Russia 1855-1964 Peasants

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  • Peasants
    • Living conditions
      • 90% of pop. 1855, 70% by 1950s
      • Regional variation, also class variation eg. Kulaks
      • Izba, single room wooden hut heated by an oven/ sleeping platform. Animals and family in hut. Cramped, cold, damp but cheap to construct
      • Stalin introduced 'special' housing blocks on the periphery of new collective farms.
      • Kulaks given worst housing in barracks or forced into tented shelters in fields under communists
      • Khrushchev constructed self contained 'agro-towns', built cheaply and quickly to a poor standard
    • Working conditions
      • Prior dictated by natures clock, quality of soil, the weather and innate ability of the farmer
      • Worsened under  communists, seen only as food producers for urban dwellers
      • Emancipation Edict 1861- freed serfs but redemption payments and mir
      • Stolypin's 'Wager on the storng' created Kulaks
      • War Communism- kulaks acused of grain hoarding, cheka requisitioned grain/ imprisoned kulaks who were deemed to be against the revolution
      • NEP- attitudes towards Kulaks changed, seen as more 'cultured and educated' peasants, but still persecuted to an extent -> paid higher taxes, disenfranchised, children prevented from attending state schools
      • Collectivisation changed the fortunes of the peasants, Kulaks viewed as incompatible, dekulakisation, 1-3 million kulak families were deported to work camps in Siberia
      • Stalin, similarly to Witte, exported grain to use the resultant capital to finance industry, meant more strain on grain supplies for peasants adn workers
      • Dekulakisation disaapeared under Khrushchev, but the VGL put peasants under pressure to increase productivity

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