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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? From these sources, it is clear to see that Russian government policy on agriculture consistently failed and that peasants consistently resisted it under both Tsarist and Communist rule. The abolition of serfdom had done little to gear Russia towards modernisation. This is evidently shown in source one with the peasantry remaining "subject to legal discrimination", i.e. they remained bound to their village commune. The introduction of the strip system saw peasants receiving "too little land for their needs" thus Russia found it increasingly difficult to feed the nations growing numbers. Emancipation was a failure particularly for the peasants who could do nothing to better themselves as change could only come from above. Continuity of this theme is present in source six where peasant initiative was treated with "instinctive suspicion". ...read more.

Middle

Continuity of peasant resistance is implicitly presented in source three. Stalin refers to the "greatest trouble" of his policy was to "explain" it to the peasants. From hindsight, we can see that this 'explaining' went beyond just talking, but dealing with resistance very severely. This is suggested later on in the source, but is subtle as a distortion of the actual truth. Stalin refers to giving some of the Kulak "land of their own to cultivate" in the provinces of Tomsk and Irkutuk. This is a very subtle way of expressing that peasants who opposed were sent into Siberian exile. Relating back to source one, we can see the continuity of quickly getting rid of resistance by Siberian exile, though source one expresses it much more explicitly. Stalin also refers to the "great bulk" of the Kulaks being unpopular and wiped out by their "labourers". This is an obvious distortion of the truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

While this source appears to provide reasonably reliable data, there is no indication of where this source comes from. We cannot tell if true figures have been disguised. However, source four may give us an idea that source five does represent true figures. Source four highlights the failure of Krushchev's "poorly organised" virgin land scheme. The source claims the scheme was popular, but the leadership made a mess of it, "stupid decisions...ill-conceived strategies". However, this is one person's interpretation, the interpretation of Shevardnadse, who may be biased in his view maybe having a go at previous leaders to make himself and Gorbachev look better and show they will not make the same mistakes. Source six contradicts Shevardnadse highlighting that the Harvests were "badly affected by adverse weather". Leaders of course cannot control the weather. Despite this, the government was wrong to set unrealistically high aims. In conclusion, it is clear to see that Russian government policy on agriculture was a failure and that peasants consistently resisted it. However it was more of a failure for peasants, who suffered the worst of the policies. ...read more.

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