Organized by the Russian and Eastern European Studies Network (REES).
At the end of the 1920s, the Soviet Union started industrialization with no gold and currency reserves. The government feverishly sought gold to pay the tremendous foreign debts acquired to purchase equipment, materials, and technologies abroad. State-run stores called Torgsin (1930-36), which sold food and goods to the Soviet people at inflated prices in exchange for their heirlooms - foreign currency, gold, silver, and diamonds, became an important source of revenues to finance industrialization and the major strategy of survival for people during the mass famine of 1932-33.
Elena A. Osokina is Professor of Russian History at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on the impact that the Soviet industrialization of the 1930s had on everyday life, social hierarchy, transformation of the economy, and the nature of Stalinism.
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