Soviet Union Information Bureau
Russia are in process of development. The Soviet Union, from its own resources and energies, is creating a wholesome, new, well-ordered life.
The Revolution placed the productive forces of the country directly in the control of the producing population. The social and political structure of the country is modelled to assure this control and to make every citizen an active and conscious participant in the national life. The laws permit no discriminations in respect to sex or racial stock. There is no private ownership in land or natural resources or in any basic thing vital to the life of the country. The individual farmer has his land for use, and he is protected from the evils of speculative land values by the fact that the State holds the only valid title in trust for all the people.
The new economic structure established in the Soviet Union, still in process of evolution, is developing along definite lines.
Production is carried on along the general lines of carefully devised scientific planning, designed to achieve a balanced economy. The highly socialized character of the structure lends itself to this system of economic planning, conducted by a State Planning Commission (Gosplan) whose functions are of the nature of an economic General Staff.
Nearly 90 per cent of the industrial output comes from organizations working under a federal plan of development, responsible to the State through the Supreme Economic Council for efficiency, quality of product and profitable operation, but enjoying within their own spheres a large measure of administrative autonomy. As a whole the record of these industries during the past few years in improved economy, increased labor efficiency and enhanced rationalization is promising. The banks and the credit system are under the control of the State. Transport and communications are run directly by Government departments.
In wholesale trade the State organs play a major part. Many of the larger State trusts or syndicates market their own products direct in this field. In retail trade the cooperatives have the major share, with private traders accounting for only about one-fourth of the turnover, and State organizations about 10 per cent. The share of the cooperatives is growing rapidly and that of the private traders decreasing. Chain stores distribution by the co-operatives is increasingly effective. Foreign trade is a Government monopoly.
In agriculture 98 per cent of the production is the output of individual farmers, but the farmers market the major part of their products through co-operative or State agencies and purchase their seeds and implements through their own cooperative organizations. Over a third of the peasant farms are represented in the agricultural co-operative societies. A significant movement for the further socialization of agriculture has now been instituted. The system of co-operative farms is rapidly expanding and a chain of great grain-producing areas operated directly by the State is being inaugurated with the most modern agricultural methods, greatly extending the present system of model Soviet farms under State operation.
The economic recovery has enabled the Soviet Government to undertake three important projects designed to give a great impetus to the productive forces of the country. These are:
1. The Dnieprostroy hydroelectric development, the largest hydroelectric project in Europe, which will furnish cheap power to a large section of the Southern Mining District in the Ukraine and will extend navigation on the Dnieper River for hundreds of miles. Total cost about $113,500,000. Construction well under way.
2. The Siberian-Turkestan railway, 950 miles, which will bring Siberian grain, timber and minerals to the Soviet cotton belt in Central Asia. Total cost about $100,000,000. Construction under way.
3. The Volga-Don Canal, which will give the Volga, the chief water transport route of the Soviet Union, a direct outlet for exports and imports on the Black Sea. Total cost, $85,000,000. Final plans approved by State Council of Experts, September, 1928.
The rise of the cooperative movement generally has been a natural phenomenon of the socialist State. The various cooperative organizations now have a membership of some 3,000,000. They play an increasing role in the economic scheme, particularly in its distributive phases.
The rise of the labor organizations has been as spectacular as that of the co-operatives and is of even greater significance. The trade unions have over 11,000,000 members. They have taken a leading part, in coOperation with the Government organizations, in the upbuilding of industry and the creation of better efficiency methods. They have likewise figured prominently in the warfare against illiteracy and in the solution of other social problems.
The Soviet Union entered its second decade in a healthy economic condition, with its productive forces strongly on the upgrade. It is still hampered by a lack of basic capital, caused by the enormous destruction of the years of war and civil strife. It is still handicapped by bureaucracy, partly inherited from the past, partly a hangover from the highly centralized administration necessary during the war-time crisis. This is being vigorously combated.
During its second decade the Soviet State looks forward to a greatly increased industrialization together with the development of a comprehensive plan of electric power expansion. Industrial planning envisages the doubling of the output of factories and mines by the close of 1932. During the five-year period (beginning October I, 1927) some $3,650,000,000 will be spent, according to the plan, on capital extensions in industry, including $1,500,000,000 for new plants. Agricultural production is expected to increase upwards of 23 per cent during this period. Along with the expansion of industry an extension of the system of granting concessions to foreign interests under limited leaseholds has been outlined. The stability of the country and its great undeveloped natural resources contribute to the possibilities in this line.
The steady growth of education among the masses of the population is expected to prove a prominent factor in increased productivity and the establishment of higher standards of life. At the present rate of progress the inherited scourge of illiteracy should be pretty thoroughly liquidated by the time the second decade is half over.
For the scientist the creation of a new society has opened a much broader opportunity. Advances in both pure and applied science have been marked. Inventions of great value have been forthcoming. Many new scientific institutes have been opened and laboratory equipment greatly improved. The natural resources of the country are being explored and tabulated to an extent hitherto unknown. The scientist has become an important factor in the industrial scheme, with a resultant notable gain in methods and processes.
There is every reason for confidence that the end of the second decade will see the country well advanced towards a full and comprehensive use of its natural resources and a high degree of industrial achievement along advanced technical lines. A substantial start has already been made.
Statistics given in this book are from official sources. Annual figures relate generally to the Soviet fiscal year, which runs from October r to September 30. Statistics given in
former Year Books issued by the Soviet Union Information Bureau have been revised in accordance with later official source material.
Next: AREA AND POPULATION