In March of 1921, Lenin introduced his New Economic Policy to the tenth Congress as a means of fixing the many shortages that ran rampant throughout Russia, particularly food. Essentially the New Economic Policy (NEP) allowed peasants to sell their food surpluses on the open market, instead of having their surplus claimed by the state. This helped to revitalize the Russian economy because, in addition to the peasants having an incentive to produce more grain, the NEP opened the door for the denationalization of many small scale industries. The state also levied a tax on the peasant surplus sales as well as the small industries and businesses, generating more spending money for the state. In fact, by 1927 the economy had returned to prewar levels and the peasants were now producing a significant surplus of food.
However, not everything was perfect in Russia. When the NEP was initially presented, it was met with opposition from the Bolsheviks. They did not like the idea of having any sort of open market in their new socialist economy, despite the fact that the famine and material shortages had forced many citizens to utilize the black market. Lenin defended the NEP by claiming it was state sponsored capitalism and a necessary step towards full socialism. Economic classes began to divide society as certain populations began to profit more than others. Unemployment also became a factor. Both of these issues, and the unrest they produced, are said to have allowed Stalin to triumph over his political rivals.