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Collectivization Results

"Gorbachev Factor"

Stalin’s extraordinary agricultural policies had momentous effects for the country’s subsequent development and sounded the death knell for the old peasant Russia. The collectivization drove millions of peasants out of the countryside to the cities and construction sites, providing inexhaustible cheap labor to accomplish the great industrial leap. Until the end of his days Stalin prided himself on the achievements of his collectivization, referring to it as the “Second Revolution” after the October Revolution.  

The Soviet leadership saw its agricultural policy as subordinate to the needs of the industrial restructuring of the country. The collectivization enabled it to supply the expanding industries with raw materials, feed the factory workers, accumulate financial resources by exporting grain, and maintain a constant flow of surplus rural population to man new construction sites and industrial units.

The state could now dictate its mandatory procurement plans for agricultural produce and industrial crops that were increased from year to year. These compulsory deliveries were burdensome for the peasants, as the state procurement prices were set many times lower than the market value. On the positive side, the collective farms benefited from industrialization by receiving more machinery to substitute for the workstock lost during the collectivization. As the output of tractors, combine harvesters, trucks and other machinery picked up, it became possible to set up so-called machine-tractor stations that specialized in providing mechanized services to collective farms.

In the long run the triumph of Soviet power in the countryside turned out to be a pyrrhic victory. Despite Stalin’s “socialist transformation of agriculture,” no genuine modernization of the agrarian sector took place during the 1930s. Despite decades of “building socialism,” the country that had been one of the world’s main grain producers and exporters before the revolution was unable to produce enough grain for domestic consumption and was obliged to begin to import grain beginning in 1963. The chronic backwardness of the agrarian sector and its inability to meet growing consumer demands fueled discontent in Soviet society.

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"Great Leap" to Socialism


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