Assess the statement; Stalin was a 'necessary evil'.

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The main preoccupation of the new soviet sate was survival. It was faced with civil war, invasion, attempts to achieve independence by some of the nationalities (the new regime only controlled one seventh of Russian territory) and by economic and social collapse. Hence democracy, freedom of rights, seemed to threaten survival while an effective centralized organisation was deemed essential to ensure survival.

Faced with many regime threatening problems, Stalin believed that economic difficulties should be dealt with by breakthrough in a few key areas as rapidly as possible. Stalin decided that other necessary socialist developments would follow with dramatic results. Hence, Stalin introduced the plan to collectivize agriculture, and pushed ahead with rapid industrialization with the Five Year Plans starting in 1928.

Rapid Industrialization

Until 1925, the nation's economic target remained simply to bring industrial and agricultural production back to the high levels of the pre war years. By 1926, however, when the period of restoration was judged to be over, the question that faced the new regime was: Where do we go from here?

The regime at this time was under constant fear of a new western military intervention.

Lacking the capacity to arm and defend the Soviet Union against Western imperialists, party members fervently argued that Russia must industrialize rapidly, at almost any cost. Since world revolution quite obviously was not going to save them, and since the doctrine of socialism in one country implied that they must save themselves, their course was clear: they must attempt to build a heavy industrial capacity that could provide the necessary armaments.

A third problem that was of deep concern to party leaders was that Russia was a peasant nation. Its overwhelming agrarian nature became apparent in 1926-27, when the affluent upper portion of the peasantry, intent upon higher prices for...