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Militarization of Soviet National Economy and Its Calamitous Consequences

by Hsieh Mu-to

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, #3, Jan. 17, 1975, pp. 8-9.]

THE great Lenin pointed out: “Imperialism is ... parasitic, or decaying capitalism.” (“Imperialism and the Split in Socialism,” Collected Works of V.I. Lenin.) Imperialism’s decay is most sharply manifested in the militarization of its national economy.

War Economy

The Soviet revisionist social-imperialists oppress and exploit the working people at home and engage in expansion, aggression and plunder abroad. Locked in fierce rivalry with the U.S. imperialists in Europe and other areas, they are trying in vain to build an unprecedentedly huge colonial empire. To achieve this objective, they have feverishly been expediting arms production and putting tremendous manpower, financial and material resources into military expansion and war preparation. The entire Soviet national economy has been turned into a special war economy.

In the past ten years or so, the Soviet revisionists have spent around 100,000 million U.S. dollars on the development of nuclear weapons. The Soviet GNP is about half that of the United States, but military expenditures are as big as those of the United States. According to various sources, present expenditures are estimated at about one-third of the national budgetary expenditures per annum, or approximately 20 per cent of the national income. These facts explain what great extent the militarization of the Soviet national economy has reached.

To speed up arms expansion, the Soviet revisionist leading clique puts massive industrial equipment, scientific and technical personnel into the armament industry. About 60 per cent of the Soviet industrial enterprises reportedly serve military purposes. According to Western press reports, Soviet expenses on military research and development in 1970 were 16,000 million U.S. dollars, 20 per cent of its total military expenditures.

In the utilization of natural resources, goods and materials, the Soviet revisionist leading clique also gives priority to armament production needs. It takes administrative measures to use large quantities of resources and materials for armament production.

Relying on its enormous war economy, the clique is engaged in arms expansion and war preparations on a scale and at a speed unprecedented in the Soviet Union. Along with large-scale development of nuclear-missile weapons, new conventional weapons are being swiftly turned out. It was reported that the Soviet Union has increased the number of intercontinental missiles 15 times in ten years; nuclear submarines 5.5 times in 4 years; and naval tonnage almost 2 times in ten years. Military planes increased 50 per cent during the 1968-73 period and the numbers of tanks and guns are rising rapidly year after year. While sharply adding to the quantity of its arms, the Soviet revisionist clique has spared no effort to improve its weapons and trial-produce new types.

Calamitous Consequences

The militarization of the national economy has brought on many calamitous consequences. The dislocation of the economy has worsened, civilian industries have been seriously undermined and farm production has lagged. All this has deeply bogged the economy down in inextricable contradictions and brought untold suffering to the people.

Civilian industries, consumer goods in particular, have long been flagging owing to the lack of capital and technique. The Soviet revisionist leading clique has been promising to increase investments in the consumer goods industry. But plans always fall through and guns always replace butter. During the 8th five-year plan period (1966-70), only 70 per cent of the plan for such investments was met. Very poor quality and shortages of consumer goods resulting from the backward situation in the industry have aroused widespread dissatisfaction among the Soviet people.

To put an end to discontent, Brezhnev and company promised to make a “large structural change” in the national economy in the 9th five-year plan and give “priority” to development of the consumer goods industry. In recent years, however, the structure of the militarized national economy has not been “changed” in the least, nor has “priority” been given to developing the consumer goods industry. In 1972, actual production of some important consumer goods, such as milk, sugar, vegetable oil and leather shoes, was below that of 1971. The rate of growth of consumer goods production in 1973, set at 8.1 per cent in the 9th five-year plan, was later reduced to 4.5 per cent. The drop in consumer goods production, has aggravated the acute scarcity of daily necessities.

Agricultural investment plans, have not been fulfilled for years in succession due to a capital and machine shortage. In the 8th five-year plan period, only 76 per cent of the plan was met, while in the 9th five-year plan period, the plan went unfulfilled for two years in a row. The yield of farm products has long been fluctuating at a low level, and grain output dropped drastically in 1972. Over 20 million tons of grain worth 2,000 million U.S. dollars had to be imported from the United States, Canada and Australia, and 200,000 tons of butter from Europe.

Another disastrous consequence of the militarization of the economy is the daily worsening financial situation. The enormous cost of armament expansion and war preparations goes far beyond the limit of the economic power. Brezhnev and his cronies are scampering back and forth begging for credits with cap in hand. The Soviet revisionists, it is reported, owe other countries over 8,000 million U.S. dollars.

Growing Impoverishment

To make up for the huge deficits caused by frantic armament expansion and war preparations, the Soviet revisionist leading clique has moved the heavy financial burden over on to the Soviet people by increasing taxes and commodity prices under various pretexts. In 1971 alone, it milked 13,700 million rubles in taxes out of the Soviet people, 9.8 per cent of the total amount of that year’s worker and staff wages. Taxes rose to 15,100 million rubles in 1972. Paying off the “national bonds” issued before 1968 has been set back so that they cannot be completely redeemed until 1990. The impoverishment of the Soviet working people is becoming worse and worse as a result of the daily intensified exploitation and oppression by the Soviet revisionists.

The more this leading clique steps up expansion and plunder abroad, the more fully are its ugly social-imperialist features out in the open and the more is it isolated. The moral frantically it expands armaments and prepares for war and redoubles exploitation and oppression of the Soviet people, the stronger is their discontent and the more stubborn their resistance. Striking evidence is the slow-downs, strikes and demonstrations that have taken place wave upon wave in the Soviet Union in recent years.

The militarization of the Soviet national economy is the inevitable outcome of the all-round restoration of capitalism by the Soviet revisionist renegade clique and the degeneration of the socialist Soviet Union personally founded by Lenin into social-imperialism.

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