Reasons for Collectivisation

Which of these was the greatest impact of Stalin's Collectivisation?


Resistance in the countryside

  • The NEP put peasants in a powerful position against the government and could use grain as a weapon by withholding it, thus creating food shortages and increased pressure to deliver substantial amounts of food to the town --> revolutionary history of grain shortages in towns causing protests within urban areas
  • Using collectivization, they would be able to gain greater power over the countryside 
  • 1928 Grain Crisis increased peasant unrest due to the insufficient NEP --> peasants had no incentive to sell
  • quantities of wheat, rye, and other cereal crops made available for purchase by the state fell to levels regarded as inadequate to support the needs of the country's urban population
  • economic and political in nature and was a turning point in the Soviet regime's policy toward the peasantry
  • Withheld their grain in order to try and drive up the grain prices, feeding it to livestock instead and selling the meat for more -> rationing was introduced due to matters becoming worse
  • Bukharin's policy of raising grain prices failed to persuade peasants --> Collectivization meant that peasants could no longer withhold grain and the state would take it by force 
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Modernisation of Agriculture

  • The existing arrangements of the NEP for agriculture were problematic because it was a backward system in a modernizing world
  • In the past, it had created major problems when there was a bad harvest
  • Russia and the other Soviet States had historically produced less food than the country required, aim of transforming agriculture so that it created a surplus
  • The advantage of modernizing would be that the new socialist state wouldn't be dependent on the peasantry --> the peasantry wouldn't have power over the state
  • Peasants could not be relied upon themselves to produce the grain the state needed for industrialization
  • The NEP -> subsistence farming on small plots of land using traditional and outdated methods instead of producing a surplus of grain / Due to the Decree on Land, the land was unequally divided thus harder to collect from
  • Collectivization saw the creation of 'kolkozes', having large fields that crops can be sown, grown, and harvested using modern machinery such as tractors 
  • Trial success in the Urals-Siberia area 1928-9 pushed forward these plans to increase the amount of grain procured from the peasants 
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Stalin's Consolidation of Power

  •  Economic policies were a part of Stalin's attempt to prove he was the successor and equal to Lenin and establish his credentials
  • The advantage of this would be that Stalin would be established as a leader of historic importance during the economic transformation of the USSR
  • Stalin had a violent nature which often influenced his actions and brutal methods - paranoid and vengeful - thus responded to peasants with a crude, brutal policy of collectivization when peasants didn't provide enough grain
  • 1928 power struggle against Bukharin -> pushing forward rapid industrialization for support of the left was key to establishing his credibility and isolating other leading contenders ( politically cunning and tactile)
  • Collectivization was seen as a way to move forward with the revolution, party members wanted this and sen as a route to a socialist society --> popular with Stalin's urban working-class supporters who were angry at how peasants held back grain creating food shortages
  • Self-sufficient method to reach economic status of foreign powers
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Increased party control

Stalin's desire to modernize agriculture led him to collectivize the farms, amalgamating them and putting them totally under state control. Placing labor into collectively-controlled and state-controlled farms

- Collective farms easier for the party to procure more grain and feed the towns, had a barn for the state to take the grain from one pickup point

- Political unit within a Kolkhoz to root out trouble making peasants and collect a grain quota

- The NEP put peasants in a powerful position and were able to withhold the grain - use this as a weapon against the government creating food shortages and increased pressure 

--> collectivization would mean they have greater control over the countryside as well as able to control the amount of food going to the cities which is substantial to the number of workers to avoid future bread protests

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Improved Standards of Living

  • Improved agriculture would lead to industrialization which was necessary because it would improve standards of living by creating wealth for society
  • Advantage of this would be that Russia would be able to catch up to the West and display how the Communist life is a good life 
  • collectivization a self-sufficient method to reach this economic status and export more grain to raise capital( west unwilling to provide loans)  
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Building a Socialist Society

  • The link between Marxism and industrialization was there needed to be an overwhelming majority of the population to be workers -> this was particularly urgent in the late 1920s because about 20% of the population were workers
  • By having more efficient farms, fewer peasants would be needed therefore surplus peasants would become the workers needed in the new factories.
  • The NEP was ideologically unpopular, going against Marxist/ Leninist principles
  • NEP also produced undesirable capitalist consequences such as the emergence of kulaks and nepmen, and rising crime rates
  • Collectivization was seen as the way out of poverty towards the 'great socialist society' they were promised
  • Moving forward with the revolution rather than backward --> 1921, Lenin persuaded party to retreat to the NEP in order to survive however by 1929 they had a tighter grip on power  and many were impatient to get on to build socialism
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  • Kulaks represented capitalism which wasn't in line with the party's beliefs, wanted to reduce their economic power --> needed to be eliminated in order to achieve a socialist society
  • As Stalin’s orders to enforce collectivization were carried out, many Kulaks responded by burning crops, killing livestock, and damaging machinery. Millions of cattle and pigs were slaughtered and left to rot. Estimates of the quantity vary between 20% and 35% of all livestock being deliberately killed
  • Stalin called on the "twenty-five thousanders" to help in liquidating the Kulaks as a class, with harsh measures put in place including arrests, executions, or deportations to prison camps
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