Collectivisation 1928-41

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Why Did the Communists Think Collectivisation Was

> Larger units of land could be farmed more efficiently due to mechanised agriculture and Machine and Tractor Stations (MTS)

> It would be easier for the state to procure the grain - there would be fewer collection points

> Mechanised agriculture would require far fewer peasants, opening them up for work in other fields

> Experts would help peasants to farm in more modern ways, which would result in higher food production

> Collectivisation was the socialist solution to agriculture. It would socialise the peasantry, as a socialist state couldn't be built with so many private landholders.

> They would live in socialist 'agrotowns' - working and living together comunally, eating in restaurants, visiting gyms/libraries etc

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Why Did Stalin Collectivise?

> Farming methods were not productive enough - couldn't support industrialisation

> 1928 - Russia exported 1/4 of the grain it had done in 1913

> Lenin's 'Red Peace Land' had produced few poor quality goods due to subsistent farming, inefficient

> Grain procurement failed under the NEP

> Peasant and governmental conflict could undermine the Plans (bad relationship since civil war)

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Living Conditions

SOVKHOZ - Owned and run by the state. Peasants paid a regular wage like factory workers

KOLKHOZ - All land held in common, run by an elected committee, farmed as one unit. Each household allowed its own private plot - could grow vegetables/keep animals

The aim of collectivisation was to create more sovkhozes, but the kolkhozes with private lots became the most favoured by the Communists

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Why Was Collectivisation Carried Out So Rapidly?

> A Russian peasant would aspire to raise their status to 'kulak' without this label

> This did not comply with Communist ideology - individual wealth was not an option

> It was difficult for Bolsheviks to persuade illiterate peasants - they could not be drawn in by the propaganda posters/understand intellectual ideas

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The Myth of the Kulak

> That collectivisation was voluntary and not enforced

> Stalin claimed kulaks were holding back the workers revolution, and labelled them enemies working against the interests of the government and the people

> The kulaks were actually industrious and were used as a scapegoat for the inefficiency of Soviet agriculture

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What Did Stalin Do to Popularise Collectivisation?

> Campaigned through propaganda, provided moral grounds for onslaught on the kulaks

> Dekulakisation carried out - land and property seized from the minority of better off peasants who were attacked, arrested, deported etc organised by OGPU - anti kulak squads

> By the end of the 1930s, almost all of the peasantry had been collectivised

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Consequences of Collectivisation 1

> Peasants disorientated and alienated - would/could not cooperate in the destruction of their lifestyle, majority slaughtered their livestock and ate their produce; no harvest/animals to rear

> Soviet authorities responded with imprisonment, execution, deportation

> Party members ('The Twenty Five Thousand') sent to increase food production levels yet added to the disruption, only available grain being exported

> A major purpose of the grain recquisition squads was to maintain adequate supplies in the industrial regions - misery in the countryside proportionally greater (urban areas had more food)

> 1932-3 national famine - many peasants stopped producing due to inability to perform or desperate resistance

> Migration from rural to urban areas was so great that an internal passport system was set up

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Consequences of Collectivisation 2

> The 'Twenty Five Thousanders' had no real knowledge of how to organise or run a collective farm, but waged class warfare

> Dekulakisation carried out by each region, had to find a certain number each day whether they existed or not

> Decree 1st Feb 1930 gave local party organisations the power to organise/run collective farms + use necessary measures against the kulaks

> 10 million deported and sent to labour camps

> Peasantry denounced neighbours to acquire their goods

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Summary of Collectivisation 1

> Economic disaster

> Grain harvests dropped dramatically early 1930s when it was most needed, didn't recover to 1928 levels until late 1930s

> Figures were bad compared with Tsarist Russia 1913

> State procurements didn't decline

> State collected grain to feed rapidly growing workforce and to trade abroad to pay for industrial equipment

> Succeeded in its main aim of providing resources for industrialisation

> Labour for new factories provided by peasants moving to urban areas

> Great Depression forced grain prices down - little profit

> Valuable resources had to be diverted to agriculture

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Summary of Collectivisation 2

> Human cost horrendous, some ended up in Gulag prison camps

> Approx 10 million peasants dispossessed, 2-3 million died, 5 million in famine

> Huge part of Party's modernisation drive - didn't want private business owners or grain hoarding peasants to control economy

> Using local Soviets and MTS, it established a system of controlling the countryside and making agriculture to serve town + workers

> Politically successful, gained control of villages without bargaining with peasants

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Condition of Agriculture 1924

> 80% of population in agricultural sector

> Majority lived in primitive conditions, widespread poverty

> Peasants still used backward methods, old farming techniques

Problems Caused By This:

> Peasants were conservative - Stalin saw this as holding back progress

> Industrial development couldn't progress without sufficient food produce

> The peasant labour force needed to be redirected to industrial areas but couldn't be without more efficient farming

> No surplus to pay for imports

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Economic Results of Collectivisation


> Grain export increased by 5.03 million grammes 1928-31

> Labour for towns - half of population were Magnitogorsk ex peasants

> Increased procurement - 12 million grammes 1928-31


> Grain harvests dropped dramatically in early 1930s

> Waste of resources - MTS exports

> Animal population declined by nearly100 million

> Didn't earn enough money due to cheap grain prices

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Human and Political Results of Collectivisation 1

Political Success

> International prestige - seemed successful during Depression

> Success measured by exports which were increasing, looked as though Communism had triumphed over world economics

> Control over terrified peasants, MTS sent to projects, dekulakisation

> End of the free market; no more NEP/state ownership

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Human and Political Results of Collectivisation 2

Human Cost

> Famine - 7 million died

> Destruction of age old socioeconomic system - shattered moral way of life by dekulakisation

> 'One death isa tragedy, a million is a statistic' - Stalin

> 10 million dispossessed peasants - 10 million 1929-32

> 2-3 peasant deaths aside from famine

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