In historiography, agricultural transformations started by G. M. Malenkov and N. S. Khrushchev are usually considered as having improved the situation of the peasantry and the level of production. The author assesses the effectiveness of these reforms with a microhistorical approach based on the study of the collective farm Bolshevik in the Pravdinsky district of the Kaliningrad Region — as typical for the region and the country. The research is based on the archives of this kolkhoz: collective farmers’, communist party members’ and managers’ meetings, annual reports, documents of the regional agricultural authorities. The article describes the main changes in the structure of agricultural production: reorganization of labor brigades, daily routines and machine-tractor stations, consolidation of the collective farm, etc. The author examines the state policy regarding personal subsidiary economies of collective farmers: on the one hand, there were new restrictions, on the other hand, resources of peasant economies improved the statistical indicators of the kolkhoz. The article focuses on administrative and economic ways for motivating peasants to work in the collective farm and shows their inconsistency in terms of increasing labor productivity. Annual statistical reports of the collective farm on animal husbandry and crop production show no sustainable growth of any indicators and only modest progress due to the extensive methods of development and exploitation of the collective farmers’ personal subsidiary economies. The author emphasizes the absence of any significant results from the 1950s reforms which did not affect the roots of the collective-farm system inefficiency.
Agrarian reforms, microhistory, Kaliningrad Region, collective farm, machine-tractor station, personal subsidiary economies, G. M. Malenkov, N. S. Khrushchev.
Maksim V. Filev, PhD Student, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University. 236041, Kaliningrad, Alexander Nevsky St., 14.
The author reconstructs the history of the Plotnikovo village in the Novosibirsk district of the Novosibirsk Region in the late 1920s – 1930s. The research was conducted in the microhistoric format, which allows to consider the agrarian history of Russia in the everyday perspective of its direct actors – peasants united in their primary communities. The article aims at presenting the course of collectivization and its price for a certain rural settlement. In the Plotnikovo village, collectivization began at the end of 1929 with the creation of a giant commune which collapsed after the publication of Stalin’s article “Dizzy with Success”. The small collective farm “Zavety Ilyicha” was established on the basis of this commune. Collectivization resumed in 1931 and ended in the late 1930s. The author also considers anti-peasant repressions, de-kulakization, local famine in 1934-1935, state regulations of the size of the collective farmers’ smallholdings, behavioral strategies of peasants and rural officials. The author concludes that in the early 1940s the Plotnikovo village was at the same or even lower level of development than in the early 1920s. Thus, in general collectivization had a negative impact on the development of agricultural productive forces in the village under study, and the difficulties the villagers survived in the 1930s cannot be counted – only named by V.P. Danilov’s term ‘tragedy of the Soviet village’.
Peasantry, village, agrarian policy of the Soviet state, collectivization, collective farms, smallholdings, microhistory, Siberia, Т. Shanin, V.P. Danilov.
Il’inykh Vladimir A., DSc (History), Head of the Agrarian and Demographic History Sector, Institute of History, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 630090, Novosibirsk, Ac. Nikolaev St., 8.