Stalin’s Transition to Collectivization


Stalin saw how ineffective the current farming method (strip farming) was and with the expansion of industrialization saw collectivization as the perfect opportunity to improve agricultural production.  However, in order to accomplish this Stalin would have to take on the peasantry and kulaks who had been using the strip farming method for hundreds of years and were not easily impressed by industry.  Even with the introduction of the tractor which would make the work easier and increase the output of grain the peasants were not interested in collectivization.  Despite Stalin’s success in enrolling 53% of the peasant population into collective farms in 1931 he met stiff resistance.  Peasants resisted by killing off large quantities of livestock which would later result in a shortage of meat and dairy products.  Peasants even resorted to petty theft and destruction of equipment as well as slowing down the pace of labor.

While the peasants may have seen these as effective ways of trying to get rid of collectivization it ended up hurting them more.  The peasants would be unable to provide enough for the quotas and so their goods were simply taken away from them and instead were given to the cities and the military.   Millions of peasants as a result would starve to death and would end up moving to the cities where all of the food was being sent.  While the idea of collectivization may have seemed like a good idea in theory since its purpose was to streamline agricultural production while making the work easier for the peasantry it faced a lot of problems.  The large quotas required by peasants basically set them up for failure and in turn starvation.  This would end up forcing more of the peasants into the already overcrowded cities and would decrease the amount of grain being produced.  Also, the more involved the state was in agriculture the more resentment they faced from the peasantry which also hurt grain production.

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3 thoughts on “Stalin’s Transition to Collectivization

  1. I’m glad that this article addressed the issues with the policy of collectivization. Sure, on paper it seems like it would be a good idea because each farmer would have to pull their own weight, but when you are trying to feed a state the size of Russia it is very unrealistic to meet the quota and keep your family fed. I did not know that to revolt against the policy the farmers killed their own livestock. I could see killing the crops, but I feel that the livestock would be too expensive to waste like that.

  2. This post was extremely fascinating because you truly brought to light how much resistance the peasants brought to the idea of collectivization. It’s one thing to try and damage someone else’s property, but when the peasants began to kill their own livestock and destroy their own equipment, it became so apparent that they were willing to risk their livelihood and only method of income to send a message to the government. It is very unfortunate that their resistance was met with apathy from the government.

  3. But the state met their resistance with (often brutal) counter-resistance! Winning the struggle was crucial for both sides. Of course the peasants lost, but the fact that they were willing to pay such a self-destructive price in an effort to keep control over the countryside indicates how fierce and important this episode was.

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