IT TOOK the Soviet Union four years to crush the German war machine. How long will it take to restore all that the Germans destroyed on its territory?
Twice in the lifetime of one generation the Soviet lands have been subjected to devastation. The damage done in the Second World War, moreover, was far greater than that inflicted during the First. The armies of Hitlerite Germany completely or partially destroyed or burned down 1,710 Soviet towns and more than 70,000 villages and hamlets, in all depriving nearly 25,000,000 people of shelter. The total damage inflicted upon the Soviet Union by the Nazi invaders is estimated in money terms at 679 billion rubles. In terms of human life, the Soviet losses reached nearly to the figure of seven millions, approximately the total population of Australia. Gutted buildings, huge piles of smashed brick and plaster, demolished railways, fields overgrown with weeds, hungry people living in dugouts -- such was the picture of the devastated western regions of the U.S.S.R. after the Germans had been expelled.
Six years were needed to restore the losses suffered by Russian industry after the First World War. This time the Soviet Union intends to achieve the prewar level of industry twice as fast.
The restoration of the national economy in the western parts of the U.S.S.R. started immediately after their liberation, while the war was still in progress. Whereas earlier, during the peaceful years of industrialization, the more developed western areas of the U.S.S.R. had helped the eastern regions of the country to grow, the latter developed rapidly during the war years and now began to help the western areas to get back onto their feet. Materials, machinery and people streamed from east to west.
The work which has been done to restore the economy of the western regions has begun to show considerable results. Donbas, the principal center of the Soviet coal industry, again occupies first place among the coal regions of
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