Collectivization in the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union introduced the collectivization (Russian: Коллективизация) of its agricultural sector between 1928 and 1940 during the ascension of Joseph Stalin. It began during and was part of the first five-year plan. The policy aimed to integrate individual landholdings and labour into collectively-controlled and state-controlled farms: Kolkhozes and Sovkhozes accordingly. The Soviet leadership confidently expected that the replacement of individual peasant farms by collective ones would immediately increase the food supply for the urban population, the supply of raw materials for the processing industry, and agricultural exports via state-imposed quotas on individuals working on collective farms. Planners regarded collectivization as the solution to the crisis of agricultural distribution (mainly in grain deliveries) that had developed from 1927.[1] This problem became more acute as the Soviet Union pressed ahead with its ambitious industrialization program, meaning that more food needed to be produced to keep up with urban demand.[2]

"Strengthen working discipline in collective farms" – Soviet propaganda poster issued in Soviet Uzbekistan, 1933
Illustration to the Soviet categories of peasants: bednyaks, or poor peasants; serednyaks, or mid-income peasants; and kulaks, the higher-income farmers who had larger farms than most Russian peasants. Published in Projector, May 1926.

In the early 1930s, over 91% of agricultural land became collectivized as rural households entered collective farms with their land, livestock, and other assets. The collectivization era saw several famines, many due to both the shortage of modern technology in USSR at the time. The death toll cited by experts has ranged from 4 million to 7 million.[3]


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