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The NEP

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After the civil war, Lenin revised his economic policy and introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP). Through this, peasants were allowed to sell some of their produce for profit and small traders were allowed to run businesses.

The NEP: how successful was Lenin's attempt to set up a Communist state?

In 1921, the Kronstadt sailors - who had been the Bolsheviks [Bolsheviks: Russian revolutionary group originally led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Bolsheviks gained power in Russia in 1917, and became the dominant political party there. ] fiercest supporters - mutinied, demanding an end to War Communism. Trotsky put down the rebellion, but Lenin was worried - if the Kronstadt sailors had been pushed too far, how long would it be before the rest of the country rose up and threw out the Bolsheviks? The civil war was won. It was time to pull back.

Lenin brought in what he called the New Economic Policy. Peasants who had been forced to hand over all their produce to the war effort - were allowed to keep some to sell for profit - some (the kulaks [Kulaks: Wealthy Russian farming peasants, who strongly opposed collectivisation - Stalin killed many. ]) became quite rich. Small traders called Nepmen were allowed to set up businesses. At the same time, local nationalities who had been forced to follow a strict Communist line were allowed to bring back their own language and customs. Churches, mosques and bazaars were re-opened.

The economy picked up, and people were much happier. But many old Bolsheviks said Lenin had sold out to capitalism, and left the party.

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