A happy country is a healthy country, full of growth and solidarity of beliefs. Stalin incessantly promoted this as a truth for the Soviet Union, but it had not yet been backed up with facts.
The First All-Union Census of the Soviet Union was taken in 1926 and the next one was to be taken in 1933. However, it was delayed for 4 years, until January 6, 1937, most likely to avoid evidence of the famine caused by collectivization in 1932-1934. Stalin anticipated staggering growth in population to be recorded in the 1937 census, but he did not receive the results he had hoped for. The results of the 1937 census were destroyed. Stalin and the Sovnarkom accused priests, kulaks, and other enemies of the Soviets of sneaking into the positions of census takers to sabotage the data and many of them were arrested.
The Soviets may have criminalized and destroyed the census, but the truth of the situation is still apparent. The projected population for 1937 anticipated an increase of 37.6 million people. The census data only recorded an increase of 7.2 million people. This population gap showed the terrible amount of unnatural deaths, which did not align with the Soviet’s misconception of a happy nation. The data showed how collectivization fueled the famine of the early 30’s, which could undermine the respected authority that the Soviets hoped to maintain.
Aside from the staggering population gap, there was a significant amount of people that were recorded as religious; over 50% in fact. Again, this was not a favorable, or “correct”, answer for Stalin and the category was ejected from the publication of the 1937 census and was not featured on the 1939 version.of the questionnaire.
The “lost” census of 1937 is a testament to the censorship of Stalin in order to preserve his happy, healthy nation image. The results had to be destroyed in order to further put off the truths of famine and oppression in the Soviet Union. The population was not thriving, religion had not been squelched, and Stalin’s vision for the perfect communist nation was shattered by the 1937 census. After destroying the data, the 1939 was highly manipulated to construe the “correct” vision of the Soviet Union back to the people.
For more information on the Lost Census:
“The Lost Census”: http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1939census&Year=1939&navi=byYear
“Soviet Census”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Census_%281937%29
Photograph taken from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/1937CensusPropaganda.jpg