W HEN the Russian snows melted in the spring of1925 there was a new hope in men's eyes. Thepast year had been one of hard struggle. Spring of 1924 had blossomed under the cloud of the currency reform, with the credit stringency it entailed and the fight against the "scissors." Summer came beneath the frown of a bad harvest, causing breathless fears lest the currency stabilisation might fail to be maintained. The winter had brought fresh financial difficulties for industry, caused by credit stringency and slackened village sales.! But by the spring of 1925 these clouds had gone. Fears for the maintenance of the currency reform, and with them credit stringency, were now things of the past; and by the summer hope, suddenly succeeding apprehension, became almost intoxication. Prospects of a "bumper" harvest led the peasant to unload reserves of grain and so to provide an expanding market for industrial goods. The efforts of the previous year began to bear fruit in a rapid industrial expansion which for the whole year showed an advance of over 50 per cent, bringing the level of industrial production to above 70 per cent of pre-war. Plans were made for a large grain export, and for an import of machinery in return, to fulfil an ambitious program of industrial re-equipment and extension. In outward signs the progress could almost be measured from week to week. Moscow offices suddenly acquired a new youth by an unprecedented " spring-cleaning." Public buildings in August gleamed bright with new paint and renovated stucco; while in the suburbs scaffolding
PRO B L E M 0 F F I XED CAP I TAL 29 I climbed around new houses and blocks of flats. The gardens in Sverdlov Square, the Alexandra Gardens, and the Boulevards once again cooled the eye with the green of trimmed grass and the colour of flower-beds. Leningrad was everywhere congested by the activities of street repairers. In Moscow a growing service of new Leyland motor-buses commenced to invade the streets and to relieve the pressure on the over-crowded tramcars; while traffic experts even began to talk about a Moscow" tube." The hum of activity had come to include a new note. The task of restarting the wheels of industry was ending; the task of constructing new wheels had begun.