Stalin took two critical steps in modernizing the Soviet economy. Both of these steps were substantiated with a fairly unprecedented and brutal use of power to ensure that they would be executed, even if the results did not materialize as originally intended. The first step that Stalin took to modernize the Soviet economy was to nationalize the nation's grain production. The collectivization of the Soviet farms under the government's control was intended to barter out the number one Soviet export. The income generated from this would finance the massive upgrade to the Soviet industrialization infrastructure. Both of these steps of collectivization and industrialization were intended to make the Soviet Union a worldwide force, seen as relatively modern from its roots as an agrarian nation.
These two steps were critical in the modernization of the Soviet economy. In collectivizing the farms, Stalin was able to take the primary force of income for the Soviet Union and parlay it to finance the massive upgrade to infrastructure that became essential to Soviet industrial production. Stalin was overseer of this, ensuring that domestic industrial production was driven more by quantity and bulk than anything in terms of quality and intrinsic worth. Stalin understood that his notion of "socialism in one country" meant that the Soviet economy could operate on a scale that would place it amongst the world economies of scale. Stalin was able to accomplish this through brutal force and enforcement means that subjected his own people to unspeakable horror. Farmers who protested the take over their farms were imprisoned, tortured, purged, or killed. Citizens were herded from farms into the urban centers. "From 1929 to 1933, the Soviet urban population increased from some twenty-seven million to more than forty million, straining city services to the breaking point." Any opposition to these conditions were met with the widening of the apparatus that coerced individuals, and guaranteed submission at any and all costs. In these steps, Stalin's modernization of the Soviet economy became a reality.