In terms of social history, this epoch represented a regression to earlier forms of social organization: the workforce was decimated, hunger promoted deurbanization, and social differentiation was replaced by a leveling process at a low level. Industrial production had shrunk to between 12 and 16% of its 1912 level, and agricultural production to about 64% of its pre-war level. At the same time, the expropriation of land in town and country sanctioned what was probably the fastest and most radical social revolution in modern history. The extensive exchange between the political elites should also have no precedent. The years 1917–21 cost nine to ten million lives, including 280,000 people killed by the Cheka, 200,000 pogrom victims and 5 million people who died in the famine of 1921/22 alone.
The 10th party congress (March 8-16, 1921) of the KPR (B) decided to replace “war communism” with the “new economic policy” (NEP), which allowed private-sector initiatives again for a transitional period. The limited liberalization in the economic sector contrasted with an intensification of the dictatorship in the political sphere. With the »parliamentary group ban«, the 10th party congress dealt a severe blow to the free formation of opinion within the party. At the time of the party congress, the “red” sailors from Kronstadt demanded a. Freedom of assembly, the legalization of the banned socialist parties and secret and free elections to the Soviets. In mid-March 1921, the Bolsheviks bloodily crushed the protest as an “anti-Soviet uprising.”
The Polish-Soviet War Despite temporary setbacks, 1920-21 no longer posed a serious threat to Soviet power. The Soviet-Polish armistice line agreed in October 1920 became the Soviet-Polish border in the Peace of Riga (March 18, 1921). This was preceded by peace agreements with Estonia (2.2.1920), Finland (14.10.1920) and Latvia (11.8.1920). These treaties established the western border of Bolshevik Russia, with the exception of Romania, whose occupation Bessarabia did not recognize Soviet Russia. After the conquest of Georgia (1921) by the Red Army, the Soviet government formed the Transcaucasian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic. Since the Far East with Vladivostok came under Soviet rule by November 1922, In 1922, Soviet Russia again comprised almost the entire territory of Imperial Russia; it had only lost considerable, but only ethnically non-Russian territories in the west.
With the establishment of the “Soviet Union”, the nationality question found a formal solution: On December 30, 1922, the RSFSR, the Ukrainian and Belarusian SSR merged with the Transcaucasian Federation to form the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” (USSR). In 1924 it received its first constitution.
According to militarynous, the foreign policy isolation of Soviet Russia during the civil war arose not only from the mistrust of the European powers, but also from the Bolshevik leadership’s view that the coming world revolution would render foreign policy superfluous as an instrument of relations between states. Instead, the KPR (B) should work with like-minded organizations. With this in mind, Lenin initiated the founding of the Communist International (Comintern) in 1919. However, after the revolution, especially in the industrialized countries of Europe, z. B. in Germany, the government went to Lenin while maintaining the expropriation of foreign property without compensation and the non-recognition of the national debt of the Russian Empire to a cautious diplomatic contact and trade policy. The Rapallo Treaty concluded with the German Reich in 1922 brought about the breakthrough in diplomatic relations with other western democracies (Great Britain and France 1924). However, the duplication of state foreign policy and revolutionary subversion activities of the Comintern remained.
The rise of Stalin (1922-29)
After Lenin’s death (January 21, 1924), Stalin prevailed in the internal party succession struggle, although Lenin had warned in his “will” not to entrust too much power to Stalin. Since Stalin took over the newly created office of “General Secretary” of the KPR (B) in 1922, he created a class of functionaries devoted to him. At the lower party level, the actual power passed from the regional committees and party congresses to the party secretaries, who – often appointed under the electoral principle – became reliable pillars of Stalin (e.g. as party congress delegates). With the support of G. J. Zinoviev and L. B. Kamenev turned Stalin initially against LD Trotsky , who had great influence as a Marxist theorist and as the organizer of the Red Army. Stalin used an ideological controversy to isolate LD Trotsky from the party. While the latter took the view that socialist development in the Soviet Union would only be assured if the revolution was victorious in other countries too, especially in the highly developed industrialized countries of Europe (Trotskyism), the latter propagated “socialism in one country.” According to Stalins Thesis, the building of a socialist social order in the Soviet Union was possible independently of the revolutionary development in other countries. LD Trotsky was expelled from the Politburo in 1926, expelled from the Central Committee and the Party in 1927, exiled to Alma-Ata in 1928 and finally expelled in 1929. After Stalin had prevailed against Trotsky, he took an economic-political dissent as an opportunity to expel GJ Zinoviev and LB Kamenew, who called for increased industrialization at the expense of agriculture, from the leading party bodies as the “left opposition” (1926). Among other things with the help of K. J. Voroshilov and W. M. Molotov, Stalin closed the group around N. I. Bukharin, M. P. Tomski and Rykow, which rejected repression against the peasantry and forced industrialization, from the Politburo in 1929/30 as the “right-wing opposition”.