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2017-11-23

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Post-War Years

Restoration began immediately after the retreat of the German army, Great care was taken to restore railways and coal-metallurgical complexes. By the end of 1945, about 1/3 of the prewar industrial potential of the republic had been renewed. During the period of the first postwar five-year plan (1946-1959), the Ukrainian industry, as a whole, achieved the prewar level of production. But the isolation from the surrounding world was evident in that Soviet industries lagged considerably behind other leading countries.

 

The success of industry growth was provided for the low part of wages of workers and employees in national income, as well as for the nonequivalent exchange between towns and villages.

 

Renumeration of labor in kolkhoz was extremely low and personal farming property of peasants imposed high taxes and obligatory supply of natural products. Notwithstanding the hard drought of 1946, the taxation imposed by the state was not decreased. The Famine of 1946-1947 took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian peasants.

 

Total collectivization of agriculture was carried out in western regions during 1948-1949. Its methods were as brutal as those used in eastern regions in 1929-1933. People tried to resist the state who expropriated property and made a peasant the hired manpower, and the boldest went to the forest as detachments of the UPA. Partisan activity in western regions was extinguished only in 1952.

 

Cultural establishments, especially schools and clubs were often constructed by the methods of people’s buildings, because of the lack of centralized assets. Even in those times, Ukrainian artists made great contributions to the national culture treasury. Most of their creative work was deformed by the impossibility to step aside the regulate propagandist principles.

 

After the death of Stalin in March 1953, the political climate started to gradually change in the country. M. Krushchov played a key role in the political changes. Concentration camps were closed, and victims of Stalin’s repression who survived began returning to Ukraine. The catastrophic situation in agriculture was a concern for the first time. Degradation of productive forces of the village was stopped by the indulgences in taxation policy and pricing.

 

Changes in the political climate were legitimized by the decisions of the 20th congress of the party (February 1956) which from 1952 was called the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Congress resolutions included the substantiated thesis of the lack of fatal inevitability of a third World War. Foreign policy of the Soviet government became more subtle and realistic. Krushchov delivered a speech at the closed meeting of the congress where he denounced the outer manifestations of totalitarianism (the personality cult of Stalin) and the most astonishing cases of abusing one’s power of which the party itself suffered.

 

At the initiative of Krushchov, attention was drawn to the country’s delay in the sphere of newest technologies and levels of their scientific provision, which threatened to undermine the defense potential. The space-rocket programs appropriations were essentially increased. The most contemporary enterprises of the rocket, electronic, chemical, ship-building and other branches of industry were constructed in Ukraine for rather short terms the whole number of institutes within the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and outside its limits were created.

 

The achievements in the sphere of civil engineering, construction of cultural objects, pension provision of citizens, and countrymen were too considerable. The generation of men of the 60s was formed. This group of people had anti-totalitarian thinking. The creative work of Honchar, Rylskyi, Dovzhenko and other artists had great socio-political resonance.

 

Features of the system crisis of soviet totalitarianism had been distinctly manifested still in the times of Khrushchov. Potentialities of an increase of the national income due to extensive factors were shortened while the command economy was unable to provide production intensification. Numerous reforms in the national economy and management system caused sensations, but always failed. At last in October 1964, Khrushchov was dismissed as a result of his machinery conspiracy. The time of L. Brezhnev began and these were two decades of “stagnation”.

 

Stalinists that came to power chose the tactics of ignoring even those crimes which became public after 1956. In 1965, state security organs made the first turn of arrests of representatives of Ukrainian intelligentsia accused of anti-Soviet activities. These activities manifested in protests against ceasing the process of de-Stalinization, in asserting social and national rights, but the dissidents’ movement was not stopped.

 

Policy in the sphere of national relations had not been discussed at the congresses and plenums of the Central Committee of the state party since 1923, because it was decided that the national problem had been already settled. Domestic policy still existed, but varyied according to circumstances. In 1953, Khrushchov was the first to make O. Kyrychenko, the head of the Communist Party of the republic. In 1954, the Crimean region was added to Ukraine. L. Brezhnev had claimed to be a Ukrainian in prewar forms for career purposed, but he proved to be a persistent Russificator at the post of General Secretary of the CC of the CPSU. He did not leave from the post of the First Secretary of the CC of the Communist party of P. Shelest for a long time, until V. Shcherbytskyi took over the post in May 1972. Shcherbytskyi belonged to the Dnipropetrovsk group of the General Secretary followers. Secretary of the Central Committee on Ideology V. Malanchuk (also chosen by Brezhnev) launched a broad campaign on persecution of scientific and creative intellectuals. The rates of the purposeful Russification became quicker.

 

The extensive orientation of production required to bring into circulation the ever-increasing amounts of material resources and labor force. The “stagnation” was characterized in Ukraine by development of mining branches, by wasting natural resources, and by turning a lot of localities into the zones of ecological danger. Ukraine was polluted by waste of a mineral-raw-material complex ten times more extensively than the USSR as a whole. After the explosion of the fourth power unit of Chernobyl NPP in April 1986, ecological conditions in the republic grew worse. The reason for the greatest catastrophe in the history of mankind, was due to the low quality of design, construction and maintenance of nuclear plants.

 

With the development of the system crisis, the state actively used the principle of “price scissors” when the lion’s share of the income of collective and state farms come to the state budget. The agriculture continued to lag behind while the flow of those who left villages still increased. In 1960, the peasants composed a half of the population of Ukraine, while in 1985 only a third. It proved impossible to feed the two-thirds of town-dwellers under the labor productivity of those times. So the food supply problem got worse year after year.

 

Thousands of billions of “petrol dollars” earned during the world petroleum crisis of the 1970s were used for importing the cheapest commodities for further reselling at the home market. When “petrol-dollars” had been exhausted, they revealed the budget deficit (which was assiduously disguised).

 

The military-industrial complex exhausted the national economy. A necessity to keep to parity in arms with the western countries brought the Soviet Union to the economic abyss. It was evident that the USSR had lost the “cold war”.