Tickbox Scheme of Work

Industry and Condition of the Workers tick box scheme of Work – student friendly

Timeline – comparing Industrial activity and exploitation of the workers

Past Questions


 Old Course


Exam Season


Jan 02

How far do you agree that the impact of Industrialisation onRussiaand its people, both before and after 1917, differed only in extent.

Jan 03

“Military needs were always the main reason forRussia’s economic development.”To what extent do you agree with this judgement ?

June 04

How far do you agree that the credit for industrialisingRussiain the period 1881 to 1956 can ONLY be given to Stalin ?


 New Course


Exam Season



How different socially and economically was Tsarist Russian (1855-1917) from CommunistRussia(1918-1964) ?

Jan 11

Assess the view that economic change inRussiawas more successful under Stalin than any other ruler in the period from 1855 to 1964.

June 11

“AllRussia’s rulers tried to moderniseRussia.”How far do you agree with this view of the period from 1855 to 1964.

Useful Evidence





  • 1855 pop: 70 million, by 1897 126 million
  • Trade difficult: in 1855 not one port ice free all year round. FIND OTHER GEOGRAPHICALLY SIMILARITIES
  • Command economy created before Stalin, always designed to protect Russia rather than the ordinary Russians
  • 1855: only 1.6% of population in towns and cities
  • 1914: only 2.5 million industrial workers
  • 1939: 56 million people
  • Peasants flocking to towns and cities unplanned, unlike under Communism, where centres such as Magnitogorsk planned with determination


Reutern (Alexander II)

  • Railways 1600km in 1861, 22 000 by 1878
  • Rail traffic x 4 between 1865 – 75
  • 1866 – 1883 tonnage of freight increased eightfold
  • Foreign investment in 1870s only 100 million roubles
  • Vodka tax reformed (40% of revenue) made cheaper for peasantry
  • Banks: precious metal resources only 10.6% value of notes in circulation, by 1876 Reutern improves this to 29%


Bung and Vyshnegradskii

  • Vyshnegradskii raised import duties by 33% in 1891
  • Grain exports raised by 18% as part of “export and go hungry”
  • M Falkus pre Witte industry as “pockets in a rural economy”


Witte- “the great spurt”

  • By 1914 the world’s 5th  biggest  industrial power
  • Growth rate in 1890s just over 8%
  •  “(then) our economic backwardness may lead to politcal and cultural backwardness as well” – Witte
  • 1900 nearly half of company capital came from abroad
  • 269 foreign industries by end of century, all but 12 founded after 1888
  • Value output of all industry doubled in ten years + worker force of 3 million
  • Railway construction second only to US
  • Increased foreign investment from 26% in 1890 to 41% by 1915
  • Value of imports rose from 651.4 million roubles in 1904 to 1106.4 mil roubles
  • Pop of Petersburg in 1881 928,000 increases to 2,217,500 by 1914
  • Coal increases from 5.9 million tons in 1890 to 16.1 by 1900,
  • Railway track 23.6 in 1881 to 56.4 by 1901 (km 000s) more than any other country
  • Russia’s national income grew by 50% (1894 to 1913) compared to 52% and 58% in France and Germany but 70% in UK
  • Dependence on foreign capital: 1901-2     2400 firms collapse
  • 1900: Russia leading oil producer, 1913 only a third of the US


Military preparedness in 1914

  • 4 million lost in first 12 months
  • First 5 months, 25% of mobilised army killed
  • Russian general “in recent battles a third of men had no rifles”
  • Coal output: 1880-1884 4 million tons to 27 million tons


  • Treaty of Brest Litovsk- loses 25% population, 25% industry,
  • Sovnarkom: 12th Nov: decree on work: 8 hr day. 48 hr week

War Communism

  • Inflation multiplied 1917 costs by 4 million in 1922 – was welcomed
  • Dec 1920 population of 40 capitals fallen by 33% compared to 1917
  • Petrograd fell by 57.5% and Moscow 44.5%
  • Index of gross industrial output fell from 100 in 1913 to 31 in 1921
  • Pop of workers fell from 3 024 000 in 1917, to 1 243 000 in 1922
  • Percentage of those in town fell from 18% to 16% in same period
  • By end of 1921 famine threatened over 36 million Russians, by 1922 million already dead



  • Acton “golden age of the Russian peasant”
  • £20 million worth of aid, plus Red Cross= 80 000 tonnes of food
  • Monthly wage of proles rose from 10.2 roubles in 1921 to 15.9 in 1923
  • Trotsky “scissors crisis” rising industrial prices and falling agricultural prices
  • Iron, grain, coal and steel still below 1913 levels
  • coal goes from 9.5 to 18.1,
  • steel from 0.4 to 2.1


Five Year Plans

  • “We are fifty to a hundred years behind the advanced countries. we must make this distance in ten years, either we do this or they will crush us” Stalin 1928
  • “the transformation of our country from an agrarian into an industrial one” Stalin a “command economy”
  •  “engineers, directing the reconstruction of the human soul” Stalin to writers
  • “there is no fortress the Bolsheviks cannot take” Moscow Metro, Magnitogorsk and Dnieprostroi damn given max publicity
  • Belomor Canal constructed by 300 000 workers without equipment, 72 000 released, rest sent elsewhere
  • Economic growth rate of 5-6%
  • Approx 1500 power stations, factories and metalworking plants built in first plan alone
  • “Magnitogorsk was a city built from scratch” John Scott, pro soviet communist
  • 1940 steel production increased 450%, coal production rose by over 500%, oil doubled, 1940 GNP doubled
  • Population Growth rate of 12-13% by time of German invasion
  • Urban working class from 11 million in 1928 to 38 million in 1933 (18% of pop in 1926 to 33% in 1939)
  • 1926 1.8 million students, by 1938-39 this was 12 million
  • Limitations
  • “many thousands of engineers and technologists to distant concentration camps represented a severe loss” Alec Nove
  • Production figures frequently false – Eugene Zaleski possibly closest unbiased economic analysis available
  • Shelia Fitzpatrick “gigantomania” emphasis on quantity over quality
  • Success not universal, textiles industries destroyed by collectivisation and consumer goods/lighter industries neglected


Victory in Great Patriotic War

  • Germans occupy: 63% of coal production
  • All men aged 16-55 women 16-45, entire populations to war production
  • Military share of budget rose from 29% to 57% (by 1942)
  • Between July n Nov 1941, 1503 industrial units had been moved
  • “Workers, office employees, engineers and technicians worked like heroes” GS Kravchenko’s Stalin’s war machine

Cost of the war/ High Stalinism

  • GPW leaves 36 million dead, 70 000 villages destroyed, according to M Mc Cauley
  • 63 000 km of railway lost, 50% of all urban living space gone, 25 million homeless
  • Demanded reparations of $10 000 million and stripped industry, plus labour from 2 million German prisoners of war
  • 4th five year plan (1946-1950) and 5th five year plan (1951 – 1955), in all major areas 1940 levels of production had been surpassed by some margin
  • steel: 27.3 compared to 18.3
  • National income 61% higher than pre war level
  • Wages nearly twice 1940 level


  • 105 Sovnarkhoze in  1963
  • 15 million new flats
  • From 1955 to 1966; cars (2 – 5) radios (66 – 171)
  • But in US cars: (398) radios (1300),
  • 1965: over 4700 scientists, more than any other country: first country in space age
  • 1957: Sputnik first satellite: designed by Korolev, who had been imprisoned by Stalin
  • Luna I (1959) to Venus, and Mars I (1962) to Mars
  • 12th April 1961, Yuri Gagarin first man in space

 Key Terms


– Council of the workers. The term is used in different ways in the Communist period of the course.

War Communism

– the combination of policies the Bolsheviks introduced to meet the needs of the Civil War was retrospectively labeled a “War”.

NEP (New Economic Policy)

– Introduced by Lenin in 1921, it replaced War Communism by allowing private trade amongst peasants. Ownership of small industrial businesses was also allowed. It was seen as a betrayal of the revolution by hard-line communists but it was a necessary short term solution to appease a riotous countryside and stimulate the economy after the Civil War. As Lenin himself stated, it was “one step backwards, for two steps forward.”

Planned/ Command economy

– where the state controls industry, deciding which goods and services are a priority. Planners decide what should be produced and direct lower-level enterprises to manufacture those goods in accordance with national and social objectives.

Five Year Plans

– Stalin’s economic revolution. In agriculture, the NEP was replaced by Collectivisation. In industry, huge production targets were assigned to factories, mines and construction sites. Private companies vanished. Force was used on an unmitigated scale; kulaks were extinguished, managers persecuted and the great terror began throughout society. This was a means of modernising the country quickly.


– Under Stalin, an honour given to the most productive workers that could lead to material reward after the miner who increased his productivity greatly. Stakhanovites were often resented by other workers.


– A city with considerable iron and steel production, east of Moscow. It has significance because it was built from scratch during the 1930s at an incredible pace, with the use of voluntary and forced labour. The bleak, industrial city therefore symbolic of Stalinist modernisation at all costs.


– from 1930 onwards this was the popular term for the Soviet labour camp system in general. Labour camps did exist before 1930 but on a much smaller scale.


– responsible for state industry in Communist Russia.

The Communist Manifesto

– written by Marx and Engels in 1848, their work is an analysis of the inequality in society caused by capitalism. It lays out a program for an alternative structure in society called ˜communism”, and famously states “we have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.”  


– the term given to Lenin’s interpretation of Marxism for Russia. It focused on a dictatorship of the proletariat, the use of terror to achieve revolution, hierarchy, discipline and centralism and the inevitability of world communist revolution. The key text here is the April Theses


– the urban working class.

The Bourgeoisie

– the capitalist middle class.


– a theory or system in which property and investment in business; are owned and controlled by individuals directly or through ownership of shares in companies.


– key party members or generally key members of any organisation.


– attacks on technical specialists, engineers and managers by disgruntled workers.


– a work group in a kolkhoz or factory.

Zeks / Former people

– a term used during the 1920s and 1930s to describe the remaining remnants of social classes from the tsarist regime who here considered hostile or unwelcome to the new regime.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *