Chayanov A.V. A Short Course on Cooperation (Article of A.V. Chayanov) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2019. V.4. №2. P. 8-56.
Translated from: Chayanov A., A Short Course on Cooperation Published by the Central Partnership “Cooperative Publishing House,” Moscow, 1925.
Peasant cooperative movement was one of the most important topics in Alexander Chayanov’s scientific, organizational and pedagogical work. He wrote many articles and books on agricultural cooperation, and had hundreds of classes with students at universities and with peasants to explain and discuss various cooperative issues. Finally, Chayanov presented his conception of the ways to develop agricultural cooperation in his famous book Basic Ideas and Forms of Peasant Cooperation2. At the same time, Chayanov was a talented and passionate popularizer and propagandist of cooperative knowledge among the wider population. Thus, on the basis of his lectures for the Old Believers’ Agricultural Courses “Friend of Land” in Moscow in 1915, he published a booklet A Short Course on Cooperation, and in the next 10 years it was reprinted four times and became a desk book on cooperation for many Russian peasants, agronomists, and activists of rural development. This short course presents clear and unambiguous definitions of cooperation and its aims; each chapter is illustrated with popular historical and contemporary examples of the cooperative movement and of the interaction between peasant farms and specific types of cooperatives. This booklet reminds of two great genres of world literature. On the one hand, it is a propaedeutic ABC of Cooperation, like Leo Tolstoy’s ABC for Children. On the other hand, it is a political-economic Cooperative Manifesto, similar to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Communist Manifesto, in which Chayanov describes a fascinating struggle of the Russian and international cooperative movement for the new just social world. Under the current rural development, Chayanov’s Short Course on Cooperation is not only of a historical interest; it is an outstanding example of the unity of cooperative thoughts and deeds aimed at improving the lives of the broad strata of rural workers all over the world. This Chayanov’s work was translated into English from its fourth and last lifetime edition of 19253.
The publication with comments was prepared by A.M. Nikulin.
agricultural cooperation, peasants, consumer cooperatives, credit cooperatives, marketing cooperatives, dairy cooperatives, cooperative solidarity
About the authors
Editor: Nikulin Alexander M., PhD (Economics), Head of the Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.
Translator: Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571.