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The New Economic Policy Of 1921

1493 words - 6 pages

The New Economic Policy of 1921

" The real meaning of the New Economic policy is that we have met a
great defeat in our plans and that we are now making a strategic
retreat… Before we are utterly smashed, let us retrace our steps and
begin to build on a new foundation," - said Lenin in his speech on the
22nd of October 1921. His speech is considered to be one of the
frankest admissions of failure ever made by a leader of a great
nation. It is clear that the general reason of NEP's introduction was
to find a substitute for War Communism policy. What requires
investigation is the conditions Russia was in by 1921? At the same
time in this essay I will try to explain NEP's pluses and minuses as
well as why was it scrapped in 1928.

The New Economic Policy was the third major policy introduced by the
Soviet Government since it's establishment in 1917. As with the
previous policies: State Capitalism and War Communism - it was
introduced, generally speaking, to respond to the mood and situation
in the country and to achieve economical and political progress while
building socialism. But nevertheless there were some other, more
specific reasons. The problems developed during War Communism had
showed that it clearly failed at a practical level. Insufficient grain
supplies, caused by fierce peasant resistance to requisition by the
government in 1917, together with drought in the summer of 1921 and
the general disruption of Civil war, had created such a bad national
famine, Russia hadn't seen for thirty years. As it was admitted in
1921 by Pravda - one in five of population was starving. A lot of
factory workers left towns for countryside in hope to find some food
there as well to escape the Civil War. This resulted in serious
stagnation of industrial sector. The situation was even more
deteriorated by hyper-inflation. The shortage of goods and the
government's policy of continuing to print currency notes effectively
destroyed the value of money. Inflation between 1917 and 1922 ran at
about 1,000,000%. All this has caused a number of peasant unrests,
like the one in Tanbov province. A very significant sign for urgent
change was the Kronstadt Mutiny by sailors, formerly supportive of
Bolsheviks. By 1921 the grim situation had undermined the original
justification for War communism. Even though the "Left Bolsheviks"
were very reluctant to give up this policy, which they saw as a
correct application of socialist principles, Lenin's enormous personal
authority, abandonment of all other political parties and a tight
control of the proceedings at the Tenth Party Congress in 1921 ensured
the acceptance of the New Economic Policy. The victory in the Civil
War had its price-the Communists found they had lost the support of
the population, and the country was in ruins. Something had to be done

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