Solid collectivization of agriculture: goals, essence, results

In the period of the formation and development of the Soviet state, the beginning of the history of which the victory of the Bolsheviks in the course of the October Revolution laid, there were many large-scale economic projects, the implementation of which was carried out by harsh coercive measures. One of them is the continuous collectivization of agriculture, the goals, essence, results and methods of which have become the topic of this article.

What is collectivization and what is its purpose?

The continuous collectivization of agriculture can be briefly defined as the ubiquitous process of the merger of small individual agricultural enterprises into large collective associations, abbreviated as collective farms. In 1927, the XVth congress of the CPSU (B.) Was held, at which a course was taken to implement this program, which was then carried out in the main part of the country by 1933.

Solid collectivization, according to the party leadership, was supposed to enable the country to solve the acute food problem at that time by reorganizing small farms owned by middle peasants and poor peasants into large collective agrarian complexes. At the same time, the total elimination of the rural kulaks declared to be the enemy of socialist transformations was assumed.

Causes of collectivization

The initiators of collectivization saw the main problem of agriculture in its fragmentation. Numerous small producers, deprived of the opportunity to purchase modern equipment, used in the majority of their fields inefficient and low-productivity manual labor, which did not allow them to receive high yields. As a consequence, there was an ever-growing deficit of food and industrial raw materials.

To solve this vital problem, there was a complete collectivization of agriculture. The date of its commencement, and it is considered to be December 19, 1927, the day of the completion of the work of the Fifteenth Congress of the CPSU (B.), Was a turning point in the life of the village. A violent break-up of the old way of life, which had been established for centuries, began.

Do it - I do not know what

Unlike earlier agrarian reforms in Russia, such as that carried out in 1861 by Alexander II and in 1906 by Stolypin, the collectivization carried out by the Communists did not have a well-developed program or concrete ways of its realization.

The party congress gave an indication of a radical change in policy towards agriculture, and then local leaders were obliged, at their own peril and risk, to fulfill it. Even their attempts to appeal to the central authorities for explanations were thwarted.

The process went

Nevertheless, the process, the beginning of which was laid by the party congress, went and the next year covered a significant part of the country. Despite the fact that officially joining the collective farms was declared voluntary, in most cases, their creation was carried out by administrative and enforcement measures.

Already in the spring of 1929, agricultural officials appeared in the USSR - officials who traveled to the places and as representatives of the highest state authority exercising control over the course of collectivization. They were assisted by numerous Komsomol detachments, also mobilized to reconstruct the life of the village.

Stalin on the "great change" in the life of peasants

On the day of the next 12th anniversary of the revolution - November 7, 1928, the Pravda newspaper published an article by Stalin in which he stated that "a great turning point" had occurred in the life of the village. According to him, the country managed to make a historic transition from small-scale agricultural production to advanced agriculture, put on a collective basis.

It also cited many concrete indicators (mostly blown), which showed that solid collectivization everywhere had a tangible economic effect. From that day forward articles of most Soviet newspapers were filled with praises of the "victorious step of collectivization."

The reaction of peasants to forced collectivization

The real picture was radically different from what the propaganda organs were trying to present. The forcible removal of grain from peasants, accompanied by widespread arrests and ruin of farms, in fact, plunged the country into a state of a new civil war. At the time when Stalin spoke of the victory of the socialist reorganization of the village, peasant uprisings were blazing in many parts of the country, and by the end of 1929 they were counted in the hundreds.

At the same time, real production of agricultural products, contrary to the statements of the party leadership, did not increase, but disastrously declined. This was due to the fact that many peasants, fearing to be counted to the kulaks, not wishing to give their property to the collective farm, deliberately cut crops and cut cattle. Thus, solid collectivization is above all a painful process, rejected by the majority of rural residents, but implemented through methods of administrative coercion.

Attempts to speed up the process that has begun

At the same time, in November 1929, a decision was made to intensify the process of agricultural restructuring that has begun, to send 25,000 of the most conscious and active workers to the villages to lead the collective farms created there. This episode entered the history of the country as a movement of "twenty-five thousanders". Subsequently, when collectivization took even greater scope, the number of urban envoys increased almost threefold.

An additional impulse to the process of socialization of peasant farms was given by the resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) of January 5, 1930. It specified the specific time frame in which complete collectivization was to be completed in the main arable areas of the country. The directive prescribed the final transfer of them to a collective form of management by the fall of 1932.

Despite the categorical nature of the decree, in it, as before, no specific explanations were given about the methods of involving the peasant masses in the collective farms and even did not give a precise definition of what ultimately should have been a collective farm. As a result, each local chief was guided by his own idea of this form of organization of work and life, unprecedented before.

Self-rule of local authorities

This state of affairs has caused numerous facts of local arbitrariness. One such example is Siberia, where local officials instead of collective farms began to create certain communes with the socialization of not only livestock, implements and arable land, but in general all property, including personal belongings.

At the same time, local leaders, competing among themselves in achieving the highest percentages of collectivization, were not shy to apply brutal repressive measures against those who tried to evade participation in the process that had begun. This caused a new explosion of discontent, in many areas taking the form of an open rebellion.

The famine resulting from the new agrarian policy

Nevertheless, every single district received a specific plan for collecting agricultural products, intended for both the domestic market and for export, for which the local leadership was personally responsible. Each short supply was seen as a manifestation of sabotage and could have tragic consequences.

For this reason, there was a situation in which heads of districts, fearing responsibility, forced collective farmers to surrender to the state all available grain, including the seed fund. The same picture was observed in livestock, where all the breeding stock was sent to slaughter for reporting. Compounding the complexities and extreme incompetence of collective farm leaders, who for the most part came to the village on a party call and who had no idea about agriculture, aggravated the difficulties.

As a result, the continuous collectivization of agriculture thus conducted led to disruptions in the supply of food to the cities, and in the villages to widespread famine. Especially deadly was in the winter of 1932 and in the spring of 1933. At the same time, despite the obvious mistakes of the leadership, the official bodies blamed the situation on some enemies who are trying to hamper the development of the national economy.

Elimination of the best part of the peasantry

An important role in the actual failure of the policy was played by the elimination of the so-called class of kulaks - well-to-do peasants, who managed to create strong farms during the NEP and produced a significant part of all agricultural products. Naturally, it did not make sense for them to join collective farms and to voluntarily lose their acquired property.

Since such an example did not fit into the general concept of settling village life, and they themselves, in the opinion of the party leadership, hampered the involvement of poor and middle peasants in the collective farms, a course was taken to eliminate them.

Immediately the corresponding directive came out, on the basis of which kulak farms were liquidated, all property was transferred to the ownership of collective farms, and they themselves were forcibly evicted to the regions of the Far North and the Far East. Thus, solid collectivization in the grain areas of the USSR occurred in an atmosphere of total terror against the most successful representatives of the peasantry, which constituted the main labor potential of the country.

Subsequently, a number of measures taken to overcome the situation created a kind of normalization of the situation in the villages and a marked increase in the production of agricultural products. This allowed Stalin at the party plenum, held in January 1933, to declare the complete victory of socialist relations in the collective-farm sector. It is generally believed that this is the complete collectivization of agriculture was completed.

What in the end turned collectivization?

It is most vividly evidenced by the statistics released during the years of perestroika. They amaze even with the fact that they are, apparently, incomplete. It is clear from them that the complete collectivization of agriculture ended with the following results: over 2 million peasants were deported during its period, and the peak of this process occurred in 1930-1931. When about 1 million 800 thousand rural residents were subjected to forced resettlement. They were not kulaks, but for one reason or another they were unsuitable for their native land. In addition, 6 million people became victims of famine in the villages.

As it was said above, the policy of compulsory socialization of farms led to mass actions among rural residents. According to the data preserved in the archives of the OGPU, only for March 1930 there were about 6,500 insurrections, and in order to suppress 800 of them, the authorities used weapons.

In general, it is known that over 14 thousand people's speeches were recorded in the country that year, in which about 2 million peasants took part. In this connection, one often hears the opinion that the continuous collectivization, carried out in this way, can be equated with the genocide of its own people.

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