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Stalinism and Collectivization in The Soviet Union

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  • Last Updated : 25 Feb, 2022

The Soviet leadership took a confident course towards industrialization in the mid-1920s. Collectivization was one of the programs designed for a country’s rapid development. It refers to a type of collective farming system introduced by the Soviet Union government. Small pieces of farming land were taken from the farmers and were turned into huge farming camps. During Stalin’s time, this system was emphasized on a large scale and independent peasants were forcibly organized into collectivization.

The goals of collectivization were never achieved but, frightened by repression and starvation, peasants worked collectively in the fields. The state obtained the necessary resources from the villages but the collective farms themselves did not become efficient farms, on the contrary, it turned into one of the causes of the crisis of the Soviet economy.

Stalinism:

  • Stalin is also called the “Iron Man” of Russia. When the United Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia became a superpower after the 1917 revolution, after the death of Lenin, Stalin took over the leadership of the country.
  • Stalinism was the result of a distortion of the real principle of building a socialist society, which was characterized by excessive cruelty of the methods of formation of an industrial economy and barbaric methods. The works of Stalin and his entourage were covered with Marxist and Leninist phraseology.

Collectivization:

  • In 1928, along with other reforms, Stalin introduced five-year plans to improve the economic condition of the country, the first five-year plan, increased production through agriculture, electricity generation by building dams and their use in industries.
  • The government built huge factories, oil wells, cinemas, and clubs through the money accumulated in the collective farms. In theory, the farmers were given a share of the total production and profits from the collective farms, but in reality, many farmers did not receive any share.
  • The produce could only be sold to the government and that too at a price set by the government. The government sold this product in the markets at a good price, which was a good source of income for the Soviet government.

Affect on USSR:

1. Economic Effect:

  • Gross grain production declined, with cattle and horses reduced by about a third. Agriculture of the USSR lost a large number of workers. At the same time, the country’s agricultural overload migrated, and the city learned an incredible amount of cheap free labor, ready to work for a piece of bread.
  • In the mid-1930s, the bureaucratization of economic management intensified. Wages were introduced but only for machine operators.
  • Agriculture, railways, and river transport experienced serious difficulties. Foodgrain production in the country decreased by 10%, the number of cattle decreased by one-third, and the number of sheep decreased by 2.5 times.

2. State Monopoly:

  • The peasants were not entitled to passports. As a result, the farmer could not move to live in the city, as he did not have any documents. people remained attached to the place where they were born as a result of state monopoly.

3. Forceful Collectivization:

  • There were often cases when local workers took away furniture even from rural huts, and those who did not want to go to the collective farm were physically punished by the state. In this situation, the villagers start fleeing to the cities, so that they somehow sell their property to survive. This led to mass migration.

4. Peasants Revolts:

  • The passport system introduced in 1932 limited the rights of farmers to relocate.
  • The result of this policy was an increase in the number of peasant revolts. The country reached the verge of a civil war. Farmers collectively began to abandon the fields. At times it took the form of violent protests in the countryside.
  • Those who left the collective farm were taxed in such a way that it became unrealistic to manage a backyard farm.

5. Death and Starvation:

  • Collectivism in the USSR virtually ceased by 1932. Most of the farmers worked in collective farm fields. For their work, they got an insignificant part of the crop and the rest was exported. The result was widespread bread theft in the fields, for which the new law provided for 10 years.
  • The grain fields of the USSR hit a massive famine. For example, in Ukraine, entire villages died. The situation was not the best in the Kazakh steppes, where meat was forcibly harvested.
  • After 1930, a crop failure occurred, which led to starvation, killing 3-5 million people.

6. Heavy tax system:

  • In the spring of1928, a law was also passed on agriculture.  According to this law, even if there were free collective farms, prosperous farmers (kulaks) had to pay a decent amount to produce food grains. This became a heavy burden, self-taxation, and compulsory subscription to various debts.
  • Collective farms were forced to go through economic methods. Soon the wealthy farmers also lost the right to take out loans, buy hired labor and use agricultural equipment.

7. Forced labor in small peasants:

  • Small peasants lived in communities on collective farms, did not receive money for their labor, food production was considered the priority of the collective farm, and the farmers could not leave of their own will. The Soviet government returned slavery to the countryside under the slogan of socialization.
  • In case of failing a job, the laborers were given strict punishment. The farmers who protested against collectivization were deported and exiled at times. Going against state interests used to result in purges.

Affect on the World:

  • Despite the failure of collectivization, the country still grew rapidly. Stalin sent representatives of the nations abroad to bring international fame to the condition of the country from the economic point of view and civilization in comparison to European countries.
  • Stalinism invented an idea of state intervention in the market called state capitalism. Industries were heavily nationalized and markets were totally under the state’s control. For example, during collectivization in agriculture, the state used to set a fixed price for the grains to be sold to the private players.
  • Under Stalinism, five-year plans were introduced. Several countries adopted a five-year plan including India. In India, five years plans were implemented from 1951 to 2017.

Conclusion:

In this way, Stalin rebuilt Russia after Lenin. Although the collectivization program was unsuccessful Stalin was able to Give fame to Russia in the international world and made it a strong country. Even today Russia will always be indebted to Stalin for its new communist system. Although Stalin strictly followed his policies to increase the prosperity and glory of the country, he got the policies repressed mercilessly.

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