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Drawing on extensive documentary material furnished by Party, government and trade union archives, the authors of the article vividly describe the economic rehabilitation period in the U. S. S. R. following the Civil War and foreign military intervention. The article shows how the Communist Party and Soviet government, despite the unprecedented economic dislocation caused by the war and the extremely backward state of the national economy inherited from the past, carried out a series of important measures to moderate the difficulties and hardships experienced by the working people and considerably raised their material standards compared with the prewar level.

The greatest difficulties during the economic rehabilitation period fell on the shoulders of the working class. As a result of the postwar economic dislocation many industrial enterprises in the country came to a standstill and the working class was undergoing a process of degradation. In this situation V. I. Lenin enjoined the Communist Party and Soviet government to take resolute and energetic steps to save the working class from hunger and degradation, regarding this as the most serious and pressing task of the moment. A number of urgent measures were carried out to improve the position of the working people.

One of the most difficult and acute problems was that of supplying food to workers of major industrial centres. How this complex problem was solved is shown in the first part of the article. The authors describe the activity of the Bread Committee established at the Labour and Defence Council under V. I Lenin's chairmanship, Soviet grain pur-

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chases abroad, the organization of direct commodity exchange between town and country. However, the only solid and reliable base for raising the working people's living standards, the authors write, could be provided by large-scale industry and mechanized agriculture. The article shows how this important task was gradually solved by the introduction of a new economic policy. Having strengthened the dictatorship of the proletariat and the alliance between the working class and the labouring peasantry, the Communist Party ensured the rehabilitation of Soviet industry and agriculture.

Along with the rehabilitation of industry further steps were taken to improve the material conditions of the working class and raise the wages of industrial workers. Guided by Lenin's directives on the necessity of stimulating workers' material interest in raising labour productivity, the government introduced different forms of labour remuneration, including payment in kind, bonuses, piece rates, collective supplies of food and manufactured goods, etc. The article highlights the organizational work of local Party and trade union organizations, laying particular emphasis on their efforts to ensure higher productivity by stimulating the workers' labour enthusiasm and political activity. The authors examine the forms and methods of enlisting the working masses in the struggle to improve the operation of industry, achieve higher quality standards, lower production costs, etc. The article contains a special chapter devoted to the important work carried on by Party and trade union organizations among the workers employed at private enterprises.

One of the chapters vividly describes the Soviet government's efforts to improve housing conditions and social insurance, render assistance to unemployed, provide recreation facilities for the working people and extend the network of public catering establishments.

In conclusion the authors write that the restoration of the war-ravaged economy and the steady improvement in the material conditions of the working class are graphic and convincing evidence of the limitless potentialities latent in the socialist system. Having won political power under the leadership of the Communist Party, the working class of Russia has, for the first time in history, become a ruling class. By nationalizing private property and taking key positions in the country's economy into its own hands, the working class directed the whole might of its government machine, established under the leadership of the Communist Party, towards the organization of social production in the interests of the working people, in the interests of building a socialist society.


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M. N. KOROVINA and T. F. KOGAN. The Rise in the Material Well-Being of the Soviet Working Class During the Economic Rehabilitation Period (1921 - 1925) // London: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 20.09.2018. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/M-N-KOROVINA-and-T-F-KOGAN-The-Rise-in-the-Material-Well-Being-of-the-Soviet-Working-Class-During-the-Economic-Rehabilitation-Period-1921-1925 (date of access: 28.11.2021).


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