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Forced development and psychology of the multitude

"Socialist" advance of late 20-s and early 30-s denoted in increasing planned tasks in industry, in complete collectivisation in the village - it was an attempt to cut Gordian knot of problems in economics and simultaneously to relax social tension, that had been accumulating in the society. As a result of reconsideration (winter of 1927/1928 and 1928/1929) of collective contracts, of tariff reform, of production tasks wages equalisation intensified and salary of certain categories of workers went down.

Worker's (mainly of top qualification) unsatisfaction was expressed in form of collective addresses to administrative bodies with the purpose to get explanation of the current campaign. Short-term strikes took place as well. The growing workers' discontent was obviously the result of "tightening up the belt" policy. "The case of coalminers" (1928) played a role of a lightning arrester.

Within "the case of coalminers" many mining engineers and foremen of Donbass region (the Ukraine) were sued, the accusations being deliberate harmful activity, organisation of explosions in mines, criminal ties with former owners of the mines, purchasing of unnecessary equipment, infringement of occupational health and safety, braking labour laws etc. In reality outrageous ownerlessness, anarchy, misrule were a common thing in there, and because of that repeatable industrial accidents occurred with loss of life. In most of the cases the "political" accusations were added in course of investigation. The investigators made that "forgery" in order to "mobilise the multitude", "to arise wrath against imperialism in workers minds". The administration used the forgeries as a "lightning arrester" so as to avert workers' attention from negative effects of the forced industrialisation.

The case of the miners was an excuse for a lengthy mass media propaganda campaign, that caused in its turn a storm of emotions. Workers in production units demanded calling general meetings, where they appeared for strengthening administrative attention to the needs of the employees.

Socialist competition was another form of appealing to workers' class feelings. Stenuous broadening and accelerating of socialist competition was declared. The grandious plans were a powerful stimuli for workers. Socialist competition was especially broad and multy-form since 1929.

In 1931 self-financing worker's squads began to replace communes and collectives with equalised distribution of wages. The self-financing squads made agreements with the administration, that included mutual obligations of the sides. Individual payment was used, for economy of tools, raw material etc, the squad received a certain bonus money, that was distributed inside the team, considering a certain worker's qualification, quantity and quality of labour. The procedure of expelling of unsatisfactory members of the team was simplified.

Since 1935 Stakhanov movement became the main form of socialist competition (named after A.Stakhanov, a coal-miner, who in August 31, 1935, with the help of two unskilled workers took 102 tons of coal, which was 14 times more as compared with the production task). On the base of Stakhanov's movement labour efficiency in heavy industry in 1936 increased 25.5% as compared with the previous year; production tasks were raised 35-45%.

In December of 1935 Plenum of the CPSU Central Committee decreed to make stakhanov movement a movement of millions. Stakhanov shifts, days, decades, months were held, in which whole works, plants, production units participated. For the years of the second five-year plan, consumption of foodstuffs per capita began to increase. People could see that life grew better, that sacrifices were not in vain, that the Party began to settle the bills of the people's trust.

Impressive were achievements in Health Care system. In 1913 one doctor fell on 5700 inhabitants, one hospital bed - on 760; in 1924 accordingly on 4800 and 700; in 1940 - on 1200 and 250.

Since people were aimed to high ideals and their existence was conscious, wilful, they were, at least looked happy and resilient, which surprised foreign tourists. A. Zhid, a well-known French writer, who visited the USSR in 1936, wrote: "However the fact is obvious: Russian people seems happy... How should we reconcile it to the horrible life conditions in which the vast majority of the population live? You can see many people, often hungry, who look smiling, merry. Their happiness is based upon trust, ignorance and hope".

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