Sixteenth Conference of the All-Union Communist Party Bolshevik

Sixteenth Conference of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)


a conference held from Apr. 23 to Apr. 29, 1929, in Moscow. The conference was attended by 254 voting delegates and 679 delegates with observer status. There were several topics on the agenda. A. I. Rykov, G. M. Krzhizha-novskii, and V. V. Kuibyshev reported on the five-year plan for the development of the national economy. M. I. Kalinin spoke on ways of improving agriculture and of lightening the tax burden borne by middle peasants, Ia. A. Iakovlev summarized the results and immediate tasks of the struggle against bureaucracy, and E. M. Iaroslavskii addressed the delegates on the purge and review of members and candidate members of the ACP(B).

The principal business of the conference was the discussion and adoption of the first five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR. The formulation of the plan and the plan’s discussion at the conference were carried out in the midst of a struggle with a right-wing deviation in the ACP(B). The leaders of the deviation—N. I. Bukharin, Rykov, and M. P. Tomskii—cast doubt on the plan’s feasibility and insisted on the adoption of the “minimal” version. (The first five-year plan was written in two versions—the initial, or “minimal,” version and the “optimal” version, which was based on full mobilization of the entire resources and the potential inherent in the Soviet social order. The goals of the optimal version were approximately 20 percent higher than those of the initial version.) The conference rebuffed the right-wing opportunists and ratified the optimal version.

The first five-year plan emerged as a broad program for the economic, social, and cultural transformation of society. Signaling an expanded socialist offensive to be conducted on all fronts, the implementation of the plan was to lead to the construction of the foundations of a socialist economy. It would also expose capitalist elements, which would then be eliminated.

After defining the tasks associated with the organization of large-scale socialist agriculture, the conference outlined measures designed to assist poor-peasant and middle-peasant family farms. The delegates approved a new agricultural-tax law that exempted the farms of poor peasants from taxation, reduced taxes on the farms of middle peasants, and shifted the primary burden of taxation to the kulaks.

The conference devoted special attention to new production methods for linking the city and the countryside. In addition to expanding commodity circulation between industry and agriculture, it was necessary to give production assistance to the rural poor and the middle peasants. This assistance would take the form of the establishment of new machine-equipped sovkhozes and kolkhozes, the development of large-scale contracting of agricultural products, the encouragement of production cooperation among peasant farms, and the creation of a broad network of machine-tractor stations. A crucial factor in the development of the new methods of linkage was the organization of a heavy industry that would be capable of reequipping agriculture. The conference censured the right-wing deviationists, who aimed at disrupting collectivization, and branded their views as “a direct shift to the kulak position” (KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh, 8th ed., vol. 4, 1970, p. 213). The delegates called on the party to combat the deviationists, who represented a serious threat to its ranks.

In the resolution On the Results and Immediate Tasks of the Struggle Against Bureaucracy, the conference pointed out that the struggle against bureaucratic distortions in the activities of the state administrative apparatus was becoming one of the most important forms of class struggle (ibid., p. 222). The delegates called for an improvement of the review of the performance, selection, and placement of personnel, for a reduction in the size and expense of administrative bodies, and for a purge of unsuitable elements. The conference stressed the need to involve the working masses in the management of production, to introduce scientific methods in all sectors of production and administration (especially in planning), and to encourage criticism and self-criticism. After hearing Iaroslavskii’s report, the conference adopted a resolution recommending a purge to strengthen party ranks during preparations for the socialist offensive on all fronts.

At the end of the conference, V. M. Molotov delivered a report on the united plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the ACP(B) held in April of that year. A resolution that was passed unanimously by the conference approved the decision of the plenum to censure Bukharin’s right-wing opportunist group. The conference also urged the party to support the Central Committee and to struggle against deviations from the Leninist party line, particularly against the right-wing deviation. The conference adopted the appeal “To All Workers and Working Peasants of the Soviet Union,” in which it called for an expansion of socialist competition.


Shestnadtsataia konferentsiia VKP(b): Stenografich. otchet. Moscow, 1962.
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 4. Moscow, 1970.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 4, book 1. Moscow, 1970.