What in your view is the short-term impact of collectivisation on Soviet society at the time?
In my view there are a number of significant impacts of collectivisation which were the famine, elimination of the kulaks and successful creation of collective farms, I believe these made major impact because of their scope and pace which they occurred.
One of the short-term impacts of collectivisation on soviet society was the famine, which killed millions in the major grain producing areas of the soviet union. By the end of 1933, millions of people had starved to death or had otherwise died unnaturally in Ukraine, as well as in other Soviet republics. The total estimate of the famine victims Soviet-wide is given as 6-7 million or 6-8 million. This is supported by the US Commission: “If they came upon a smelly old potato , they would clean it and take the starchy residue…It was terrible, absolutely terrible, they’d spot some small creature in the water, like a turtle and eat it as food …people were reduced to this state.” The source does have a lot of weight as it is an interview with someone who was there at the time, it’s an eyewitness account and it’s by people who weren’t involved in the communist regime and wouldn’t have any reasons to lie. However, this was conducted 50 years after the famine, which means that memories may be slightly distorted or over exaggerated if they have a hatred for the soviet regime. Generally, this account tends to match many others of the famine which leads us to believe it is true, for example this is also supported by Iaryna Larionivna Tiutiunyk: “He dropped by beginning – Auntie, give me a piece of bread. I did not give any because I was mad at him for eating the greens I had planted in the garden. To the day I die, I will not forgive myself for begrudging the child a piece of bread. In the evening, on our way home from work, we found sitting right in the middle of the footpath-dead.” This source also has a lot of weight as it comes from a school teacher in the city of Cherkassy, therefore it is an eyewitness account and she won’t have been part of the communist regime so she will more likely be telling the truth as she has no-one to protect, however once again this was recorded 50 years after the famine and therefore can’t be completely accurate. However, Stalin being the possible cause of the famine disagrees: “When his niece reports seeing crowds of starving, half dead Ukrainians, Stalin snaps, ‘She’s a child. She makes things up.’” Stalin has less reliability and therefore reduces the weight of the source, as Stalin would not have wanted to admit to the impacts of the famine, and what was happening to his people. The overall impact of the famine was significant as its scope was so great and affected millions of people throughout the areas of the Soviet Union.
The second short term impact of collectivisation on soviet society was the elimination of the kulaks, where they were treated so brutally, families were split up and taken away and their property taken away. Stalin believed any future insurrection would be led by the kulaks, and thus he proclaimed a policy ‘liquidating the kulaks as a class’. Declared ‘enemies of the people’ the kulaks were left homeless as every single one of their possessions were taken from them. Kravchenko agrees: “A number of women were weeping hysterically and calling names of husbands and fathers. It was like a scene out of a nightmare…So this was the liquidation of the kulaks as a class! A lot of simple peasants being torn from their native soil stripped of their worldly goods and shipped to some distant labour camps”. Kravchenko was a communist who later fled the soviet union, his source has weight because it is an eyewitness account and if he was a communist he wouldn’t like they way the soviet union was being run and would disagree with it; he clearly doesn’t agree with the elimination of the kulaks. The Smolensk Archive also agrees with this:...
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