This text is based on the presentation at the roundtable in memory of Teodor Shanin (Moscow, 23 October 2020) and on the recent author’s paper in press, which surveys Shanin’s work of the 1970s and 1980s. The author provides a guide to tracing Shanin’s main themes and issues. First, the family farm is usually if not invariably featured first in Shanin’s characterizations of peasants as a general or generic type. Second, Shanin sought explanations of peasant household reproduction in his model of ‘multidirectional and cyclical mobility’ against the ‘biological determinism’ linked to the organization-production school and against the ‘economic determinism’ of Marxists. Third, Shanin emphasized “life of a small community within which most of the peasant needs of social living and social reproduction can be met”, but he aimed to avoid a romantic view of the mir. Fourth, Shanin believed that “the definitions of peasantry, which view it as representing an aspect of the past surviving in the modern world, seem, on the whole, valid”, and that rural society can be understood in terms of labour and capital flows which are broader than agriculture. Fifth, Shanin wrote that the triple origins of Marx’s analytical thought suggested by Engels—German philosophy, French socialism and British political economy—should be supplemented by the Russian revolutionary populism. Sixth, Shanin argued that the concept of ‘peasant mode of production’ had too many heuristic limitations to be sustained. Finally, Shanin’s vision of an alternative to both capitalist development and the projects of Soviet style was firmly rooted in the legacy of Chayanov.
The publication introduces into the scientific discourse the note of A.V. Chayanov written by him as a member of the scientific-technical team of the All-Union Association of Workers of Science and Technology to promote the socialist development in the USSR. This note presents Chayanov’s proposals for solving the specific tasks of the spring agricultural campaign in 1930 and for intensifying the use of agricultural machinery in areas of all-round collectivization by introducing machine-tractor trains running from south to north and back. In this note, Chayanov predicted many pressure points and challenges in organizing the Soviet mobile highly-mechanized agriculture. Much later, after the first five-year period and his death, under the development of virgin lands and Brezhnev’s agricultural industry, when tractor and combine columns ran between regions of the Soviet Union, those natural and social risks that Chayanov identified and described so accurately and responsibly became evident. The foreword presents a brief history of the All-Union Association of Workers of Science and Technology and its role in the differentiation and extermination of dissenting intelligentsia in the 1929-1930.
The round table “Organization-production school in the Russian agrarian-economic thought: History and the present state” at the Center for Agrarian Studies of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration gathered historians, sociologists, economists, and culturologists for an interdisciplinary discussion of the relevance of the scientific legacy of A.V. Chayanov and his colleagues not only for agrarian science, but also social sciences and humanities on the eve of the anniversaries of the organization-production school representatives. The participants of the round table focused on the genesis and historical prerequisites of the organization-production school, and on the ideas of the Chayanov’s school as influencing the rural development of Russia and the world in the past and present. The participants of the round table were particularly interested in the recently discovered unique archival papers, such as the responses of A.V. Chayanov and N.P. Makarov to criticism of L.N. Litoshenko and A.A. Manuylov considering the theoretical-methodological foundations of the organization-production school’s idea of peasant economy; and the Chayanov’s texts for the German, French and American journals comprehensively describing features of the Russian and Soviet agrarian-economic science development. The intellectual legacy of A.V. Chayanov and his colleagues A.A. Rybnikov, A.N. Chelintsev, B.D. Brutskus, N.P. Makarov, A.N. Minin, and G.A. Studentsky was considered from the perspective of populist, socialist and liberal traditions in the development of Russian and international peasant studies. The participants of the round table also mentioned theories of other remarkable agrarians that can be called predecessors and followers of the organization-production school.
This is the first publication in Russian of the article of the classic of the Russian agrarian-economic thought and the leader of the organization-production school Alexander Vasilievich Chayanov (1888–1937), which was written in 1929 and published in an abridged version in English in 1930 in the “American Journal of Agricultural Economics”. The full Russian version of the article is published according to the original kept in the archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The article considers the history of agrarian-economic science in Russia from the eighteenth century and the system of agrarian-economic education in the USSR in the late 1920s. The comments were prepared by I.А. Kuznetsov.
This is a publication of an archival document—a letter of Alexander Vasilievich Chayanov (1888–1937) written in 1928 to the administration of the Research Institute of Agricultural Economy as a response to the criticism of his theory of peasant economy by an agrarian-Marxist and employee of the Institute Ivan Vermenichev. The letter reveals the circumstances of writing and publishing Chayanov’s article “The current state of agriculture and agricultural statistics in Russia”. This publication characterizes the atmosphere of ideological discussions and persecution of the non-communist scientific thought in the USSR in the late 1920s. The comments were prepared by I.А. Kuznetsov.
This is the first publication in Russian of the article of the classic of the Russian agrarian-economic thought and the leader of the organization-production school Alexander Vasilievich Chayanov (1888–1937), which was written in 1928 and published in the same year in French in the journal “Revue d’Economie Politique”. The Russian original is kept in the archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The article describes the state of the agricultural science in the USSR, provides an overview of the main directions of agrarian-economic studies in the late 1920s, and summarizes Chayanov’s theory of peasant economy. The comments were prepared by I.А. Kuznetsov.
This article of the classic of the Russian agrarian-economic thought and the leader of the organization-production school of the 1920s Alexander Vasilievich Chayanov (1888–1937) was first published in 1922 in the journal “New Russian Book” (Berlin). The article describes the work of the scientific institution created by Chayanov, the Higher Seminary of Agricultural Economy and Policy, and the general state of economic sciences in Russia after the end of the civil war and transition to the NEP. The publication with comments was prepared by I.А. Kuznetsov and T.A. Savinova.
This article of the classic of the Russian agrarian-economic thought and the leader of the organization-production school of the 1920s Alexander Vasilievich Chayanov (1888–1937) was written in 1923 as a response to the book of Lev Nikolaevich Litoshenko criticizing the theory of peasant economy of the organization-production school. The article clarifies some controversial issues of Chayanov’s agrarian-economic theory and its interpretations. The article has not been published before and is kept in the Russian State Archive of Economics. This publication aims at introducing the recently discovered text to the scientific community and at stimulating further research on the theory and history of the organization-production school and the history of the economic thought in Russia. The publication with comments was prepared by I.А. Kuznetsov and T.A. Savinova.
This article of the outstanding Russian agrarian economist and representative of the organization-production school of the 1920s Nikolai Pavlovich Makarov (1887–1980) was written in 1923 as a response to the book of Lev Nikolaevich Litoshenko criticizing the theory of peasant economy of the organization-production school from the economic liberalism perspective. The article has not been published before and is kept in the Russian State Archive of Economics. The article clarifies the position of the organization-production school on some debatable social-political aspects of the economic theory of agriculture. This publication aims at stimulating further research on the theory and history of the organization-production school and the history of the economic thought in Russia. The publication was prepared by T.A. Savinova.
The journal publishes six works of the outstanding Russian economists of the organization-production school—Alexander Vasilievich Chayanov (1888–1937) and Nikolai Pavlovich Makarov (1887–1980), which have not been published before or were published in quite inaccessible foreign journals in the 1920s. This publication with the comments reconstructs the circumstances in which these scientific works were written, and aims at stimulating further research on the theory and history of the organization-production school and the history of the economic thought in Russia.