“Лучше перегнуть, чем недогнуть”: “Dekulakization” as a Facet of Stalin’s Social Revolution (The Case of Perm Region)
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.
This paper is devoted to the explanation of selected bureaus’ behavior patterns in the soviet type of totalitarian dictatorships with the command economic model. It is a proven fact that the plan figures in the soviet economy were fabricated as a consequence of intrigues and secret negotiations between different interested parties. Generally, bureaus, as rational agents that minimize risk and maximize slack, should have been interested in reducing the plan figures, nevertheless, they strived to increase them. As examples, mass repression under dictatorships and overexpenditure of an administrative leverage at elections in non-democratic and quasi-democratic countries can be observed. In the article we develop a simple model of coordination between principal (dictator) and his agents (bureaus), which explain the mentioned paradoxical situation.
The article, based on archives materials, analyzes a reaction of the victims of repressive policy (peasants and their home-folks) in Perm Region to the beginning of «dekulakisation» and expulsion, also discovers the motives of peasants' complaints to the authorities.
In this article. the author tries to argue about how you can consider Soviet culture monolithic and not suggesting for the artist and the intellectual for any deviations from the official line.
It would seem that the totalitarian regime creates all the condition for eliminating the independent search for the individual style, nevertheless, in the depths of a totalitarian culture, resistance practice may appear.
The author gives a number of examples of such resistance in Soviet culture.
A survey of the Samizdat Archive of the Institute of Eastern Europe in Bremen. Introductory texts and annotated catalogue.