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The War Against the Peasantry, 1927-1930

The War Against the Peasantry, 1927-1930: The Tragedy of the Soviet Countryside, Volume one

Lynne Viola
V. P. Danilov
N. A. Ivnitskii
Denis Kozlov
Translated by Steven Shabad
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 464
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  • Book Info
    The War Against the Peasantry, 1927-1930
    Book Description:

    The collectivization of Soviet agriculture in the late 1920s and 1930s forever altered the country's social and economic landscape. It became the first of a series of bloody landmarks that would come to define Stalinism. This revelatory book presents-with analysis and commentary-the most important primary Soviet documents dealing with the brutal economic and cultural subjugation of the Russian peasantry. Drawn from previously unavailable and in many cases unknown archives, these harrowing documents provide the first unimpeded view of the experience of the peasantry during the years 1927-1930.The book, the first of four in the series, covers the background of collectivization, its violent implementation, and the mass peasant revolt that ensued. For its insights into the horrific fate of the Russian peasantry and into Stalin's dictatorship,The War Against the Peasantrytakes its place an as unparalleled resource.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12782-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Editor’s Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
    Lynne Viola
  4. Translator’s Note
    (pp. xii-xii)
    Steven Shabad
  5. Note on Transliteration
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  6. A Note on the Documents
    (pp. xiv-xv)
  7. Glossary of Russian Terms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xvi-xxiv)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The history of the collectivization of Soviet agriculture has long been obscured by official taboos, historical falsification, and restricted access to archival source material. Until 1991, most essential archival material on the subject was classified, closed even to Russian scholars. Since August 1991, state and Communist Party archives have opened their doors to Russian and Western scholars, declassifying and making available formerly inaccessible materials on collectivization.

    In 1993, an international collaborative research team came together under the general editorial direction of V. P. Danilov, Roberta T. Manning, and Lynne Viola to begin a collective effort to work through newly available...

  9. PART I. The Grain Procurement Crisis

    • CHAPTER 1 The Crisis of NEP: 7 May 1927–14 January 1928
      (pp. 9-56)

      Nineteen-twenty-seven was a transitional year in the Soviet regime’s relations with the peasantry. It marked the beginning of the end of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the reemergence of repression as the basic modus operandi for Soviet rule in the countryside. A crisis in state grain procurements evolved in the course of this year, putting at risk not only internal supplies but the regime’s grain export plans and, in consequence, capital funding for industrialization. In the context of the war scare of 1927 and ongoing political battles in the Politburo, the problem of state grain procurement ceased to be...

    • CHAPTER 2 Extraordinary Measures and the Right Opposition: 18 January 1928–23 April 1929
      (pp. 57-117)

      Nineteen-twenty-eight witnessed the birth of thechrezvychaishchina—the rule of extraordinary measures in grain procurements—and the emergence of a repressive relationship between regime and peasantry that would constitute the essence of the Soviet order in the countryside under Stalin. As plans for industrialization and, of necessity, increased grain exports became ever more pressing and as state distribution and supply networks faltered, raising the specter of hunger with all its attendant social dangers, Stalin demanded a tribute (dan’) from the peasantry in the shape of forced extractions of grain and “surplus” money resources. The countryside became, to paraphrase Stalin, “the...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Great Turn: 4 May 1929–15 November 1929
      (pp. 118-168)

      Stalin dubbed 1929 “the year of the great turn” (perelom). In an article written on the occasion of the twelfth anniversary of the October Revolution, Stalin outlined the party’s “successes” in the sphere of labor productivity, industrialization, and agriculture in a year that had featured what he called “a determined offensive of socialism against the capitalist elements in town and countryside.” He wrote that “thanks to the growth of the collective-farm and state-farm movement, we are definitely emerging, or have emerged, from the grain crisis.” The peasantry, he claimed, was flocking to the collective farms “by whole villages, volosts, districts.”...

  10. PART II. Collectivization and Dekulakization

    • CHAPTER 4 The December Politburo Commission: 5 December 1929–5 January 1930
      (pp. 171-204)

      In a telegram to Stalin dating no later than 1 January 1930, Molotov wrote, “I don’t understand the need after the [November 1929 Central Committee] plenum for a lengthy new resolution [on collectivization] which in places is obviously vague and lags behind real life and CC decisions.” Molotov objected to the work of a special Politburo commission charged with drawing up plans for the wholesale collectivization of the country. He contended that some of the commission’s work was “bureaucratic planning … inappropriate for a tumultuous, mass movement” and in general considered the commission’s draft decree on collectivization “unsuccessful.” Molotov’s telegram...

    • CHAPTER 5 The Campaign Against the Kulak: 5 January 1930–1 March 1930
      (pp. 205-263)

      The Central Committee decree of 5 January 1930 (see document 52) inaugurated a new phase in the collectivization of Soviet agriculture. Collectivization rates increased throughout the country, reaching dizzyingly unreal heights by the beginning of March. Although the Central Committee decree provided the main impetus for the collectivization campaign in the wake of the provincial campaigns of the summer and fall and the momentous decisions of the November 1929 plenum, collectivization rates would increase the most dramatically in the month of February when the campaign to liquidate the kulak as a class provided the major “stimulus” for the peasantry to...

    • CHAPTER 6 Dizzy with Success: 2 March 1930–1 July 1930
      (pp. 264-318)

      In “Dizzy with Success,” Stalin claimed that “a radical turn of the countryside toward socialism may be considered as already achieved.” He argued against “adventurist attempts … to solve all questions of socialist construction ‘in a trice’” and firmly stated that the party’s task was “toconsolidatethe successes achieved and toutilizethem systematically for our further advancement.” He explained away “violations,” “distortions,” and “excesses”—to use some of the party’s preferred euphemisms of those times—by referring to the dizziness and intoxication from success that had taken hold of the cadres of collectivization (see document 71).

      Stalin’s claims...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Epilogue
    (pp. 319-370)

    The collectivization of Soviet agriculture resulted in the subjugation of the peasantry. Stalinist state building required a “tribute” from the peasantry in order to fill the regime’s granaries for exports and to feed the cities and the Red Army. Collectivization and dekulakization permitted the extraction of vital resources—grain, raw materials, labor, and military recruits—as well as allowing the regime to control the peasantry through the imposition of a vast range of coercive political and administrative devices.

    Collectivization posed a profound threat to the peasantry and its ways of life. In addition to the subjugation of peasant labor and...

  12. Biographical Notes
    (pp. 371-378)
  13. Index of Documents
    (pp. 379-384)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 385-410)
  15. Index
    (pp. 411-428)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 429-429)