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Economics of the first Post-War Years
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Economics of the first Post-War Years

For years of the Great Patriotic war the Soviet Union suffered not only the greatest human losses, but also a huge material loss, which made the astronomical number of about 3 billion rubles. In 1945 the country with the population of 160 million people was put before the unprecedentedly complicated problem: in the shortest terms to restore the facilities destroyed by the war, revive the economy of the before occupied territories, rapidly over profile industrial production for work in conditions of peacetime.

First of all it was necessary to carry out demobilization of the huge acting army, which by the end of war totaled in 11,4 million people. In this connection June 23, 1945 the Law on demobilization of thirteen ages of staff of the Soviet Armed forces passed. The process of demobilization was actually finished in 1948. In total 8,5 million people was dismissed from the army. Repatriation of the Soviet citizens being in fascist captivity or driven for works to Germany was simultaneously carried out.

September 4, 1945 the extreme martial law was cancelled in the country, holidays and the 8-hour working day were brought in. The majority of the demobilized military men were sent to restoration of the largest industrial establishments, and also to agriculture. March 18, 1946 the first session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR ratified the fourth five-year plan.

The situation of the territories, where operations took place, and those being under occupation was especially difficult. Hardship of the restoration was aggravated with the drought of the 1946, which covered the European part of the country. Hardship also accompanied the simultaneous process of restoration of the industry and its conversion. Within the fourth five-year plan (1946-1950) about 6200 large industrial enterprises were restored and reconstructed, labour productivity in the industry increased 25 % in comparison with the prewar 1940. As a whole in the country the pre-war level of the industrial production was achieved in 1948, and in 1950 surpassed 73 %. Simultaneously modernization of the restored enterprises took place. As a result the metallurgical and fuel and energy base of the country was rapidly restored.

By the end of the fourth five-year plan the major branches of agriculture were reconstructed, and its gross output in 1950 made 97 % of the pre-war level. By 1950 the railway transportation was basically reconstructed, but the construction of new trunk-railways, including such large as the South-Siberian, was going very slowly.

In the post-war years the standard of living of the Soviet people in cities improved. In December 1947 the rationing system of the food and industrial goods was cancelled. Simultaneously the currency reform was carried out, exchange of old money for new at the rate of 10 rubles of old money to 1 new ruble was made. The reform improved the financial system, but had a negative effect on the common weal of wide groups of the population.

In the fifth five-year plan (1951-1955) growth of industrial production was defined as 70 % more in comparison with the level of 1950. New large industrial construction was developed, especially in the east of the country, in Baltic, the Volga region, Transcaucasia. The range of capital investments had grown. After the Plenum of the TSK of the CPSU in September (1953) centralization of the industry was brought down, the rights of union republics and of the local bodies of their governments were extended.

Within the fifth five-year plan a number of actions for improvement of the system of payment and norm setting, which provided primary development of the heavy industry, was carried out. On the Plenum of the TSK of the CPSU in September 1953 the new policy of development of agriculture was produced, which by that time was at the level of 1926-1929,given that the population had considerably grown, and about 57 % continued to live in the village. Quota purchase prices were raised, norms of obligatory deliveries to the state were reduced, capital investments in agricultural mechanical engineering were increased in 1,5-2 times.

But agriculture was already too undermined to get out of the deep crisis. As an attempt of the output the decision to start development of virgin and long-fallow lands, first of all in Kazakhstan was accepted. This program began to be carried out since 1954. In the first half of 50s the material common weal of the population had improved.

No mass movements took place in the USSR in the first post-war decade. All was under control of the party. However, in western areas again joined to the USSR in essence guerrilla war against the Soviet authority was conducted.

After war a part of the Russians and Russian emigrants of the first wave returned to the USSR, mainly from France and China, and also some other countries. Despite voluntariness of returning many of them underwent repressions and persecutions.

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