How far do you agree Communist ideology influenced Stalin's decision to implement Collectivisation in 1928?

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 How far do you agree Communist ideology influenced Stalin’s decision to implement Collectivisation in 1928?

 Collectivisation was the agricultural policy, which Stalin adopted and began work on in the summer of 1928. The main features included, as Stalin quoted in Pravda

 “The transition from individual peasant farming to collective socialised farming,”

and the process of De-kulakisation. It was an agricultural policy necessary to try and combat the problem with the poor provision of grain by the peasants, a problem that had always been evident in Russia’s agricultural management.

 The heavy cost and brutality has led historians to offer a variety of explanations for why Collectivisation was used. Some pragmatists argue the original aim was to increase the tempo of industrialisation by increasing the grain procurement. Others draw emphasis on the process of De-kulakisation as a way of showing Stalin’s commitment to Marxism and Leninism by ridding the countryside of a ‘class enemy.’

Chapter 1 Marxism and feeding the revolution


 Marx argued the need for collective farming to benefit the needs of the workers therefore the ideology behind Collectivisation is its importance to the development of a Communist state,

They [the workers] must demand that the confiscated feudal property remain state property and be used for workers' colonies, cultivated collectively by the rural proletariat with all the advantages of large-scale farming.”

 However Marx was a German lawyer with little knowledge of the rural way of life, his references to Collectivisation were sweeping generalisations and more suited to the analyses of the French Revolution to which his ideology had originally been based upon, whereby its relevance to Russia’s agricultural problems in the 1930’s were minimal. This raises the suspicion that Stalin may have had little idea of the Communist influences on Collectivisation and suggests he had other reasons to implement it. Yet in 1928 after exports there was 10 million tonnes of grain left for the urban working population yet by 1930 there was 18 million tonnes. This clearly demonstrates evidence that Stalin was using Collectivisation to fulfil the Communist dream by feeding the workers, and Soviet historians during the 1930’s, influenced by the ‘short course’ history within Russia, agreed that Marx influenced Stalin’s choice to collectivise. Yet these interpretations were very biased towards Stalin’s commitment to Communist principles and have a higher reflection of propaganda than analytical ‘truth’ as they were the result of a desire to gain promotion within the party. For example, Khrushchev, during the 1930’s wrote admiringly of Stalin and his commitment to Communism.

 “Soviet Union is carrying out the great socialist ideas, the ideas of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin.” 

 But after 1953 Khrushchev revealed a very hostile view of Stalin, as he no longer needed to remain on his good side.

 “Honest Communists were slandered,”

 This shows; Stalin heavily influenced the Soviet historical interpretation.

 However Marxist historians support the view that Stalin was a dedicated Communist and used Collectivisation to feed the revolution and fulfil the Communist dream.

“Stalin was a hard man, but one who represented the views of many other people, and who forced through progressive economic and social changes.”

 The ‘view of many people’ especially during the struggle for power, was the importance of Communism. Two examples would be those within the Soviets and lower party members. This shows how important it was for Stalin to implement Collectivisation, to increase the tempo of industrialisation and keep the main desire of these groups, the prosperity of Communism, fulfilled. In context Deutscher’s view, was still dependent on a very small source of information, most of which was reminiscent of the 1930’s and very ‘pro-Stalin’. Therefore the quote is still of limited use due to its lack of analytical scope.

 Despite this there is clear evidence that one of the big influences on Stalin’s choice to collectivise was the way in which it would allow a more efficient requisitioning process, consequently injecting more food into the urban areas of Russia, which would help the USSR towards the ideological aim of creating a Communist workers utopia.

Chapter 2 Marxism and the social experiment

 Marx was also responsible for the term ‘Petit Bourgeois.’ This term refers to the peasantry who were conservative in nature with no interest in political change. Marx believed the best way to solve this problem was by the process of social engineering. Communal sharing and working together to feed the town or village are factors that Marx believed were involved in collective farming. Again, in evaluation Marx’s suggestions on rural implementation of Communism are vague due to his urban orientation, and Marx contradicted himself with the a separate belief in the ‘idiocy of rural life’. Stalin must have come across these contradictions in Marx’s writings, which suggests he had very little idea of what the Communist ideology contributed to the policy of Collectivisation and social engineering and whether it was a class war, or simply a war on peasants. Despite this one of the reasons for Collectivisation was, how it would effectively communicate the ideals of Communism to those who had little knowledge of it. Stalin’s attempt to remove the NEP supports the idea that Stalin was trying to increase the Communist influence within the countryside, as the NEP was in all senses a basic form of free trade and a mode of capitalism. It empowered the richer peasants or ‘Kulaks’ and Marx clearly stated the importance of removing the rural bourgeoisie. Marx identified ‘rural oppression’ in the countryside of poor peasantry by the richer peasantry (Kulaks) and Marxist historians maintain Stalin was using De-kulakisation to remove this oppression. As Stalin stated

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Talk about the Kulak being no more dangerous than the urban Nepman, such talk is sheer liberal chatter which lulls the vigilance of the working class and of the main mass of the peasantry.”

 This statement refers to the importance of removing the Kulaks in order to keep the working classes mindful of Communism. In this case Communist ideology greatly influenced Stalin’s choice to collectivise in 1928.

 Certain historians argue Stalin’s policies simply consolidated the formation of his own totalitarian regime. These Intentionalists would evaluate Stalin’s quote as an example of propaganda he used to increase his image as ...

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