THE KHRUSHCHEV ERA








11/13/2003


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


housing.


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.


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