New Economic Policy
- (NEP)Faced with massive peasant rebellions, Vladimir Lenin agreed to an armed truce with the countryside in 1921. The New Economic Policy ended the forced expropriation of the peasants’ grain crop and allowed them to sell their produce on an open market. The NEP created a period of relative prosperity and intellectual freedom. The NEP also saw a reduction of terror. The number of political arrests and executions dropped drastically as the security service was kept on a tighter reign. But from the point of view of the Communist Party and the OGPU, the NEP allowed the emergence of two enemy classes: a small class of better-off peasants, often referred to as kulaks, and traders who were damned as “Nepmen.”NEP was a compromise that threatened the party’s monopoly of power. In the countryside, the Communist Party lost much of its authority; the peasants maintained a monopoly on the cities’ food supply, and the Soviet Union was unable to pay for needed industrial technology with grain. Joseph Stalin’s answer to the crisis was collectivization: the destruction of the kulaks and the total subjugation of the countryside. OGPU chief Vyacheslav Menzhinsky and his principal subordinates supported an end to the NEP for political and operational reasons. They warned the leadership of the threat of an independent producing class, and they saw a need to restore control of the population.
Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Robert W. Pringle. 2014.
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