In Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 history and iconography, a Stakhanovite (стахановец) follows the example of Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov
Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov
Alexey Grigoryevich Stakhanov was a miner in the Soviet Union, Hero of Socialist Labor , and a member of the CPSU . He became a celebrity in 1935 as part of a movement that was intended to increase worker productivity and demonstrate the superiority of the socialist economic system.Stakhanov was...

, employing hard work or Taylorist
Scientific management
Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management...

 efficiencies to over-achieve on the job.


The Stakhanovite movement began during the second 5-year plan in 1935 as a new stage of the socialist competition
Socialist competition
Socialist competition or socialist emulation was a form of competition between state enterprises and between individuals practiced in the Soviet Union and in other Eastern bloc states.- Competition vs...

. The Stakhanovite movement was named after Aleksei Stakhanov, who had mined 102 ton
The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight, and as a unit of volume. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.It is derived from...

s of coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 in less than 6 hours (14 times his quota). However, his record would soon be "broken" by his followers. On February 1, 1936, it was reported that Nikita Izotov
Nikita Izotov
Nikita Alexeevich Izotov is sometimes referred to as the "First Stakhanovite," because he was the first Soviet worker singled out by the press for a superhuman act of labor...

 had mined 607 tons of coal in a single shift.

The Stakhanovite movement, supported and led by the CPSU, soon spread over other industries of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The initiators of the movement were Alexander Busygin (automobile industry), Nikolai Smetanin (shoe
A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function...

 industry), Yevdokiya and Maria Vinogradov (textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 industry), I.I.Gudov (machine tool
Machine tool
A machine tool is a machine, typically powered other than by human muscle , used to make manufactured parts in various ways that include cutting or certain other kinds of deformation...

 industry), V.S.Musinsky (timber industry), Pyotr Krivonos (railroad), Pasha Angelina
Pasha Angelina
Praskovia Nikitichna Angelina , popularly known as Pasha Angelina , was a celebrated Soviet udarnik and Stakhanovite at the time of the first Five Year Plans...

 (glorified as the first Soviet woman to operate a tractor), Konstantin Borin and Maria Demchenko (agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

) and many others.

On November 14–17, 1935, the 1st All-Union Stakhanovite Conference took place at the Kremlin, which emphasized the outstanding role of the Stakhanovite movement in socialist re-construction of national economy. In December 1935, the plenum
Plenary session
Plenary session is a term often used in conferences to define the part of the conference when all members of all parties are to attend.These sessions may contain a broad range of content from keynotes to panel discussions and are not necessarily related to a specific style of delivery.The term has...

 of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) specifically discussed the aspects of developing industry and transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 system in light of the Stakhanovite movement. The resolution of the plenum said: "The Stakhanovite movement means organizing labor in a new fashion, rationalizing technologic processes, correct division of labor, liberating qualified workers from secondary spadework, improving work place, providing rapid growth for labor productivity and securing significant increase of workers' salaries".

In accordance with the decisions of the plenum, the Soviets organized a wide network of industrial training and created special courses for foremen of socialist labor. In 1936, a number of industrial and technical conferences revised the projected production capacities of different industries and increased their outputs. They also introduced the Stakhanovite competitions within factories and plants, broken down into periods of five days (пятидневка, or pyatidnevka), ten days (декада, or dekada) and 30 days (месячники, or mesyachniki). The factory management would often create the Stakhanovite brigades or departments, which reached a stable higher collective output.

Female Stakhanovites were rarer than male, but a quarter of all trade-union women were designated as "norm-breaking." A preponderance of rural Stakhanovites were women, as milkmaids, calf tenders, and fieldworkers.

Any opposition to the movement caused the label of "wrecker."Robert Service
Robert Service (historian)
Robert John Service is a British historian, academic, and author who has written extensively on the history of Soviet Russia, particularly the era from the October Revolution to Stalin's death...

, A History of Modern Russia, from Nicholas II to Putin p 217 ISBN 067401801-X

The Soviet authorities claimed that the Stakhanovite movement had caused a significant increase in labor productivity. It was reported that during the first 5-year plan
First Five-Year Plan
The First Five-Year Plan, or 1st Five-Year Plan, of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a list of economic goals that was designed to strengthen the country's economy between 1928 and 1932, making the nation both militarily and industrially self-sufficient. "We are fifty or a hundred...

 (1929–1932) industrial labor productivity increased 41%. During the second 5-year plan (1933–1937) it reportedly increased 82%. The discussion of the draft constitution in the 1930's was used to encourage a second wind for the movement.
During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Stakhanovites used different methods to increase productivity, such as working several machine tools at a time and combining professions. The Stakhanovites were responsible for organizing the two-hundreders movement (двухсотники, or dvukhsotniki; 2 or more quotas in a single shift) and one-thousanders movement (тысячники, or tysyachniki; 1000% of the norm in a shift). The Stakhanovite movement remained widespread after the war.

Stakhanov and other "model workers" were promoted in the press, literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, and film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, and other workers were urged to emulate their heroic examples. What is more, the achievements of stakhanovites served as an argument in favor of increasing of work quotas.

During the de-Stalinization era, which sought to undermine any achievements made during Stalin's regime, it was declared that the Stakhanovite movement was Stalin's propaganda maneuver. Where workers received the best equipment and most favorable conditions, the best results would show up. After Stalin's death, it was replaced with "brigades of socialist labor". In 1988, Soviet newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda
Komsomolskaya Pravda
Komsomolskaya Pravda is a daily Russian tabloid newspaper, founded on March 13th, 1925. It is published by "Izdatelsky Dom Komsomolskaya Pravda" .- History :...

claimed that the widely propagandized personal achievements of Stakhanov were puffery — the paper insisted that Stakhanov had used a number of helpers on support works, while the throughput was tallied for him alone. Stakhanov's approach had eventually led to the increased productivity by means of a better organization of the work, including specialization and task sequencing, according to the Soviet state media.

In fiction

  • Elio Petri's The Working Class Goes to Heaven
    The Working Class Goes to Heaven
    The Working Class Goes to Heaven is a 1971 film directed by Elio Petri. It depicts a factory worker's realisation of his own condition as a simple "tool" in the process of production and, implicitly, his struggle with the trade unions...

    centered around a Stakhanovite.
  • Harry Turtledove
    Harry Turtledove
    Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

    's novel The Gladiator
    The Gladiator (novel)
    The Gladiator is a 2007 Harry Turtledove novel for young adults. Part of the loose Crosstime Traffic family of books it is set in a world in an alternate history in which the Soviet Union has won the Cold War. It tied with Jo Walton's Ha'penny for the 2008 Prometheus Award.-Plot summary:The...

    , set in an alternate world where Communism prevailed in the Cold War, has multiple references to Stakhanovites as productivity models.
  • Andrzej Wajda
    Andrzej Wajda
    Andrzej Wajda is a Polish film director. Recipient of an honorary Oscar, he is possibly the most prominent member of the unofficial "Polish Film School"...

    's film Man of Marble
    Man of Marble
    Man of Marble is a 1976 Polish film directed by Andrzej Wajda. It chronicles the fall from grace of a fictional heroic Polish bricklayer, Mateusz Birkut , who became the Stakhanovite symbol of an over-achieving worker, in Nowa Huta, a new socialist city near Kraków...

    explores the myth-making process behind a fictional Polish Stakhanovite, telling the story of his rise and eventual fall from grace.
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