Industrialization: Stalin’s Methods
Though many of Stalin’s ways of ushering Russia into industrialization were brutal and cruel they were effective and just what Russia needed at the time. Through his “New Economic Policy” Stalin proposed a series of five year plans that collectivized agriculture and state guided crash industrialization. Stalin would later limit social freedoms and broaden the confines of socialism.
The first two five year Plans achieved rapid industrialization from a low economic base. Under Stalin, the precise speed of growth is disputed. However, it is not disputed that these gains were accomplished at the cost of millions of lives. Stalin created factories and urban areas, and those who still farmed were told what to grow by the state. These urban workers received any benefits along with their difficulties. They were given healthcare, free education and Stalin held mass literacy campaigns.
Stalin's regime moved to force collectivization of agriculture. This was intended to increase agricultural output from large-scale mechanized farms, to bring the peasantry under more direct political control, and to make tax collection more efficient. Collectivization meant drastic social changes, and alienation from control of the land and its produce. Collectivization also meant a drastic drop in living standards for many peasants, and it faced violent reaction among the peasantry.
In the first years of collectivization it was estimated to increase industrial production but these estimates were not met. Stalin blamed this unanticipated failure on kulaks that resisted collectivization. These kulaks were to be shot, placed into Gulag labor camps, or deported to remote areas of the country, depending on the charge. These punishments were harsh and undeserved. Therefore many men lied about productivity and so much of what is attributed to Stalin was never done completely as Stalin had ordered.
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