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Stalin's entrepreneurs
Stalin's entrepreneurs

Many "black myths" were created about the Soviet Union, especially about the Stalinist period, which were supposed to create a negative impression on people of Soviet civilization and forever deprive the people of this wonderful experience, which can and should be based on at the present time. One of these "black myths" is the myth of the "total nationalization of the economy" under Stalin. However, this is a clear lie or simple ignorance of history. It was under Stalin that there was an opportunity to engage in legal and practically private entrepreneurship. And after the end of the Great Patriotic War, numerous artels and single handicraftsmen operated in the country.

It would seem, what kind of entrepreneurship can there be under Stalin? Many immediately recall the stereotypes drilled in from school: the command-administrative system, the planned economy, the construction of developed socialism, NEP has long been closed. However, under Stalin, entrepreneurship developed, and even quite powerfully. Until the "Trotskyist" Khrushchev in 1956 closed and liquidated this sector of the national economy, along with the personal plots allowed under Stalin.

It turns out that under Stalin it was a very strong sector of the country's economy, which even produced weapons and ammunition during the war years. That is, the artels possessed high technologies and their own production park. In the Soviet Union, entrepreneurship - in the form of production and fishing artels - was supported in every possible way and in every possible way. Already in the course of the first five-year plan, it was planned to increase the number of members of the artels by 2, 6 times. At the beginning of 1941, the Council of People's Commissars (Soviet government, Sovnarkom) and the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), by a special resolution, protected the artels from unnecessary interference from their superiors, emphasized the mandatory election of the leadership of the industrial cooperation at all levels, and freed enterprises from all taxes and state control over retail for two years. pricing. The only prerequisite was that retail prices should not exceed government prices for similar products by more than 10-13%. And this despite the fact that state-owned enterprises were in worse conditions, because they did not have any benefits. And so that the chiefs could not "squeeze" the artel workers, the state also determined the prices at which the artels were provided with raw materials, equipment, warehouses, transport, and trade facilities. That is, the scope for corruption has practically been destroyed.

Even during the years of the most difficult Great Patriotic War, the artels retained half of the benefits, and after the war they were given more than in 1941. Especially artels, where disabled people were employed, the number of which increased sharply after the war. During the post-war reconstruction of the country, the development of artels was considered the most important state task. Many leaders, especially front-line soldiers, were instructed to organize artels in various settlements.

In fact, this continued the ancient production tradition of Russian civilization: after all, production artels (communities) were the most important part of the economic life of the Russian state since ancient times. The artel principle of the organization of labor existed in Russia even under the first Rurikovichs, apparently, it was even earlier. He is known under various names - a gang, brothers, brothers, squads. The essence is always the same - the work is carried out by a group of people equal in rights to each other, each of whom can vouch for everyone and all for one, and organizational issues are decided by the ataman, the foreman chosen by the gathering. All members of the artel do their job, actively interact with each other. There is no principle of exploiting one member of the artel by another. That is, from time immemorial, the communal principle, characteristic of the Russian mentality, prevailed. Sometimes entire villages or communities organized a common artel.

Thus, under Stalin, this ancient Russian social unit retained its significance and occupied a definite and important place in Soviet civilization

As a result, after Stalin, 114 thousand workshops and enterprises of various directions remained in the country after Stalin - from the food industry and metalworking to jewelry and the chemical industry! These enterprises employed about 2 million people, they produced almost 6% of the gross industrial output of the Soviet Union. Moreover, artels and cooperatives produced 40% of furniture, 70% of metal utensils, more than a third of all knitwear, almost all children's toys. That is, entrepreneurs played an important role in light industry, the most problematic sector of the Soviet empire. The business sector had about a hundred design bureaus, 22 experimental laboratories, and even two research institutes. Surprisingly, the private sector had its own (non-state) pension system! Artels could provide loans to their members for the purchase of inventory, equipment, housing and the purchase of livestock.

Soviet artels were not a primitive relic of the semi-feudal Russian empire. Enterprises produced not only the simplest items, like children's toys, but also practically all items necessary in everyday life - in the post-war years in the provincial outback, up to 40% of all items that were in the house (dishes, furniture, shoes, clothes, etc.) as well as complex subjects. So, the first Soviet tube receivers (1930), the first radio systems in the USSR (1935), the first television sets with a cathode-ray tube (1939) were produced by the Leningrad artel "Progress-Radio".

In this sector, the general progress of the Soviet state was noticeable. The Leningrad artel "Joiner-builder", having started in 1923 with the production of sleds, wheels, clamps, by 1955 changed its name to "Radiist" and was a major manufacturer of furniture and radio equipment. The Yakut artel "Metallist", created in 1941, had a powerful factory industrial base by the mid-1950s. The Gatchina artel "Jupiter", which since 1924 produced various household items, in 1944 produced nails, locks, lanterns, shovels, and in the early 1950s produced aluminum dishes, drilling machines and presses, washing machines. And there were thousands of such examples.

Thus, in the Stalinist USSR, not only entrepreneurship developed, but also real, productive, and not parasitic-speculative entrepreneurship, which bred during the years of Gorbachev's "perestroika" and liberal reforms, still largely determines the appearance of our economy. In the "totalitarian" state, there was a wide scope for initiative and creativity. This was good for the country and the people, made the Soviet state stronger. Soviet entrepreneurs, protected by the state, did not know about such problems of "wild capitalism" as corruption, the merging of the state apparatus with organized crime, racketeering, "roof", etc.

Stalin and his associates understood the importance of private initiative in the national economy, preventing attempts to nationalize this sector. In the all-Union economic discussion in 1951, Shepilov and Kosygin defended both the farmsteads of the collective farmers and the freedom of the artels. Stalin wrote about this in his work "Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR" (1952).

Thus, contrary to the myth that under Stalin “everything was taken away”, it must be remembered that it was during his reign that the system of honest, production, and not usurious, speculative-parasitic entrepreneurship was formed and worked perfectly. Then entrepreneurs were protected from abuse and corruption of officials, from usurers-bankers and bandits. In fact, under Stalin, a special model was actively formed, when private entrepreneurship rationally supplemented the state industry.

Unfortunately, this system was destroyed during the "thaw" of Khrushchev, who dumped garbage on the grave of the greatest ruler of the mountain. For several years, many of what was cultivated, grown for decades, was destroyed. In 1956, it was decided by 1960 to completely transfer all cooperative enterprises to the state. An exception was made only for small-scale production of consumer services, arts and crafts, and artels of disabled people, but they were forbidden to carry out regular retail trade in their products. Artel property was alienated free of charge. It wasn't fair. The property of the artels was honestly acquired by hard work and often the effort of many years and even decades. This property served the community, was productive. Among the many outrages committed by Khrushchev in the USSR, it is necessary to single out the pogrom of private cooperatives, which were useful to society and the state.


TV T1 of the Progress-Radio artel Author: Samsonov Alexander

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