15 FEBRUARY 1935, Page 30


Writers and speakers on ecomomic and political questions must often need a handy pocket guide to the Russian Five- Year Plans. The Second Five-Year Plan of Development of the U.S.S.R. (Methuen, 3s. 6d.) meets precisely this need. It begins, after introductory commendation from Mr. Herbert Morrison and the Head of the Soviet Trade Delegation (Mr. Lansbury coming in a, poor third on the dust-cover), with a useful and well-arranged "summary of results" of the first Plan (1928-1932). Then follows a detailed analysis, accompanied by statistical tables, of the estimates for the second Plan (1933-1937), which provide for an all-round increase of 100 per cent. in the main branches of agricultural and industrial production, and still higher percentages in certain specialized fields, notably in transport and electrical power. No opinion is hazarded on the probability of these enormous increases being achieved (the results of the first Plan were in many cases below estimate, remarkable though they were) ; and this volume keeps up an altogether higher standard of objectivity than most publications relating to Soviet Russia. It is, however, a pity that the authors indulge in horrific expressions such as " combinats " and Houses of Technique," which give rise to a lurking sus- picion that they do not themselves understand the Russian terms they purport to translate.