NEP and Soviet socialism: departing from orthodoxy?
The end of the civil war brought the first respite for the Bolshevik leadership from armed conflict. Yet social peace remained elusive, and the prospects for constructing a socialist society looked bleak. The economy was devastated, the urban population hungry and restless, the countryside rebellious and resentful, the infrastructure collapsing and international revolution receding over the horizon. In the midst of these events, the leadership were confronted with a profoundly disturbing rebellion at the Kronstadt naval base.1 This rebellion, carried out by a group which had been a core part of the revolutionary vanguard of 1917, presented a deep-rooted political and ideological challenge to the legitimacy of Bolshevik rule. It was against this background that the party met at its 10th Congress and introduced the NEP (New Economic Policy) and the resolution “On Party Unity”.