Was Stalin necessary for Russia’s economic development?

Anton Cheremukhin, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev, Aleh Tsyvinski 10 October 2013

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In 1962, a prominent British economic historian, Alec Nove, asked whether Russia would have been able to industrialise in the late 1920s and 1930s in the absence of Stalin’s economic policies (Nove 1962). This question is still important for several reasons.

  • The transformation of Soviet Russia from an agrarian to an industrial economy is a key episode in economic and political history.

The industrialised Soviet Union played a key role in the victory over Nazi Germany during WWII and, as one of the two superpowers during the Cold War, reshaped the postwar world.

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Topics:  Development Economic history

Tags:  Russia, Stalin, Soviet Union, industrialisation, collectivisation

Russia’s national income in war and revolution, 1913 to 1928

Mark Harrison, Andrei Markevich 11 May 2012

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In 1914, Russia joined in the First World War. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 Russia’s part in that war came to an end. A civil war soon began, that continued with varying intensity until 1920. It was followed immediately by a famine in 1921. Economic recovery began, but by 1928 the Russian economy had been caught up in Stalin's drive to “catch up and overtake” the West through forced-march industrialisation.

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Topics:  Development Economic history Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  Stalin, Soviet Union, Russian Revolution, state capacity

Stalin as a rational dictator

Konstantin Sonin interviewed by Romesh Vaitilingam,

Date Published

Fri, 10/31/2008

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Topics

Politics and economics
Tags
Stalin, Soviet Union, dictators

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Stalin, mass murder and elections
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The dictator’s approach to electoral patterns

Konstantin Sonin 09 August 2008

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While the people of the developed world are fascinated by electoral campaigns, more than a half of the world’s population does not have a chance to participate in elections. Yet any dictator needs some popular support; the difference is that he can trim his constituency, eliminating those who do not support him.

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Topics:  Politics and economics

Tags:  Stalin, Soviet Union, revolution

Punishment without crime? The Gulag as a worker-discipline device

Marcus Miller, Jennifer Smith 10 January 2008

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In the 1930s, when Western economies were laid low by mass unemployment, Stalin could claim to have found a cure: a command economy with ambitious five-year plans to promote rapid industrialisation. Deficient demand was not a problem, but what about supply? Stalin, who was planning for great increases in productivity, faced a problem: how was he to motivate workers with low levels of skill – including millions pouring in from the countryside who were entirely lacking in training or experience of the rigour and rhythms of life in a factory or on a construction site?

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  Russia, Gulag, Stalin, worker discipline

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