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"Collectivisation was undoubtedly a real revolution from above in the countryside." Do the results of collectivisation justify this conculusion?

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Introduction

"Collectivisation was undoubtedly a real revolution from above in the countryside." Do the results of collectivisation justify this conculusion? Stalin's policy of collectivisation has often been accredited to have ruined Russian agriculture and unnecessarily caused untold misery to many millions of simple peasants. In this essay I aim to analyse whether Stalin's programme of collectivisation in the 1930s was a the "revolution from above" of which he claimed it was, or if it was in fact an overly brutal and hideously ineffective policy. This term is used to explain a process whereby a government uses its power to instate drastic change, with presumably beneficial results. In this essay I will argue that Stalin's policy of collectivisation did not succeed at all as a revolution, and was indeed a hindrance to Russian agriculture. I aim to answer the question through looking at Stalin's success in three main areas, economic, political and social (due to the sheer mortality rate). ...read more.

Middle

Thus it would be fair to say that collectivisation actually caused economic regression, and was flawed in the progressive, revolutionary sense as well as economically. Collectivisation was not just used for economic gain, but for political gain. Harsh policy was designed to break the peasantry and the system of liquidisation of the Kulaks served to rid the countryside of a potentially "capitalist" element. The peasantry were never again able to hold the state to ransom as they had done in 1921, as through a system of control and brutalisation they came to realise the awful power of Stalin and the Russian state, or as Viola states "The process of collectivisation served to brutalise and perhaps atomise the rural population". From the accounts of Vasily Grossman and Leo Kopelev it is possible to ascertain the extent to which the Russian people were indoctrinated into believing Stalin's processes were justified, and that the liquidisation of the Kulaks was necessary, or as Kopelev puts it "Our great goal was the universal triumph of Communism". ...read more.

Conclusion

Even at its lowest this represents a sickening disregard for human life, and when it is considered that the mortality figures are worse than the effects of "the Great Purge or any of the famines during the Tsarist Period" (Gordon), it is clear that no real revolution took place. Surely no progress is being made when the famines of the Collectivist era are considered to be worse than those of the Tsarist, especially when it is considered that many of the famines were effectively engineered by Stalin, due to importation of already scarce grain. It is argued that life during the Collectivist era was not as uncomfortable as is often suggested, with cr�ches set up for women workers children and literacy classes started for women. However attendance to these classes was compulsory and harsh punishments were imposed for absence. Therefore it is conclusion that by no means did Stalin achieve a revolution from above, except perhaps in political terms, which only served to undermine his economic policy, rather I would argue that collectivisation represented an unmitigated disaster for the Russian peasantry. ...read more.

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