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War communism

From Academic Kids

War communism or wartime communism was the harsh economic policy adopted by Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War with an aim to keep towns and the Red Army supplied with weapons and food in the conditions when all normal economical mechanisms and relations were being destroyed by the war. "War communism" included the following policies:

  1. All large factories to be controlled by the government.
  2. Production planned and organized by the government.
  3. Discipline for workers was strict, and strikers could be shot.
  4. Obligatory labor duty was imposed onto "non-working classes".
  5. Prodrazvyorstka – requisition of agricultural surpluses from peasants in excess of absolute minimum for centralized distribution among the remaining population.
  6. Food and most commodities were rationed and distributed in a centralized way.
  7. Private enterprise became illegal.
  8. Military-like control of railroads was introduced.

As it is seen from the above, this policy putting nearly everything of significance under the stringent control of government and martial law has only a superficial relation to communism, and the name was chosen for political reasons.

Although this policy achieved the aim of winning the war, it did not eliminate hardships and in many instances actually aggravated them. Peasants refused to co-operate in producing food, as the government took away far too much of it. This led to food shortages and, along with the bad weather and the effects of the war, to famine. Several million people died, and there were even reports of cannibalism. Workers were abandoning cities into countryside, where the chances to feed oneself were higher, thus further decreasing the possibility of the fair trade of industrial goods for food and worsening the plight of the remaining urban population.

As a result, a series of workers' strikes and peasants' rebellions (such as the Tambov rebellion) rolled over the country. The turning point was the Kronstadt rebellion at the naval base on February, 1921. The rebellion had a startling effect on Lenin, even though it was eventually crushed by the Red Army, because the Kronstadt sailors had been among the strongest supporters of communism. After the rebellion, Lenin ended the policy of War Communism and replaced it with the New Economic Policy.

The term wartime communism was also reportedly in use in Serbia during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.cs:Vlečn komunismus de:Kriegskommunismus it:Comunismo di guerra ru:Военный коммунизм tt:Xrbi kommunizm

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