Collectivization of the Peasants
Ahead of Schedule. Output
Is Called Promising
INDUSTRIES STRESS TEMPO
Factory Products Low in Quality
and Quantity, but They
Are Improving Slowly
WASTE IS HELD INEVITABLE
But When They Succeed, Russians
Say They Will Demand a
Big World Market
This is the second of a series of articles on Russia today
by The New York Time's Moscow correspondent, who
is at present in Paris. The first article of the series was
published in The New York Times on Sunday
By WALTER DURANTY
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES
PARIS June 15. -- To start as the writer does from the premise that the
five-year plan is not a mere budgetary program or a rigid scale of facts and
figures, but a national policy and slogan, and a physical expression of all
that is meant by "Stalinism" does not prevent persons outside of Russia from
saying "Whether that is true or not, what we want to know is how the plan is
working and 'that will happen if it works."
The first question is particularly hard to answer because the Soviet Union
is the first example in history of a country in which home and foreign
policy, home and foreign trade, industry, agriculture, finance and other
activities are all gathered, so to speak, in one hand, each of whose fingers
is from the outset-confusing though it seems at first sight to speak of
Maxim Litvinoff's rather unexpectedly successful speech at Geneva as being
directly cognate to Soviet oil production or freight-car loadings, or timber
export or the Spring catch of fish and the grain sowing program.
Economic Aspect of Plan
In an attempt to minimize this confusion the writer will treat Soviet
foreign relations and foreign trade in subsequent articles and right now
consider the five-year plan's economic side.
First and foremost comes agriculture, which for the next decade at least
will count most in Russia. Here to, something other than economics enters at
once--the five-year plan in addition to the economic production of
agriculture involves the political socialization of peasant holdings, or
collective farming as it is called.
The writer ventures to say that it is far more important to the Kremlin to
have 60 per cent of the peasant holdings collectivized - this year which is
the case, as compared with the original five plan program of 50 per cent
collectivization by 1933-than to produce an exportable surplus of 15,000,000
tons over internal needs. Well, collectivization, or the political end, has
been done, and it will depend largely on the weather as to how far the
production program will be accomplished.
The same applies in general terms to industry. The Kremlin is more concerned
over whether the industrial workers are learning their jobs and getting all
keyed up for socialism by "shock brigades" and "Socialist competition" than
what they actually produce. At least, that is true for the time being. In
this respect the political gains are greater than actual production, which
varies from fair to middling, as far as raw materials are concerned, down to
poor when it comes to finished products.
Oil production is good; manganese good; coal, iron and steel middling;
transportation, not so good but improving: nonferrous metals, the same,
and all manufactured goods, from electric light bulbs to tractors, nothing
remarkable but growing in quantity and improving in quality. Detailed
are confusing and do not matter much as compared with the "tempo." but
in any and all cases one may say the supply produced is far inferior to
the home demand.
Home Supply Is Growing
On the other hand, the supply does grow and enables the Soviet Union to
export enough to pay for purchases from abroad. What the supply costs and
whether or not it is a product of an abominably low living standard simply
does not matter to the Kremlin, which dismisses the dumping charge also as
nothing more than a hostile manifestation. For the Kremlin knows it wants to
raise the Soviet living standard and would much prefer to sell goods at high
prices on a strong market than on a low and falling market.
But the Kremlin asserts it has no choice in the matter owing to the "credit
blockade," which forces Soviet Russia to sell in order to buy the equipment
and advice it needs from abroad. The foreign accusations that Soviet Russia
is trying to ruin world capitalism by dumping are considered by the Kremlin
to be beneath contempt. I will treat of this point later in a discussion of
the present status and activities of the Comintern [Communist
A more immediate question is what success Soviet Russia is really making
with its new heavy industry. Allowing that the Soviet Union can build great
tractor or steel plants, electric power stations and paper mills-can it run
them properly? To that the answer at present is more generally no than yes.
Almost without exception new Soviet plants, coal mines, railroads and other
enterprises, clumsily and wastefully managed, produce goods of indifferent
quality and in amounts below the schedule. But-and it is a most important
"but"-the Russians are learning and improving every day. If they cannot get
their steel mills built they will give John Calder [American construction
engineer] unprecedented scope for a foreigner, to show them how, and to meet
the coal shortage they are adopting a mixed commission scheme as suggested
by Charles E. Stuart [of the American corporation, Stuart, James & Cooke].
Cites Our Industrialization
That they will break and waste a lot of valuable foreign equipment is
certain, but they answer that argument by saying:
"Didn't American industrialization in the three decades after the Civil
cost a frightful amount of waste and grief. Didn't bank failures,
railroad reorganizations cost tens and hundreds of millions of dollars?
the history of the American transcontinental railroads, say, or oil
development or metallurgy -didn't you pay dearly for experience under
"Our loss in ruined machines and misapplied effort will be far less than
that of your construction period, where irresponsible and greedy individuals
without plan or united purpose fought and wrecked each other and melted the
nation's gold like water, careless of anything save that a fractional amount
of the millions remained in their own pockets."
Just the same, In the writer's opinion, based on the advice of scores of
foreign specialists of all nationalities, it will be twice or thrice five
years before Soviet Russia gets her industry going on scale and with
efficiency to compare with America or Germany now.
But suppose that happens-suppose the end of the next year shows the
five-year plan to be "successful" in the rate of industrial and agricultural
production and vastly increased in quantity-what then? In that case one
thing is certain-and the capitalist world may as well realize it now as
later-Soviet Russia will demand a place in the export market world at
least equal to that of Czarist Russia.
Eager to Enter Agreements
The Soviet Union is willing-nay, eager-to join international quota
arrangements with price and sales limitations on level terms, or would
doubtless consent to a reduction of her exports for the time being any way
if credits were offered in exchange. But nothing short of a world embargo
will prevent Soviet Russia from selling her goods-at a lower price than any
capitalist country can meet-in order to buy the equipment she requires.
On the other hand, the Kremlin asserts its country offers the greatest
potential market in the world today if only foreign countries will give it a
chance to buy. Russia needs everything. Suppose her new factories and
collective farms succeed beyond wildest dreams-they still could meet only a
quarter of the national demand.
"If you force us to compete with you," the Russians say, "don't howl when
our competition ruins you. But why compete? Why not make an amicable
arrangement for mutual benefit."
That is the meaning of M. Litvinoff's speech at Geneva and of the Soviet
delegates' terms at the London wheat conference. M. Litvinoff's speech
and the wheat delegates' readiness to accept a quota system were
apparently a surprise to the rest of the world, but not to anyone familiar
with the recent developments of "Stalinism."
In a subsequent article the writer will explain this further in its relation
to the Comintern and the Marxist theory of a world revolution.
By Walter Duranty, The New York Times, NY, NY, Tuesday, June 16,
1931, page one and eight.. This is article number two of the thirteen
articles written in 1931 submitted by Walter Duranty to the Pulitzer Prize
Board for the 1932 Pulitzer Prize competition. The 1932 Pulitzer Prize was
later awarded to him. FOR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC USE ONLY
WALTER DURANTY'S 13 ARTICLES WRITTEN IN 1931
WHICH WERE SUBMITTED FOR THE 1932 PULITZER PRIZE
Eleven-part series in The New York Times:
Duranty 1: 6/14/1931
"Red Russia of Today Ruled by Stalinism, Not Communism"
Duranty 2: 6/16/1931
"Socialism First Aim in Soviet's Program; Trade Gains Second"
Duranty 3: 6/18/1931
"Stalinism Shelves World Revolt Idea; To Win Russia First"
Duranty 4: 6/19/1931
"Industrial Success Emboldens Soviet in New World Policy"
Duranty 5: 6/20/1931
"Trade Equilibrium is New Soviet Goal"
Duranty 6: 6/22/1931
"Soviet Fixes Opinion by Widest Control"
Duranty 7: 6/23/1931
"Soviet Censorship Hurts Russia Most"
Duranty 8: 6/24/1931
"Stalinism Smashes Foes in Marx's Name"
Duranty 9: 6/25/1931
"Red Army is Held No Menace to Peace"
Duranty 10: 6/26/1931
"Stalinism Solving Minorities Problem"
Duranty 11: 6/27/1931
"Stalinism's Mark is Party Discipline"
Two articles in The New York Times magazine:
Duranty 12: 3/29/1931
"The Russian Looks at the World"
Duranty 13: 12/20/1931
"Stalin's Russia Is An Echo of Iron Ivan's"