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How far did government policies change towards agriculture in Russia in the period 1856-1964?

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Introduction

´╗┐How far did government policies change towards agriculture in Russia in the period 1856-1964? Throughout the period 1856-1964, there was considerable change and continuity between the different agricultural policies implemented by successive Russian governments. From how they regarded and engaged with the peasantry, to the investment that was put into agriculture and how famines were caused and dealt with. For the Tsarists and the Communists the peasantry has always represented the biggest obstacle to progress, the desire for both regimes was to transform and control rural life through their respective agricultural policies. Appointed Prime Minister (1906) by Nicholas II[1], Stolypin was instructed to overhaul government policy on land distribution and thus capitalise on the now free peasants in order to ?wager on the strong?[2]: in which he meant the wealthier peasants. The Emancipation Edict (1861)[3] created these, now free, peasants out of the slavery of Serfdom. Once working on the lands of the Lord of the Manner these peasants were given an allocation of land by the government ? for which they would pay for over 49 years of redemption payments at 6% interest.[4] The result of this extra burden on the peasants, along with the fact they now farmed land that was now, on average, 1/5th less than before emancipation,[5] was initially severe disturbances: 1859 in the year of emancipation, reducing to 65 eight years later.[6] The downward trend is then perhaps evidence that peasants felt they had gained something from emancipation. Nevertheless, unrest peaked in 1905-1907 during Nicholas II?s reign[7] ? Stolypin?s aim was to create a wealthier more productive class of peasants out of these disgruntled ones. These would, in theory, be more loyal to the Tsar. With the opening of the Peasant Land Bank (1883)[8] ? allowing peasants to purchase land ? and the weakening of the Mir ? allowing peasants to consolidate this land into small holdings ? Stolypin?s Reforms led to an increase from 48,271 independent farms in 1907, to 134,544 in 1913[9]. ...read more.

Middle

With the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in the October revolution came civil war. After a brief spell of State Capitalism between 1917 and 1918[44] the government decided to take direct control of economic life with War Communism ? in June 1918 a decree nationalised all industries.[45] Production would collapse though, as the transportation of goods and raw materials were disrupted by the Civil War (1918-21). In order for industry to continue production the urban workings needed feeding. Yet the farming production had also dropped: the index fell from 100 in 1913, to 31 in 1921.[46] Lenin, in spite of the inevitable results on the peasants, sent in the requisitioning squads into the villages in 1918-1920 to collect grain.[47] In the latter two years they also confiscated seed-grain and subsistence food that the peasants needed to feed themselves and their families.[48] The Civil War may have been unavoidable, but the confiscation of grain during it helped lead to the deaths of 5 million people during the famine of 1921-22.[49] The inaction on the side of the Communist government only escaped shouldering the responsibility of more deaths by reluctantly accepting support from the American Relief Administration: an estimated 14 million people were kept alive as a result.[50] Lenin did attempt to redeem himself with the New Economic Policy (1921) [51] at the end of the Civil War ? as it was clear his government was facing a national emergency. In order to spur on the recovery of agriculture, Lenin old the Tenth Party Congress to ?let the peasants have their little bit of capitalism.?[52] With this a Tsarist style free market, on which the peasants could trade any surplus crops, was reintroduced. Production went up and by 1925 grain harvest was 72.5 million tons, compared to 37.6 million in 1921.[53] Throughout the Civil War there had been little regard for the starving peasants, but with it drawing to a close Lenin saw his opportunity to undo his mainly manmade famine. ...read more.

Conclusion

p114-121. [32] Holland, A (2002). Russian and its Rulers 1885-1964. P134-135. [33] Holland, A (2002). Russian and its Rulers 1885-1964. P134-135. [34] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [35] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [36] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [37] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [38] Lynch, M (2008). From Autocracy to Communism 1894-1941. p141-144. [39] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [40] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [41] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [42] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [43] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p263-265. [44] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p124-129. [45] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p124-129. [46] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p124-129. [47] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p124-129. [48] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p124-129. [49] American Experience. (2011). The Great Famine. Available: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/famine/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2014. [50] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p124-129. [51] Evans, D/ Jenkins, J (2008). Russia, The USSR and the Collapse of Soviet Communism. P 271-280. [52] Oxley, P (2001) Russia ? From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. P131. [53] Hove, A (1992). An Economic History of the USSR, 1917-1991. p89. [54] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. p45-46. [55] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. P45-46. [56] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. P45-46. [57] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. P45-46. [58] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. P45-46. [59] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. P45-46. [60] Oxley, P (2001). Russia - From Tsars to Commissars 1885-1991. P45-46 ...read more.

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