5-year plans
The 5-year plans were implemented because industry in the USSR lagged significantly behind that of the developed nations with which they wished to compete, particularly the United States and Germany. Industrialization was slow following the October Revolution and was unable to rival the more competitive levels of production enjoyed prior to WWI. Thus, in 1928 the first 5-year plan was implemented with the primary goal of rapidly increasing industrial production. Stalin’s targets were ambitious, he wished to more than double coal and iron production, and energy output. Stalin believed an un-industrialized nation to be ‘backward’, saying in one of his speeches, “All beat her because of her backwardness, military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. They beat her because to do so was profitable and could be done with impunity.” He feared an imminent invasion from the capitalist west, and desired to close the gap between the USSR and her industrialized neighbours within 10 years of 1931, lest the Soviet fatherland be overtaken and crushed by its western counterparts.

Industrialization was also a large component of militarism, as the industrial sector was an integral component of the Soviet preparation for WWII. The third 5-year plan was most noticeably affected, as it was pursued for only 3 years, until 1941 and the beginning of Soviet involvement in the war. As a reaction to the inadequate transport system of pre-revolutionary Russia during WWI, improved transport was chief among Soviet concerns at the outbreak of the war; railway systems were vastly extended. Also, production of military equipment took precedent over that of consumer goods. In order to meet the demands of the war effort, quotas were increased; those who did not meet them were purged and as such, the people grew increasingly disillusioned with their government.
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Collectivization in Ukraine
One of the key components of the 5-year plans and industrialization of industry was the collectivization of agriculture. This was not a popular policy with the majority of the inhabitants of the USSR to say the least. Often attempts to collectivize met fierce resistance from the farmers. But in Ukraine, one of the richest agricultural lands of Europe, Stalin foresaw dissent and resolved to completely eradicate the source of dissension. With his armed forces, Stalin took out all foodstuffs in Ukraine, while quarantining the whole country so no food could get in. It was enforced exploitation and starvation to the meanest degree. His collectivization campaign in Ukraine (1932-3) cost 7 million lives: "The world has seen many terrible famines... But a famine organized as a genocidal act of state policy must be considered unique"[1].

The Ukraine Famine was officially a response to the shameful collapse of grain collection in the more remote regions of Ukraine, which would later be extended to the whole of Ukraine. It was, in fact as the official Soviet document says, “a merciless struggle against kulaks and their accomplices in order to: defeat in their villages the kulak sabotage of grain collection; fulfill honestly and conscientiously their grain collection obligations to the Soviet authorities; and strengthen collective farms.” This document, dated 1932 when the Ukraine Famine was initiated, was in fact a manifesto of Soviet intent upon Ukraine. To accurately interpret it, one would only need to replace “in the more regions of Ukraine with Ukraine itself and assume that the Soviets included the whole population of Ukraine as “kulaks and their accomplices”. So in effect, this document was a statement of intent for war against the whole Ukrainian nation. Right in the document it states the methods that would later be used in Ukraine: the “Immediate cessation of delivery of goods, complete suspension of cooperative and state trade in the villages, and removal of all available goods from cooperative and state stores”, and the “Investigation and purge of all sorts of foreign and hostile elements… with removal of counterrevolutionary elements and organizers of grain collection disruption”. The Soviet Politburo was using shameful collapse of grain collection in the more remote regions of Ukraine”**[i]** as a pretext for a wholly disproportional response, in actuality an execution of deliberate policy: to Russify Ukraine by killing all Ukrainians.

[1]Norman Davies. Europe A History. (Plimco: New York, 1997) 965
[i] http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/k2grain.html

Soviet Repression
The five year plans were implemented in an effort to rapidly industrialize the Soviet Union, propelling its economic development so that Communist Russia might rival the capitalist powers of the western world. During the Russian civil war, Lenin enacted War Communism, which granted complete control over all means of production to the state. Its successor, the New Economic Policy allotted economic space to small private businesses. After the death of Lenin, Stalin rose to power. Despite the cult of Leninism Stalin formed in the wake of Lenin’s death, he denounced the NEP as working against communism, and replaced it with the five year plans, or which there were 13 in total. The five year plans centralized power, and called for extensive collectivisation. The first five year plan required the collectivisation of agriculture. This plan was introduced in 1928 and was declared as being ahead of schedule by 1932. However, in this same year, farms in the Ukraine, the Lower Volga and the North Caucasus suffered a poor harvest, resulting in a famine in this area. Kulaks, (wealthy peasants or independent farmers, remnants of Tsarist Russia) had been purged during this time of collectivization, and their opposition to this measure was exaggerated and vilified. In the year of 1930-31, 357,000 Kulaks were deported.
So, the government blamed the famine on kulak sabotage. Authorities favored urban areas and the army in distributing what supplies of food had been collected, resulting in a loss of life is estimated of at least five million. As a result, there was a peasant migration from the collectivized farms to urban centers in an effort to escape starvation. During the “Stalin Revolution”, from 1929-1938, millions were deported or executed. The first spike in this number occurs in the early thirties, corresponding directly to collectivization. In the two years between 1935 and 1938 were the most deadly of all. No death toll has been established, and range from as many as 60 million, as suggested by
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and as “few” as 700 thousand, according to the Soviets.

The Kulaks were not the only group targeted by this paroxysm of violence. 180,000 ethnic Koreans were deported from the Soviet Far East to Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan in 1937, and 17,000 ethnic Chinese expelled around the same time into Manchuria.
Other marginalized members of society were targeting in this systematic liquidation of human beings. Social origin, ethnicity, religiosity, criminal background, and/or one-time association with an anti-Stalin political faction could justify policy surveillance, and further denunciation by one’s peers could see you in a work camp. While busy purging political enemies in the summer of 1937, the NKVD were gifted with the extra responsibility of cleansing society of its citizens. Those who were not immediately executed were sent to the Gulags. It is estimated that at least 10 million individuals were incarcerated in these camps for various lengths of time between 1934 and ’53. Unlike the Nazi death camps, the Gulags were not designed for death. Its prisoners succumbed to malnutrition, overwork, disease and exposure. “The nominally self-financing, vertically integrated GULAG had a vested economic interest in maintaining its effective labour force, if at brutally minimum or sub-minimum levels”.

To what extent were the goals of the 5-year plans, industrialization and collectivization, successfully achieved in the Soviet Union?
Prior to the October Revolution, 1917, Russia economy was primarily dependent upon the agrarian peasantry and due to its size and lack of industry, suffered the ill effects of poor transport links, low standards of living and general dissatisfaction among the populace. Immediately following the revolution, War Communism was pursued under Lenin to combat the difficult economic and political conditions of the Russian Civil War. The New Economic Plan (NEP), was a reaction to the more serious economic conditions which resulted from the effects of War Communism. It was deemed necessary by Lenin to slightly decentralize the economy and thereby allow for the development of small businesses and trade in an effort to boost the failing Communist economy via capitalism. Following the death of Lenin, Stalin came to power, denouncing the NEP and demanding the rapid industrialization of the ‘backward’ Soviet Union. Thus the concept of the five year plans was introduced and the Gosplan was created, further centralizing the economy and nationalizing significant industries, particularly agriculture. Enacted in 1928, the first five-year plan collectivized independent farms across the USSR. Peasants rebelled, burning their crops and killing their livestock in acts of protestation. The Kulaks were subsequently targeted by the state for their protest and supposed treason which further exacerbated the notion that the successful and relatively wealthy peasants threatened the power of the state. Kulaks were deported to Siberia or sentenced to gulags (forced labour camps) or executed for their rebellion and the role they had served in society that had become unacceptable to the centralized state. Thus the remaining peasants, fearing that the fate of the Kulaks would become their own, enacted their own ‘de-Kulakization’ by disposing of their few possessions. In 1932, a famine plagued the Ukraine, the Lower Volga and the North Caucasus, resulting in the death of at least 5 million comrades. Conveniently, the 357000 Kulaks whop had been deported to Siberia and sentenced to the gulags were implicated in the disaster. Thus, the government justified denying areas occupied by the peasantry food and goods, directing these commodities toward the urban centres and the military. A massive migration to urban centres, where some goods were still accessible, was observed. Thus the farmers became involved in the industrialization of the nation, when they procured jobs in factories in the cities. Within these factories, specific targets were set for production, that were so lofty, that they could not be achieved. Fearing, that they would share the fate of the Kulaks and be sentenced to forced labour camps, factories doctored their production quotas. This undermined the validity of the success of the five year plans. Thus, due to the use of force and terror to motivate workers and the ambiguity of statistical figures manipulated by the Soviet government and the inefficiency of the Gosplan, the five-year plans were unsuccessful in industrializing the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.

Article 58 of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic Penal Code

This was a policy created by Stalin to catch citizens that were suspected of anti soviet activities. Typically, academics such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn (wrote the novel The First Circle) were imprisoned falsely. Their sentences were usually 5, 10, or more years and the conviction was without trial.

Various sections of the article emphasized different offenses, such as:
Section 10: tried for propaganda and agitation against the Soviet Union
Section 12: Failure to report instances of section 10