“Stalin Transformed Russia from a Backward Country Into a Great World Power… but the Cost Was Certainly Exorbitant."Discuss.

1069 Words Sep 8th, 2013 5 Pages
“Stalin transformed Russia from a backward country into a great world power… but the cost was certainly exorbitant” (The Guardian newspaper, 6 March 1933) Discuss.
After becoming leader of Russia, a country that by his accounts, ‘was 50 to 100 years behind advanced countries’ Joseph Stalin sought to enhance Russia quickly, before ‘being crushed by his opponents’ (Stalin, 1931) To make up the vast difference between the agrarian country he had, and the superpower he dreamt about, Stalin determined to use every method available to him, often extending to exorbitant levels. He needed to modernize the agricultural system, rapidly increase Russia’s industry and change the soviet people’s social and political ways of life. Whilst eventually
…show more content…
Keeping up with your quota was tough, considering the high levels of production excepted by Stalin. If you didn’t keep up, you were sent to the gulags, where the death rate, according to historian Adam Jones, was about 30%.Getting sent to the gulags was not a hard task, just being late two times was enough. Stalin also used slave labour to work on the really tough projects. The Belomor Canal, for example, was built with over 100000 slave labourers. Stalin may have succeeded in his industrial goals, but it came at a cost that was too high, punishing scores of people for not keeping up with un-measurable tasks.

The third way Stalin changed Russia was socially and politically. These changes had some benefits. For the average russian who toed the line, life got better. Healthcare programs were introduced for the masses, which was far better than the old days, where medical help was only available for the rich. They were entitled to state-funded holidays, sent to sports and leisure clubs with their families. Education standards were also lifted, with millions becoming literate(Edward Acton). Stalin also promoted equal rights between men and women, making It more easy for women to get a divorce or an abortion than almost anywhere else at the time. Whilst these social impacts were helpful, there were many negative repercussions that far outweigh the positives. Stalin once said that Ideas are more powerful than guns.

Related Documents