a far greater threat to the regime than all the white armies combined.


What had Lenin's use of state power to run the economy enable the Bolsheviks to do? What did this lead to?

This enabled the Bolsheviks to exert their influence and ideology on Russia in a way that would not have been possible before the civil war. However, the policy of War Communism had devastated the Russian economy and had led to a series of revolts that almost overwhelmed the regime.


What did Lenin announce at the 10th Congress of the Communist Party in March 1921?

He announced the end of razvyortska (forced grain requisitioning) and its replacement with a food tax called the prodnalog.


What was the most important element of the NEP and why?

Prodnalog because it enabled peasants to retain their surpluses and to sell them to traders for potential profit.


What did Lenin hope to simulate with the NEP?

Lenin hoped to stimulate smychka, an alliance between the peasants and the workers, where both parties were dependent on one another.


What was different about NEP policies in comparison to War Communism?

the "commanding heights of the economy" remained under state control, e.g., heavy industry, electricity production and the railways but, small businesses such as restaurants, grocers, butchers, tailors and cobblers were allowed to re-open and their profits were allowed to remain in private hands.


What did people believe the effects of the NEP were on the peasants?

Many workers resented the peasants as they were allowed to sell their produce and accumulate profits. Many believed that the peasants were becoming a new capitalist class and were holding them to ransom with high foo prices.


What did the workers hate about NEP?

Despite the fact they had access to shops and markets again, where they could buy produce, they lacked the spending power to be able to purchase what they wanted.
They were also resentful of a new generation of wealthy traders called NEP-men, who were often portrayed in cartoons as gangsters who enjoyed prostitutes and champagne. In reality however, most NEP men were simply small traders who managed to make enough to survive.


What happened to the members of the party in the early 20s?

There was an influx of workers into the party.


How did new party members receive the NEP?

Many new party members, committed to the revolution and to building socialism, felt very conflicted by the NEP.


Why did workers feel conflicted under NEP?

Many workers, hungry and poorly clothed after ears of factory toil during War Communism, understandably found themselves longing to enjoy the brief return to material prosperity, but then found themselves fearing they were betraying the revolution's values as Lenin often argued that complete commitment to the revolution and its values involved abandoning "bourgeois" ways and ignoring the desire for consumer goods and comforts.


Why was there disagreement in the party over NEP?

From 1921, various flea markets sprung up around Russia as the impoverished began to trade under the NEP. For many in the party, the point of the war had been to defeat capitalism and there was widespread shock and disbelief at its resurrection, particularly after so many party comrades had died.


Which prominent party members supported NEP? Who opposed it?

Trotsky had originally proposed that the economics of War Communism be maintained into peacetime and the Red Army be used as a vast labour force to rebuild essential infrastructure like the railway network. Nikolai Bukharin, who had originally been on the left of the Party, gradually became less and less radical and began to support the NEP. He believed that the pat to socialism needed to be gradual and long term.


What happened to the relationship between the peasants and the government under NEP? What did they allow them to do?

It improved. Despite the mistrust that the Bolsheviks had for the peasants, Lenin believed that under the NEP reforms they could play an important part in developing the Russian economy. The Bolshevik government allowed peasants to borrow money from the state in order to purchase tools and other manufactured goods and by 1927, half of all peasants belonged to a cooperative.


Were NEP policies popular with the peasants? What about the party?

It was a very popular and effective measure with the peasantry, but this did not prevent the left of the party from being very suspicious of it, believing it was creating a new rural capitalist class.


What happened to productivity under NEP and why?

Productivity improved in Russian agriculture under the NEP, partly because there were financial incentives for the workers and partly because of state intervention, finance and assistance. By 1926, Russian peasants were producing the same amount of food that they had grown in 1913 and harvest yields continued to grow throughout the 1920s.


Where did the party think the future of agriculture lay?

There was a broad agreement across the party that the future of agriculture did not lie in peasant cooperatives, but instead in state run collective farms where the land and livestock would become state property and the peasants would become state employees. Mechanisation and the merging of the peasant's fields into large scale farming operations would mean a plentiful supply of cheap food would be available for the workers in the towns and cities. This process (prior to Stalin) was meant to be gradual and voluntary.


How did the government encourage collectivization?

It was meant to be gradual and voluntary but the government also used financial pressure to encourage it, heavily taxing kulak farmers after 1927 and offering credit to collectives.


Were collective policies popular?

Most peasants who chose to join collectives opted to join the smaller variety, the TOZ, where the land was shared but the livestock and tools were not. Bigger collectives, called Kommuny, were less popular because land, livestock and tools became communally owned.