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Forging Global FordismNazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order$
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Stefan J. Link

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177540

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177540.001.0001

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The Soviet Auto Giant

The Soviet Auto Giant

(p.90) 3 The Soviet Auto Giant
Forging Global Fordism

Stefan J. Link

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the Soviet Union strove to acquire American mass production technology in order to create their own version of Fordism in the 1930s. It traces the origin and operation of one of the prestigious objects of the First Five-Year Plan: the automobile factory at Nizhnii Novgorod. After 1933, when the city changed names in honor of its scion Maxim Gorky, the Soviet River Rouge went by the official name of Gaz (Gor'kovskii Avtomobil'nyi Zavod); but to the Soviet press, it was known simply as the “Auto Giant.” The chapter then follows four men who helped the Auto Giant awaken and rise. Economist Nikolai Osinskii pushed through an ambitious agenda for Soviet motorization that culminated in the foreign technical assistance contract with the Ford Motor Company of May 1929. In fulfillment of this agreement, Stepan Dybets traveled to Detroit and led a group of Soviet engineers who were in charge of transferring Ford technology and know-how from the Midwest to central Russia during the years of the First Five-Year Plan. Meanwhile, as director of Gaz between 1932 and 1938, Sergei D'iakonov oversaw the uneven and troubled implementation of Fordism during the Second Five-Year Plan. Finally, Ivan Loskutov ascended to the helm of Gaz after Stalin's purges, and presided over the factory's redoubled embrace of Fordism in the late 1930s and World War II.

Keywords:   Soviet Union, American mass production, Fordism, First Five-Year Plan, Auto Giant, Nikolai Osinskii, Stepan Dybets, Sergei D'iakonov, Ivan Loskutov, Soviet motorization

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