Stalin's Russia: Building socialism in the countryside

AS edexcel history: Stalin's Russia

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  • Created by: Vicky
  • Created on: 09-04-13 16:46

What was collectivisation

  • Process to reform Russian agriculture
  • Traditionally, peasants worked on small farms with limited technology 
  • Stalin  planed to merge all small farms into larger 'collective' farms. 
  • These new farms would share labour and resources to operate more efficiently
  • State-provided tractors & fertilisers would modernise production making operations more efficient


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Why collectivise

Economic factors

  • Harvests of 1927-29 were poor compared to levels of 1926. 
  • Poor harvests forced prices up, standard of living amongst urban workers declined
  • since 1921, government sold grain surplus abroad to gain money for resources for industrialisation. no grain surpluses = no money to build industry
  • Large farms increase efficiency, collecivisation accompanied by mechanisation
  • greater efficiency = fewer people needed to work on farms = more people for developing industry.
  • Promised significant increase in production, allowing government to see more overseas, providing more resources for industrialisation 

Ideological factors

  • Peasants attitudes remained conventional, lack of revolutionary spirit, produced grain for own benefit - profit 
  • Collectivisation essential if capitalist peasants were to embrace socialism
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Why collectivise 2

Political factors

  • Help remove Bukharin & right wing as collectivisation appealled to left wing 
  • More appealing than right wing alternative, importing grain, slow down industrilisation
  • However, Stalin knew little about agriculture
  • Believed agriculture could be transfromed by will & strong leadership
  • Peasants who refused to cooperate were essentially terrorists, enemies of the people, shown know mercy 

The Grain Procurement Crisis, 1927-1929

  • Under NEP, government bought grain from peasants on free market
  • Poor harvests, 1927 onwards, pushed up price of grain
  • Kulaks withheld grain from the market to increas prices more 
  • Sescribed it as 'kulak Grain Strike' used as excuse to restart grain requisitioning. 
  • Grain Strike illustrated peasants could essentially hold government to ransom, slow down industrialisation
  • Showed peasant ideology was capitalist, conflicted with government 
  • Stalin used crisis as evidence of NEP failure - undermined Bukharin's position on right of the party 
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The course of collecivisation

  • Moved towards collectivisation in stages 
  • Stalin had no grand plan 

Emergency measures

  • Following Grain Procurment Crisis Stalin increased power of government over economy - introduced rationing in cities 1928-1929; end 1928, reintrodiced grain requsitioning
  • Article 107, grain hoarding could be punished 
  • Poorer peasants given land that belonged to kulaks if they informed on richer neighbours - Created huge resentment among peasants
  • Bukharin persuaded party to abandon policy. Stalin's power grew, policy was restarted. 
  • Spring 1929, government started requisitioning meat, middle of same year, revised Article 61, gave police powers to send kulaks to labour capms for up to 2 years.
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Course of collectivisation 2

Liquidation of the kulaks

  • Stalin 'Liquidate the kulaks as a class' significant for two reasons:
  •   - 'Dekuakisation' marked end of capitalism & independent farming in countryside  
  •   - Increased speed of collectivisation 
  • Proposed 30% farms collectivised by 1934
  • Call to liquidate kulaks entailed immediate collectivisation of all farming  
  • Peasants would pool their resources, be able to use kulaks resources, share a greater harvest
  • majority of peasants rebelled destroying livestock and grain. 18 million horses and 100 million sheep & goats destroyed 1929-1933. Kualks destroyed machinery.

Twenty-five-thousanders

  • Stalin issued a decree sending 25,000 'socially conscious' industrial workers to the countryside to stop refusal of implementation of collectivisation
  • Suppose to offer technical help and support for the machinery, reality, found grain hoards, confiscated them, enforced 'dekulakisation', force remailing peasants into collective farms. 
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Course of collectivisation 3

'Dizzy with success

  • High human suffering, majority of kulaks either shot or exiled to Siberia, forced onto labour camps run by secret police 10,000s died of disease & hunger
  • Led to slaughter of livestock, destroyed tractors, burning of crops
  • Created hostility towards government, Stalin forced to stop process March, 1930
  • Claimed local officials were overenthusiastic, argued targets met, suspended programme
  • March, 1930, approx. 50% farms had been collectivised; by August, many peasants gone back to own farms. end of year only 25% farms were collectivised

Famine

  • Collectivasition, resumed in 1931 led to a famine, 10 million died
  • Issued rediculious targets - failure to meet them considered sabotage 
  • Grain was confiscated by Red Army & secret police, peasants were shot or exiled.
  • Military checkpoints set up, stopped food entering Ukraine, trains had to shut windows, stop food falling out.
  •  Grain was taken to cities or exported, most of grain rotted in barns yet peasants in nearby villages starved
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The consequences of collectivisation

  • Failed to bring socialism and economic efficiency to the countryside
  • However, it strengthened Stalins position politically

The effect on rural areas

  • Between 9.5-10 million peasants died - dekulakisation
  • 1929, 150,000 kulak families sent to Siberia. 1930, figure rose 240,000; 1931, 285,000
  • Some cases 10% peasants in villages were exiled 
  • Peasants that remained on farms endured hardship. Barely coved cost of production
  • Created resentment and anger towards government
  • Peasants didnt own land anymore so there was no insentive to work hard, little reward for their labour, productivity in rural areas fell as a result 
  • Peasants who were hardestest working & most experienced were generally exiled
  • 1933 harvest, 9 million tonnes less than 1926 harvest; no. of livestock halved & no. of pigs dropped 65% between 1928 &1932
  • Central Committee set up Machine Tractor Stations, 1930, very expensive, many couldn't afford it. End 1932, 75,000 tractors & 2,500 MTSs across Russia. 50% farms left out of network
  • 1930, 25% peasant household collectivised, by 191, all farms were collectivised
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The consequences of collectivisation 2

Industrialisation and urbanisation

  • One main aim was to provide more grain for exportation - gain funds for industrialisation
  • Amount of grain produced fell howerver:
  • Amount of grain procurred increased - 1928, 11 million tonnes; 1929, 16 million tonnes; 1933, 23 million tonnes
  • Amount of grain exported increased - 1928, 0.03 million tonnes; 1931, 5 million tonnes
  • Wages in cites halved 1928-1932
  • Amount of meat consumed by urban workers fell 2/3 1928-1932
  • Government blamed 'kulak spirit' for poor harvests
  • Agricultural policy played a part in urbanisation - 1928, 28% citizens working class, 50% by  1939. 1922, 22 million people living in cities, 1940, 63 million


Political consequences

  • Chaos united party behind Stalin, blamed kulaks & peasants 
  • Left wing viewed hard line against peasants as returning to traditions of civil war
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