3 years of war communism, a mutiny at the Kronstadt naval base
scared the Bolsheviks, and they realised that they were
pressing the people too hard.
Lenin – much to the annoyance of hard-line
Communists – brought in the New Economic Policy,
which allowed some free enterprise, and concentrated on
New Economic Policy
Brett on the NEP
Prof Rempel on
the NEP a success?
So who was
more important: Lenin or Trotsky?
the sailors at the
Kronstadt Naval Base mutinied.
demanded free speech, free elections, free trade unions and an
end to war communism.
Red Army put the mutiny down with great losses.
The mutiny scared the Bolsheviks, because the
Kronstadt sailors had been their greatest supporters!
Lenin said later that the rebellion was 'like a flash of lightning
which threw more of a glare upon reality than anything else.' So
he abandoned the policy of War Communism and brought in the NEP.
a. Lenin allowed
freedom to national and Muslim
b. In the Ukraine, although the Bolsheviks
were in power, the Ukrainian language was used in
government and business, and children were taught it in
c. In the Muslim areas of central Asia (such as
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) bazaars were allowed to
reopen, mosques were taken from Soviet control, the Koran was restored, and native languages were
Coal, iron, steel and railways
stayed nationalised, but the Bolsheviks brought in experts, on high wages,
to increase production.
factories were handed back to their owners.
b. New traders (called 'nepmen') were allowed to set up
small private businesses.
c. At the same time - where War Communism had forced the
peasants to hand over ALL their surplus grain - Lenin let them sell their surplus, and pay a tax instead.
Some hard-working peasants became rich (the ‘Kulaks’).
1925 advert for ‘Kalenkin’ beers, sodas and syrups.
poster: ‘You will be able to go anywhere in the world if you win the
Everyone is so infinitely
better off that present conditions see paradise by
comparison... 250,000 private traders have
migrated to Moscow since the NEP began.
They crowd the restaurants where it costs $25 a head
for dinner with French wine ... and lose a thousand or
so an evening at cards without turning a hair.
Walter Duranty, I Write AS I Please (1935)
- an American journalist who had been in Russia during the revolution -
remembering the NEP in 1992.
The NEP restored
to Russia .
But to many of us this prosperity was distasteful... We felt
ourselves sinking into the bog, paralysed, corrupted...
There was gambling, drunkenness, and all the filth of former times.
Classes were reborn in front of our very eyes..
Serge, From Lenin to Stalin (1937)
was a Bolshevik, remembering the NEP
There wasn’t any food in the country.
We were down to a little bread each.
Then suddenly they started the NEP.
Factories went back into private hands.
It was Capitalism.
In my eyes it was the very thing I had been fighting against...
Most people supported Lenin, other said he was wrong, and many tore up
their party membership cards.
Nikolai Izatchik, a Bolshevik, remembering the NEP in 1992