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Communism in Russia and the USSR


The Bolshevik revolution in October 1917 brought Lenin to the head of the State. The USSR was created at the end of 1922.

The eras of Lenin and Stalin

Lenin’s New Economic Politics permitted existence of private ownership and small entrepreneurs.

Stalin’s centrally planned economy was based on state ownership, collectivism, stakhanovism and self-sacrifice for benefit of the state.

The ambitious five-years plans were accompanied by severe starvation.


“50 years of Stakhanovism!”, a post card picture. In 1935, the worker Aleksei Stakhanov  extracted 105 tons of coal in 6 hours (the norm was fixed at 7 tons). Stalin’s propaganda encouraged people to follow this example.

The post-war growth period

The Soviet Union lost officially 20 billion people in the World War II.

The country’s economy was destroyed and the number of workers limited.

The Cold War and Arm race incited the government to develop heavy industrial production giving up light, food and consumer goods industries.


Construction of a gas pipeline, Siberia.

During communism the government interfered in every part of Soviet life. There was no standing rule of law for the people to live by in the Soviet state, the rules varied from one official to the next and the bureaucrats ruled. Every person had almost the same income and living standard, except for the political class. The bureaucrats were demanding payment or favours for everything they did, from drivers licences to building permits.

Under Stalin’s totalitarian regime from 1924 to 1953 and then under the Brezhnev’s leadership in the 60s and 70s, criminal organisations largely developed. During communism criminal gangs operated from the prisons against their enemy, the Communist Party. The criminals and Russian state officials became more and more involved with each other. When Gorbachev got in power in 1985, the connections between the criminals and the government remained.

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