‘The critical situation of food provision, the threat of famine which has been created by speculation and sabotage by capitalists and officials, have made it necessary to take extreme revolutionary measures to fight this evil.’ This is the opening of Lenin’s December 1917 decree, shown here in a 1929 volume of his collected works, to nationalise the economy in an attempt prevent economic ruin.
The decrees makes joint-stock companies the property of the state. All internal and external government loans are annulled. Labour conscription is introduced for all citizens aged between 16 and 55. All citizens must join consumer societies to ensure the proper distribution of food and other goods. Railway unions are tasked with ensuring the timely delivery of food and with the ‘merciless’ suppression of speculation.
Despite such measures, the post-October economy would sink much further for much longer before it would start to grow again.
Sochineniia / V.I. Lenin. (volume 22, 1929) 231.c.92.62