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The Western Mail, April 7th, 1931



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In a series of five articles the first of which is given below, the writer examines Russia's Five-Year Plan of economic recovery which has now been in operation two and half years.  Political and economic motives behind the Plan are described in this   article. Further articles will be published daily in these columns this week.


 Two men were standing on the roof of a grey, straight-lined skyscraper in Moscow.


One of them was a tall dark Russian Communist with narrow slit eyes of a semi-Asiatic.  The other was a Welshman looking just like any other Welshman in the streets of a Glamorgan port or mining town.  One of them had been educated in the Communist Academy, Moscow; the other had been to an elementary and to a secondary school in Wales.  The Russian had spent thirteen years in a revolutionary State which was Building up Socialism.  The Welshman had lived in a capitalist State where the shops and the factories the mines and the railway were run by private enterprise.




The Communist turned to the Welshman and said: “You are a man of the past.  I am a man of the future.  You belong to the capitalist world which is fast crashing.  I belong to the Communist world, which is soon to triumph. Look at Moscow, which lies around us.  What you see is symbolic of the trend of world history.  I’ll tell you why.”


The two men looked at the Red Capital which stretched on every side.  They saw some broken-down wooden huts cheek by jowl with a line new electric station.  To the south near the river the ancient towers and spires of the Kremlin-the large, closely-guarded citadel in the centre of the town-stood out.  On its highest pinnacle floated a large red flag with a yellow sickle and hammer in one corner.  A newly built dazzling white skyscraper contrast between the Russian buildings of the Middle Ages and the engineering feat of the twentieth century.


The young Bolshevik continued: “The old and the new are standing side by side and the new is triumphing.  Next to the wooden hovels of the past you have the modern skyscraper of the Communist regime.  That electric station over there is symbolic of the efforts of the Bolshevik revolution to build a new industrialised Russian where the machine will take the place of God.”




He paused and his little Asiatic eyes twinkled with excitement and enthusiasm revealing a glimpse of the fanatic.  He went on: “That’s what we are doing to Russia and it’s going to shake the whole world to its foundations.  The World Revolution will break out.  The globe will become the World Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Mark my words. Not a single man or woman, whether in New Zealand or China or Wales, will be untouched by what is happening to-day in Russia.  We are going to prove to the world that Communism can build up a powerful prosperous State.


“Do you know what our weapon is? It’s our FIVE-YEAR PLAN.”


The Five-Year Plan begins the third act in the thrilling drama of the Bolshevik Revolution.


The first act opened with the thunder of the guns and the blood of November, 1917, when the Revolution broke out.  It was the period of military Communism.  There was war on all sides-against the Whites, against the Allies, against the Poles. Ruthless terror sent thousands to their death.  The Communists put their principles into practice by abolishing banks, money, private trading, and by preventing the peasants from selling their grain except to the State.  The curtain of the first act goes down upon the bodies of millions of. Russians dead or dying in the terrible famine of 1921.


Then came the second act, the recovery, 1921-1927.  Lenin, the realist, made a compromise with Capitalism and allowed peasants and shopkeepers to sell their goods openly and make a profit.  This is called the New Economic Policy (N.E.P.) in the middle of this act there was poignant scene when the great Lenin died in January 1924.


The third act began in 1928, and was the period of re-construction or the Act of the Five-Year Plan.  This plan is in reality a new revolution, a revolution lasting over a period of five years.




It is not so dramatic as the show and fighting of 1917, but more far-reaching in its effects.  This Revolution of the Five-Year Plan is now stirring every village, every street, every factory to its depths and affecting the life of every man, woman, and child in the Soviet Union.


In 1927 the Communist party considered that, the general level of production was about the same as in 1913. But, to the horror of the Bolsheviks, Capitalism was growing in the country. Private trade, as opposed to the Stalin and co-operative shops, was stilt powerful.  Worst of all, the Revolution had turned the peasants into capitalistic small-holders.  The big estates which had produced millions of tons of grain for export had been divided into innumerable tiny patches.  The vast stretches of laud which used to supply time towns and the Army with food had been split up.  The Communist Revolution had led to the increase of Capitalism!  It had led to a shortage of grain, for it is difficult to collect grain front 26,000,000 different small proprietors.  It had led to the increasing strength of the capitalist class of richer peasants, the Kulaks who hated Communism.


The cry went, round among the communists: “The time has come for Change!  Forward to pure Communism!  No more compromise with Capitalism.  We must try to introduce Communism within five years.  We must build a strong industrial State and turn the millions of peasants patches into vast Socialist farms."




Exports and scientists hurried from all parts of the Soviet Union. Conferences were held to plan the life of the Communist State for the next five years. This was done tinder the auspices of the State Planning Commission.  They drew up a tremendous plan for the development of the whole life of the Soviet Union.


Imagine a Commission sitting in London with full power to do whatever they liked in transforming the whole of Great Britain.  They could say: "Ten new factories must be built at Cardiff within two years.  A railway must be constructed between Swansea and Caernarvon by 1932.  Eighty-five per cent. of the mines of South Wales must be provided with the latest machinery by March 1, 1933.  Carmarthen must produce 46,824 tons of grain within ten months time.  Fifty-four thousand Welsh miners must be sent to East Africa by December 1st  this year"


Imagine this Commission working out exactly what must be produced in boots, coal, eggs, matches, butter, steel, ships, and sowing machines for a period of five years!  That is what the Five-Year Plan is attempting to do for Russia.




The “Pravda” (the paper of the Communist party) describes it thus: “The Five-Year Plan is an important part of the offensive of the proletariat of the world against Capitalism; it is a plan tending to undermine capitalist stabilisation; it a great plan of World Revolution.”


That is the political motive of the Plan.


 But at present, the economic motive seems far more vital to the majority of the Communists.  They want to build up a new Russia. They want to plan the destinies of 153,000,000 people.  They want to construct factories here, steel works there.  They want to go full speed ahead at turning the Soviet Union into a rich, industrialised Socialist State.  They want to transform backward Russia into a Communist version of the United States. We’ll beat America!”

That is the battle-cry of the Communist.



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