• Created by: Louise
  • Created on: 01-04-13 22:54

NEP and Agriculture

Problems with Agriculture:

  • Agriculture was backwards, relied on traditional, less efficient farming methods
  • Peasant holdings were too small, produced less for more cost 
  • Farmers kept alot of their own produce for themselvs
  • Bad relations between the government and peasants, peasant complaints, they were unhappy with the regime 

This meant that grain was not reaching the market, peasants were not producing enough grain for the governments industrialisation plans. Grain exports were needed for industry invesment.

Previous Attempts:

  • The goverment tried to get peasants to put more grain on the market by making them pay a money tax, they would have to sell grain to the state at lower prices.
  • Worked initially but peasants then started to hold back grain
  • Stalin then began to seize grain (requistion campaign) this meant that the relationship between the goverment and peasants deteriorated 
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Political Motives for Collectivisation


  • Collectivisation was the socialist solution to agriculture. Collectivisation would socialize the peasants, living in "agritowns" they would work together and live communally
  • NEP had created the Kulak and classes in the countryside, these were enemies of Socialism
  • Collectivisation would support industry, industrialisation was the route to Socialism
  • Private land ownership went against the communist ideal of collective ownership, socialism couldn't be built when the population were private land owners
  • Collectivisation of Agriculture meant that Communists could have more control over the countryside. Private plots made it difficult for to have control over peasants, and the state had to buy grain off peasants. 
  • Local officials in the countryside disobyed Communist party policy, control was therefore also needed over local officials
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Economic Motives for Collectivisation


  • More grain needed to be grown to support industrial progress. Workers in industrial cities needed to be fed
  • More grain needed to be grown to be exported, surplus profits would then be used for industrial investment
  • Having collective farms would make it easier to control how much grain was grown and sold, the state needed to secure enough grain.
  • Larger units of land could be farmed more efficiently. Higher food production for less cost on a larger scale
  • Collectivisation would allow modernisation of farming techniques
  • Mechanised agriculture would require fewer peasants to work on the land - This would create a work force for industrialisation as ex-peasants would move to the cities
  • Stalin wanted the USSRs economy to be less dependant on agriculture, making agriculture more efficient would mean less peasants were needed and more emphasis could be laid on industry
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Collective Farms

Sovkhoz -

  • Was owned and run by the state. 
  • The peasants who worked on this farm were paid a regular wage like workers

Kolkhoz - 

  • Land was held in common and run by an elected committee.
  • Consisted of 50-100 households.
  • Land, tools and livestock were all pooled.
  • Land was farmed by all of the peasants as a single unit.
  • Private plots were allowed (up to one acre), from which peasants made and sold extra produce.
  • The Farm had to deliver a set amount of produce to the state
  • This type of farm was most favoured by the Communists in the 1930s.
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How was Collectivisation carried out?

  • Force, terror and propaganda were all used to create a rift between the Kulaks and the poorer peasants.
  • Stalin used the ideological weapon of the 'class enemy':
    • The Kulaks became the 'class enemy' in the countryside.
    • Stalin decided to dissolve them as a class, and didn't allow them to join the collective farms.
    • This frightened other peasants in to joining Kolkhozs
    • Many people refused to identify Kulaks, despite being encouraged to.
  • 1929 -Stalin enlisted 25000 urban party activists to revolutionise the countryside.They did this by dekulakisation
  • The process was backed by the local police, secret police and military.
  • Land was taken from Kulaks and used for collective farms.
  • Kulaks were often deported or killed.
  • The government isssued new procurement quotas, with penalties for failure to meet them.
  • A huge propaganda campaign illustrated the advantages of collectivisation and enhanced the hatred of the Kulaks
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"Dizzy with sucess"

1930 -Stalin issued an article "Dizzy with sucess" which claimed that local officials had been too confrontation in carrying out collectivisation. 

After the 'Dizzy with success' speech, a temporary climbdown tactic was employed, peasants were allowed to leave collectives. This was in order to temporarily get the peasants back on side.

As soon as the the peasants had sown the spring crop - process of collectivisation sped up again with peasants forced to rejoin the collectives.

1932- 62% of peasant households collectivised

1937- 93% of peasant households collectivised

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Opposition to collectivisation

There was widespread (and violent) opposition to the process of collectivisation

  • Riots and armed resistance - in many cases troops had to be brought in
  • Many peasants burned their farms and crops.
  • Peasants also killed and ate or sold their livestock rather than hand them over to the kolkhoz
  • Women often proved the most effective form of oppostion as revolts were carefully organised with specific goals, it was more difficult for troops to take action against all women protests.

Armed forces dealt brutally with the unrest by bombing villages and deporting millions of peasants to remote areas or labour camps.

Any peasant who resisted was classified a Kulak and therefore a class enemy

Over 10 million peasants died as a result of the resistance

By 1939, 19 million peasant shad migrated to towns/cities rather than join a collective farm

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Economic Impact of Collectivisation

Economic Impact:

  • Collectivisation allowed industrialisation to continue
  • The State secured the grain it needed so was able to supply towns with food and eport grain to pay for imports of technology for both industrialisation and collectivisation
  • Agricultural production fell dramatically, during peasant opposition and disruption of collectivisation
  • Farming remained largely inefficient, unproductive with poor levels of mechanisation
  • Private plots produced 1/3 of marketed food in USSR although only made up 4% of cultivated land
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Political Impact of Collectivisation

Political Impact:

  • Soviet regime extended control over countryside. Peasants couldn't resist regime
  • Reinforced Stalin's control with the USSr over the communist party. The right who opposed collectivisation (Bukharin) lost power and influence
  • Moved USSR futher on the way to (Stalin's idea of) Socialism, class differences in the countryside were abolished.
  • No capitalism remained (apart from private plots)
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Social Impact of Collectivisation

Social Impact:

  • Millions of peasants died or had their lives disrupted
  • There was large famine during collectivisation, it was the same amount of grain being produced as NEP, only now the state was able to seize a larger proportion of the grain which meant that there wasn't enough left for the peasants themselves
  • Internal passports introduced in 1932 restricted movement
  • Millions of peasants left the countryside for cities - this provided the workforce for industrialisation - it was largely young people who migrated leaving a population inbalance in the countryside
  • Peasants had hostility towards the regime
  • Agriculture was sacrificed to the needs of industry as well as Soviet ideology
  • Collectivisation brought some benefits to the countryside - Education
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Successes of Collectivisation

Economic Successes:

  • Collectivisation secured in its purpose to proved resources for industrialisation
  • Enough grain was collected to feed the work force and export to gain money for industrial investment, 1930 - Bumper Harvest
  • Although overall grain harvest declined, State procurements did not
  • Collectivisation provided the workforce as it meant less peasants were needed, many moved to the cities 
  • Agriculture was (slightly) modernized, Agriculture on a bigger scale was more efficient

Political Successes:

  • Collectivisation was an essential part of the modernization drive, it reduced the dependance of the economy on agriculture and it made it more efficient and allowed industrialisation to continue
  • Socialized agriculture (apart from private plots)
  • Party gained control over the countryside, were no longer at the mercy of the peasants, a system was established - using MTS and local soviets as a method of control
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An Economic Failure?

Economic Failures:

  • Grain harvests droppped dramatically in the early 1930's
  • There wasn't a huge profit generated from grain exports, Great Depression had forced down grain prices
  • State took grain which meant not enough was left for the peasants, this led to famine and bad conditions
  • Peasants were unhappy - they rebelled and burnt crops and killed animals
  • As a result USSR lost a huge proportion of its animal population
  • Not enough modernization
  • Dekulakisation led to farmers disapeering
  • Industrialisation hindered by the need to provide resources for agriculture eg. tractors
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Human Cost of Collectivisation

  • Human costs were large 
  • 10 million peasants were dispossessed
  • 2-3 million lost their lives
  • Cost of famine - 7 million
  • Many peasants (Kulaks) lost their homes and were sent to prison camps
  • Peasants had hostility towards the regime
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