The peasants did everything they could to protest what they considered unfair seizures. The seizures of grain discouraged the peasants and less grain was produced during , and again the government resorted to requisitions, much of the grain being requisitioned from middle peasants as sufficient quantities were not in the hands of the " kulaks. The peasants moved in search of jobs in the rapidly expanding industry. This, however, had a fairly negative impact upon their arrival as the peasants brought with them their habits from the farms.
They struggled with punctuality and demonstrated a rather poor work ethic, which hindered their ability to perform in the workplace.
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Also, massive hoarding burial was the common method and illegal transfers of grain took place. Faced with the refusal to hand grain over, a decision was made at a plenary session of the Central Committee in November to embark on a nationwide program of collectivization. Several forms of collective farming were suggested by the People's Commissariat for Agriculture Narkomzem , distinguished according to the extent to which property was held in common: .
In November , the Central Committee decided to implement accelerated collectivization in the form of kolkhozes and sovkhozes. This marked the end of the New Economic Policy NEP , which had allowed peasants to sell their surpluses on the open market.
Peasants that were willing to conform and join the kolkhozes were rewarded with higher quality land and tax breaks, whereas peasants unwilling to join the kolkhozes were punished with being given lower quality land and increased taxes. The taxes imposed on the peasants was primarily to fund the industrial blitz that Stalin had made a priority. In response to this, many peasants began to resist, often arming themselves against the activists sent from the towns. As a form of protest, many peasants preferred to slaughter their animals for food rather than give them over to collective farms, which produced a major reduction in livestock.
Collectivization had been encouraged since the revolution, but in , only about one percent of farm land was collectivized, and despite efforts to encourage and coerce collectivization, the rather optimistic first five-year plan only forecast 15 percent of farms to be run collectively.
The situation changed incredibly quickly in the fall of and winter of Between September and December , collectivization increased from 7.
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To assist collectivization, the Party decided to send 25, "socially conscious" industry workers to the countryside. This was accomplished during —, and these workers have become known as twenty-five-thousanders "dvadtsat'pyat'tysyachniki". Soviet officials had hoped that by sending the twenty-five thousanders to the countryside that they would be able to produce grain more rapidly. Their hopes were that key areas in the North Caucasus and Volga regions would be collectivized by , and then the other regions by Collectivization sought to modernize Soviet agriculture, consolidating the land into parcels that could be farmed by modern equipment using the latest scientific methods of agriculture.
The means of production land, equipment, livestock were to be totally "socialized", i. Not even private household garden plots were allowed. Agricultural work was envisioned on a mass scale. Huge glamorous columns of machines were to work the fields, in total contrast to peasant small-scale work.
The peasants traditionally mostly held their land in the form of large numbers of strips scattered throughout the fields of the village community. By an order of 7 January , "all boundary lines separating the land allotments of the members of the artel are to be eliminated and all fields are to be combined in a single land mass. Kolkhozy of tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of hectares were envisioned in schemes which were later to become known as gigantomania.
They were planned to be "divided into 'economies ekonomii ' of 5, — 10, hectares which were in turn divided into fields and sections uchastki without regard to the existing villages — the aim was to achieve a 'fully depersonalized optimum land area' In the prevailing socio-economic conditions, little could become of such utopian schemes.
The giant kolkhozy were always exceptional, existing mainly on paper, and in any case they were mostly soon to disappear. The peasants chose to remain in their traditional, primitive, villages. The price of collectivization was so high that the March 2, issue of Pravda contained Stalin's article Dizzy with Success , in which he called for a temporary halt to the process:. It is a fact that by February 20 of this year 50 percent of the peasant farms throughout the U. That means that by February 20, , we had overfulfilled the five-year plan of collectivization by more than per cent After the publication of the article, the pressure for collectivization temporarily abated and peasants started leaving collective farms.
Theoretically, landless peasants were to be the biggest beneficiaries from collectivization, because it promised them an opportunity to take an equal share in labor and its rewards [ clarification needed ]. In fact, however, rural areas did not have many landless peasants, given the wholesale redistribution of land following the Revolution.
Alternatively, for those with property, collectivization meant forfeiting land up to the collective farms and selling most of the harvest to the state at minimal prices set by the state itself. This, in turn, engendered opposition to the idea. Furthermore, collectivization involved significant changes in the traditional village life of Russian peasants within a very short time frame, despite the long Russian rural tradition of collectivism in the village obshchina or mir.
The changes were even more dramatic in other places, such as in Ukraine, with its tradition of individual farming, in the Soviet republics of Central Asia , and in the trans-Volga steppes , where for a family to have a herd of livestock was not only a matter of sustenance, but of pride as well.
Some peasants viewed collectivization as the end of the world. The drive to collectivize came without peasant support. Collectivization would increase the total crop and food supply but the locals knew that they were not likely to benefit from it. The peasants argued with the collectors, they wrote letters to their children in the military and they even sowed less grain.
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The party officials tried to promise the peasants farming equipment specifically tractors and tax breaks if they would conform to the collective farm model kolkhozes but the party officials were unable to meet the promises they made due to the low industrial output. Essentially the tractors that they were promising could not be produced due to the massive issues in the Industrial sector of the Soviet Union.
The amount of livestock dropped by half from to as a result of the slaughters. Isaac Mazepa, prime minister of the Ukrainian People's Republic UPR in —, claimed "[t]he catastrophe of " was the result of "passive resistance … which aimed at the systematic frustration of the Bolsheviks' plans for the sowing and gathering of the harvest". In his words, "[w]hole tracts were left unsown, Rumours circulated in the villages warning the rural residents that collectivization would bring disorder, hunger, famine, and the destruction of crops and livestock.
Farmers did not have the right to leave the collective without permission. The level of state procurements and prices on crops also enforced the serfdom analogy. The government would take a majority of the crops and pay extremely low prices. The serfs during the s were paid nothing but collectivization still reminded the peasants of serfdom. To the peasants, the revolution was about giving more freedom and land to the peasants, but instead they had to give up their land and livestock to the collective farm which to some extent promoted communist policies. Women were the primary vehicle for rumors that touched upon issues of family and everyday life.
For example, when it was announced that a collective farm in Crimea would become a commune and that the children would be socialized, women killed their soon-to-be socialized livestock, which spared the children. Stories that the Communists believed short hair gave women a more urban and industrial look insulted peasant women.
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The common blanket meant that all men and women would sleep on a seven-hundred meter long bed under a seven-hundred-meter long blanket. Peasant women were rarely held accountable for their actions because of the officials' perceptions of their protests. They "physically blocked the entrances to huts of peasants scheduled to be exiled as kulaks , forcibly took back socialized seed and livestock, and led assaults on officials. When women came to trial, they were given less harsh punishments as the men because women, to officials, were seen as illiterate and the most backward part of the peasantry.
One particular case of this was a riot in a Russian village of Belovka where protestors were beating members of the local soviet and setting fire to their homes. The men were held exclusively responsible as the main culprits. Women were given sentences to serve as a warning, not as a punishment. Because of how they were perceived, women were able to play an essential role in the resistance to collectivization. Collectivization did not just entail the acquisition of land from farmers but also the closing of churches, burning of icons, and the arrests of priests.
Riots exploded after the closing of churches as early as Identification of Soviet power with the Antichrist also decreased peasant support for the Soviet regime. Rumors about religious persecution spread mostly by word of mouth, but also through leaflets and proclamations.
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Peasants feared that if they joined the collective farm they would be marked with the stamp of the Antichrist. Choosing between salvation and damnation, peasants had no choice but to resist policies of the state. The attacks on religion and the Church affected women the most because they were upholders of religion within the villages. Dovzhenko 's film, Earth , gives example of peasants' skepticism with collectivization on the basis that it was an attack on the church.
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