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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 Tsarists 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 Tsarists and Communist rule. The Tsars had ruled Russia for centuries before the October revolution in 1917 that led to the Tsars eventual downfall. This revolution brought Lenin back to Russia to lead and the start of Communist rule. When Lenin died Stalin took over the communist rule and he started making many policies to do with industrialisation and agricultural issues. A source one deal with the emancipation statue of 1861 and at the beginning of the source, agrees that the emancipation act did start off a good idea 'Alexander II freed more slaves than Abraham Lincoln'. As this emancipation was a moral achievement, serfdom was being noticed as wrong and trying to be solved. But the source then goes on to agree that the policy failed after in was put into practice stating ' most of the liberated serfs resented receiving too little land for their needs and having to pay more for it than they could afford. This provides evidence of how the introduction of redemption payments undermined the fundamental aims of the policy. There were major limitations to the emancipation act the main being that in the end the tsar still had control over the peasants.' the peasants were bound in various ways to their village communes'. ...read more.

Middle

I would infer that the peasant is from the Ukraine because there the reforms were doing ok and there were more fertile lands whereas in west Russia the lands were much less fertile and the weather conditions were much worse. This source does suggest that this reform did bring some success, but the overall picture was that many peasants preferred social security and not taking such risks by selling their land, and this then lead to the failure of the policy. Source three is a conversation between Winston Churchill and Stalin on collectivisation. But one thing to consider with this source is that we do not know where the source actually came from, as it is not in Churchill's diaries and nothing else is mentioned, this meaning it lacks some reliability. It is also Stalin's view of his own collective farm policy, so is another reason why the source has to be objectively. Churchill is talking to Stalin in a very positive/sympathetic way but really he had to considering the political situation he was in. The talk took place during world war two and at this time Stalin was keeping the eastern front open, helping Churchill. So he could not make an enemy of Stalin. The source does provide evidence that the policy was a failure, by referring to the collective Farm policy as 'a terrible struggle'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source 5 backs up the idea that the scheme should have been more successful, as the target for 1965 was 170, and only 114 was achieved. Source six also agrees that Khrushchev's policy was on the whole a failure, blaming its failure on Khrushchev's inheritance of 'a generation of neglect' for its failure. What source six also points out is ' change could only come by order from above' which meant that the government policy on emancipation and the virgin lands caused the failure of these schemes as they were poorly organised. Like in source four and source one, the peasants were left with no initiative and no real freedom and success like they were always promised and never given. Alec Nove, the source writer who is a respected historian also mentions that about collectivisation 'ensured that they be imposed on a set pattern regardless of local circumstances, so as to report what Moscow wanted to hear'. This referencing to source three and how Stalin imposed the local farming policy. Overall, it is clear that the sources do agree that most of the agricultural policies did consistently fail and there was evidence that it was resisted under both Tsarist and Communist rule. Some of the sources do need to be treated with some question due to the writer of the source being objective as in sources 3 and 4, but all of the sources do agree that all of the agricultural policies during the period did fail to some extent. ...read more.

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