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No other nation has developed at a more fast and alarming rate than Russia under the control of Comrade Joseph Stalin. The ?Stalinization? of Communist Russia may have seemed brutal and unjust, however, many historians agree that many of Stalin?s actions were completely necessary for Russia?s industrialization. Some of the actions taken included the Five Year Plan for Industry, Five Year Plan for Agriculture, and rapid urbanization. These are the three most important aspects of transforming The Soviet Union into a world economic power.

It was soon realized that Lenin?s NEP (New Economic Policy) could not continue for much longer. It was granting Russian farmers to own they?re own land and to sell they?re produce for a profit. The NEP may have been effective for a short while to pull Russia out of her economic slump, but Marxist beliefs dictate that farms must be collectivized. This was the only way that the farms might be able to meet they?re target for grain production (which had fallen short by nearly 7 million tons under the NEP). In light of this, Stalin introduced the new Five Year Plan of Agriculture. There was about 25 million plots of privately owned land that were too small to be effective for Grain production. So under the Agriculture Plan, the walls between these small holdings were knocked down and the farms were collectivized. This meant that land could be cultivated much more efficiently with the use of fertilizers, tractors, and other such machinery that otherwise could not be used in a small, private holding.

Thousands fled the countryside in fear of collectivization to join newly built cities. This led to a rapid urbanization of cities such as Novosibirsk and Moscow, that were expecting to house little more than three million, instead found themselves having to support over six-and-a-half million people that were finding jobs in the industrial work force. This was, however, very hard on the living conditions of the Russian people in these cities. Many people found it hard to get work. Others, with the highest paying jobs, still, were forced to have they?re families share one bedroom accommodations with one or two other families! With so many people in urban areas of Russia there were twice the amount of people working in the coal mines and drilling more oil wells. This in turn helped with Stalin?s Five Year Plan for Industry.

A list of extremely high targets were set for all the heavy industries to meet. The list was given to major factories who were expected to have the targets met ahead of schedule. This was part of Stalin?s new Five Year Plan for Industry. Also under his plan, hundreds of new factories were built, along with oil wells, coal mines, and power stations. Many new industrial cities were built to support the new industries. Thousands of people were forced to move to remote freezing regions such as Siberia to build and establish these new industrial metropoli in which they worked. In order to coax workers to perform in a more spright and efficient manor, rewards and bonuses were given. Workers were encouraged to become ?Strakhanovites? (name of a famous worker who completed the work of ten men in one shift). Gradually, however, the living conditions improved for the working class of the Soviet Union. There were more doctors per capita, free medical plans were offered, and the rate of literacy in the Union rose triumphantly. So one might argue that even though the working conditions were poor in the beginning , Stalin?s plans, in retrospect, worked for the better of the working class of Russia.

Criticizers of Stalin and his actions is harsh considering the drastic and amazing progress Russia made during Stalin?s command. And drastic times called for drastic measures. Even though many of Stalin?s targets were not fully met at then end of the designated five year periods, much of Russia?s heavy industry figures had more than doubled. Also, after the protest slaughters of farm animals, the numbers of livestock rose at an amazing rate. This feat could have only been accomplished in such a short time with the utmost sternness. Any other ruler who wanted industrialization as much as Joseph Stalin, would have taken the same actions. In short, the purges and drastic measures taken were, yes, a bloody time in history; however, that is the price of becoming a world economic power.


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