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By Michael Lynch

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It made sense, therefore, at least in the short term, to ignore the question of quality and to stress quantity. The result very often was that machines, factories and even whole enterprises were ruined because of the workers’ lack of basic skills. Stalin was seemingly untroubled by this. His notions of industrial ‘saboteurs’ and ‘wreckers’ allowed him to place the blame for poor quality and under-production on managers and workers who were not prepared to play their proper part in rebuilding the nation.

Modernisation Yet it would be wrong to regard Stalin’s policy as wholly a matter of political expediency. Judging from his speeches and actions after 1928, he had become convinced that the needs of Soviet Russia could be met only by modernisation. By that, Stalin meant bringing his economically backward nation up to a level of industrial production that would enable it to catch up with and then overtake the advanced economies of Western Europe and the USA. He believed that the survival of the Revolution and of Soviet Russia depended on the nation’s ability to turn itself into a modern industrial society within the shortest possible time.

Organised rural mass disturbances increased by one-third from 172 to 229. A particularly striking feature of the disturbances was the prominent role women played in them. In Okhochaya, a village in Ukraine, the following riotous scene took place. An eyewitness described how women broke into barns where the requisition squads had dumped grain seized from the peasants: A crowd of women stormed the kolkhoz stables and barns. They cried, screamed and wailed, demanding their cows and seed back. The men stood a way off, in clusters, sullenly silent.

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