R.S.F.S.R., Ukrainian S.S.R., Byelorussian S.S.R. and the Transcaucasian S.F.S.R. (included Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) - all four together constituted the U.S.S.R. The name Russia was dropped to help the nationalities feel more recognized though, in reality, Russia or the R.S.F.S.R. still dominated.
One of first four members of the U.S.S.R. which was formed officially in 1922. Extended to Siberia and the Pacific. Constitutied 1/2 the population an 3/4 of the territoriy of the U.S.S.R. Considered the first step to the World S.S.R. but in practise, in time, R.S.F.S.R. dominated over the others.
BY 1936, the constitution established a bicameral legislature. Upper Chamber was known as the Soviet of Nationalities and the lower ast the Soviet of the Union (1 representative for 300,000 of population).
Soviet of Nationalities
By 1936 and within the Soviet Republics, were autonomous republics, autonomous regions and cultural districts - all having representation in the upper legislative house of the Soviet of Nationalities.
Council of People's Commissars
Ministry in the State apparatus of the government. Soviets chose executives for this body.
Central Committee of the Communist Party
Top of Communist Party. Had 70 members in 1930 and increased thereafter.
Office created by Stalin in the Communist Party. Came to dominate the entire structure of the party. Power and authority flowed from the top down. Had authority over appointments and assignments at all levels.
Within the Central Committee this was the political bureau of about 12 members who dominated the discussion on policy and leading personnel.
These wealthier, independent farmers who had gradually emerged after Emancipation and were independent of the Mir, were favored by Lenin's New Economic Policy which was in effect from 1921 to 1927. They and the NEP were necessary to restore traade between city and country and maintain the food supply for everyone. Kulak and middlemen profited at this time. lenin recognized that attempts towards socialism been too rapid and costly before he established the N.E.P. NEP also fostered the new proletariat. These were wage-earners working for th Kulaks and bourgeois middlemen. Seemed to contravene the notions of a classless society but was a practical solution to the economic chaos of the days following WWI, the Revolution and the Civil War.
Trotsky detested the NEP as a compromise of Communist principles. Felt there should be an incessant drive for proletarian revolution on all fronts and in all parts of the world -> permanent revolution. While others wanted to build socialism at home first, he felt it should be on-going everywhere. Wanted forceful industrialization, collectivization of agriculture, mass involvement in the party, planned economy. Stalin would oppose Trotsky's policy recommendations. Stalin had him exiled to Siberia and later banished to Turkey which he left for France and then Mexico. Organized an anti-Stalin underground and wrote about his political ideas from abroad. Stalin finally had him assassinated in Mexico.
First Five Year Plan
1928-32: Plan for rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture - (basic Trotsky) yet appropriated by Stalin. Aim was to enrich, make military and industry self-sufficient and lay groundwork for true worker's society. Also dispel the "backward" image that Russia had in world community.
This was the central planning agency set up to administer the Five-Year Plans. Made all the decisions - who produced what, where, where it was distributed, etc. Controlled the flow of resources which in a capitalist system would be controlled the laws of supply and demand. In practise Gosplan and the Five-Year plans were beset with problems of management and bureaucracy.
Original Five Year plan called for collectivization of 1/5 of agricultural units but Stalin revised this in 1929 and said most of agriculture should be collectivised. Peasants had to surrender their property to the collectives. These were often a few thousand acres each and most were owned by peasant collectives though some were state-owned collectives. Peasants no longer owned property but were forced to work collectively on huge farms and struggle to meet production quotas. Many peasants were reluctant to surrender their property and some tried to hide supplies of grain or livestock and slaughtered animals rather than give them up to the state. Process of collectivization brought much misery and conflict to the peasants' mirs.
Liquidation of the Kulaks
Wealthier peasants who had more to give up were often more reluctant to be collectivized. Stalin said they should be liquidated as a class. In 1929 hundreds of thousands were killed and many others transported to labor camps. This process of collectivization was supposed to turn the proletariat into a manipulable mass but was achieved at cost of class war. Lenin's NEP had encouraged the activities of the Kulaks and before him Stolypin had sought to create a middle class. Now, abruptly, these policies were brutally reversed. At the height of this upheaval, poor harvest resulted in disastrous famine in 1932 in which millions are estimated to have died. (Recall Video) Yet Stalin still pushed for export of grains to finance industrial growth.
Machine Tractor Stations
On collective farms could use capital acquired by the efforts of members to invest in machinery and then share the equipment. The MTSs were an example of this. Encouraged mechanization of agriculture since individual peasant would not have been in position to purchase such a high capital item as a tractor. MTSs were established throughout the countryside during the First Five Year Plan.
Second Five Year Plan
1933-> In some ways less ambitious than the first but had goal of national self-sufficiency, especially in heavy industry basic to war production. First two plans resulted in INCREDIBLE, UNPRECEDENTED INDUSTRIAL GROWTH. 1928-38: iron and steel production X 4; coal X 3 1/2. By 1939 Russia was third in the world (behind U.S. and Germany) in output of these items. AMAZING GROWTH!!!
1935, in order to encourage increase of daily productivity, govt published the output of a coalminer named Stakhanov and made a national hero of him. Made wages geared to output (piece-rate). Led to competition in different areas. Labor heroes such as Stakhanov were inspiration to others. It was thought that a new and higher stage of socialist competition was being reached. Even factory managers competed. There was a huge pressure to meet the plan's quotas.
Constitution of 1936
Socialism was thought to have proven so successful that a new constitution of the USSR was proclaimed. In this the rights of the citizen were enumerated. Went beyond civil liberties and involved right to employement, rest, leisure, economic security, comfortable old age. Racism was condemned and direct and equal universal suffrage was assured. HOWEVER, this would prove, in many ways, to be a hollow sham. At same time liberties proclaimed on paper, Stalin and party were tightening their grip and a time of internal troubles was to follow.
Old friend and revolutionary companion of Stalin since 1909. Was very popular with the workers and soldiers in Petrograd/Leningrad. Showed signs of appealing to the disaffected. Stalin became very jealous of him. In 1934 he was assassinated in his office - most probably by an agent of Stalin. But Stalin used this assassination as an excuse to strike out at his opponents, real/imagined, and a revival of "terror" ensued. All told, there were about 100+ executions of high-ranking revolutionaries in the 4 year purged that followed. No-one seemed safe. During this time even Stalin's wife, an old Bolshevik revolutionary herself, was driven to "suicide."
Trotsky had led a group of "Left Bolsheviks" (including Zinoviev and Kamenev) who had opposed Lenin's NEP policy and instead wanted the "permanent revolution." They were critical of Stalin's policies. In 1927 Zinoviev and Kamenev were expelled from the party for supporting Trotsky. They were later readmitted having rejected Trotskyism but Stalin continued to distrust them and later made them subjects in the purge trials.
Old Bolshevik and leader of Communist party in Petrograd. Also head of Comintern.
See Trotskyists and Purges.