Rabkrin

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Rabkrin, RKI or Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate (WPI) (Russian: Рабо́че-крестья́нская инспе́кция, Рабкри́н, РКИ) was a governmental establishment in Soviet Russia and the early Soviet Union responsible for scrutinizing the state, local and enterprise administrations during 1920-1934. It was established on February 7, 1920 to replace the People's Commissariat for State Control.[1] As Isaac Deutscher wrote,

The Rabkrin ... was set up to control every branch of the administration, from top to bottom, with a view to eliminating the two major faults, inefficiency and corruption, which the Soviet civil service had inherited from its Tsarist predecessor. It was to act as the stern and enlightened auditor for the whole rickety and creaking governmental machine; to expose abuses of power and red tape; and to train an élite of reliable civil servants for every branch of the government. The [Rabkrin] acted through teams of workers and peasants who were free at any time to enter the offices of any Commissariat and watch the work done there.... The whole bizarre scheme of inspection was one of Lenin's pet ideas. Exasperated by the inefficiency and dishonesty of the civil service, he sought to remedy them by extreme and ruthless "control from below," and the [Rabkrin] was to be the means.... The mill of officialdom, however, turned the workers themselves into bureaucrats. The Commissariat of the Inspectorate, as Lenin was to discover later on, became an additional source of muddle, corruption, and bureaucratic intrigue. ln the end it became an unofficial but meddlesome police in charge of the civil service.[2]

After failing its goals and having been severely criticized, among others by Vladimir Lenin himself, in 1923 it was merged with the CPSU Party Control Committee to become a joint control organ (PCC-WPI, TsKK-RKI) under a common chairman, to oversee state, economy, and Communist Party. Despite this, Rabkrin went on to play a major role in the formulation and execution of the First Five Year Plan. Under the leadership of Ordzhonikidze, a close ally of Joseph Stalin, it emerged as a "powerful political, administrative and policy-making instrument"[3] that aggressively pushed the case for rapid industrialisation. The concurrent weakening of Sovnarkom and major economic bodies (notably Vesenkha and Gosplan) left it to Rabkrin to "perform the functions of principal planning agency and policy advisor to the Politburo".[4]

In 1934, at the 17th Party Congress, Rabkrin was dissolved and its functions were passed to the Sovnarkom's State Control Commission.

The Rabkrin was also one of the early users of punched card tabulating equipment, an early form of information technology.[5]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Rees, E. A. (1987). State Control in Soviet Russia: The Rise and Fall of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate, 1920-1934.
  2. ^ Isaac Deutscher, Stalin: a political biography (2nd ed., rev.), Oxford University Press, 1967, pp. 230-31.
  3. ^ a b c d David R. Shearer (1996), Industry, State, and Society in Stalin's Russia, 1926-1934, Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-8014-8385-9
  4. ^ Davies, R. W. (1989). The Soviet Economy in Turmoil, 1929-1930, Harvard University Press.
  5. ^ A Computer Perspective, by the office of Charles & Ray Eames, Edited by Glen Fleck, produced by Robert Staples, Introduction by I. Bernard Cohen, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1973
  • Michael Perrins, "Rabkrin and Workers' Control in Russia 1917-34," European History Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2 (1980): 225-246 doi:10.1177/026569148001000204
  • S.N. Ikonnikov, Sozdanie i deyatelnost obyedinyonnykh organov TsKK-RKI v 1923-1934, dissertation, Moscow (1971) (Russian)