Repressive de-peasantization in the USSR as a research question: Approaches and search for new solutions

Krasilnikov S. A. Repressive de-peasantization in the USSR as a research question: Approaches and search for new solutions // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2024. V.9. №1. P. 6-22.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2024-9-1-6-22


When considering the peasant component of special settlements in Stalin’s epoch, the author proposes to combine the repressive paradigm with the socially transformative one, which leads to the idea of repressive de-peasantization. This term focuses on the peasantry and peasant families deportation to special settlements as a state policy based on coercion, violence and discipline through punishment, which resulted in the loss of the most basic values (including religious ones) by the peasantry, the deformation of labor incentives and ethos, the transformation of family models and intergenerational ties. These issues are considered in the article through their study since the late 1980s (historiographical approach). Thus, the conceptual “breakthrough” (N. A. Ivnitsky, V.Ya. Shashkov, V.N. Zemskov) limited this analysis to the records of the central authorities, and the dictate of such sources affected the historical discourse, determining the dominance of quantitative characteristics (numbers, dislocations, spheres of labor application, living conditions, etc.) and the ignorance of the implicit qualitative aspects of the exiles’ life (marginality, adaptability, excessiveness, everyday activities). Having noted the presence of terminological ‘relics’ in contemporary historical works (“raskulachivanie”, or de-kulakization, “legal status”, etc.), the author emphasizes the need to consider such qualitative concepts as “regulation of special settlements”, “hierarchy of exiles”, “intergenerational ties and conflicts”, and “the price of repression”. As the basis of de-peasantization, the social-professional mobility of the exiled peasantry, including to other strata (workers, employees), was generally leveled by its regime status.


Forced de-peasantization, dynamics of research, peasant family, exile, special settlement regime, mobility, marginalization.

About the author

Krasilnikov Sergey A., DSc (History), Chief Researcher, Institute of History, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Nikolaeva St., 8, Novosibirsk, 630090.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

The article was submitted on 06.12.2023.


Read 100 times Last modified on Jun 10 2024

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