Effects of the first 5 Year Plan

Essay by KeirCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2004

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The results of the Five-Year Plans can be observed from three general areas - economic, political, and social. Although it did make Russia stronger in the first two aspects, socially there was a decline in working conditions and mood.

The Five-Year Plans made Russia into an industrial powerhouse with dramatic increases in production, such as a five million ton increase in oil production between 1927-37. Gosplan, the state planning organization, set targets for industries. There is no denying the economic value of the Five-Year Plans; inflated numbers aside, there were indeed more factories and industrial centers being built. However, focus on production in heavy industry, i.e. capital goods led to neglect of consumer goods and housing industries. Although economic growth is evident, there was no substantial indication of development during this period.

Politically, the Five-Year Plans paved way the for the realization of a socialist Soviet Russia. With Stalin's strict rule, there was obedience; discipline was enforced.

The Communist Party became more homogenous with the purging of kulaks and "nepmen" who profited under Lenin's New Economic Policy. Even so, there was a marked rise in influence of Stalin and the Communist Party. With the Five-Year Plans, also, Russia's economy became a centrally planned one, where the government would dictate what, how, and for whom to produce and where the government would oversee allocation of resources for production.

Although there was increased output during this period, the Five-Year Plans had an adverse effect on Russia socially. The human cost of industrializing was great: there were thousands of worker deaths from accidents on unsafe machinery. Human rights were of negligible importance in these years - slave labor, strict discipline, and the secret police were employed. Even so, there seemed among workers enthusiasm to emulate Alexei Stakhanov, to meet and...