The Soviet Union forced the collectivization (Russian: Коллективизация) of its agricultural sector between 1928 and 1940 (in West - between 1948 and 1952) during the ascendancy of Joseph Stalin. It began during and was part of the first five-year plan. The policy aimed to integrate individual landholdings and labour into collective farms: mainly kolkhozy and sovkhozy. The Soviet leadership confidently expected that the replacement of individual peasant farms by collective ones would immediately increase the food supply for the urban population, the supply of raw materials for processing industry, and agricultural exports. Planners regarded collectivization as the solution to the crisis of agricultural distribution (mainly in grain deliveries) that had developed from 1927. This problem became more acute as the Soviet Union pressed ahead with its ambitious industrialization program, meaning that more food needed to be produced to keep up with urban demand.
In the early 1930s over 91% of agricultural land became collectivized as rural households entered collective farms with their land, livestock, and other assets. The collectivization era saw several famines, many due to the technological backwardness of the USSR at the time, but critics have also cited deliberate action on the government's part. The death toll cited by experts has ranged from 7 million to 14 million.
After the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, peasants gained control of about half of the land they had previously cultivated, and began to ask for the redistribution of all land. The Stolypin agricultural reforms between 1905 and 1914 gave incentives for the creation of large farms, but these ended during World War I. The Russian Provisional Government accomplished little during the difficult World War I months, though Russian leaders continued to promise redistribution. Peasants began to turn against the Provisional Government and organized themselves into land committees, which together with the traditional peasant communes became a powerful force of opposition. When Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia on April 16, 1917, he promised the people "Peace, Land and Bread," the latter two appearing as a promise to the peasants for the redistribution of confiscated land and a fair share of food for every worker respectively.
During the period of war communism, however, the policy of Prodrazvyorstka meant that the peasantry was obligated to surrender the surpluses of agricultural produce for a fixed price. When the Russian Civil War ended, the economy changed with the New Economic Policy (NEP) and specifically, the policy of prodnalog or "food tax." This new policy was designed to re-build morale among embittered farmers and lead to increased production.
The pre-existing communes, which periodically redistributed land, did little to encourage improvement in technique, and formed a source of power beyond the control of the Soviet government. Although the income gap between wealthy and poor farmers did grow under the NEP, it remained quite small, but the Bolsheviks began to take aim at the wealthy kulaks, who withheld surpluses of agricultural produce. Clearly identifying this group was difficult, though, since only about 1% of the peasantry employed laborers (the basic Marxist definition of a capitalist), and 82% of the country's population were peasants.
The small shares of most of the peasants resulted in food shortages in the cities. Although grain had nearly returned to pre-war production levels, the large estates which had produced it for urban markets had been divided up. Not interested in acquiring money to purchase overpriced manufactured goods, the peasants chose to consume their produce rather than sell it. As a result, city dwellers only saw half the grain that had been available before the war. Before the revolution, peasants controlled only 2,100,000 km² divided into 16 million holdings, producing 50% of the food grown in Russia and consuming 60% of total food production. After the revolution, the peasants controlled 3,140,000 km² divided into 25 million holdings, producing 85% of the food, but consuming 80% of what they grew (meaning that they ate 68% of the total).
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union had never been happy with private agriculture and saw collectivization as the best remedy for the problem. Lenin claimed "Small-scale production gives birth to capitalism and the bourgeoisie constantly, daily, hourly, with elemental force, and in vast proportions." Apart from ideological goals, Joseph Stalin also wished to embark on a program of rapid heavy industrialization which required larger surpluses to be extracted from the agricultural sector in order to feed a growing industrial work force and to pay for imports of machinery (by exporting grain). Social and ideological goals would also be served through mobilization of the peasants in a co-operative economic enterprise which would provide social services to the people and empower the state. Not only was collectivization meant to fund industrialization, but it was also a way for the Bolsheviks to systematically attack the Kulaks and peasants in general. Stalin was incredibly suspicious of the peasants, he viewed them as a major threat to socialism. Stalins use of the collectivization process served to not only address the grain shortages, but his greater concern over the peasants willingness to conform to the collective farm system and state mandated grain acquisitions. He viewed this as an opportunity to eliminate Kulaks as a class by means of collectivization.
This demand for more grain resulted in the reintroduction of requisitioning which was resisted in rural areas. In 1928 there was a 2-million-ton shortfall in grains purchased by the Soviet Union from neighbouring markets. Stalin claimed the grain had been produced but was being hoarded by "kulaks." When in reality the farmers were holding on to their grain because the prices were below market price. Stalin tried to appear as being on the side of the peasants, but it did not help, the peasants as whole started to resent the grain seizures. The peasants did everything they could to protest what they considered unfair seizures.  Instead of raising the price, the Politburo adopted an emergency measure to requisition 2.5 million tons of grain.
The seizures of grain discouraged the peasants and less grain was produced during 1928, 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 impact that this had on poorer peasants forced them to move to the cities. 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. In 1929, especially after the introduction of the Ural-Siberian Method of grain procurement, resistance to grain seizures became widespread with some violent incidents of resistance. 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 1929 to embark on a nationwide program of collectivization.
Also, various cooperatives for processing of agricultural products were installed.
In November 1929, 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, where as 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. If these lesser forms of social coercion proved to be ineffective then the central government would resort to harsher forms of state coercion.  Stalin had many kulaks transported to collective farms in distant places to work in agricultural labor camps. 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 1928, 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 1929 and winter of 1930. Between September and December 1929, collectivization increased from 7.4% to 15%, but in the first two months of 1930, 11 million households joined collectivized farms, pushing the total to nearly 60% almost overnight.
To assist collectivization, the Party decided to send 25,000 "socially conscious" industry workers to the countryside. This was accomplished during 1929–1933, 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 1931, and then the other regions by 1932. Shock brigades were used to force reluctant peasants into joining the collective farms and remove those who were declared kulaks and their "agents".
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. It was often claimed that an American Fordson tractor (called "Фордзон" in Russian) was the best propaganda in favor of collectivization. The Communist Party, which adopted the plan in 1929, predicted an increase of 330% in industrial production, and an increase of 50% in agricultural production.
The means of production (land, equipment, livestock) were to be totally "socialized", i.e. removed from the control of individual peasant households. 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 1930, "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." The basic rule governing the rearrangement of the fields was that the process would have to be completed before the spring planting. The new kolkhozy were initially envisioned as giant organizations unrelated to the preceding village communities. 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 5,000 – 10,000 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'..." Parallel with this were plans to transfer the peasants to centralized 'agrotowns' offering modern amenities.
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.
It is a fact that by February 20 of this year 50 percent of the peasant farms throughout the U.S.S.R. had been collectivized. That means that by February 20, 1930, we had overfulfilled the five-year plan of collectivization by more than 100 per cent.... some of our comrades have become dizzy with success and for the moment have lost clearness of mind and sobriety of vision.
After the publication of the article, the pressure for collectivization temporarily abated and peasants started leaving collective farms. According to Martin Kitchen, the number of members of collective farms dropped by 50% in 1930. But soon collectivisation was intensified again, and by 1936, about 90% of Soviet agriculture was collectivized.
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. 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.
Peasants viewed collectivization as the end of the world. By no means was joining the collective farm (also known as the kolkhoz) voluntary. The drive to collectivize came without peasant support. The intent was to increase state grain procurements without giving the peasants the opportunity to withhold grain from the market. Collectivization would increase the total crop and food supply but the locals knew that they were not likely to benefit from it. Peasants tried to protest through peaceful means by speaking out at collectivization meetings and writing letters to the central authorities. The peasants argued with the collectors, they wrote letters to their children in the military and they even sowed less grain. 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. When their strategies failed, villagers turned to violence: committing arson, and lynching and murdering local authorities, kolkhoz leaders, and activists. Others responded with acts of sabotage, including the burning of crops and the slaughter of draught animals. The amount of livestock dropped by half from 1928 to 1932 as a result of the slaughters. The destruction of important farming equipment was common means of protest among peasants who resisted collectivization. According to Party sources, there were also some cases of destruction of property, and attacks on officials and members of the collectives. Isaac Mazepa, prime minister of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) in 1919–1920, claimed "[t]he catastrophe of 1932" 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,... [and as much as] 50 per cent [of the crop] was left in the fields, and was either not collected at all or was ruined in the threshing". Fueled by fear and anxiety, rumors spread throughout the villages leading to these acts. Rumors associated the Soviet government with the Antichrist (godless and evil), threatened an end to traditional ways of peasant life, and worked to unite the peasants to protest against collectivization.
Rumours circulated in the villages warning the rural residents that collectivization would bring disorder, hunger, famine, and the destruction of crops and livestock. Readings and reinterpretations of Soviet newspapers labeled collectivization as a second serfdom. Villagers were afraid the old landowners/serf owners were coming back and that the villagers joining the collective farm would face starvation and famine. More reason for peasants to believe collectivization was a second serfdom was that entry into the kolkhoz had been forced. 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 1860s were paid nothing but collectivization still reminded the peasants of serfdom. To them, this "second serfdom" became code for the Communist betrayal of the revolution. 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. Fears that collectivization would result in the socialization of children, the export of women's hair, communal wife-sharing, and the notorious common blanket affected many women, causing them to revolt. 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. After local activists in a village in North Caucasus actually confiscated all blankets, more fear dispersed among villagers. 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. Historians argue that women took advantage of these rumors without actually believing them so they could attack the collective farm "under the guise of irrational, nonpolitical protest." Women were less vulnerable to retaliation than peasant men, and therefore able to get away with a lot more.
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." Officials ran away and hid to let the riots run their course. 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.  Associating the church with the tsarist regime, the Soviet state continued to undermine the church through expropriations and repression. They cut off state financial support to the church and secularized church schools. Peasants began to associate Communists with atheists because the attack on the church was so devastating. The Communist assault on religion and the church angered many peasants, giving them more reason to revolt. Riots exploded after the closing of churches as early as 1929.
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. Priests preached that the Antichrist had come to place "the Devil's mark" on the peasants. and that the Soviet state was promising the peasants a better life but was actually signing them up for Hell. Peasants feared that if they joined the collective farm they would be marked with the stamp of the Antichrist. They faced a choice between God and the Soviet collective farm. Choosing between salvation and damnation, peasants had no choice but to resist policies of the state. These rumors of the Soviet state as the Antichrist functioned to keep peasants from succumbing to the government. The attacks on religion and the Church affected women the most because they were upholders of religion within the villages.
Due to high government production quotas, peasants received, as a rule, less for their labor than they did before collectivization, and some refused to work. Merle Fainsod estimated that, in 1952, collective farm earnings were only one fourth of the cash income from private plots on Soviet collective farms. In many cases, the immediate effect of collectivization was to reduce output and cut the number of livestock in half. The subsequent recovery of the agricultural production was also impeded by the losses suffered by the Soviet Union during World War II and the severe drought of 1946. However the largest loss of livestock was caused by collectivization for all animals except pigs. The numbers of cows in the USSR fell from 33.2 million in 1928 to 27.8 million in 1941 and to 24.6 million in 1950. The number of pigs fell from 27.7 million in 1928 to 27.5 million in 1941 and then to 22.2 million in 1950. The number of sheep fell from 114.6 million in 1928 to 91.6 million in 1941 and to 93.6 million in 1950. The number of horses fell from 36.1 million in 1928 to 21.0 million in 1941 and to 12.7 million in 1950. Only by the late 1950s did Soviet farm animal stocks begin to approach 1928 levels.
Despite the initial plans, collectivization, accompanied by the bad harvest of 1932–1933, did not live up to expectations. Between 1929 and 1932 there was a massive fall in agricultural production resulting in famine in the countryside. Stalin and the CPSU blamed the prosperous peasants, referred to as 'kulaks' (Russian: fist), who were organizing resistance to collectivization. Allegedly, many kulaks had been hoarding grain in order to speculate on higher prices, thereby sabotaging grain collection. Stalin resolved to eliminate them as a class. The methods Stalin used to eliminate the kulaks were dispossession, deportation and execution. The term "Ural-Siberian Method" was coined by Stalin, the rest of the population referred to it as the "new method". Article 107 of the criminal code was the legal means by which the state acquired grain. 
The Soviet government responded to these acts by cutting off food rations to peasants and areas where there was opposition to collectivization, especially in Ukraine. For peasants that were unable to meet the grain quota, they were fined five-times the quota. If the peasant continued to be defiant the peasants property and equipment would be confiscated by the state. If none of the previous measures were effective the defiant peasant would be deported or exiled. The practice was made legal in 1929 under Article 61 of the criminal code.  Many peasant families were forcibly resettled in Siberia and Kazakhstan into exile settlements, and most of them died on the way. Estimates suggest that about a million so-called 'kulak' families, or perhaps some 5 million people, were sent to forced labor camps.
On August 7, 1932, the Decree about the Protection of Socialist Property proclaimed that the punishment for theft of kolkhoz or cooperative property was the death sentence, which "under extenuating circumstances" could be replaced by at least ten years of incarceration. With what some called the Law of Spikelets ("Закон о колосках"), peasants (including children) who hand-collected or gleaned grain in the collective fields after the harvest were arrested for damaging the state grain production. Martin Amis writes in Koba the Dread that 125,000 sentences were passed for this particular offense in the bad harvest period from August 1932 to December 1933.
During the Famine of 1932-33 it's estimated that 7.8-11 million people died from starvation. The implication is that the total death toll (both direct and indirect) for Stalin's collectivization program was on the order of 12 million people. It is said that in 1945, Joseph Stalin confided to Winston Churchill at Yalta that 10 million people died in the course of collectivization.
Since the second half of the 19th century, Siberia had been a major agricultural region within Russia, espеcially its southern territories (nowadays Altai Krai, Omsk Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast, Kemerovo Oblast, Khakassia, Irkutsk Oblast). Stolypin's program of resettlement granted a lot of land for immigrants from elsewhere in the empire, creating a large portion of well-off peasants and stimulating rapid agricultural development in 1910s. Local merchants exported large quantities of labeled grain, flour and butter into central Russia and Western Europe. In May 1931, a special resolution of the Western-Siberian Regional Executive Committee (classified "top secret") ordered the expropriation of property and the deportation of 40,000 kulaks to "sparsely populated and unpopulated" areas in Tomsk Oblast in the northern part of the Western-Siberian region. The expropriated property was to be transferred to kolkhozes as indivisible collective property and the kolkhoz shares representing this forced contribution of the deportees to kolkhoz equity were to be held in the "collectivization fund of poor and landless peasants" (фонд коллективизации бедноты и батрачества).
In areas where the major agricultural activity was nomadic herding, collectivization met with massive resistance and major losses and confiscation of livestock. Livestock in Kazakhstan fell from 7 million cattle to 1.6 million and from 22 million sheep to 1.7 million. Restrictions on migration proved ineffective and half a million migrated to other regions of Central Asia and 1.5 million to China. Of those who remained, as many as a million died in the resulting famine. In Mongolia, a so-called 'Soviet dependency', attempted collectivization was abandoned in 1932 after the loss of 8 million head of livestock.
Most historians agree that the disruption caused by collectivization and the resistance of the peasants significantly contributed to the Great Famine of 1932–1933, especially in Ukraine, a region famous for its rich soil (chernozem). This particular period is called "Holodomor" in Ukrainian. During the similar famines of 1921–1923, numerous campaigns – inside the country, as well as internationally – were held to raise money and food in support of the population of the affected regions. Nothing similar was done during the drought of 1932–1933, mainly because the information about the disaster was suppressed by Stalin. Stalin also undertook a purge of the Ukrainian communists and intelligentsia, with devastating long-term effects on the area. Many Ukrainian villages were blacklisted and penalized by government decree for perceived sabotage of food supplies. Moreover, migration of population from the affected areas was restricted. According to Stalin in his conversation with the prize-winning writer Mikhail Sholokhov, the famine was caused by the excesses of local party workers and sabotage,
I've thanked you for the letters, as they expose a sore in our Party-Soviet work and show how our workers, wishing to curb the enemy, sometimes unwittingly hit friends and descend to sadism. ... the esteemed grain-growers of your district (and not only of your district alone) carried on an 'Italian strike' (sabotage!) and were not loath to leave the workers and the Red Army without bread. That the sabotage was quiet and outwardly harmless (without blood) does not change the fact that the esteemed grain-growers waged what was in fact a 'quiet' war against Soviet power. A war of starvation, dear com[rade] Sholokhov. This, of course, can in no way justify the outrages, which, as you assure me, have been committed by our workers. ... And those guilty of those outrages must be duly punished.
About 40 million people were affected by the food shortages including areas near Moscow where mortality rates increased by 50%. The center of the famine, however, was Ukraine and surrounding regions, including the Don, the Kuban, the Northern Caucasus and Kazakhstan where the toll was one million dead. The countryside was affected more than cities, but 120,000 died in Kharkiv, 40,000 in Krasnodar and 20,000 in Stavropol.
The declassified Soviet archives show that there were 1.54 million officially registered deaths in Ukraine from famine. Alec Nove claims that registration of deaths largely ceased in many areas during the famine. However, it's been pointed out that the registered deaths in the archives were substantially revised by the demographics officials. The older version of the data showed 600,000 fewer deaths in Ukraine than the current, revised statistics. In The Black Book of Communism, the authors claim that the number of deaths was at least 4 million, and they also characterize the Great Famine as "a genocide of the Ukrainian people".
After the Soviet Occupation of Latvia in June 1940, the country's new rulers were faced with a problem: the agricultural reforms of the inter-war period had expanded individual holdings. The property of "enemies of the people" and refugees, as well as those above 30 hectares, was nationalised in 1940–44, but those who were still landless were then given plots of 15 hectares each. Thus, Latvian agriculture remained essentially dependent on personal smallholdings, making central planning difficult. In 1940–41 the Communist Party repeatedly said that collectivization would not occur forcibly, but rather voluntarily and by example. To encourage collectivization high taxes were enforced and new farms given no government support. But after 1945 the Party dropped its restrained approach as the voluntary approach was not yielding results. Latvians were accustomed to individual holdings (viensētas), which had existed even during serfdom, and for many farmers the plots awarded to them by the interwar reforms were the first their families had ever owned. Furthermore, the countryside was filled with rumours regarding the harshness of collective farm life.
Pressure from Moscow to collectivize continued and the authorities in Latvia sought to reduce the number of individual farmers (increasingly labelled kulaki or budži) through higher taxes and requisitioning of agricultural products for state use. The first kolkhoz was established only in November 1946 and by 1948, just 617 kolkhozes had been established, integrating 13,814 individual farmsteads (12.6% of the total). The process was still judged too slow, and in March 1949 just under 13,000 kulak families as well as a large number of individuals were identified. Between March 24 and March 30, 1949, about 40,000 people were deported and resettled at various points throughout the USSR.
After these deportations, the pace of collectivization increased as a flood of farmers rushed into kolkhozes. Within two weeks 1740 new kolkhozes were established and by the end of 1950, just 4.5% of Latvian farmsteads remained outside the collectivized units; about 226,900 farmsteads belonged to collectives, of which there were now around 14,700. Rural life changed as farmers' daily movements were dictated to by plans, decisions and quotas formulated elsewhere and delivered through an intermediate non-farming hierarchy. The new kolkhozes, especially smaller ones, were ill-equipped and poor – at first farmers were paid once a year in kind and then in cash, but salaries were very small and at times farmers went unpaid or even ended up owing money to the kholhoz. Farmers still had small pieces of land (not larger than 0.5 ha) around their houses where they grew food for themselves. Along with collectivization, the government tried to uproot the custom of living in individual farmsteads by resettling people in villages. However this process failed due to lack of money since the Soviets planned to move houses as well.
|Percent of farmsteads
in collective farms
|Percent of sown area|
in collective use
Sources: Sotsialisticheskoe sel'skoe khoziaistvo SSSR, Gosplanizdat, Moscow-Leningrad, 1939 (pp. 42, 43); supplementary numbers for 1927–1935 from Sel'skoe khoziaistvo SSSR 1935, Narkomzem SSSR, Moscow, 1936 (pp. 630, 634, 1347, 1369); 1937 from Great Soviet Encyclopedia, vol. 22, Moscow, 1953 (p. 81); 1939 from Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR 1917–1987, Moscow, 1987 (pp. 35); 1940 from Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR 1922–1972, Moscow, 1972 (pp. 215, 240).
The official numbers for collectivized area (the column with percent of sown area in collective use in the table above) are biased upward by two technical factors. First, these official numbers are calculated as percent of sown area in peasant farmsteads, excluding the area cultivated by sovkhozes and other agricultural users. Estimates based on total sown area (including state farms) reduce the share of collective farms between 1935–1940 to about 80%. Second, the household plots of kolkhoz members (i.e., collectivized farmsteads) are included in the land base of collective farms. Without the household plots, arable land in collective cultivation in 1940 was 96.4% of land in collective farms, and not 99.8% as shown by official statistics. Although there is no arguing with the fact that collectivization was sweeping and total between 1928 and 1940, the table below provides different (more realistic) numbers on the extent of collectivization of sown areas.
Distribution of sown area by land users, 1928 and 1940
|All farms, '000 hectares||113,000||150,600|
|State farms (sovkhozy)||1.5%||8.8%|
|Collective farms (kolkhozy)||1.2%||78.2%|
(in collective and state farms)
|Peasant farms and other users||96.2%||9.5%|
Source: Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR 1922–1972, Moscow, 1972 (p. 240).
During World War II, Alfred Rosenberg, in his capacity as the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, issued a series of posters announcing the end of the Soviet collective farms in areas of the USSR under German occupation. He also issued an Agrarian Law in February 1942, annulling all Soviet legislation on farming, restoring family farms for those willing to collaborate with the occupiers. But decollectivization conflicted with the wider demands of wartime food production, and Hermann Göring demanded that the kolkhoz be retained, save for a change of name. Hitler himself denounced the redistribution of land as 'stupid.' In the end, the German occupation authorities retained most of the kolkhozes and simply renamed them "community farms" (Russian: Общинные хозяйства, a throwback to the traditional Russian commune). German propaganda described this as a preparatory step toward ultimate dissolution of the kolkhozes into private farms, which would be granted to peasants who had loyally delivered compulsory quotas of farm produce to the Germans. By 1943, the German occupation authorities had converted 30% of the kolkhozes into German-sponsored "agricultural cooperatives", but as yet had made no conversions to private farms.
Agrarian socialism is a political ideology which combines an agrarian way of life with a socialist economic system.Agriculture in Russia
For the period before 1989 see Agriculture in the Soviet Union and Agriculture in the Russian Empire.Agriculture in Russia survived a severe transition decline in the early 1990s as it struggled to transform from a command economy to a market-oriented system. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, large collective and state farms – the backbone of Soviet agriculture – had to contend with the sudden loss of state-guaranteed marketing and supply channels and a changing legal environment that created pressure for reorganization and restructuring. In less than ten years, livestock inventories declined by half, pulling down demand for feed grains, and the area planted to grains dropped by 25%.
The use of mineral fertilizer and other purchased inputs plummeted, driving yields down. Most farms could no longer afford to purchase new machinery and other capital investments. Following a nearly ten-year period of decline, Russian agriculture has experienced gradual ongoing improvement. The transition to a more market-oriented system has introduced an element of fiscal responsibility, which has resulted in increased efficiency as farmers try to maintain productivity while adjusting the resource constraints. The relatively smaller corporate farms and family farms that have emerged and grown stronger in the new market environment are now producing in aggregate value more than the total output of large corporate farms that first succeeded the traditional collectives.Aleksandr Martynov (Russian politician)
Alexandr Martynov (Alexandr Martinov; also, Aleksandr Samoilovich Pikker;) (12 December 1865, Pinsk – 5 June 1935, Moscow) was a Jewish Menshevik before the Russian revolutions of 1917, and for a few years after the revolution a critic of the Soviet government's theory of permanent revolution (1923).In 1884, he was a member of The People’s Will. From 1901 to 1902 Martynov was active on the journal of the Economist faction of the RSDLP, Rabocheye Delo, publishing articles strongly criticised by Lenin in What Is to Be Done?
After the October Revolution, Martynov started to distance himself from Menshevism. He finally broke with the Mensheviks during the Russian Civil War, and joined the Communist Party in 1923 as an opponent of the "Left Opposition." He was a chief architect of the "bloc of four classes."In the 1920s, Martynov worked as a teacher at the Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute, the Communist Academy and the Sverdlov Communist University. From 1924 until his death in 1935, he worked for the Communist International.
Martynov was an advocate of the two stage theory, that a fully capitalist government was needed to run well into its course before socialism and thereafter communism could be possible.Bloodlands
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin is a book by Yale historian Timothy D. Snyder, first published by Basic Books on October 28, 2010. In the book, Snyder examines the political, cultural and ideological context tied to a specific area of land, under which Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany committed mass killing of an estimated 14 million non-combatants between the years 1933 and 1945, the majority outside the death camps of the Holocaust. Snyder's thesis is that the "bloodlands", a region which comprised what is modern-day Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and the Baltic states, is the area where the regimes of Stalin and Hitler, despite their conflicting goals, interacted to increase suffering and bloodshed many times worse than any seen in western history. Snyder notes similarities between the two totalitarian regimes, while also noting enabling interactions that reinforced the destruction and suffering brought to bear on non-combatants. Making use of many new primary and secondary sources from eastern Europe, Snyder brings scholarship to many forgotten, misunderstood, or incorrectly remembered parts of the history, particularly noting that most victims were killed outside the concentration camps of the respective regimes. Snyder estimates that the Nazis were responsible for about twice as many noncombatant killings as Stalin's regime.The book earned many positive reviews and has been called "revisionist history of the best kind". The book was awarded numerous prizes, including the 2013 Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought.Collectivization in Yugoslavia
Socialist Yugoslavia enforced the collectivization (Serbo-Croatian: колективизација / kolektivizacija) of its agricultural sector between 1946 and 1952. The policy, as per directions issued in February 1946, aimed to consolidate individual landholdings and labour into collective farms (Peasants' Work Cooperatives). The Yugoslav government followed the pattern of the Soviet Union, with two types of farms, the state farms and collective farms. The peasants' holdings were operated under government supervision, the state farms owned by the governments were operated by hired labour. Of the European communist states, Yugoslavia ranked second, behind Bulgaria, in proportion of peasant households in collectives. In 1950, 21.9% of arable land and 18.1% of households were under collectivization. The Cazin rebellion of May 1950 was a peasant revolt against the state.Dekulakization
Dekulakization (Russian: раскулачивание, raskulachivanie; Ukrainian: розкуркулення, rozkurkulennia) was the Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of millions of prosperous peasants and their families in the 1929–1932 period of the First five-year plan. To facilitate the expropriations of farmland, the Soviet government portrayed kulaks as class enemies of the USSR.
More than 1.8 million peasants were deported in 1930–1931. The campaign had the stated purpose of fighting counter-revolution and of building socialism in the countryside. This policy, carried out simultaneously with collectivization in the Soviet Union, effectively brought all agriculture and all the peasants in Soviet Russia under state control.
Hunger, disease and mass executions during dekulakization led to between 530,000 and 600,000 deaths from 1929 to 1933. The results soon became known outside the Soviet Union.Deportations of the Ingrian Finns
Deportations of the Ingrian Finns were a series of mass deportations of the Ingrian Finnish population by Soviet authorities. Deportations took place from the late 1920s to the end of World War II.Earth (1930 film)
Earth (Ukrainian: Земля, translit. Zemlya) is a 1930 Soviet propaganda film by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko, concerning the process of collectivization and the hostility of Kulak landowners. It is Part 3 of Dovzhenko's "Ukraine Trilogy" (along with Zvenigora and Arsenal).
Earth is regarded as Dovzhenko's masterpiece.First five-year plan
The first five-year plan (Russian: I пятилетний план, первая пятилетка) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a list of economic goals, created by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, based on his policy of Socialism in One Country. The plan was implemented in 1928 and took effect until 1932.
The Soviet Union entered a series of five-year plans which began in 1928 under the rule of Joseph Stalin. Stalin launched what would later be referred as a "revolution from above" to improve the Soviet Union’s domestic policy. The policies were centered around rapid industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture. Stalin desired to remove and replace any policies created under the New Economic Policy.The plan, overall, was to transition the Soviet Union from a weak, poorly controlled, agriculture state, into an industrial powerhouse. While the vision was grand, its planning was ineffective and unrealistic given the short amount of time given to meet the desired goals.In 1929, Stalin edited the plan to include the creation of "kolkhoz" collective farming systems that stretched over thousands of acres of land and had hundreds of thousands of peasants working on them. The creation of collective farms essentially destroyed the kulaks as a class (dekulakization). Another consequence of this is that peasants resisted by killing their farm animals rather than turning them over to the State when their farms were collectivized. Stalin's collectivization policies led to a famine in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan as well as areas of the Northern Caucasus. Public machine and tractor stations were set up throughout the USSR, and peasants were allowed to use these public tractors to farm the land, increasing the food output per peasant. Peasants were allowed to sell any surplus food from the land. However, the government planners failed to take notice of local situations. In 1932, grain production was 32% below average; to add to this problem, procurement of food increased by 44%. Agricultural production was so disrupted that famine broke out in several districts.Because of the plan's reliance on rapid industrialization, major cultural changes had to occur in tandem. As this new social structure arose, conflicts occurred among some of the majority of the populations. In Turkmenistan, for example, the Soviet policy of collectivization shifted their production from cotton to food products. Such a change caused unrest within a community that had already existed prior to this external adjustment, and between 1928 and 1932, Turkmen nomads and peasants made it clear through methods like passive resistance that they did not agree with such policies.Holodomor
The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомо́р; derived from морити голодом, "to kill by starvation") was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. It is also known as the Terror-Famine and Famine-Genocide in Ukraine, and sometimes referred to as the Great Famine or The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–33. It was part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–33, which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country. During the Holodomor, millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.Early estimates of the death toll by scholars and government officials varied greatly. According to higher estimates, up to 12 million ethnic Ukrainians were said to have perished as a result of the famine. A U.N. joint statement signed by 25 countries in 2003 declared that 7–10 million perished. Research has since narrowed the estimates to between 3.3 and 7.5 million. According to the findings of the Court of Appeal of Kiev in 2010, the demographic losses due to the famine amounted to 10 million, with 3.9 million direct famine deaths, and a further 6.1 million birth deficit.Some scholars believe that the famine was planned by Joseph Stalin to eliminate a Ukrainian independence movement. Using Holodomor in reference to the famine emphasises its man-made aspects, arguing that actions such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs, and restriction of population movement confer intent, defining the famine as genocide; the loss of life has been compared to that of the Holocaust. The causes are still a subject of academic debate, and some historians dispute its characterization as a genocide.Kulak
The kulaks (; Russian: кула́к, tr. kulak, IPA: [kʊˈlak] (listen), plural кулаки́, "fist", by extension "tight-fisted"; kurkuli in Ukraine, but also used in Russian texts in Ukrainian contexts) were a category of affluent peasants in the later Russian Empire, Soviet Russia and the early Soviet Union. The word kulak originally referred to independent farmers in the Russian Empire who emerged from the peasantry and became wealthy following the Stolypin reform, which began in 1906. The label of kulak was broadened in 1918 to include any peasant who resisted handing over their grain to detachments from Moscow. During 1929–1933, Joseph Stalin's leadership of the total campaign to collectivize the peasantry meant that "peasants with a couple of cows or five or six acres more than their neighbors" were labeled "kulaks".According to the political theory of Marxism–Leninism of the early 20th century, the kulaks were class enemies of the poorer peasants. Vladimir Lenin described them as "bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who fatten on famine". Marxism–Leninism had intended a revolution to liberate poor peasants and farm laborers alongside the proletariat (urban and industrial workers). In addition, the command economy of Soviet Bolshevism required the collectivization of farms and land to allow industrialization or conversion to large-scale agricultural production. In practice, government officials violently seized kulak farms and killed resisters while others were deported to labor camps. Another result of dekulakization was the mass migration of these "class enemies" from the countryside to the cities following the loss of their property as it was turned over to the collective as part of the collectivization campaign.Land reform
Land reform (also agrarian reform, though that can have a broader meaning) involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Land reform can, therefore, refer to transfer of ownership from the more powerful to the less powerful, such as from a relatively small number of wealthy (or noble) owners with extensive land holdings (e.g., plantations, large ranches, or agribusiness plots) to individual ownership by those who work the land. Such transfers of ownership may be with or without compensation; compensation may vary from token amounts to the full value of the land.Land reform may also entail the transfer of land from individual ownership—even peasant ownership in smallholdings—to government-owned collective farms; it has also, in other times and places, referred to the exact opposite: division of government-owned collective farms into smallholdings. The common characteristic of all land reforms, however, is modification or replacement of existing institutional arrangements governing possession and use of land. Thus, while land reform may be radical in nature, such as through large-scale transfers of land from one group to another, it can also be less dramatic, such as regulatory reforms aimed at improving land administration.Nonetheless, any revision or reform of a country's land laws can still be an intensely political process, as reforming land policies serves to change relationships within and between communities, as well as between communities and the state. Thus even small-scale land reforms and legal modifications may be subject to intense debate or conflict.Mennonites in Paraguay
Mennonites in Paraguay are either ethnic Mennonites with mostly Flemish, Frisian and German ancestry and who speak Plautdietsch or of mixed (southern European/Amerindian) or Amerindian ancestry like the vast majority of Paraguayans. Ethnic Mennonites contribute heavily to the agricultural and dairy output of Paraguay.Political repression in the Soviet Union
Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, tens of millions of people suffered political repression, which was an instrument of the state since the October Revolution. It culminated during the Stalin era, then declined, but continued to exist during the "Khrushchev Thaw", followed by increased persecution of Soviet dissidents during the Brezhnev stagnation, and did not cease to exist until late in Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika.Sovkhoz
A State farm or Soviet farm (Russian: совхо́з, IPA: [sɐfˈxos] (listen), abbreviated from советское хозяйство, "sovetskoye khozyaistvo (sovkhoz)"; Ukrainian: радгосп, translit. radhósp), is a state-owned farm. The term originated in the Soviet Union, hence the name.
The term is still in use in some post-Soviet states. It is usually contrasted with kolkhoz, which is a collective-owned farm. Unlike the members of a kolkhoz, which were called "kolkhozniks" (колхозники), the workers of a sovkhoz were officially called "sovkhoz workers" (работники совхозов) and rarely (and then only colloquially) "sovkhozniki".Soyot
The Soyot people live mainly in the Oka region in the Okinsky District in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. According to the 2010 census, there were 3,608 Soyots in Russia. Their extinct language was of a Turkic type and basically similar to the Tuvans. Their language has been reconstructed and a textbook has been published. The language is currently taught in some schools in Oka. The Oka River, the largest river flowing down from the Western Sayans into the Angara is called the Ok-hem meaning "an arrow-river" by the Soyots of the Oka River basin.They live dispersed among the Buryats and now speak the Buryat language.The Great Transformation
The Great Transformation may refer to:
The Great Transformation (book), a book by Karl Polanyi on the rise of the market economy in England
The Great Transformation (Norway), a period of social change in Norway in the mid-to-late-19th century
Great Transformation, a term for collectivization in the Soviet Union
Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature, a later Stalinist policyVictor Kravchenko (defector)
Viktor Andreevich Kravchenko (Ukrainian: Віктор Андрійович Кра́вченко, 11 October 1905 – 25 February 1966) was a Soviet defector, known for writing the best-selling book, I Chose Freedom, published in 1946, about the realities of life in the Soviet Union.
Kravchenko defected to the United States during World War II, and began writing about his experiences as an official in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and raising awareness of the Holodomor.
Soviet Union topics