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Economic and social life in early Soviet Period

The economic policy of Soviet authority in Azerbaijan was very hard and controversial. On one side highly developed industrial Baku, on the other side-backward Muslim village. The demand of Soviet Russia to oil aimed not only to the realization of contral over Baku oil, but also transformation of it into monopoly.

The regulation of oil industry possessed special essence in the condition of new economic policy (NEP). According to the decision of CC ACP (b) and SNC of Azerbaijan “Azneftkom” was turned into independent trend of “Azneft” in September of 1921. But, Russian government concentrated all works, which was concerned to Baku oil into her hands. “Azneft” was excluded from the subordination of SNC of Azerbaijan and was given to the compentention RSFSR government.

Soviet Russia obliged to take special care to the restoration and improvement of oil industry. By the instruction of V.I.Lenin, the leaders of oil industry realized strict control over the vehicles, choosen for the extraction of Azerbaijan oil and received profits. According to surveys, from May 28, 1920 to 1927, there were given 5,5, million golden rubles for “Azneft” and instead of it, there were received 380 million rubles oil products in the same year, which was 76 times more than the first one. Azerbaijan oil played an important role in the shape of monetary foundation of USSR, later its role grew up much more. In the export of oil products within USSR, the weight of Azerbaijan constituted 78,6% in 1923-1924, 69,6% in 1924-1925, 72% in 1925-1926 and 75,9% in 1926-1927.

There was taken the course on industrialization of USSR by the decision of 14th Congress of VCP (b), in December of 1925.

Specific feature of industrialization in Azerbaijan concluded with that here major and leading sphere was historically developed oil industry. Namely, that is why, the weight of fields in Azerbaijan, which possessed big industrial potentiality was higher than whole country. So that when the output of state and cooparative enterprises constituted 8%, of all industrial output within the Union, this number was 99,1% in Azerbaijan.

There was created the Comission on industrialization to which was included Q.Musabeyov (chairman), Q.Sultanov, D.Bunyadzadeh and others on February 3, 1926. There was examined the maximum improvement of oil industry and conclusion of its technical reformation, as well as the construction of new enterprises in textile, chemistry, metallurgy and other fields of industry in the plan, composed by the Comission. By the order of central organs, main attention was given to the increasement of oil extraction. That is why, the industrialization in the uyezds of Azerbaijan passed slowly. Generally, there existed deep difference in the development of agriculture of Republic, There was preserved traditional disproportion in the development of industry between centre and regions.

There was realized “Stalin method” in the governance of state organs and party organization, which implied inordinary centralization, suppression of initiatives in the areas and directive governance. The 8th Congress of ACP (b), which took place in November of 1917, did not confirm universal development of Azerbaijan, but only the spheres, which would be dictated it by the centre; most of all, the most important work was maximum production of oil and cotton, which were precious raw materials for the union in the context of “high state obligation”.

Despite of negative features and diffuculties, created by commanding-administrative system, there were succeeded historical achievements in the development of national husbandry, culture, scientific-technical potentiality of Azerbaijan during the five-years, accepted by parties. The restoration of national husbandry was over in 1921-1928s. There was exploited big amount of state industrial enterprises in 1928-1941s; although the georgraphy of industrial objects increased little, there shaped new fields of output-autoconstruction, metallurgy, there were constructed enterprises of chemical industry, the amount of output of light industry increased. Of course, there were certain achievements in any case.

At the end of the second five-years Azerbaijan became the republic with powerful industry, relied on new technique in the context of Union. In different regions-Lenkoran, Ordubad and Zagatala – there were constructed conservative plants, in Sheki, Shamkir, Ganja and other regions-hidroelectric stations (HES), silk-making and silk-weaving enterprises. The weight of industrial output in national husbandry of Azerbaijan was 91,7% in that period.

Azerbaijan possessed one of the first places in the context of industrial Republic among united republics. Azerbaijan SSR, which possessed 9th place on territory and 7th place on population number within USSR at that time, was in the first on oil output in the Union, the third place (after RSFSR and Ukraine SSR)-in an amount of all industrial output and the obtain of electroenergy, the fourth place-in metallurgy and autoconstruction. There was obtained approximately 215 kilowatt- hour electroenergy per person in the USSR, 217 kilowatt-hour-in RSFSR, 302 kilowatt-hour-in Ukrain and 433 kilowatt-hour in Azerbaijan in 1937. Azerbaijan was in the first place on obtaining electroenergy among the countries of USSR. Neverthless, major part of electroenergy directed to oil industry. In 1937, Azerbaijan gave 76% of all extracted oil of USSR. There were constructed oil-pipeline of Baku- Batumi (822 km.), railway of Alat-Culfa. There was exploited electric railway through Absheron, which tied oil-enterprise with the city; It was the first railway in the USSR.

Restoration of agriculture in Azerbaijan ended in 1921-1928s. In 1928, there was applied regional administrative division instead of uyezds. There was applied obligatory collectivation in Azerbaijan villages in 20-30s of the 20th century. At the result of obligatory collectivation, realized by commanding-administrative method there was collectivated 99% of peasantry husbandry and 100% sown areas in 1940. There were 3429 collective farms and 50 soviet farms in the republic in 1940; 99% of the production of agricultural output was acquired from them. The creation of collective and soviet farms implied the restoration of peasantry community and serfdom; so that, the peasants did not have passports and they could not leave their villages and collective farms without permition and various agreements.

Great event in the life of workers in agriculture was the beginning of construction of Samur-Devechi canal in the North-East of the Republic, in October of 1939. The initiators of the construction of Samur-Devechi canal, big hidrotechnical enterprise were the collective farmers of Quba region; the collective farmers and workers of Qusar, Khachmaz, Devechi and other regions of the Republic also aided them.

At the result of united labour in six months, the construction of first line of canal, which length was 108,8 km that gave opportunity to the irrigation of 67 thousand hectars field ended in April, 1940.

Collective farmers began to the construction of irrigative canals in other regions of the Republic. Same canals were constructed in Nakhichevan ASSR and Kazakh region with the attempts of local workers as well. These events shaped conditions for essential enlargement of sown areas. In 1940, the irrigated sown areas reached to 1124 hectars.

There was given attention to the improvement of tea and citrus husbandry in the Republic too. Major areas for these husbandries in the third five-years were Lenkoran, Masalli, Zagatala, Balaken and Gakh regions. There were accepted several resolutions by SNA of Azerbaijan and CC of ACP (b) on August 15-6, 1938, “About the ceremonies on the improvement of citrus culture in Azerbaijan SSR” and “About the ceremonies on the development of encalyptus culture in Azerbaijan SSR”. These resolutions played an important role in the development of subtropics in Republic. The party and social organizations realized wide activity in the implementation of these resolutions. In 1939, collective and soviet farms had given 123 ton green tea leaves to the Republic. So, Azerbaijan was the oil and cotton basis of the USSR, gradually turned into the basis of citrus plants too.

The rights of Republic much more eliminated by the Constitution of the USSR, adopted on December 5, 1936, in 8th All-Union Congress of Soviets.

According to new Constitution of the USSR Transcaucasian Federation was abolished. Azerbaijan SSR, Georgia SSR and Armenia SSR were separately included to the structure of USSR. In reality, it was much more profitable for Azerbaijan, since she freed from the payment of taxes for her neighbourhood countries. But, Georgia and Armenia appropriated boudget means of Azerbaijan as well.

There was adopted the Constitution of Azerbaijan SSR, compiled on the ground of the new Constitution of the USSR in the 9th Congress of Soviets of Azerbaijan, on March 14, 1937. Although, there was demonstrated sovergnity of Azerbaijan, in the Constitution of Azerbaijan in the Article 13 of “Azerbaijan SSR, which completely preserves its sovereign right, independently realizes its state authority without competention of 14th Article of the Constitution of USSR”,

Article 15 of “Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic has right to exclude from the structure of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, Article 16 of “The territory of Azerbaijan SSR could not be changed without its agreement”, the Article 17, where was mentioned that “Laws of the USSR are obligatory in the territory of Azerbaijan SSR” – were the basics of complete dependence of Azerbaijan SSR from the centre.

New Constitution of Nakhichevan ASSR, which included to the structure of Azerbaijan SSR was adopted on September 17, 1937 by the 10th All-Nakhichevan Congress of Soviets.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"