Sixteenth Congress of the All-Union Communist Party Bolshevik
Sixteenth Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)
a congress held from June 26 to July 13, 1930, in Moscow. The congress was attended by 1,268 voting delegates and 891 delegates with observer status. The delegates represented 1,260,874 party members and 711,609 candidate members. The agenda consisted of a number of reports as well as elections to central party institutions. J. V. Stalin delivered the political report of the Central Committee, L. M. Kaganovich, the organizational report of the Central Committee, and M. F. Vladimirskii, the report of the Central Auditing Commission. The report of the Central Control Commission was given by G. K. Ordzhonikidze, and that of the ACP(B) delegation to the Executive Committee of the Communist International, by V. M. Molotov. V. V. Kuibyshev addressed the congress on the fulfillment of the five-year plan for industry, Ia. A. Iakovlev spoke on the kolkhoz movement and on the improvement of agriculture, and N. M. Shvernik outlined the tasks facing trade unions in the period of reconstruction.
The summary report of the Central Committee and the resolution adopted on the issues it covered presented an analysis of the international and domestic situation of the USSR and defined the principal tasks associated with the new stage of the building of socialism. The Soviet Union had entered a period of rapid economic growth and of massive expansion of socialist construction. The capitalist countries were undergoing major political upheavals and an economic crisis that accelerated the development of fascism within some countries and hastened preparations for new imperialist wars. The congress called on the party and the people to affirm a policy of peace throughout the world and to strengthen the defense capability of the USSR in every way possible.
Encouraged by the advances made by the country in industrialization, the congress adopted a domestic-policy line of stepping up socialist construction. Industry had provided 53 percent of the national economy’s output in 1929 and 1930, and the socialist sector had accounted for 99.3 percent of large-scale industry in 1930. Although the USSR had surpassed the leading capitalist countries in rate of industrial development in the early years of the five-year plan, it continued to trail them considerably in level of industrial output. The congress directed the Central Committee to ensure a high rate of socialist construction and the fulfillment of the five-year plan in four years.
The progress of socialist construction in rural areas was apparent in the mass kolkhoz movement. By the time the congress had convened, 40–50 percent of the peasant farms in the principal grain-growing regions had been consolidated into kolkhozes, and the kolkhoz peasantry had become a bulwark of Soviet power. The congress approved the change to a policy of total collectivization to eliminate the kulaks as a class.
Although some successes had been achieved in the cultural revolution, the congress declared the revolution’s rate of development to be inadequate. It was decided to institute universal compulsory elementary education in the near future and to eliminate illiteracy among the people.
Successful socialist construction was to be achieved by rigid adherence to the party’s general line and by a resolute struggle on two fronts, that is, against Trotskyism and against the right-wing deviation in the ACP(B). Declaring the views of the right-wing opposition to be incompatible with membership in the ACP(B), the congress pointed to the need to struggle against deviations on the nationalities question—that is, against great-power chauvinism and local nationalism. The congress approved the political line and practical work of the Central Control Commission-Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection and took note of this body’s resolute efforts to implement the general line of the party and to purge the party’s ranks of alien elements.
Directing attention to the need for continued improvement and cost reduction in the operation of the state administrative apparatus, the congress called for the continuation of the purge of administrative bodies, an intensification of the fight against bureaucracy, and precise execution of party and government decrees. After approving the activities of the ACP(B) delegation in the Executive Committee of the Communist International, the congress acknowledged the considerable service performed by the Comintern in crushing Trotskyism and right-wing opportunism and gave its support to the organizational measures developed by the Comintern to purge Communist parties of right-wing and “left” opportunists.
After discussing the report on fulfillment of the five-year plan for industry and after noting that the party had succeeded in bringing about overfulfillment of plan indexes, the congress increased the original goals of the plan. Particular emphasis was placed on the need for comprehensive expansion of heavy industry, accelerated development of ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, the introduction of advanced technology, and the production of the new machines and equipment necessary for the modernization of all sectors of the economy. The congress adopted a resolution to establish in the near future the country’s second coal and metallurgical base, the Urals-Kuznetsk Combine, in the eastern part of the country. The congress called for accelerated development of the industrial sectors associated with strengthening the defense capability of the USSR and decided that more economic and engineering personnel would be trained in order to help fulfill the five-year plan.
Thoroughly reviewing the kolkhoz movement, the congress denounced distortion of the party line in kolkhoz construction. It demanded that in bringing peasants into cooperatives the Leninist principle of voluntary membership be strictly observed, the degree of preparedness of regions for collectivization be taken into account, and the agricultural artel be considered the basic form of collective farm. Since the five-year plan had been overfulfilled with respect to collectivization, the congress felt it necessary to revise the plan for agricultural development. The principal goal consisted in essentially completing the socialist transformation of the countryside and in strengthening the kolkhozes economically.
The congress stressed the need to enlarge the role of the trade unions in socialist construction. The immediate goals of the trade unions were defined as developing socialist competition and the shock-worker movement, raising the qualifications of the workers, and combating the problems of inertia and bureaucracy. The congress advanced the injunction “Trade unions, focus on production!”
A Central Committee of 71 members and 67 candidate members was elected at the congress, as well as a Central Auditing Commission of 13 members and a Central Control Commission of 187 members.
The Sixteenth Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) went into history as the congress of the full-scale socialist offensive on all fronts. The congress set the goal of accelerating the creation of the material and technical base for socialism and of eliminating the capitalist elements in the country.
REFERENCESXVls”ezd VKP(b): Stenografich. otchet, 2nd ed., parts 1–2. Moscow, 1931.
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 4. Moscow, 1970.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 4, book 2. Moscow, 1971.
G. D. KOMKOV