Stakhanovtsy and drummers: enthusiasm or official propaganda?

The Stakhanov movement was one of the manifestations of the so-called “socialist competition”, and its immediate predecessor was “striking”. For the first time such a mechanism of production stimulation was applied during the years of war communism. The resolution of Trotsky, adopted at the Ninth Party Congress, stated that “along with the agitation and ideological impact on the working masses and repressions ... the powerful force for raising labor productivity is competition ... The bonus system must become one of the means of initiating competition. The food supply system should be conformed to it: as long as the Soviet Republic does not have enough food resources, a diligent and conscientious worker should be provided better than a negligent one. ”

Forced industrialization was proclaimed a resolution of Trotsky

After a decade, with the proclamation of forced industrialization, "socialist competition" takes a second wind. The address of the XVI Conference of the CPSU (b) "To all the workers and working peasants of the Soviet Union" of April 29, 1929 stated that the decision of the Ninth Party Congress "is now fully timely and vital." A call was voiced to organize competition between enterprises for increasing labor productivity, reducing the cost of goods produced and strengthening labor discipline.

Newspapers everywhere agitated young people for production achievements. The press was filled with motivating slogans and appeals: “Isn’t every day, before each worker, before each brigade is this or that specific task, this or that task? Is it not possible to organize socialist competition among workers at a construction site, to perform these daily tasks? ” Socialist competition in the factories took a variety of forms: calls, roll calls, shows of achievements, shock brigades, public tugboats, over-level echelons of coal, strike sections, ships and workshops. This movement of enthusiastic workers formed its own heroes, the name of one of which, Alexei Grigorievich Stakhanov, went down in history and even became nominal.

Stakhanov turned from a miner into a nomenklatura worker

Particularly acute for the needs of industrialization required coal, so the Soviet authorities set to increase labor productivity among the miners. At the same time, the modernization of mines was carried out at a rather slow pace. Alexey Stakhanov, the future forerunner of production, worked at the Tsentralnaya-Irmino mine, which by the early 1930s was considered one of the most backward in the region, it was even contemptuously called the “dumpster”. However, in the years of the first five-year plan, the mine underwent a technical reconstruction: electricity was supplied there, and some miners received jackhammers, with the help of which they began to set labor records.

On a day off on the night of August 30 to 31, mine worker Alexei Stakhanov descended into the ground with two builders and two haulers of coal trolleys. In addition, the party organizer of the Petrov mine and the editor of the large-circulation newspaper Kadievsky Rabochy were present in the mine, who documented what was happening. Stakhanov spent a record shift, producing 102 tons, and in September of the same year he raised the record to 227 tons.

Alexey Stakhanov with a gift from Stalin

A note about the feat of Stakhanov accidentally saw the people's commissar of heavy industry, Sergo Ordzhonikidze, who, due to the low rates of the second five-year plan, left Moscow so as not to be seen by Stalin. A couple of days later, Pravda published an article entitled “Record of the miner Stakhanov”, which described the feat of the Lugansk miner. Stakhanov was quickly noticed abroad. Time magazine even put a portrait of a miner on the cover. True, Stakhanov himself no longer worked at the mine, mostly speaking at rallies and party meetings. The leader of the production, the media “ideal” of a communist man, was by no means exemplary: together with his comrades he beat mirrors at the Metropol restaurant and caught fish in the decorative pool, which caused extreme dissatisfaction with Stalin, who promised to change his name to a more modest one, if not will correct.

Stakhanov on the cover of Time magazine

Active Stakhanovists and percussionists of production received various privileges and had a certain advantage in the hierarchy of the distribution of public goods. Thus, a special elite of Soviet workers was formed, which was later transformed into an independent social class - the scientific and technical intelligentsia. Through shock, opportunities for a better life opened up, it became a kind of social “elevator” for a young man who dreams of a career. The most honored workers "from the machine tool" were promoted to the position of masters, technicians and even engineers (practitioners), and also sent to study at universities (the so-called "promoted"). Thus, in the 1920s, the old leadership of all sections of the management of young people was replaced, who unconditionally supported the Soviet government and without fail, brought to life all the installations of the party.

In general, a successful strategy led, however, to a significant reduction in the proportion of managers with higher and secondary special education, which negatively affected the quality indicators of production and the rate of implementation of certain scientific achievements. According to the 1939 All-Union Population Census, in the USSR only half of all employees had the appropriate professional training, which reduced the effectiveness of managing all processes of social and economic life.

Stakhanov died in 1977 in a psychiatric hospital from alcoholism

One of the "nominees" was Mikhail Eliseevich Putin, the actual initiator of shock socialist competition. Already from childhood, Putin tried a number of simple professions: a boy in a coffee shop, a messenger in a shoe shop, a watchman, a port loader. So he acquired enough physical strength, and therefore in the winter period he began working as an athlete-wrestler in a circus - he was very fond of this spectacle. In Putin's circus career, there was a curious episode when the future production drummer participated in the classic fight with the unbeatable Ivan Poddubny and managed to hold on for seven minutes. Becoming a member of the RCP (b) at the Lenin call (mass recruitment of all comers from among the workers and the poorest peasants in 1924), after the end of the Civil War, Putin entered the Krasny Vyborzhets plant, which made him famous.

Portrait of Mikhail Eliseevich Putin

In January 1929, an article by Lenin entitled How to Organize a Competition, written by him back in 1918, was published in the Pravda newspaper. The publication was followed by speeches by activists, including those inspired and controlled by party and trade union organizations, in which they called for an increase in production standards, saving raw materials, and improving quality indicators. Soon, the Leningrad correspondent center of Pravda was tasked with finding an enterprise where it was possible to significantly reduce the cost of production, and most importantly, to find a decent, exemplary team that would agree to become a "pioneer of mass socialist competition." March 15, 1929 in the main newspaper of the country appeared a note about the competition of pipe cutters of the factory "Krasny Vyborzhets" - Mikhail Putin became widely known, and the relay of socialist competitions began to spread rapidly throughout the country.

In fact, the drummers were supposed to be real examples of the embodiment of communist ideas about the formation of a new formation of man. The young Soviet state needed a different type of citizen who would meet the requirements of a society that is in the vanguard of the world communist movement. During this period, a large number of works were written, which describe the ideal of a new person and list his main qualities: love for society and its members, readiness to fight for their ideals, revolutionary spirit, activity and desire to participate in change, discipline, erudition, technical abilities and willingness to subordinate their interests to the interests of society. Such a hero is well known from the textbook works of the school curriculum: Alexander Fadeev's novels “Razgrom” and “Young Guard”, Alexander Serafimovich and his “Iron Stream”, Nikolay Ostrovsky and his autobiographical novel-diary “How the Steel Was Tempered”. Of course, often described in these works, the heroes remained only a figment of the imagination of their creators.

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