To What Extent Was Stalin’s Collectivization Successful?

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Plan of investigation

This investigation seeks to evaluate the extend of the success of Stalin’s collectivization in Russia during 1928 and 1940.Collectivization was one of the most important economic policies introduced in Russia because it can be described and evaluated from different angles, economic growth on the one hand,and the social cost of the policy,on the other. The main body of this investigation outlines Stalin’s aims, when and how the policy was implemented and whether it was a successful policy or not. To achieve my aim, I am going to consult a series of sources and later analyse them by doing an overall evaluation. I will use primary and secondary sources. Two of the five sources used in this research, “Dr Kiselev’s memorandum” and “The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine” will later be evaluated in detail in terms of origin, limitations, value and purpose.

Summary of evidence:

Communists, including Marx, always argued that industrialization and urbanisation were dependent on the modernisation of agriculture so that the food production could increase, at the same time realising large numbers of peasants and landless agricultural workers for work in factories. For this reason, Stalin’s aim was to modernize the USSR. Russian farming methods were backward and primitive. There was no knowledge of advanced farming techniques and the majority of the peasants were no capable of running the small-holdings efficiently. As the farms were very small there was not an efficient use of tractors and fertilizers. What’s more, he wanted to eliminate the class of prosperous peasants called kulaks , which NEP had encouraged. Stalin claimed they were standing in the way of progress and he saw the kulaks as the enemy of communism . For the Five Year Plan, first economic policy implemented by Stalin, to be successful, food was needed for the workers in the towns. In 1927 Stalin delivered a speech were he announced the implementation of collectivization in order to achieve his aim and increase the production in farms. As a first emergency measure, a massive grain procurement campaign was launched, with extremely high quotas. Officials, who were determined to avoid punishment for failure, used their power to arrest, deport and confiscate the property of any peasant who failed to hand over their quota. Local parties were given targets of the number of households to be collectivized On 27th December 1929 peasants were to put their lands together to create large farms called kolkhozee. Animals and tools were to be pooled together. 90% of what was produced was sold to the state by a small ammount of money and the profits were shared out. The remaining 10 % of production was to be used to feed the large joint farms. Motor Tractor Stations (MTS), provided by the government, made tractors available. During the implementation of this economic policy, Stalin faced opposition mainly from the kulaks. By 1917, they owned ninety-percent of Russia’s most fertile land. The First World War brought important food shortages. Food prices increased and so did the wealth of the kulaks. By the end of the war, they were an important class of prosperous farmers. By 1929, kulaks did not see any point in giving their land to the State in order to help their cities. Soviet propaganda intended to put people against the kulaks. Many kulaks in revenge burnt their crops, sold their grain off cheaply and slaughtered their animals so that the Communists could not have them. The chaotic situation in the countryside led to the elimination of the kulaks, also named as the “red holocaust” or “dekulakization”. The kulaks were divided into three categories.Two groups, the “counter-revolutionaries” and “exploiters” were to be harshly punished with execution of deportation respectively. When they were found, they were either isolated or eliminated. These...
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