By Michael Lynch
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Additional resources for Access to History. Stalin's Russia 1924-53
He avoided referring to his former leader’s crimes against the Soviet people. Was collectivisation justifiable on economic grounds? Even allowing for the occasional progressive aspect of collectivisation, such as the building and distributing of mechanised tractors, the overall picture was bleak. The mass of the peasantry had been uprooted and left bewildered. Despite severe reprisals and coercion, the peasants were unable to produce the surplus food that Stalin demanded. By 1939 Soviet agricultural productivity had barely returned to the level recorded for tsarist Russia in 1913.
Impressed by the apparent progress of the Plan in its early stages, Stalin encouraged the formulation of an ‘optimal’ Plan which reassessed targets upwards. These new quotas were hopelessly unrealistic and stood no chance of being reached. Nonetheless, on the basis of the supposed achievements of this optimal Plan the figures were revised still higher. 3: Industrial output Product (in million tons) Coal Oil Iron ore Pig iron Key question How did the Soviet people respond to Stalin’s call? 2 Propaganda and collective effort The importance of these figures should not be exaggerated.
The banner reads ‘Liquidate the Kulaks as a Class’. Who was likely to have organised such a demonstration? Key question What were the effects of collectivisation on the peasantry? Resistance to collectivisation In the period between December 1929 and March 1930, nearly half the peasant farms in the USSR were collectivised. Yet peasants in their millions resisted. What amounted to civil war broke out in the countryside. The scale of the disturbances is indicated in official figures recorded for the period 1929–30: • 30,000 arson attacks occurred.
Access to History. Stalin's Russia 1924-53 by Michael Lynch