On the results of the last 10 years and the prospects for the USSR's economic construction
Resolution of the USSR Central Executive Committee
20 October 1927
The October revolution has served as the starting point for a revolution in social relations unprecedented in human history. Having destroyed the bourgeois state machine and realised the dictatorship of the working class, it has at the same time brought about profound changes in all forms of property. It has completely wiped away without trace the feudal-serfholding form of exploiting workers. It has decisively expropriated the bourgeoisie, concentrating the means of production, distribution and exchange in the hands of the proletariat. The October revolution thereby created the necessary preconditions for the complete liquidation of bourgeois production relations and for the complete construction of a socialist society.
There have been ten years of heroic economic construction, which have taken place in conditions of fierce struggle against the entire capitalist world, with our industry, transport and agriculture exhausted and completely undermined by the imperialist and civil wars. The results of the first stages of this struggle are that the proletariat has not only kept the commanding heights of the economy it won in its own hands, but towards the end of the decade has significantly consolidated and widened them. It has made these commanding heights into really dominant centres for the entire economy of the country.
The New Economic Policy has justified itself completely over the preceding decade. It has helped consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and establish a correct union between town and country.
All the basic economic processes in the USSR have taken place amidst constantly growing activity and creative initiative on the part of the working masses. At plants and factories, in the mines, in transport and in all links of the socialist economy the working masses have ceased to be the objects of exploitation, and have become the initiators of improvements in techniques and the organisation of production, the active builders of a socialist economy. This stupendous activity, heroism and selflessness, displayed by the working masses in the most difficult years of civil war, hunger and devastation, and still displayed now, is the condition for the victory of the proletarian revolution in all areas of socialist construction.
The USSR Central Executive Committee can state with complete satisfaction that the economic policy of the USSR government has secured the union between the working class and the toiling peasantry, and has made it possible to achieve a general increase in production back to the pre-war level. It has allowed us to begin the radical socialist reconstruction of the entire USSR economy, to begin to implement the industrialisation of the country, to intensify the development of productive forces in the more backward regions of the USSR, to secure planned direction in the decisive spheres of the national economy and, finally, to raise the defence capability of our socialist fatherland.
Thus the basic, indisputable result of the first decade of economic construction in the USSR is characterised by progress towards a socialist economy. The basic result of the first decade can be summed up as the successful advance of socialism in the Soviet economy and the retreat of the capitalist elements in the face of this growing socialism.
This result, of world-historic significance, plainly shows the advantages of socialism over capitalism. This result, essentially, can be reduced to the following basic indices: in the industrial sphere we have the strengthening of the leading role of large-scale socialist industry throughout the country's economy. Not only has socialist industry significantly increased its relative weight in the national economy, not only has it brought hundreds of thousands of new workers into industrial production, with wages increasing year on year (on average they have already exceeded the pre-war level), but it has also succeeded in introducing a series of new lines of production, freeing our economy from dependence on capitalism. This is of the greatest importance for our reconstruction.
In the electrification of the country we have made significant progress in implementing Lenin's electrification plan and have begun to construct massive new power stations.
In the sphere of transport our construction has exceeded the pre-war level both in terms of the length of our railway network and in volume of freight carried.
In agriculture overall the pre-war level of production has been attained, and has been exceeded in terms of the amount of land sown with the most important industrial crops and number of head of cattle. There have been significant successes in organisation of land tenure and land improvement, seed banks have been set up etc. Additionally, over the last ten years the first steps have been taken in industrialising agriculture, in mechanising and intensifying it. This, in its turn, is establishing the material preconditions for large-scale socialist agriculture and laying the material and technical basis for the successful development of collective forms of agriculture.
We have both a quantitative and a qualitative growth in all forms of co-operation. As we approach the tenth anniversary of October, Soviet co-operation id becoming a powerful organisation of a socialist type, embracing the economic activity of millions of people.
In the sphere of commodity circulation the hegemony of the socialist sector has already been achieved. It has grown in the last few years both relatively and absolutely through an increase in commodity circulation in the country and by squeezing out the capitalist elements. It is necessary to add that the proletarian state has accumulated a significant amount of knowledge and experience in trade, which has already led to improvements in the work of our trade network and a certain reduction in costs.
The Soviet economy's achievements in the financial sector have been the recovery of the entire currency system and the introduction of a hard currency.
As for the subordination of all the basic economic processes in the country to the planning principle, the transition to the next decade is also marked by very great achievements. As we reach the tenth anniversary of the October revolution, the foundations of a five-year plan for the development of the economy have been worked out.
The existence of the world capitalist encirclement of the USSR throughout the preceding period has caused, and, doubtless, will continue to cause exceptionally complex and extremely difficult conditions for the development of socialist economy in the Soviet lands. Nonetheless, despite all the difficulties and obstacles, the Soviet state is successfully resisting the economic onslaught of international capital on the positions of socialism in construction and, having implemented the monopoly on foreign trade, it has managed to secure its socialist positions on the world market.
However, for all the successes of the last few years in the area of economic construction, we still face gigantic difficulties: the existence of unemployment, the backwardness of a whole series of branches of industry, the still very low level of development of agriculture, the high prices of industrial goods and the high overhead costs of our trading and industrial organisations. Many more years of intense work will be needed to overcome all these obstacles on the path of constructing a socialist society.
The five-year plan for the economy which is currently being worked out should be constructed in accordance with the basic task of strengthening the socialist kernel of our economy on the basis of industrialising the country, and of ensuring a rate of economic development which will permit us to catch up with and overtake the most advanced capitalist countries in the shortest possible time.
Industrialisation is the lynchpin of our entire economic policy.
The USSR Central Executive Committee observes with satisfaction that in recent years the government has managed to start carrying through industrialisation in practice. This can be seen from the billions invested in capital works in industry, transport and electrification, and in such undertakings as the construction of the Dnepr and Svir' hydroelectric stations, the Semirech'e railway, the Volga-Don canal, and massive metallurgical and engineering enterprises.
The economic plan should envisage a constant expansion of work on industrialisation and electrification; additionally it should ensure the attainment of economic independence and the strengthening of the USSR's defensive capacity in the face of a hostile capitalist encirclement.
The plan should also envisage such an allocation of resources for new construction in industry and transport which would assist the economic advance and industrialisation of the economically backward regions of the USSR.
The USSR Central Executive Committee affirms that in the future, too, economic growth in the land of proletarian dictatorship will aim at raising the material and cultural level of the USSR's working masses.
Among the tasks we propose for the current period, the USSR Central Executive Committee would stress in particular:
1. In the industrial sphere - there must be a decisive reduction in the costs of industrial production, the rationalisation of production and an increase in labour productivity.
2. In the transport sphere - it must be made to catch up in conformity with the growth of the economy as a whole, and new railway construction must be developed in order to involve new regions in the economic life of the country.
3. Our economic policy in the countryside must be directed towards ensuring that poor and middle peasant households develop and co-operate further, and that exploitative tendencies and the growth of kulak elements are systematically constrained.
The USSR Central Executive Committee considers that the most important task in this area is the development of assistance to the peasants in strengthening the role of agricultural credit, the mechanisation of agriculture, the introduction of mineral fertilisers, a transition to a crop-rotation system, the development of industrial crops, land tenure and relocation of people.
Work on the development of agricultural and credit co-operation should continue until all peasants have been attracted into co-operative organisations. At the same time it is necessary constantly to increase the role of agricultural co-operation in organising peasant economy and co-operative production.
4. The USSR Central Executive Committee argues that the main source of unemployment is the surplus of available labour in the countryside. It is therefore essential, alongside the systematic recruitment of new workers into industry and transport, to pay special attention to the development over the coming five-year period of labour-absorbing works, and the implementation of a series of measures to intensify and industrialise agriculture, to extend the relocation of people and develop co-operation in the handicrafts sector.
5. The industrialisation of the USSR requires the greatest straining of all our resources and a targeted use of funds accumulated within the country. To this end it is essential decisively to simplify our administrative apparatus, to exercise the strictest economy, in order that by reducing unproductive expenditure we can increase the country's productive resources.
Additionally, as one of the most important means of using the accumulation taking place within the country for the purposes of socialist construction, the system of long-term credit should be developed as far as possible, extending the mobilisation of the population's resources through state bonds, savings banks, agricultural credit associations and banking institutions,
6. The successes achieved by state and co-operative organisations in the sphere of trade, and the growth of accumulation within these organisations is already giving them a decisive advantage over private capital. Additionally, these successes are creating the preconditions for the state and co-operative organisations to take over trade completely, and for a transition to a direct union between socialist industry and peasant farming through these organisations. This transition should be secured, above all, by the qualitative improvement and rationalisation of the entire state and co-operative trading apparatus. The struggle to reduce retail prices should continue with unflagging determination.
7. The economic plan should envisage a further strengthening of housing construction.
8. Both the planned organisation of the economy and smooth economic growth should be ensured by the creation of reserves in the main sectors of the economy (grain, foreign currency, budgetary and other reserves).
9. The tasks of industrialising the country raise urgent questions about the qualifications of new strata of workers and the creation of cadres of highly trained technical personnel. In this regard it is vital to continue with work on developing and establishing appropriate professional, technical and higher special education.
The USSR Central Executive Committee observes that the implementation of all these tasks is possible only with the greatest effort, improvements in the work of the entire state apparatus, its further orientation to meeting the most pressing needs of wide sections of workers, a merciless struggle against bureaucratism and the active involvement of workers in socialist construction.
The USSR Central Executive Committee proposes that the Presidium of the USSR Central Executive Committee and the USSR Council of People's Commissars consider and approve the five-year plan for developing the USSR at the forthcoming USSR Congress of Soviets.
[Source: K U Chernenko and M S Smirtyukov, compilers, Resheniya partii i pravitel'stva po khozyaystvennym voprosam, Vol. 1, 1917 - 1928, Moscow, Izdatel'stvo politicheskoy literatury, 1967. This document is of interest in that it portrays clearly the official optimism about the results of the USSR's post-war restoration and the prospects for maintaining very high growth rates into the future. In general, this optimism was less prevalent at that time among the specialists in the USSR's leading central economic insitutions, such as Gosplan. - FK]