As seen in the following statement issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party: (https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/e2livest.html)

Addendum to point 20, Politburo minutes no. 94
                  of April 20, 1931

[Handwritten line:] Resolution of the Central Committee [TsK] of
the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) [VKP(b)], Mar 26, 1932

In many regions of our country we can observe the
collectivization of cattle and smaller livestock by forcible
means.  This practice is a flagrant violation of repeatedly
issued directives by the party's TsK, as well as of the
provisions contained in the statute of the agricultural artel.

The TsK VKP(b) stresses that only enemies of the kolkhozes
would permit forced collectivization of livestock from individual
kolkhozniks.  The TsK emphasizes that forced requisition of
kolkhozniks' cattle and smaller livestock is contrary to the
party's political program.  The goal of the party is that every
member of the kolkhoz have a cow, some smaller livestock and

The TsK of the VKP(b) proposes to all party, Soviet and
kolkhoz organizations:

 1.   Cease all attempts of forced collectivization of cattle 
      and small livestock belonging to the kolkhozniks and
      expel from the party those guilty of violating TsK

 2.   Organize aid for the members of the kolkhozes who have
      no cattle nor small livestock to purchase and raise
      young animals for their own personal needs.

                          Signed:  TsK VKP(b)

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union declared that collectivization of cattle and small livestock was contrary to the goals of the Party. This was signed in 1931, during Stalin's first five year plan when he was collectivizing farms that were previously individually owned by the peasants. If the Party's goal was to impose socialism on agricultural production in the Soviet Union (that is, collectivize these farms to make them Kolkhozes and Sovkhoz), then why were they allowing the peasants to own these animals individually? Is that not contradictory?

1 Answer 1


It is.

In Soviet history there are multiple instances of badly implemented policies causing resistance from population, which sometimes resulted in government issuing statements in the spirit of "we didn't really mean to do this, it's all foreign spies'/overzealous bureaucrats'/ trotskyists' fault." In this case, global economy crisis forced Soviet government to step up their collectivization attempts. The peak of this was in the beginning of 1930 - statement issued on January 5, 1930 proclaimed that collectivization efforts are to be completed by 1932, and even sooner in the main grain-producing regions - Ukraine and lands along the Volga river. The forced collectivization caused by that led to massed peasant uprisings: by March 1930, GPU registered over 3000 incidents involving over 2000000 people in Ukraine alone, according to some researchers [1]. As a result, collectivization efforts were scaled down, and several party leaders were accused of causing the whole debacle. They later were shot as trotskyist spies.

This seesaw of first ramping up collectivization and then backing down continued until 1933, when the whole system of government control over agriculture was overhauled which led to better harvests and overall improvement in relations between government and peasants.

  • My interpretation of your answer is that the statement I cited was a temporary measure in order to cope with the resistance of the peasants? Is this true, i.e the Soviets has no long-term means to revoke collectivization despite the issuing of this letter (as it continued well into 1940? Jan 11, 2018 at 5:09
  • 2
    @MarDev Pretty much. Their end goal was for all peasants to join some sort of commune, after all. Note that the document you quoted does not imply that the collectivization itself is against party policy - it only says that forcible collectivization is prohibited, i.e. Soviets would've preferred the collectivization to be voluntary... but the plans they made also said that it was mandatory for everyone and set time limits on when it was to be completed. "Voluntelling" at its finest. Jan 11, 2018 at 5:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.