Abstract and Keywords
The Russian economy has been faced with significant environmental challenges, and agriculture—the mainstay of the economy during this period—suffered from consistently low yields. Neither the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, nor Stolypin’s agricultural reform of 1906 succeeded in bringing about fundamental change in Russian farming. Russia also had substantial difficulty in stimulating industrial growth. Before 1917, it had to rely on foreign investment to develop its industrial sector. The pressures of the First World War exposed Russian economic weakness. After 1917, the Bolshevik regime’s attempts to reform both agriculture and industry in the first years of its existence, while at the same time constructing a socialist society, proved unsuccessful. At the end of the 1920s, Stalin’s dictatorship was able to collectivize agriculture and to bring about industrial revolution through the Five-Year-Plans. While these brought short-term economic advantages, the USSR paid a heavy price for the Stalinist revolution.
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