Realistic Communism

War Communism

War communism was the economic and political system of Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War. Despite its name, war communism was not real communism, although it could be considered a step towards communism as it was quite socialistic.

Like many wartime economies, war communism required strict rationing of supplies for civilians to supply the army more, and it involved much nationalization and government control of the economy. However, unlike Western war economies, war communism involved a complete nationalization of all industries and a complete ban of private enterprise. This did make it very socialistic as the government then controlled all means of production, and the government was obviously an expression of the public.

Unlike real communism, which is stateless, war communism required one of the most totalitarian states to ever exist. Refusing to do enough work or keeping any more goods than strictly necessary for survival was met with harsh punishment in work gulags as every bit of production was needed for its military to operate and fight on behalf of the people.

It is debated whether war communism was just a means of winning the war or if it was also intended to eliminate capitalism and private property. While war communism caused mass civilian starvation and killed the majority of urban Russian, it was ultimately successful in giving the military more of the country’s production than those trying to prevent socialism, thus leading to winning the war.