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To what extent do the sources agree that Russian Government Policy on agriculture consistently failed and that peasants resisted it both under Tsarist and Communist rule?

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Introduction

Question A - Study Sources 1-6 and answer the question: To what extent do the sources agree that Russian Government Policy on agriculture consistently failed and that peasants resisted it both under Tsarist and Communist rule? The definition of a peasant remains the same throughout the period studied; 'A peasant is a person who permanantly lives and works on the land'. The peasants resistance was either a physical or mental movement where they opposed and refused to comply with new agricultural reforms passed. The initial impressions gathered from sources one to six is that consistant failure of agricultural policy is dominant throughout, yet peasants resistance is not so easy to detect. The period covered by the sources, begin and end with consistant agriculture failure. Sources 4, 5 and 6 show consistant policy failure during the communist rule of Khrushchev. Source 6 written by Alex Nove describes 'the picture as a whole was very disappointing', this description agrees with the account given in source 4 that the Virgin Lands Scheme was 'Poorly organised, with stupid decisions and ill-concevied strategies',therefore supporting consistant failure. Source 6 disagrees with source 4 as Nove believed that the failure of the Virgin Lands Scheme was due to Krushchev inheritance of a generation of 'neglect and impoverishment'. ...read more.

Middle

Source 5 shows limited evidence of peasants resistance towards Krushchev agricultural reforms. Alexander II was the First Tsar leader in the period studied. In source 1, Ronald Hingley supports Alexander II success 'the emperors achievement is one of momentous moral and symbolic significance', Peter Oxley agrees that Alexander was the 'Tsar Liberator'. However, Hingley predominantly supports the failure of the emancipation, 'most of the liberated serfs resented recieveing too little land for their needs', 'Nor the freedom granted to them was by any means complete, after 1861 individual peasants remained bound in various ways to their village communes', this shows peasants resistance and failure of reforms. Hingley describes the positive aspects 'peasants were freed and were granted a size of allotment'. However there were still limitations and peasants had a negative attitude towards the policies due to the taxes they had to pay as they 'remained subject to legal discrimination'. Source 1 implies slight support from the peasants yet shows great resistance. Sources 5, 4 and 1 support the failure of the agricultural reforms but do provide some support for the various new policies, also Sources 1 and 6 are similar due to the peasants initial enthusiasm for the new agricultural reforms. ...read more.

Conclusion

This source contradicts source 6 as Nove believed that it was due to Stalin that Krushchev policies were failures, yet source 3 implies his success 'we have improved the quality of grain beyond all measure'. The reliablity of Source 3 is questionable due to Stalins desire to impress Churchill and attempt to gain appreciation of his policy of collectivisation. In conclusion sources 1 to 6 all help us to create a greater understanding of Russia during the Tsar and Communist leadership. The peasants resistance continued to be a predominant problem for all rulers when attempting to enforce new agricultural ideology, however the sources only support the question to a slight extent due to lack of evidence. The main factor of the failure of the agricultural reforms was the inability of the rulers to meet the peasants needs and compromise with them to realise their contribution to the success of their plans. All of the sources show consistant failure, however the extent of the failure depends on each source, and the sources show higher incidents of agricultural failure rather than peasants resistance. Although all of the sources are helpfull, their reliability is limited and therefore more sources must be analysed to discover the extent of the peasants resistance and the agricultural failures. ...read more.

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