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

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Introduction

To what extent do the sources agree that Russian government policy on agriculture consistently failed and that peasants resisted it under both Tsarist and Communist rule? Source 1 acknowledges that the emancipation 'conferred freedom on many millions of men, women and children'. Serfdom had prevented the industrial growth and introduction of modern agricultural methods. The abolition of Serfdom was in their mind the only method of preventing a peasant's revolt. Source 1 however states that the majority of peasants were still 'bound to their village communes' after the emancipation, emphasising the failure of land policies that had been set up after the end of Serfdom. Source 1 states the peasants did resist because they felt that the policies did not suite their needs and because they had to pay money for their land, it can be argued that this demonstrates that the policies were a failure because they were designed so that the peasants could not afford the repayments anyway. The source also contains a negative tone with verbs such as 'resented' and 'resisted'. The peasant's resistance was aroused during the emancipation due to unpopularity of the policies. This is mentioned in Source 1 and Source 2. ...read more.

Middle

Sergei Semenov concludes in Source 2 that a 'bright new future lies ahead of the peasants'. Collectivisation began the real decline for peasantry. Stalin in Source 3 describes the collective farm policy as a 'terrible struggle' but affirms that it was 'absolutely necessary for Russia'. This was only 'necessary' because policies including Lenin's NEP had previously failed. Collectivisation was regarded as a failure, as was the agricultural productivity which made no obvious change despite Stalin's claims in Source 3 that they had 'vastly increased the food supply' and 'improved quality beyond all measures'. Stalin clearly blames the peasants for the problems with collective farming, 'tractors were spoiled in a few months' this is consistent with Edward Shevardnadze's account in Source 4 of the Virgin Lands Scheme 'we watched helplessly as equipment brought began to break down' however he does not place the blame with the peasants but on the policies that failed and the bad planning and decisions that were made. The integrity of the source is somewhat questioned in two ways. Source 4 was written after the fall of communism in 1991 when many changes were currently taking place, and the Source may have been an attempt to blame the government who made the decisions instead of the communists ideology which he may want to protect. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source 6 also claims the agricultural problems under Khrushchev were 'inherited' by Stalin. This evidence is consistent with the idea that government agricultural policy under Tsarist and Communist rule was a consistent failure. Examining Source 3 and 4 this assumption is verified. In Source 3 Stalin struggles to justify his methods on collective farming while Shevardnadse in Source 4 recalls Krushchev's drive to develop the 'country's virgin lands and forests' and the many difficulties that he faced. In Conclusion it can be argued that Stalin's policies on forced collectivisation resulted in fierce peasant's resistance and led to a disruption in agricultural productivity and famine similarly to late tsarist Russia. The end result was that peasant's households had been collectivised and private land ownership eliminated but it had helped Stalin's goal of rapid industrialisation. This bares strong similarities to Tsarist policies on agriculture examined in the sources. The Tsars, by using serfdom, prevented a large empire from breaking up. However, social and political unrest and the many unpopular policies introduced by the government that did not benefit the peasants eventually led to large scale peasant's resistance and ultimately ended tsarist rule. ?? ?? ?? ?? Russia Coursework Assignment Irrum Khan 972 - 1 - ...read more.

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