By Michael Lynch
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Extra resources for Access to History. Stalin's Russia 1924-53
Such was the turmoil in the countryside that Stalin called a halt, blaming the troubles on over-zealous officials who had become ‘dizzy with success’. Many of the peasants were allowed to return to their original holdings. However, the delay was only temporary. Having cleared his name by blaming the difficulties on local officials, Stalin restarted collectivisation in a more determined, if somewhat slower, manner. 1). 1: Cumulative percentage of peasant holdings collectivised in the USSR, 1930–41.
It would create surplus food supplies that could be sold abroad to raise capital for Soviet industry. It would also decrease the number of rural workers needed and so release workers for the new factories. Key question Key term Key date What was Stalin’s motivation in persecuting the Kulaks? Collectivisation began: 1928 Kulaks Rich peasants who had grown wealthy under the New Economic Policy (see page 22). The Kulaks When introducing collectivisation in 1928, Stalin claimed that it was ‘voluntary’, the free and eager choice of the peasants.
It had, of course, been part of Stalin’s collectivisation plan to move the peasants into the industrial regions. However, so great was the 42 | Stalin’s Russia 1924–53 migration that a system of internal passports had to be introduced in an effort to control the flow. Some idea of the horrors can be obtained from the following contemporary account: Trainloads of deported peasants left for the icy North, the forests, the steppes, the deserts. These were whole populations, denuded of everything; the old folk starved to death in mid-journey, new-born babes were buried on the banks of the roadside, and each wilderness had its little cross of boughs or white wood.
Access to History. Stalin's Russia 1924-53 by Michael Lynch