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Culture and Art in the "Thaw" period
Liberalisation of the foreign policy course
Achievements in science and industry
The CPSU after the XX Congress
Attempts to reform national economics
The XX CPSU Congress. Struggle for power.
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Achievements in science and industry

The "Thaw" period became the one of noticeable upraise in the USSR's economics, which was reached by means of working enthusiasm of labouring people, and as a result of a reform in the national economic machinery as well. As compared with the fifth five-year plan, pace of development in capital construction increased considerably. Quality of constructing raised, simultaneously cost value lowered. Metallurgy base of the country broadened, mightiness of the electric plants increased. A number of new large-scale production units in chemical, oil-processing, and other branches of industry were constructed.

Rates of development in mechanical engineering were the highest. Steps were taken for creation of unified energetic system in European part of the USSR. The total length of railroads in USSR increased. In 1957 the first in the world atomic ice-breaker, named "Lenin".

Development of Soviet economics in mid-50-s was carried out in conditions of accelerating technical progress. This is the time that Russian technical revolution began. Space research, broad chemical fertilisation in agriculture, development of electronics.

In the years of the seven-year plan (1959-1965) about 5500 large-scale industrial enterprises were built. Capital funds in industry doubled. Total power of electric plants doubled plus. A real breakthrough was achieved in chemical industry, where 500 new big production units appeared. Growth of production volume was higher than the planned one. Considerable success was noticeable in oil and natural gas extraction. The fuel balance of the country changed dramatically.

In July of 1956 the first Soviet jet passenger plane, TU-104 took off. In 1957 a multy-stage ballistic rocket was launched. On October 4, 1957 the first Soviet sputnik started. The Soviet Union became pioneer in cosmic space development. On April 12, 1961Yury Gagarin carried out the first in the history of mankind flight into cosmic space.

Mass media didn't fall behind as well. The radio net covered the whole territory of the country. In 1958 there functioned 53 television centres, and the total number of televisions was 3 mln., while in 1953 the number of the centres in the country was 3, and that of televisions - 200 thousand.

At the same time a few branches of industry seriously fell behind, couldn't cope with the planned labours. First of all this refers to agriculture, and to many branches of light industry. One of the reasons of the situation was the fact that in 1955 concept about a speedy development of group "B" industries was sharply opposed by Nikita Khrushev. That led to the situation when group "B" industries chronically suffered scarcity of monetary means from the budget.

Another reason: constant difficulties in the country's agriculture. Finance injections didn't result in structural changes in land use, since the farmer wasn't master of his land and his labour results. Aside from constant financial assistance, it was planned to solve the problem in two directions: (1) by means of broadening of cultivated area, primarily through reclamation of virgin soil, and (2) by means of giving some economic self-dependency to the agricultural units.

In the years of the seven-year plan output growth in agriculture went down. The main reasons were: unskilled use of the land and technics, rude administrative interference into the production units' affairs, and unfair limitation of farmers' private plots of land.

In the years of the "Thaw" living level of the USSR citizens increased. In cities it was still higher than in rural area. Common workers, not only administrative workers, began to get separate accommodations with every convenience. In 1956-1960 all workers and federal clerks moved to the 7-hour working day (6-hour day in the underground and harmful works). In 1956 practically pensions were doubled.

During the period of the seven-year plan the country's housing stock increased 40%. Those were of course rather small, low-ceiling, stuffy flats, but anyway the sharpness of the problem was abated.

Democratisation of social life caused rise of working activity. New working initiatives appear. Together with manufacture questions innovators put forward a broad circle of social ones, including rise of education level, of working qualification etc.

At the same time the end of the "Thaw" period was marked with the first open, though poorly organised protests against the USSR political system. In June , 1962 in the city of Novocherkassk a demonstration of workers, demanding improvement of living conditions, took place. The demonstration was scattered by the help of soldiers.

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