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Article

“Лучше перегнуть, чем недогнуть”: “Dekulakization” as a Facet of Stalin’s Social Revolution (The Case of Perm Region)

The Russian Review. 2019. No. 78 (July 2019). P. 371-391.
Andrei Suslov.

This article explores the process of the seizure of peasants’ property during the campaign to “liquidate the kulaks as a class” at the beginning of the 1930s.  It describes in detail the manifestation of arbitrary rule in Perm region, analyzes directives emanating from regional party bodies, and reveals the links between arbitrary rule in the localities during the course of “dekulakization” and Stalin’s policy aimed at changing the social structure of Soviet society.  The author examines numerous local cases and argues that the seizure of peasants’ property led directly to the destruction of an entire social group: peasant-owners.  Official promotion of “kulak liquidation,” unrestrained by any legal regulations and accurate instructions, in fact stimulated local leaders to take radical action.  This campaign to “liquidate the kulaks as a class” constituted the main element of Stalin’s social-engineering policies in the early 1930s: large-scale “dekulakization,” with its attendant massive intrusion into the institution of private ownership, played a very serious role in the social transformation of Soviet society in 1930s.  A study of these processes at the regional level allows for an in-depth analysis of the Soviet state’s repressive policy toward the peasantry.