Stalin’s Collectivization and ‘Dekulakization’ in the Urals in the 1930s
This work deals with key aspects of the Stalin’s policy in relation to the village in the Ural in the 1930s. Based on a large documentary material, the author examines in detail both social and property status of the ‘dekulakized peasants’ of the Ural, which, by 1932, had become the largest area of labor settlements. Special attention is paid to the methodological issues of the study, in particular, to the justification of the representativeness concerning the selection of households prepared, its further evolution in the course of the work, as well as laying special emphasis on the multidimensional typology of the social portrait of the ‘dekulakized’ peasants.
Three e-prosopographical databases were created – ‘Dekulakized’ peasants of the Southern Ural (1930-1934)’ based on 34 parameters for 1461 ‘dekulakized’ families; ‘Labor settlers in the Southern Ural (1930-1934)’ based on 20 parameters for 1200 families of the labor settlers; and ‘Dekulakized’ peasants of the Orenburg region (1930-1934)’ based on 34 parameters for 210 families of the ‘dekulakized’ peasants. Databases in question have become a tool for analysis of the generalized characteristics of the ‘dekulakized’ households and the subsequent reconstruction of the social portrait of the ‘dekulakized’ peasants of the Southern Ural and the Orenburg region.
Causes and reasons for ‘dekulakization’ were analyzed. Thus, according to the documents, the policy of the country administration had been reciprocated neither by peasants, who could not understand why they were taken the last piece of bread at hungry times and denied the opportunity to raise the economy of the households, nor by the local leaders, who had periodically ‘perverted’ the party line, which turned out to be not so direct as it was seen from the Center.
As in the whole throughout the country, in the Southern Ural, the ‘dekulakization’ campaign, reinforced by the famine of 1932-1933, has affected not only the rich peasant families (they obviously would not be enough to perform ‘the control figures’), but wealthy medium peasant households, as well, that, on the one hand, has neutralized property differentiation of the peasantry, preparing the appropriate soil for the functioning of the collective farms, and on the other hand, has significantly slowed down the rate of growth of the agricultural production, destroying entrepreneurial initiative, which became stronger during the NEP, and significantly shaking the trust of the peasants to the country administration.
For eight decades of the study of various aspects of the history of the Soviet ‘dekulakization’, an extensive and diverse literature was developed, hundreds of studies were written, among which the works of the following authors are of particular note: V. P. Danilov, N. A. Ivnitskiy, Y.A. Moshkov, N.L. Rogalina, T.I. Slavko, N.Y. Gushchin, V.V. Kondrashin, etc. So much academic interest in the topic can be explained very simply: by 1926, 73% of the USSR population was presented by peasants, and the policy, pursued by the government, could not have been affected such huge population in the most devastating way, especially given the traditionally strong relationship between peasant families.
Historiography of the ‘dekulakization’ issue at the present stage is concentrated towards the revision of the estimates based on multiple vectors, including both identification of social groups and layers, on which repressions were directed, and personification of ‘dekulakization’ in the fate of certain families.
In the present work, we focused on social and economic aspects of collectivization and ‘dekulakization’ of the peasantry of the Ural, as well as reconstruction of the social portrait of the ‘dekulakized’ peasants of the Southern Ural and the Orenburg region.
The book is designed both for specialists in economic and social history of the USSR, and a wide readership interested in the Stalin’s collectivization and ‘dekulakization’ in the 1930s.