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Living Standards in the Second Five Year Plan

During the second Five Year Plan (1933-37) the government increased its investment in consumer industries, which had been starved of capital in the rush to build new factories and towns during 1928-32.

By the mid-1930s, the supply of foodstuffs, clothes and household goods had markedly improved (millions of children who grew up in these years, or even earlier, would recall the mid-thirties as a time when they were given their first pair of shoes).

EXTRACT FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia (Penguin, 2007), pp. 157-8.

From the autumn of 1935, rationing was gradually lifted, giving rise, in Soviet propaganda, to an optimistic mood among consumers as shop windows filled with goods... [FULL TEXT 465 WORDS]

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