Question

In “The Tasks of Economic Executives” of 1931 and in “The Results of the First Five-Year Plan,” Parts I, II and III of 1933, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin outlined the motivations and the result of his policy of rapid industrialization of the USSR. Discuss the reasons given by Stalin in “The Tasks” as to why it was imperative that the Soviet Union industrialize as quickly as possible and what were the initial results of Stalin’s policy as expressed in his speech on “The Results of the First Five-Year Plan,” Parts I, II and III? How, according to Stalin, did the rest of the world view these results?
After Stalin’s death, however, Soviet leader Khrushchev denounced him for a long list of crimes. What according to this denunciation were Stalin’s crimes, why in Khrushchev’s view did Stalin behave in this was manner, and what were some of the consequences of those crimes?
Finally, examine the fall of European communism as discussed in the 2009 reflections of Mikhail Gorbachev in The Nation magazine on the resignations of Communist regimes in Europe between 1989-91 and in chapter 14 of Edward Berenson’s Europe in the Modern World. What were the reasons behind the decline and fall of European Communism according to Merriman’s chapter on the subject? Why did Soviet leader Gorbachev decide to not interfere in the collapse of European Communist regimes outside the Soviet Union? What do these readings about the largely non-violent surrender of power by European Communists in most countries where they ruled indicate about the evolution of those societies and regimes by the time they came to an by the early 1990s?

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By the time of the Bolshevik revolution in October 1917, the USSR was still a nation defined by little else other than vast lands and agriculture. The industrial revolution had gathered pace in Europe and America, but the USSR was always backward in its ways and some areas still used ancient technology. After Lenin, Stalin desired to change the policy direction of the former tsarist provincial governments and embrace modernity in a way that would ensure that the path to modernity was defined. The fundamentals of the five-year plans in that context were based on the premise of taking the country from one dependent on agrarian and weak structures to a position where it would be self-reliant and as industrialized like other European states (Romagnolo, 1998). However, such would happen free from the caprices employed by the capitalist states.
Evolving the country into an industrial economy was a vital pillar of the five-year plan while ousting the capitalist elements and widens the socialist economy while creating the economic basis on how the change would affect the lives of citizens. In converting the country to a socialist state, the leaders desired to transform subsistence agriculture by smallholders to large-scale farming where the basis of capitalism would be destroyed right from the basics in the villages. The collective approach to development would gain a foothold allowing the government to structure policies in a way that strengthened the systems....

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