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Economic Promises

22nd Congress of the CPSU, Party Programme, 1961, Communism by 1980, Overtake USA
Plans for economic growth 1961-1980 at the 22nd Congress of the CPSU

With the relinquishing of mass terror the regime needed to find new ways to stimulate the population and 'make the revolution work.' It turned to economic promises.

In 1961 a new Party Programme was published, the first since 1919. Forecasting that the Soviet Union would overtake the United States' economy by 1970, the programme projected that Communism would be built by 1980, ensuring 'an abundance of material and cultural benefits for the whole population' so that 'everyone will live in easy circumstances'.

The Soviet economy grew by almost 10 per cent a year between 1955 and 1960. Fridges and TVs were introduced in many Soviet homes. There was a boom in construction, allowing millions of families to move into apartments on their own.

The Sputnik programme was the highest symbol of Soviet progress. In 1961, Gagarin became the first man to journey into space. Soviet science and technology gave the country huge prestige in the Third World. For countries struggling to free themselves from colonial rule and US dominance the Soviet 'economic miracle' offered an alternative.

Yuri Gagarin, Sputnik, Soviet space programme

Gagarin in London

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