Achievements of the USSR by Graham Ó hArrachtáin Jan08


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Achievements of the USSR by Graham Ó hArrachtáin

The Soviet Union achieved more in its first few decades than any other nation could ever even dream of replicating. The USSR originated in the baptism of fire that was the October Socialist Revolution. In this revolution, the exploited working class took state power and began administering the Dictatorship of the Proletariat under the leadership and guidance of the Bolshevik Party. The revolutionaries faced vociferous opposition from the dispossessed landowners and big bourgoisie and their supporters. Not to be out done by their Russian allies,16 countries such as the USA, Canada, Japan and Britain sent an expeditionary force to help the White Russians. The Bolsheviks successfully marshalled the support of the masses and the Red Army crushed the counter-revolutionaries.

The young USSR achieved much in women’s emancipation. Women were given a right to vote, a right to education and the pay gap between men and women was abolished. Day care centres and créches were set up and provided to women to allow them to work without worrying about their children’s welfare. Women were also allowed play an equal part in the Red Army and in the protection of their country.

The 5-year plans created a new era of industrial progress with industry growing by over 800% from Tsarist times during the first two 5-year plans. All this occurred at the same time the Capitalist countries were enduring the Great Depression! Magnificent feats of Socialist construction such as the Stalingrad grain factory and the industrial city of steel, Magnitogorsk showed the benefits of a planned economy. The Bolsheviks believed in cheap and effective transport for all citizens, with the construction of the Moscow Metro in 1931.

Socialist architecture dominated the cities with beautiful buildings such as the Red Army Theatre, made in the shape of the red star.

Collective farms transformed the countryside with new equipment and machinery such as tractors and new techniques in harvesting food and produce for the people of the Soviet Union.An expansive and progressive education system was developed and illiteracy was eliminated. Healthcare was made available to all and life expectancy doubled in the inter-war years. Unemployment was non-existent in the USSR, with all citizens given the opportunity in building up the economy. Housing was provided for all and homelessness did not exist.

The USSR withstood the greatest onslaught in human history in the Great Patriotic War 1941- 1945.The Soviet people held fast and beat back the Fascist invaders and raised the Red Flag over the Reichstag in a display of working-class triumph.The Soviets suffered more than any other nation but still managed to almost singlehandedly defeat the world’s largest invasion force with the help of: Firepower such as the PPSH sub-machine gun; the T34 tank and the IL-2 Shturmovik; the leadership of J.V. Stalin; and the unconquerable might of the Soviet working class.The USSR faced 200 plus Axis divisions during the GPA.To put this into perspective,the Allies faced only 9 divisions in North Africa.

Despite its huge suffering, by 1947 the Soviet Union had managed to double its pre-war industrial output. Soviet living standards – and wages – kept rising after the war. The Soviet car industry became the fifth largest in the world. The Soviets also re-built the Dnieper hydro-electric dam (yeah, they built the world’s largest dam not once but twice!) Huge developments were made in science and in space technology. The Sputnik satellite was launched in 1957 and Yuri Gagarin entered space in 1961.

This is only a taste of what the USSR achieved in its first decades. And they say Socialism doesn’t work!