The Impact Of The Consciousness Of Backwardness Essays

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An Unintentional Backfire
On the Impact of the Consciousness of Backwardness

Juntai Shen ’18

Russia, as defined by Prof. Terry Martin, is the first “backward state” in the world. The well-developed consciousness of backwardness vis-a-vis other countries, especially the ones in Western Europe confronted, confronted the Russian intelligentsia as well as revolutionaries. Systematic import of cultural practices from the west, fierce and coercive processes of collectivization and industrialization, and the advocate of communism/socialism as a substitute of doomed capitalism were major characteristics in the journey to eliminate anything backward. However, the tremendous effort to advance and modernize the Soviet Russia was overshadowed by factors concurrently intensified by the consciousness of backwardness: utopianism and radicalization. These two factors, stimulated by backwardness, resulted in misguided practices, and created persistent backwardness on an individual level (dystopia).
Agriculturally, the Leninist New Economic Policy (NEP) granted private farmers to cultivate and trade their own harvests, and small-scale private commercial activities were formally allowed. Although NEP successfully restored the agricultural productivity, it invited debates on its ideological correctness. Stalin, an opponent to the NEP, believed that socialist economy had no place for privatization, and the NEP was essentially a nod to capitalist spirit. Since the perceived backwardness of…

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