What Was the Political Purpose of the 5-Year Plans in the Soviet Union?

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The five-year plans for the development of the national economy of the Soviet Union, or simply the “five-year plans” were economic plans that assumed the rapid growth of the economy of the Soviet Union. They were developed centrally on a national scale by a specially created state body, the State Planning Committee, commonly known as Gosplan (Harrison 2). The New Economic Policy preceded the first five-year plan. The initial five-year plans were formed intending to the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union, and, therefore, they focused on heavy industry. Overall, there were 13 five-year plans (Harrison 1).

Initially, the first five-year plan lasted from fall 1928 to 1933. The main task of the first Five-Year Plan was to build the foundation of a socialist economy and strengthen the country’s defense capability. The plan provided for functions and measures aimed at transforming the USSR from an agrarian into a developed industrial state, for the collectivization of a significant number of peasant farms. In particular, the country’s real national income was planned to double, while consumption per head was expected to increase by two thirds (Harrison 1).

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Generally, the five-year plans specified the goals of the long-term plan, outlined the sequence and timing of their achievement, provided for a system of measures for a deeper feasibility study of the tasks facing the country’s national economy in the coming years. At the same time, each five-year plan had its main economic responsibility, corresponding to the characteristics of this period, and represents a new stage in the country’s economic and political development. Through the five-year plans, the Soviet state devoted resources to the solution of the tasks of creating the material and technical base of communism and increasing the well-being of the people.
Considering the above, it can be concluded that the political purpose of the five-year plans in the Soviet Union was to build a robust socialist economy, as well as strengthen the country’s defense and positions in the international arena. Besides, domestic policy was an important political objective of the five-year plans. The Communist Party demonstrated to the people that its social, economic, and scientific and technical tasks were carried out.

Work Cited
Harrison, Mark. “Five-Year Plan.” University of Warwick, 2006, warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/mharrison/public/fiveyearplan2006.pdf. Accessed 3 Dec. 2018.

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