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War Communism

and NEP
War Communism, what is it?
• War Communism can also be referred to as
socialism. It was the name given to the
economic system that existed in Russia
from 1918 to 1924.
• It was introduced by Lenin so they could
fight their economic problems brought by
the civil war in Russia. He introduced this
when he realized that the Bolsheviks were
un-prepared to take over the whole
economic system of Russia.
• It was a way of ruling Russia.
War Communism’s 6 principles
1. The production should be run by the state. Private ownership had to be kept to
a minimum. Any houses which were owned by someone, not the state was
confiscated by the state.
2. Once a military army had finished their work, they would become a labour army.
This means they would have to control the labour of every citizen, this was
ordered by the state.
3. The state should produce everything under its own actions.
4. Extreme centralization was introduced. This was when the economic life was
controlled by the Bolsheviks and was put into the hands of a few other
5. The Commissariats took what they needed to meet demands. The people were
divided into four groups- manual workers in harmful places, workers who had to
do hard, physical labour, workers in light tasks and housewives and professional
6 War Communism tried to abolish money as means of exchanging. The Bolsheviks
wanted to do a system of ‘natural economy’ where no one bought things anymore
with money, everyone had to exchange goods. The only tax allowed was the
‘Extraordinary Revolutionary Tax’, which was for the rich, not the workers.
E.g. if you need grain and you are a hammer maker, you would exchange your
hammers with grain, or if you own some animals, you would exchange those to
peasants for grain.
The effects of War Communism
1. By 1921, after they had the ‘natural economy’ where everyone
exchanged, the value of Roubles had dropped and exchanging had
been introduced. The government’s income was pretty poor as they
had abolished taxes.
What happened to the peasants-
• The state would come along to the peasants and take their extra
grain to feed the soldiers and the workers who worked in the
• The next year, the peasants were saying that they shouldn’t put
the effort to make extra grain which would be taken by the state
for the other people, not even for them.
• So, they decided to grow just enough grain for them, not enough
for the soldiers and the workers.
• The government then realized what the peasants had done and
came up with the conclusion of just taking the peasants grain
• This then led to a hug famine since the peasants had no grain to
feed their families.
What happened to the workers-
• -Some Bolsheviks in the hierarchy group wanted to get rid of all the
factory managers and make the workers run the factories, but on
behalf of the people.
• -It was said that the workers would work better if they believed
they were working for the poor, a system which had made some rich
but many poor people.
• The workers were starving as the peasants weren’t growing any
grain for them, so the workers said that it would be better if they
moved to the countryside and grow their own grain. = Between 1916
and 1920, the central and northern cities of Russia had lost 33% of
their population which had moved to the countryside.
• Under War Communism, the number of those working in the
factories and mines dropped by 50%.
Even though the manual class was the favoured class, they still got
the very little food. A lot of the people in the professional class
just starved. On the 20th of 1918, the Bolsheviks decided that all
the extra grain made by the peasants should be given to the state.
In 1920 to 1921, the state owned about 6 million tons of grain.
About the NEP
NEP stands for New (sometimes also National)
Economic Policy.
• NEP was a new policy for the Russian economy.
Like trading, farming, etc. NEP raised up the
economy after it was adopted because Russia’s
economy was in terrible shape.
• Lenin came to conclusion that "only by coming to an
agreement with the peasants can we save the
socialist revolution"
• Lenin introduced the NEP on march, 1921.
• Joseph Stalin got rid of the NEP policy and
replaced it with 5year plan.
The NEP’s rules

1. Requisition squads were ended and farmers were allowed to

sell food in the open/free market.
2. Peasants could sell their surplus grain after the government
took half.
3. They (peasants) could give a job to other people who would
work for them.
3. NEP also allowed internal trade. Traders could buy, sell and
make goods at a profit
4. Small factories (under 20 employees) were handed back to
private ownership.
5. NEPmen were created. These were middle men who bought
and sold goods.
Trade with foreign countries was encouraged. Anglo-Soviet
trade agreement with UK.
The difference for the