Rebuilding the Economy
The poster above was published in order to explain two different decrees passed in1921 that affected workers and their payment. These decrees allowed workers to recieve bonuses; sometimes made up of manufactured goods, that they could then trade for agricultural products as well as food. These decrees also encouraged workers to join cooperatives that had recently been made legal by the NEP.
This poster is just one example of the many efforts made to start rebuilding Russias econonmy in the early 1920s. In 1921 Lenin kicked off the attempt by introducing the New Economic Policy (NEP). This was in multiple ways a very different approach than how they had be trying to run the country. As I said in my last post, during the war the russian government attempted to regulate all food sales and distribution. Lenin called this act, “War communism.” At the time food shortages were at unthinkable highs, leading to a lot of unrest and conflict. Civilian strike numbers escalated as well as military rebelions. Lenins war communism was an attempt to put these conflicts to rest and stabalize the russian econonmy.
The biggest benefits of the NEP were seen after peasents were allowed to sell their surplus goods at market. This shfted the economy away from communism and more towards a capitalism. It also lead to more foreign investment as well as stabalization of russian currency. Lenin referred to the NEP as a retreat from the state to the “Commanding heights of the economy” and insisted it be pursued “seriously and for a long time.”
Lenins NEP ended up being the push the economy needed because by the late 20s the russian economy was nearly back to prewar status. The NEP wasnt all good however. Unemployment was still on the rise along with unrest about bourgeois degeneracy and the decrease in revolutionary dynamism. By 1929 Stalin had prevailed and launched the five year plan for industrialization leading to the NEP being tossed aside.
It’s interesting to see the shift from communism to a more capitalistic society. Do you know how much the electrification campaign helped with this rebuilding as well? Lenin believed that this was a critical aspect of “transforming Russia from a ‘small-peasant basis into a large-scale industrial basis.'”
NEP seems like such a retreat from communist ideals. Why do you think Lenin’s government implemented these “capitalist” measures?
I agree with prof. Nelson, it seems like a semi-retreat from communism. Maybe Lenin realized communism as a practice is much different than in theory and some capitalist incentives are needed to fuel the economy?