Intro Russia

Although many of Khrushchev’s ideas did not bring the expected results,

his policies of de-Stalinization were very wise politically. He went against many of

Stalin’s policies and gave the people a better sense of freedom.

In the process known as de-Stalinization, legal procedures were restored,

and forced labor camps were closed. The economy was modernized and foreign

policy was introduced more flexibly. There was also a political discussion, a forty-

hour work week where people were free to change jobs, and better government

planning on production. Khrushchev worked to improve issues better and more

successfully then former leaders and improve the nation worldwide. Khrushchev

also was concerned with making the life of individuals better, he attempted to

increase the supply of food, make automobiles available, and provide more


Khrushchev brought together a new policy in which leadership was

decentralized to allow managers and directors more power to run their business.

This helped to balance the agriculture and increase food production so that there

were less food shortages. Machine and Tractor Stations were set up in the

countryside with skilled mechanics. The districts were allowed to decide on what

crops to plant and when, rather then being directed from the center. Khrushchev

also initiated the Virgin Lands Program in which he introduced intensive irrigation

to raise food production bringing in 32 million acres of uncultivated land in

Kazakhstan and south western Siberia. 85,000,000 additional acres of land were

identified with Khrushchev who eventually took over the agricultural policy from

Malenkov in September 1953. Khrushchev demanded 70 million acres of corn to

be planted to increase livestock production. Despite the sandstorms and soil

erosion, Khrushchev was successful in expanding agriculture into the Virgin

Lands, and to this day it is a major part of the region’s grain sources. In 1954

agriculture production started to increase by only 3 percent however by 1963

agriculture increased by almost 50 percent and the food problem was finally

solved. Khrushchev wanted a peaceful coexistence between the U.S and the

Soviet Union, he proclaimed the necessity of coexistence with the west and

declared that a nuclear war would mean the end of both capitalism and

socialism. Khrushchev’s leadership was marked by a series of crisis such as the

U2 affair, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Through it

all, he was able to maintain the need for peaceful coexistence.

During the Khrushchev period there was an all out program to increase

the production of energy. Between 1954 and 1965, electrical power generation

grew from 150 million Mw to 507 million Mw, oil from 53 million tons to 347

million tons, coal from 347 million tons to 578 million tons. At the same time steel

production was increased from 41 m tons to 91 m tons. There was also an sharp

turn around in the development of science and technology. Science in the Soviet

Union died out in the 1930’s as a result of Stalin’s policies. Living standards

improved greatly during Khrushchev’s period. More and more people were able

to receive education, although this was generally available either after working

for a number of years, or at night school. More freedom of movement between

jobs was allowed. Pensions were increased, with the qualifying age of 65 for

men, 60 for woman, but available for men with 25 years of seniority in their job,

20 years for woman. Additional pension rights were granted to bureaucrats,

police officers and scientific researchers. The length of the working week was

reduced by two hours. Between 1953 and 1964 the area of housing space was

doubled along with the minimum wage.

Khrushchev’s Era brought excitement to the Soviet Union. From his

speeches, achievements in space, the colonization of the Virgin lands, and to his

decline in Stalinism, he was really a hero. Khrushchev was removed from office

by voting rather then having them arrested like Stalin would have. Although

Khrushchev was peacefully removed from office and many of his plans failed, his

goals were reached. For that reason I strongly believe that he acted strongly to

improve the Soviet Union as a whole and was really a strong leader.