The «Statisation» of the Economy: The Lessons of History and Ideology (To the 100th Anniversary of «War Communism»)

Voeykov M.I.


Discussing the policy of «war communism» as the beginning of the formation of the national economy of Russia, the author argues that this policy had two key preconditions, those being the objective circumstances of the world and civil wars, on the one hand, and the ideological ideas of the Bolsheviks about communism, on the other. The latter included: abolition of money, elimination of market economy, direct centralized management of all enterprises, compulsory labor duties of all citizens, etc. However, of paramount importance were the objective reasons for the militarization of the economy, those only in the long run and in some aspects coinciding with the Bolshevik communist ideology. Thus, the policy of «war communism» was controversial and essentially dual. Along with the collapse of commodity economy and the monetary system as well as the increased militarization of the economy, there continued to exist many market elements, commodity exchange, money, material interest and private interest. There also existed a multi-million peasant economy based on private land property and market exchange. Notwithstanding the nationalization of the economy, the society still enjoyed some of the democratic gains of the revolution: a multi-party system (with the exclusion of «bourgeois» parties), freedom of speech and assembly, democratic elections, etc. It is shown that the main characteristics of a nationalized economy and its duality were preserved during the entire Soviet period. This applies to the restriction of commodity production and market economy, the state control and guardianship of every enterprise, the restriction of material incentives for labor, the prohibition of private property and private entrepreneurship. At the same time, during the Soviet period, the democratic intentions of «war communism», such as a multi-party system, alternative elections, freedoms of speech and assembly, pluralism in creative and artistic spheres, were lost.


«military communism»; market relations; capitalism; socialism; rigid state; the duality of the Soviet model.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2019.04.01

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