Class 9 History

Stalinism and Collectivisation

The early years of the Planned Economy proved to be disasters for the collectivization of agriculture. There was acute problem of grain supplies in the towns in 1927-28. The prices were fixed by the government but the peasants refused to sell grains to government buyers at these prices.

This was the time when Stalin was the head of the party. He introduced firm emergency measures. In 1928, he sent party members to the grain-producing areas. They supervised enforced collections of grains. Kulaks (well to do peasants) were raided. But these steps could not solve the grain crisis.

Stalin’s collectivization programme was then started. From 1929, all peasants were forced to cultivate in collective farms (kolkhoz). The bulk of land and implements were transferred to the ownership of collective farm.

Enraged peasants resisted such attempts and destroyed their livestock. Those who resisted the attempts of collectivization were severely punished. Many were deported and exiled. After large-scale protests, some peasants were allowed to work on their independent farms, but the government was not sympathetic to them.

But collectivization did not produce the desired results. Bad harvests of 1930-1933 led to one of the most devastating famines in Soviet history. Over 4 million died in that famine.

Critics of Stalin’s policies (within the party) were charged with conspiracy against socialism. By 1939, over 2 milion were in prisons or in labour camps. A large number were forced to make false confessions and were executed.

Influence of Russian Revolution

The possibility of a workers' state fired people's imagination across the world, but most of the existing socialist parties in Europe did not wholly support the policies in Russia. Communist parties were formed in many countries. By the time, the Second World War began, USSR was considered to be the global face of socialism.

By the 1950s, many within the country began to acknowledge the fact that everything was not right in Russia. Although USSR had become a global industrial power; but basic freedoms were denied to the people. Many countries adapted to some ideals of socialism, but each country interpreted them in their own ways.