Considerations on a Voyage to Russia – Part 5 of 9

For Russia, the intensity of work is remarkable. Unemployment does not exist. But seeing the empty shops, we demand where are the consumer goods and the merchandise going?

Until the end, Tsarist Russia was a near exclusively agricultural country. In the industrial scheme, it depended on the foreigner. That was its weakness. Post-revolutionary Russia realized that, when, in 1917, it had to affirm itself against the global powers of capitalism. To surmount it, it was necessary to begin at once and, in the first place, construct those means of production, base industries, key industries. It threw itself with all its force into this enterprise. The production of coal, ferrous minerals, and petroleum was increased, electricity was installed everywhere. The exploitation of reserves began. The first Five Year Plan aimed for all these objectives. However, consumption benefited little. Consumer goods remained as rare as before. The manufacture of textiles and shoes was hardly increased. Heavy industry, all new, was equally an armaments industry. The capacity of defense was perfected. The yield was part of military mobilization. They furnished their quota, but the level of life did not follow. Times were difficult. It was necessary to work hard and accept much privation. In exchange, they received an effect on a better future. It was necessary not to forget that they were in a transitory state. A recompense nearly guaranteed and calculable was waiting for those who knew to persevere. When Russia was ready to use all its forces to create an industry for consumer goods, the daily misery would finally end. They believe that the account is right. Statistically, they already anticipate great works that they will attack in the future. Russian optimism sees in these statistics of unreality ascending production curves. It is so sure of its future that it dares, from now, to imagine it, to represent it. It speaks of 88 million pairs of shoes that it will produce in a few years, with the same assurance that it speaks of the 40 million that it will manufacture today. The plan predicts all of that. It clears the way of the people and these people have sufficient energy to fulfill the plan. They sacrifice the present for the future that they are in the process of constructing. The Russian people have proved their exceptional heroism, of which other peoples are not capable. Certain countries can interest themselves in the beauty of their countryside. Russia is interested uniquely in the cause of its social body oriented towards a single point and fulfilling the same spirit that is transposed in the artificial dream of a better life, consciously maintained and heroically defended.

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