Ninety-five years ago, on March 21, 1921, pursuant to the decisions of the 10th Congress of the RCP (B.), The All-Russian Central Executive Committee (All-Russian Central Executive Committee) of the RSFSR adopted the Decree “On the replacement of food and raw materials with natural tax”.
Recall that if before the peasants were forced to give up to the state up to 70% of the produced product, now they only had to give up about 30%. From the cancellation of the additional development, strictly speaking, the beginning of the “New Economic Policy” (NEP), which was a series of reforms aimed at transforming mobilization military communism into market state capitalism, must be counted.
As a result of the reforms, the peasants received the right to choose the form of land use: it was possible to lease the land and hire workers. There was a decentralization of industrial management, enterprises were transferred to the economic calculation. Individuals were allowed to open their production or rent them. Businesses with up to 20 employees have been nationalized. Foreign capital was attracted to the country, a law on concessions was passed, in accordance with which joint-stock (foreign and mixed) enterprises were created. In the course of monetary reform, the ruble was strengthened, helped by the release of the Soviet gold coin, equal to ten gold rubles.
Necessity or error?
Since the NEP meant the rejection of war communism, it is necessary to clarify what this very “communism” was and what it led to. In Soviet times, it was considered to be a certain system of enforced measures. Say, the civil war was raging in the country, and it was necessary to pursue a policy of strict mobilization of all resources. Sometimes such an excuse can be found today. However, the leaders of the Bolshevik Party themselves argued quite the opposite. So, Lenin at the IX Party Congress (March-April 1920 of the year) said that the system of leadership that had developed under military communism should also be applied to the “peaceful tasks of economic construction” for which an “iron system” is needed. And in the 1921 year, already in the period of the NEP, Lenin acknowledged: “We counted on ... the immediate decrees of the proletarian state to organize state production and state distribution of products in a communist-small peasant country. Life showed our mistake ”(“ For the 4 anniversary of the October Revolution ”). As we see, Lenin himself considered military communism to be a mistake, and not a necessity.
At the IX Congress of the RCP (B) (March - April 1920), a bet was made on the final eradication of market relations. The food dictatorship has intensified, and almost all basic foodstuffs, as well as some types of industrial raw materials, have fallen into the sphere of development.
It is characteristic that the tightening continued even after the defeat of P.N. Wrangel, when the immediate threat of Soviet power from the whites was already eliminated. At the end of 1920 - the beginning of 1921, measures were taken to curtail the commodity-money system, which practically meant the abolition of money. The urban population was “exempted” from paying for food and consumer goods supply, use of transport, fuel, medicines and housing. Instead of salary, natural distribution was now introduced. The well-known historian S. Semanov wrote: “In the whole country, natural payouts accounted for the predominant share of the worker’s earnings: in 1919 - 73,3%, and in 1920 - already 92, 6% ... Unhappy Russia returned to barter.
In the markets they no longer traded, but “changed”: bread –– for vodka, nails – for potatoes, frock-coat — on canvas, awl — on soap, and what was the reason that baths became free?
In order to steam up, one had to get a “warrant” in the corresponding office ... the workers at the enterprises also tried, where they could, to pay in kind. At the Triangle rubber enterprise - a couple of other galoshes, at weaving mills - several yards of cloth, etc. And at shipbuilding, metallurgical and military factories - what can we give there? And the factory management looked through their fingers at how hard workers sharpened lighters on machines or dragged tools from the back room to change all this on a flea market for half a loaf of sour bread - something is needed. ” ("The Kronstadt Rebellion").
In addition, the Supreme Council of National Economy (VSNH) nationalized the remnants of small enterprises. It was intended a powerful tightening of surplus. In December, 1920 was decided to supplement it with a new development - seed and seed. For this purpose, even began to create special seeding committee. As a result of all this "communist construction" in the country began the transport and food crisis. Russia was caught up in the fire of numerous peasant uprisings. The most famous of them consider Tambov, but serious resistance was exerted in many other regions. In the rebel detachments of Western Siberia, 100 fought thousands of people. Here the number of rebels even exceeded the number of Red Army men. But there was also the Volga “Red Army of Truth” by A. Sapozhkov (25 of thousands of fighters), there were large rebel groups in the Kuban, in Karelia, etc. That's what brought the country the “forced” policy of war communism. The delegates of the 10th congress were forced to get from Siberia to Moscow with fights - the railway communication was interrupted for several weeks.
Finally, the army rose, an anti-Bolshevik rebellion broke out in Kronstadt — under the red banner and with the slogan: “Soviets without Communists!”.
It is obvious that at a certain stage of the Civil War, the Bolsheviks were tempted to use the mobilization levers of wartime in order to transition to the full-scale construction of the foundations of communism. Certainly, partly military communism was really caused by necessity, but very soon this need was perceived as an opportunity to implement some large-scale transformations.
Criticism of the NEP
The leadership realized the fallacy of the previous course, however, the "mass" of the Communists had already managed to imbue themselves with the spirit of "war communism." Too her accustomed to the hard methods of "communist construction." And the vast majority of a sharp change of course caused a real shock. In 1922, the member of the Politburo of the Central Committee G.Е. Zinoviev admitted that the introduction of the NEP caused almost complete misunderstanding. It resulted in a massive outflow from the RCP (B.). In a number of counties in 1921 - the beginning of 1922, approximately 10% of its composition left the party.
And then it was decided to conduct a large-scale "cleansing of the party ranks." “The 1921 batch cleaning was unprecedented in its performance over the entire history Bolshevism, writes N.N. Maslov. - As a result, the purges were eliminated from the lot and the 159 355 man, or 24,1% of its composition, dropped out; including 83,7% who were expelled from the party constituted a “passive”, that is, people who were in the RCP (b) but did not take any part in party life. The rest were expelled from the party for abusing their position (8,7%), for performing religious rites (3,9%) and as hostile elements who "entered the ranks of the party with counter-revolutionary goals" (3,7%). About 3% of the Communists voluntarily left the ranks of the party, without waiting for verification. " (“RCP (b) - VKP (b) in the years of the NEP (1921 – 1929) //“ Political Parties of Russia: Past and Present ”).
They talked about the "economic Brest" of Bolshevism, and the Smesovekhovets N.I. Ustryalov, who effectively used this metaphor. But they spoke positively about Brest, many believed that there was a temporary retreat, as in the 1918 year, for several months. So, the workers of the People's Commissariat of Food at first almost did not see the difference between the prodifferent and the pretax. They expected the country to return to food dictatorship in the fall.
Mass dissatisfaction with the NEP forced the Central Committee to convene an emergency All-Russian Party Conference in May of 1921. Lenin tried to convince delegates of the need for new relations, explaining the leadership policy. But many party members were irreconcilable; they saw what was happening as a betrayal of the bureaucracy, a logical consequence of the “Soviet” bureaucracy that had developed in the “military communist” era.
Thus, the “workers' opposition” (AG Shlyapnikov, GI Myasnikov, SP Medvedev and others) actively opposed the NEP. They used the mockery of the NEP abbreviation “new exploitation of the proletariat”.
In their opinion, economic reforms led to a “bourgeois rebirth” (which, by the way, Smenovekhovtsev Ustryalov very much hoped for). Here is a sample of the anti-epo "workers" critics: "The free market can not fit into the model of Sov.State. Proponents of the NEP at first spoke about the presence of certain market freedoms, as a temporary concession, as a kind of retreat before a big leap forward, but now it is argued that Sov. the economy is unthinkable without it. I believe that the emerging class of the Nepmen and kulaks is a threat to the power of the Bolsheviks. ” (S.P. Medvedev).
But there were much more radical trends operating underground: “The 1921 year gave birth to several small Bolshevik Kronstadt,” writes M. Magid. - In Siberia and the Urals, where partisan traditions were still alive, the opponents of the bureaucracy began to create secret working alliances. In the spring, the Chekists uncovered on the Anzhero-Sudzhensky mines an underground organization of local Communist workers. She set as her goal the physical destruction of the party bureaucracy, as well as specialists (state economic workers), who, even under Kolchak, had shown themselves to be obvious counter-revolutionaries, and then gained warm places in state institutions. The core of this organization, which consisted of 150 people, was a group of old party members: a people's judge with the party line from 1905, the chairman of a mine mine in a party with 1912, a member of the Soviet executive committee, etc. The organization, which consisted mainly of former anti-Kolchak partisans, was divided into cells. The latter kept records of persons to be destroyed during the action scheduled for 1 May. In August of the same year, the regular report of the VChK reiterates that the most acute form of party opposition to the NEP are groups of party activists in Siberia. There, the opposition assumed the character of “positively dangerous”, and “red banditry” arose. Now, at Kuznetsk mines, a conspiratorial network of communist workers has been opened, which has set as its goal the extermination of responsible workers. Another similar organization has been found somewhere in Eastern Siberia. The traditions of “red banditry” were strong in the Donbas. From the secret report of the secretary of the Provincial Provincial Committee Quiring for July 1922, it follows that the hostile attitude of the workers towards the specialists comes to direct terror. So, for example, an undermining of an engineer in the Dolzhansky district was arranged and the shteiger was killed by two communists. ” (“Workers' Opposition and Workers Rebellion”).
There was a lot of talk about the danger of “capitalist restoration” on the left flank, where in the middle of 1920-s there will be a “new opposition” (GE Zinoviev, LB Kamenev) and a “Trotsky-Zinoviev anti-party bloc”. One of its leaders will be the chairman of the Finance Committee of the Central Committee and the Council of People's Commissars (SNK), E.A. Preobrazhensky, who already in December 1921 raised the alarm over the development of farmer-kulak farms. And in March, 1922, this unusually vigilant comrade presented the theses to the Central Committee, in which he tried to give a thorough analysis of what was happening in the country. The conclusion was made as follows: “The process of smoothing class contradictions in the village ceased ... The process of differentiation resumed with new force, and, most of all, it manifests itself where agricultural recovery is most successful and where the area processed by the plow increases ... In conditions of extreme decline peasant economy in general and the general impoverishment of the countryside, the growth of the rural bourgeoisie continues. ”
Preobrazhensky didn’t limit himself to just one statement and presented his own “anti-crisis” program. He proposed "to develop state farms, support and expand proletarian agriculture in the areas assigned to factories, encourage the development of agricultural collectives and involve them in the orbit of the planned economy as the main form of transformation of the peasant economy into a socialist one."
But the most interesting thing is that, along with all these “ultra-left-wing” proposals, Preobrazhensky called for help in the ... capitalist West. In his opinion, it was necessary to widely lie down in the country foreign capital to create "large agricultural factories."
Sweet pieces for overseas
Not surprisingly, with such a love for foreign capital, Preobrazhensky in 1924, became deputy chairman of the Main Concession Committee (SCC) at SNK of the USSR. And a year later LD became the chairman of this committee. Trotsky, closely associated with the countries of the West. It was during his time that an extraordinary consolidation of this organization took place, although the concessions themselves were allowed at the very beginning of the NEP.
Under Trotsky, the GKK consisted of such prominent leaders as Deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs M.M. Litvinov, plenipotentiary A.A. Ioffe, deputy chairman of the USSR Supreme Economic Council G.L. Pyatakov, secretary of the All-Union Trade Union Council (AUCCTU) A.I. Dogadov, the largest theorist and propagandist, member of the Central Committee A.I. Stetsky, People's Commissar for Foreign Trade LB Krasin et al. Representative collection, you will not say anything. (It is significant that Krasin put forward a project to create large oil and coal extraction trusts with the participation of foreign capital. He believed that part of the shares of these trusts should be provided to the owners of nationalized enterprises. In general, in his opinion, foreigners had to be actively involved in managing trusts ).
In GKK deals were made with foreigners and quite a few fell by the functionaries themselves. A.V. Boldyrev writes: “When they talk about the NEP, it usually comes to mind“ Nepmen ”or“ Nepachi ”- these characters stood out vividly, but with vulgar luxury against the backdrop of the devastation and poverty of the era of“ war communism ”. However, a small freedom of entrepreneurship and the emergence of a small stratum of private entrepreneurs who had cached chervonets from the hiding places and put them into circulation were only part of what was happening in the country. On orders a lot of money was spinning in concessions. This is about how an entrepreneur 1990-x - the owner of a pair of stalls in a crimson jacket, with a "purse", on a used, but foreign car, imported from Kazakhstan - compare with "Yukos". Small speculation and colossal funds flowing abroad. (“In 1925, did Trotsky change the front?”).
The most ambitious and at the same time strange deal was an agreement with the gold mining company “Lena Goldfields”. She owned the British banking consortium associated with the American banking house "Kun Leeb." By the way, the infamous execution of Lena 1912 workers of the year was largely connected with the activities of Lena Goldfields.
The workers protested against the exploitation by the “domestic” and foreign capitalists, and the majority of the shares of the mines belonged to the owners of “Lena”. And so, in September 1925, the company was transferred to the concession to develop the Lena mines. The GKK was very generous - Western bankers gained territory stretching from Yakutia to the Ural Mountains. The company could mine, in addition to gold, also iron, copper, gold, lead. Many metallurgical enterprises such as the Bisertsky, Seversky, Revdinsky metallurgical plants, Zyuzelsky and Degtyarsky copper deposits, Revdinsky iron mines and others have placed it at their disposal. The USSR share in the mined metals was only 7%.
Foreigners gave the go-ahead, and they began to manage - in the spirit of the "best" of their colonial traditions. “This foreign company, headed by Englishman Herbert Guedemá, behaved in the first socialist state to be extremely cheeky and impudent,” notes N.V. Old men - At the conclusion of the concession agreement, promised "investments", but did not invest in the development of the mines and enterprises a single ruble. On the contrary, it came to the point that Lena Goldfields demanded government subsidies for itself and in every possible way evaded payments of all fees and taxes. ” (“Crisis: how it is done”).
This continued for as long as Trotsky was in the USSR - until 1929. The workers of the mines organized a series of strikes, and the Chekists simultaneously conducted a series of searches. After that, the company was deprived of the concession.
For the peasants, NEP meant almost immediate relief. But for urban workers came even more difficult times. “... Workers from the transition to the market have suffered substantially,” writes VG Sirotkin. - Previously, under “military communism,” they were guaranteed “party maximum” - some bread, cereals, meat, cigarettes, etc. - and everything is free, “distribution”. Now the Bolsheviks offered to buy everything for money. But there was no real money, gold chervonets (it will appear only in 1924), they were still replaced by “Soviet signs”. In October, the 1921 bungles from Narkomfin printed them so much that hyperinflation started - prices by May 1922 increased by 50 times! And no “pay” of workers had time for them, although then the wage growth index had already been introduced, taking into account price increases. This is what caused the workers to strike in 1922 (about 200 thousand people) and in 1923 (about 170 thousand). ” (“Why did Trotsky lose?”).
On the other hand, a prosperous stratum of private entrepreneurs, the "Nepmen", immediately appeared. Not only did they manage to profit, they managed to enter into very profitable, and not always legal, ties with the management apparatus. This was facilitated by the decentralization of industry. Homogeneous and closely related enterprises were united in trusts (only 40% was centrally controlled, the rest were subordinate to local authorities). They were transferred to cost accounting and provided greater autonomy. So, they themselves decided what they produce and where to sell their products. The trust enterprises should have been able to do without state procurement, buying resources from the market. Now they were fully responsible for the results of their activities - they themselves used the revenues from the sale of their products, but they themselves also covered their losses.
It was here that the Nepachi-speculators arrived, who tried in every way to "help" the leadership of the trusts. And from their trade and intermediary services, they had very substantial profits. It is clear that the economic bureaucracy fell under the influence of the “new” bourgeoisie, either because of inexperience or for reasons of a “commercial” nature.
For three years, NEP private traders controlled two thirds of the entire wholesale and retail trade of the country.
Of course, all this was permeated by desperate corruption. Here are two examples of criminal semi-capitalism. In November, 1922 was exposed by the so-called. "Black Trust". It was created by the head Mostabak A.V. Spiridonov and director of the Second State Tobacco Factory Ya.I. Circassian. The sale of tobacco products itself should have been carried out, first of all, to state institutions and cooperatives. However, this trust, which consisted of former tobacco wholesalers, received 90% of the entire production of the tobacco factory. At the same time they were provided with the best assortment, and even 7 – 10-day loan.
In Petrograd, a private entrepreneur, metal dealer S. Plyatsky founded a supply and sales office, which had an annual turnover of three million rubles. As it turned out, such solid revenues were possible as a result of close “cooperation” with 30 state institutions.
Researcher S.V. Bogdanov, referring to these and other facts of “NEP” crime, notes: “Bribery among public servants of the NEP period was a specific form of adaptation to the radically changed social and economic realities of society. The salary of Soviet employees who were not on the nomenclature lists was very low, and, from the point of view of social security, their position was unenviable. There were a lot of temptations to improve their financial situation at the expense of semi-legal deals with nepmen. To this fact, it is necessary to add numerous reorganizations of the state administration apparatus that have been going on permanently throughout the entire period of the NEP existence and, of course, not only brought confusion, but also engendered the desire of individual officials to protect themselves in case of a sudden dismissal. ” (“NEP: criminal entrepreneurship and power” // Rusarticles.Com).
Thus, the reforms led to a revival of the economy and a rise in living standards. However, it happened very difficult and controversial ...