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Rebekah 12HE History (W) Due in: 26th February 2013
Motives for collectivisation
There were several reasons for collectivisation: political, economic and personal gain for Stalin.
Collectivisation was set in place because of the state of Russia's agriculture. Stalin believed that Russia had to be
able to feed itself and that the peasant farmers should be providing food for the workers in the factories if the Five
Year Plans were going to succeed.
Before 1861, agricultural land had been farmed into strips by the serfs. Serfs still tilled the land with the equipment
they had used for centuries, and while the efficiency of agriculture stayed low, increases in overall yield were only
achieved by flogging the peasants harder. During this year, Alexander II freed these peasants, but unfortunately,
they were left with heavy debts due to the fact that the state gave them land to farm. Much of Russia had poor
land and a harsh climate and a lot of this led to several famines before 1900, due to land shortage and population
In agriculture between 1917 and 1921, there was a lot of distrust. Relations between the new communist regime
and the peasantry were difficult. Relations improved in the 1921 NEP. Peasants had to pay taxes, but could sell
their crops in the open market. The Kulaks were the betteroff peasants expanded their land holdings and
sometimes employed other peasants. They were enemies to the communists because they were going against the
idea of communism and socialism (the idea of rich and poor everyone to be equal instead) being peasants, they
wanted to be rich.
There were several economic reasons for collectivisation. Industrialisation would need new technology from
abroad therefore, food surpluses could be exported to get foreign exchange. The `Scissors Crisis' made an
economic dilemma Stalin saw the solution as a forced policy of collectivisation to raise food production. Farm
labourers wouldn't be needed if the mechanisation of agriculture was encouraged they would be used to increase
the number of industrial workers.
There were several political reasons for collectivisation. Collective farms would help extend socialism to the
countryside therefore, it would ensure the survival of the revolution. It was an opportunity to get rid of the Kulaks
failure to do this would hold back the progress towards socialism.
There were reasons for Stalin's personal gain from collectivisation. He saw it as an economic and political
necessity as it would sweep away the remaining capitalist elements in the countryside and enable rapid
industrialisation. It would allow for the modernisation of the Soviet Union, and strengthen his position in the party.
It allowed him to rid the Right party collectivisation was aimed at increasing his own position and power.
Stalin and his supporters were unhappy with Soviet agriculture under the NEP. Peasants were holding their grain
back and yet the NEP was not doing anything about it. The opposition were encouraging the peasants not to
exchange for money.
There was no dealing with the Kulaks. It needed changing or it would cause problems to the Red Army (which
was needed in order to be protected if there was any attack from another country.
Farms were small and needed to be bigger to allow for more control and organisation. The NEP allowed it to be
"the most underdeveloped form of economic organisation" (Stalin). Stalin needed the economy to be running to
provide a secure country and a fully working economy.