Flashcards in Russia: 4a, Social Security Deck (51):
What declaration did Lenin publish in 1918? What did it do?
The Declaration of the rights of Toiling and Exploited People.
-It abolished the private ownership of land so capitalists could no longer make money from simply owning things.
-It established universal labour duty which meant everybody worked and capitalists could no longer live off the work of others (combatting the parasitical)
Why was it difficult to find employment from October 1917 to mid-1918?
Due to the revolutions of 1917. Between March and August 1917, 570 industrial enterprises closed down which meant that over 100,000 people were unemployed by October 1918.
Also when Russia left WW1, war production ceased, leading to even more unemployment.
By March 1918, 75% of metal and chemical workers in Petrograd were unemployed.
During the period of Oct. 1917 to mid-1918, what was the role of former middle-class workers?
They were employed as "bourgeois experts" who received wages to organise and run factories. This was instead of making their money from property.
When was compulsory work introduced?
From September 1918, able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 50 lost the right to refuse employment.
How did rationing work under Lenin?
Each worker was issued a food rationing card.
Rationing was organised by Prodraspred (Section of General Distribution) which had subsections that delivered to workers and a Community section which tried to deliver to schools and those who could not work due to disability or illness.
The population was split into six groups and rations were allocated according to occupation. Working-class people received the most rations. Those with middle-class jobs, such as doctors, received less, and aristocrats and former factory owners, "the former people" were entitled to only 25% of the rations workers received.
At the height of the system, 36 products were rationed and 22 million people relied on the system.
What other benefits did workers have access to pre-NEP?
In Moscow and Petrograd workers could access public transport with a work card and had access to communal dining halls. The government claimed 92% of workers were fed in communal dining halls. Other communal facilities such as crèches and laundries were provided in urban areas, mostly to support female workers.
Pre-NEP did Party members receive special benefits?
Yes, they had access to special shops where they could buy luxuries that were usually very hard to find.
Was compulsory work and government provision successful under Lenin?
No, due to:
-The disruption of the civil war and fuel shortages, there was a 25% decrease in the number of factory workers.
-War Communism only provided 50% of the food and fuel workers needed to live and so many turned to the black market.
-Workers fled the city to look for food and work in the countryside. Between 1917 and 1921 the population of Petrograd decreased by 50%.
What did the NEP mark the return of?
The NEP marked a return to state capitalism with an aim of promoting economic growth.
Why was unemployment a significant problem between 1921 and 1924?
-The percentage of the labour force unemployed rose from 5.5% in 1921 to 18% in 1924 due to:
-The Red Army was demobilised in 1921 and 1922 and many soldiers found it hard to get work.
-Some of those who fled the cities during the civil war returned and found it difficult to find work.
-In order to make industry profitable, the government decreased the sixe of the labour force employed in it's factories in order to cut labour costs.
-As War Communism ended, the government fired around 225,000 administrators who had been in charge of implementing the system
How many of the unemployed in towns and cities were women in 1922?
-funding for crèches was ended and traditional sexism coupled with the fact that ex-Red Army soldiers were given job priority meant that women had little chance of finding work.
What were some of the social benefits for workers introduced during the NEP?
-The 1922 Labour Law allowed trade unions to negotiate agreements regarding pay and conditions with factories.
-Social Insurance- disability, maternity, unemployment, and medical benefits covering 9 million workers.
-Increased government investment in the education of urban workers and their families.
-Workers were being paid around 10% more than they had been pre-Revolution
-BUT peasants were excluded from these benefits due to the government's focus on the proletariat.
What link was re-established under Stalin and how was it emphasised?
The link between compulsory work and social benefits was re-established and emphasised by the fact benefits became increasingly available through factories and collective farms rather than through trade unions and local soviets as they had been before.
Why did Stalin want full employment and what did this mean for the workforce?
-Stalin wanted full employment to ensure rapid industrialisation but speed and the necessity to meet production targets meant a compromise on safety and conditions in the work place.
How did Stalin view the workers?
He viewed them as a crucial economic resource, essential to building socialism.
More jobs in the city meant what for the peasants?
Relatively well-paid jobs in the towns and cities attracted peasants who were eager to escape the horrors and poverty of collectivisation.
BUT there was no improvement in the standard of living
What were some of the punishments that Stalin introduced and in certain cases, revived?
-Lateness was criminalised
-Damaging factory property was criminalised
-Strikes were banned
- Unions lost the right to negotiate with factories
What were some other rules Stalin imposed on the workforce?
-The introduction of the "continuous work week" where workers still received one day off but it changed every week. It meant factories and mines no longer had to close on a Sunday.
-In 1940, workers lost the right to change jobs. As there was a mass call for workers during the Five-Year-Plans, many workers could pick and choose their line of work with many leaving unannounced. To prevent this, the government introduced internal passports.
What were some of the social benefits of the Five-Year-Plans?
-Workers were entitled to food rations
-By 1933, the majority of Soviet citizens had access to electricity.
- In the 1930s, 30,000km of railway line was built which meant increased access to transport - passenger traffic increased by 400%
-The Moscow Metro was opened in the 30s
-There was also a significant increase in healthcare provisions including mass vaccination campaigns and farm and factory canteens providing meals for workers.
Did the peasantry fare any better under Stalin?
No, they were once again left out. They were not entitled to rations and due to government seizures, food was much scarcer in villages than in towns. Often, peasants had to travel to the cities in order to buy bread.
Could Party members benefit under Stalin?
-Yes, soviet healthcare offered a "party first policy".
-Party members could also host special events, such as banquets, at the expense of the government.
-Such unfair access to resources lead to radical inequalities.
Why did the number of industrial workers increase from 1945-1950?
Returning soldiers meant the industrial workforce increased from 8 million in 1945 to 12.2 million in 1950.
Did healthcare improve after 1940?
-Infant mortality declined by 50% between 1940 and 1950.
-Between 1947 and 1952, the number of medical doctors increased by two thirds.
-From 1947 vaccines against typhus and malaria were made universally available and from 1949 the number of malaria cases rapidly declined.
Did improved healthcare lead to a healthier population?
-Food shortages, poor housing, and poverty caused by the war all lead to illness.
-The planned economy failed to produce simple things such as soup, soap, and warm clothing.
-To combat the food problem, work canteens used rotten food, animal feed, and other things unsuitable to human consumption which lead to illness.
-Sanitation in factories and on farms was also very poor, there were often outbreaks of dysentery and lice infestations.
-Hygiene education was also inadequate. It wasn't until 1947 that publicity campaigns called for people to use the toilet "in a civilised manner" and encouraged people to wash their hands after going to the loo.
How many sick days did the average Soviet worker take per year in 1946?
Between 10 and 13.
When was rent outlawed?
In the period 1918-21 in an attempt to radicalise housing.
In terms of housing, what happened between Nov. 1917 and Aug. 1918?
A key principle of the revolution was the spontaneous taking of property from wealthy owners by the workers.
When did the government nationalise housing?
In a Decree published August 1918.
How did the NEP affect housing?
-The NEP was a period in which ownership was respected.
-60-80% of housing was denationalised, much of it returned to its previous owners (if they had survived)
-Return of rent which then remained throughout the history of the Soviet Union
How much housing was built by private companies under NEP?
90% of housing was built by private companies, 10% by the government. This meant that most of the housing was free from any ideological input and was mostly just built in previously authorised / fashionable styles. Though some were built in the constructivist style, an art school that was encouraged by the government at the time.
What was restarted after Lenin's death? What was introduced?
The redistribution of housing began after Lenin's death and the end of the NEP. It marked the beginning of socialised housing, the basis of living for the rest of Soviet history.
What happened to the urban population between 1929 and 1940?
It trebled which meant a huge demand for housing
What was the solution for highly populated urban areas under Stalin?
The Kommunalka: by 1940 the average space for one person was 4m2. There was a complete lack of privacy. Those who still did not have a place in the Kommunalka were called corner dwellers and lived in the corridors or the communal spaces of the buildings.
Why was the Kommunalka a good thing for the government?
On the one hand it was practical. Communal Apartments meant that the masses could be housed without having to spend lots of time and money. It was also an ideological aid as it encouraged equality (soviet style of living) and allowed extensive surveillance of the civilian population; many were informed on by their neighbours and those they shared a space with.
Why was the Kommunalka a bad thing?
Mostly bad for the Soviet people as they had no privacy, everything was shared. There had been no increase in living standards and there was lack of infrastructure for example in a district of Moscow, where 650,000 people lived, there were 0 public bathhouses.
What was another feature of housing during the Stalinist era? Give an example.
Large, new industrial towns that built entirely around the needs of industry.
Arguably the most infamous is Magnitogorsk.
Here, despite the large Kommunalka that was built, by the end of the 1940s 20% of people still lived in mud huts.
How much of urban housing was destroyed by WWII?
One third but Stalin still maintained a small housing budget.
What did Stalin prefer to spend on instead of housing?
He preferred to spend on heavy industry and redeveloping the economy.
What is an example of a lack of funding for homes under Stalin?
In Moscow in 1948, suburbs saw no new houses built. There had been a project to build more but it was suspended due to financial problems.
What was the problem with Stalin's preference on how he spent the budget?
The newly developed economy was struggling to house its workers. For example, after the war in a coal field outside Moscow, there were enough dormitories for only 15,000 of the 27,000 workers.
How much did Khrushchev spend in comparison to Stalin?
Between 1950 and 1965 Khrushchev spent double the amount on urban housing than Stalin had done.
What was the Khrushchyovka? How was it built?
The Khrushchyovka were more individualised apartments that allowed an unprecedented amount of privacy. They had most basic amenities.
They were cheap to build (on purpose as Khrushchev intended for them to be rebuilt once Communism had been achieved which, according to him, would be in the late 70s/early 80s), pre-fabricated in the K7 style and were not supposed to be a permanent solution.
What were the benefits of the Khrushchyovka?
Each person had 10x the amount of space they had had in the Kommunalka and there was an end to the constant fear of surveillance. This can potentially be seen as an ideological step-back.
Did Brezhnev continue Khrushchev's policies?
Yes, as part of the Social Contract.
How did Brezhnev combat the lack of surveillance?
He believed that there needed to be an increase in Soviet propaganda to encourage citizens to lead good and proper "Socialist lives". They needed to be encouraged and educated.
What tension arose from housing in the Khrushchev / Brezhnev era?
The tension between practical needs (living standards, amenities, appeasing the masses) and the ideological needs (building socialism, obtaining popular support for the regime). This tension was apparent in lots of areas of social policy.
What balance was Lenin trying to achieve during War Communism and how was this achieved?
A balance between winning the civil war (producing enough) and ideology, achieved through the introduction of compulsory work.
How much did Khrushchev spend on healthcare between 1950-59?
He almost doubled the amount to 44 billion rubles.
What did Khrushchev introduce in 1961?
Several new social benefits:
-free lunches at school and work
-free public transport for workers
-the widening of the social welfare net
What were the 5 key points of the Social Contract?
-Keeping prices low
-Extension of social benefits
-Some social mobility
-Allowing the black market to exist without cracking down on it, dissimilar to Lenin and Stalin