The unceasing wars, the tendency to solve problems by sheer force, and endless experimentation with ‘communism’ had crippled the economy. Stringent food shortages resulted in the imposition of a ‘tax-in-kind’ upon the peasants: agricultural produce, even seed, was confiscated. The famine, which affected about five million people, was aggravated both in the cities and the rural areas. Transport was in deplorable shape. Lenin, together with Trotsky, decided to ‘militarize’ labour and establish ‘labour armies’, as the Communist Manifesto had proposed. Lenin had envisaged in September 1917, before coming to power, the imposition of state service and use of the labour book, first for the rich and eventually for the entire population. 1 Now, the transport industry was to be militarized; Trotsky was put in charge. Thus Trotsky, who still acted as Defence Commissar, became the most powerful man in the government. The slave-labour boss position did not, of course, increase Trotsky’s popularity. The opposition toward him surfaced rapidly and furiously.