Kritzman, Lev Natanovich

views updated


(1890c. 1937), Soviet economist and agrarian expert.

Born in 1890, Kritzman became a Menshevik in 1905. After a long period in exile, he returned to Russia in early 1918 when he joined the Bolshevik Party. An expert in economic policy and a strong advocate of planning, he held various posts in the Supreme Council for the National Economy and in 1921 joined the Presidium of Gosplan (State Planning Agency).

In addition to his professional duties, he published numerous works on planning and the economy in which he argued for introducing a single economic plan. He was criticized by Lenin for this position. After the introduction of the New Economic Policy in 1921, Kritzman, together with Ya. Larin, Leon Trotsky, and Yevgeny Preobrazhensky, continued to advocate an extension of state planning. During the 1920s, Kritzman produced a number of important works, including a major study of war communism, Geroichesky period velikoi russkoi revolyutsy (The Heroic Period of the Great Russian Revolution ), still one of the key analyses of economic policy in the early Soviet period. As director of the Agrarian Institute of the Communist Academy from 1925 and editor of its journal Na Agrarnom Fronte (On the Agricultural Front ), he promoted empirical research into class differentiation among the peasantry and called for greater state support for socialized agriculture. He also served during his career as assistant director of the Central Statistical Administration and a member of the editorial boards of Pravda, Problemy Ekonomiki (Problems of Economics ) and the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Stalin's launch of mass collectivisation and dekulakization in late 1929 rendered Kritzman's work and ideas obsolete by eradicating the individual household farm. After some years conducting private research, he was arrested and died in prison either in 1937 or 1938.

See also: collectivization of agriculture; new economic policy; peasant economy; war communism


Cox, Terry. (1986). Peasants, Class and Capitalism. The Rural Research of L.N. Kritzman and his School. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Solomon, Susan Gross. (1977). The Soviet Agrarian Debate: A Controversy in Social Science 19231929. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Nick Baron