chapter  4
18 Pages

The totalitarian dictator

Although Stalin, no expert in economic theory, had not played a prominent role in the industrialization debate of the mid-twenties, he had never displayed particular affection for the peasantry and, despite personal animosities, leaned more towards those like Trotsky who favoured a programme of intensified industrialization at the peasants’ expense. The rout of the so-called ‘Left Opposition’ (Trotsky, Zinoviev and company) in 1927 now gave Stalin a free hand to implement their economic policies without recognizing their contribution or granting them political favour. In 1928 he launched two major initiatives that were to plunge the country into an upheaval as great as the revolutions of 1917. These were the collectivization of agriculture and the first five-year plan for the rapid industrialization of the economy – Stalin’s ‘revolution from above’.