How did Stalin's rule change the soviet union?
Stalin totally hanged the country. When he gained power the economy was still based on agriculture and the majority of people lived in the countryside; when he died, the country was a global superpower, with a huge heavy industry sector and the majority of the people lived in cites.
He achieved these through two policies; collectivization of agriculture and, for agriculture, a centrally planned command economy - the Five Year Plans.
In purely economic terms his policies were a success. The Five Year Plans built vast factories in places like Stalingrad, Leningrad and other cities across the Soviet Union. They also built hydro-electric dams, canals, railways and other infrastructural projects. The aim of them was to modernize Soviet industry, to try to bridge the gap between the Western Democracies (including, after 1933 Nazi Germany). The Soviet Union before Stalin was still a backward, almost medieval country, roads were unmade, most people lived in villages in wooden houses and had no electricity, the five year plans changed all that - they created a massive urban working class, most of the country was electrified and in the cities most people lived in new apartments. And, most importantly, they provided the economic, political and social conditions that allowed the country to absorb the Nazi assault beginning in 1941 and to eventually push them all the way back to Berlin. Collectivization was also a success. The aims of collectivization were three-fold; to create a rural working class - peasants were paid wages (lower than urban workers) and the land and machinery was now owned by the collective. Collectivization as also designed to modernize farming practices to create a surplus to sell abroad for hard currency and to free up manpower as they were needed in the new factories; and finally it was designed to break the peasants as a political force. Peasants in the Soviet Union were deeply religious and...
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