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Stalin’s economic policies. The 5 year plans and collectivization. ‘Stalin was a great leader!’ 60 second ‘debate’. AGAINST . FOR . Qs. Name 4 major industrial projects undertaken during the 5 year plans What is the name of the state planning agency?

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stalin s economic policies

Stalin’s economic policies

The 5 year plans and collectivization

  • Name 4 major industrial projects undertaken during the 5 year plans
  • What is the name of the state planning agency?
  • How many tonnes of coal was Stakhanov supposed to have shifted in a single shift?
  • What and when was the first show trial?

‘Spectacular’ projects like the Moscow metro that would fill Russians with pride and be admired throughout the world.

  • Propaganda that inspired the youth
  • Wages were used in many industries.
  • Stakhanovites: workers were urged to follow in the footsteps of Alexei Stakhanov and set records for production. He reputedly moved 102 tonnes of coal in one shift. If you exceeded your targets you would gain rewards.

Ogorodnikov was a leading ‘Stakhanovite’ at Magnitogorsk. He broke the record for Steel ingots produced in a shift 4 time between 1935-6 and was rewarded with a motorcycle and even a new home with its own garden!


There was a great deal of pressure applied on managers in the form of: (i) Unrealistic targets (ii) State subsidies were reduced (iii) Monitoring by the NKVD

  • Managers also had to cope with: (i) Competition from collective farms (ii) Falling international demand (great depression) (iii) Increased military demand for raw materials
  • Wreckers and saboteurs were sent to the gulags or even executed in show trials (Shakhty trial: Donbass coal mining area 1928, 5 executions)
  • Absenteeism was punished by fines or dismissal.
first 5 year plan 1928 32
First 5 year plan 1928-32
  • A concentration on heavy industry: coal, oil, steel and electricity.
  • Why?
  • You need these basic raw materials to build a foundation for economic growth.
  • Without electricity you cannot use modern machinery.
  • Steel is a basic necessity for construction and manufacturing.
  • Coal and oil fuels the machines and vehicles of a modern economy.
  • Stalin wanted to make the Soviet Union into an autarky: an economy that was totally self reliant.
  • Stalinand his government studied the economies of western Europe and concluded that their industrial revolutions had begun with advancements in heavy industries. They sought to replicate this using a different system of economic organisation.
first 5 year plan 1928 321
First 5 year plan 1928-32
  • Huge new industrial centres were created such as Magnitogorsk and the Dnieper Dam which was at the time of construction the largest industrial site in the world.
  • These spectacular projects were undertaken to prove the success of communism. They were reported as incredible feats across the world and it astonished the world especially as the west was going through a ‘the great depression’ which began in 1929 with the wall street crash and lasted until the mid-1930s in many parts of the world.
  • 1500 industrial plants and 100 new towns were created.
  • Coal, oil, iron ore and steel production all doubled.
second 5 year plan 1933 7
Second 5 year plan 1933-7
  • Heavy industries still featured strongly but there was also an emphasis on communications.
  • Railway links were improved to ensure that industrial products could reach their intended markets and vastly expanded towns could run more smoothly.
  • Metallurgy developed, oil and coal production continued to increase rapidly. 4500 new enterprises opened.
  • This was a period of consolidation. Stalin realised he had overreached in the first period.
  • Consumer goods: clothes, footwear, household durables showed some increases but not enough to satisfy the rapidly expanding population. These goods were produced more efficiently by the private sector but they were given little support and were starved of resources.
  • 1934-6 were known as the ‘3 good years’ as rationing had ended and pressure was not so intense. Families experienced genuine increases in their standards of living.
third 5 year plan 1938 41
Third 5 year plan 1938-41
  • Stalin was gearing up for war with Hitler.
  • Heavy industry was the focus but this time it was in order to produce armaments.
  • The most successful sectors were machinery and engineering, but there were major disruptions to production in many areas.
  • Oil production failed to meet targets (50% short) and this prompted a fuel crisis.
  • Consumer industries failed to expand and many industries started to experience shortages of machinery and face technical problems.
  • Stalin became increasingly paranoid and the purges threw many industries into chaos as countless managers, engineers and foreign specialists were killed.
did standards of living improve in the 1930s
Did Standards of Living improve in the 1930s?
  • In Leningrad and Moscow between 1928-33 meat, milk and fruit consumption declined by 2/3s.
  • During the 1st five year plan cities were growing by 200,000 residents per month and the system could not cope.
  • Houses could not be built fast enough (25% of workers at Magnitogorsk lived in mud huts), overcrowding was prevalent and diseases spread quickly.
  • In new industrial centres in the Russian ‘interior’ there were abysmal and dangerous working conditions
  • The successful minorities did have opportunities like never before to advance through the ranks of the communist party and increase their power and wealth. REMEMBER; in pre-communist Russia a serf was a serf and a worker would always be a worker: RIGID social hierarchy.
  • Education and career opportunities were much better.
collective farms
Collective Farms
  • Kolkhoz (Kommon) : A type of collective farm that consisted of between 50 and 100 households. This type of farm was run by an elected committee. Land and livestock were pooled and peasants farmed collectively, but each family had a private plot of up to one acre on which they could grow vegetables and keep a cow, a pig and a chicken. This was the most common type of collective farm. There were 250,000 of these by 1937. The private plots provided 52% of Russia’s vegetables, 57% of Russia’s fruit, 70% of Russia’s meat and 71 % of Russia’s milk.
  • Sovkhoz (State): A type of collective farm in which the land was owned and run by the state. The farm was run by a state-appointed manager and the peasants worked as employees for fixed wages. Originally the government wanted most of the peasants on this type of farm, but the peasants preferred the kolkhoz.
  • Toz(team): A type of collective farm where peasants owned land individually but shared machinery and cooperated in activities like sowing and harvesting. This type of farm was reasonably common before 1930, but few farms of this type survived collectivization.
  • How might the following people feel about collectivization?
  • 1) A poor peasant
  • 2) A kulak
  • Questions p98, 101, 103
  • Collectivization was a terrible disaster for the Russian people
  • Work with a partner:
  • Write a 300-500 response
  • One person agrees with the statement the other opposes it.

(This will be graded and the winner will received a merit)

  • Refer to pages 95-105
  • Flash cards!