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Extraordinary organizational measures

Faced with the base's radicalism, with a violent wave of anarchistic collectivization, the Party leadership first tried to get a firm grasp of what exactly was happening.

Given the weaknesses and the untrustworthiness of the Party apparatus in the countryside, the Central Committee took several extraordinary organizational measures.

First at the central level.

Starting mid-February 1930, three members of the Central Committee, Ordzhonikidze,  Kaganovich  and Yakovlev,  were sent to the countryside to conduct inquiries.

Then, three important national assemblies were called, under the leadership of the Central Committee, to focus the accumulated experience. The February 11 assembly dealt with problems of collectivization in regions with national minorities. The February 21 assembly dealt with regions with a deficit of wheat. Finally, the February 24 assembly analyzed the errors and excesses that took place during collectivization.

Then, at the base level, in the countryside.

Two hundred and fifty thousand Communists were mobilized in the cities to go to the countryside and help out with collectivization.

These militants worked under the leadership of the `headquarters' of collectivization, specially created at the okrug and district levels. The `headquarters' were in turn advised by officials sent by the Regional Committee or the Central Committee.


Ibid. , p. 205.

For example, in the Tambov okrug, militants would participate in conferences and short courses at the okrug level, then at the district level, before entering the field. According to their instructions, militants had to follow `methods of mass work': first convince local activists, village Soviets and meetings of poor peasants, then small mixed groups of poor and middle peasants and, finally, organize a general meeting of the village, excluding, of course, the kulaks. A firm warning was given that `administrative compulsion must not be used to get the middle peasants to join the kolhoz'.


Ibid. , p. 206.

In the same Tambov okrug, during the winter of 1929--30, conferences and courses lasting from 2 to 10 days were organized for 10,000 peasants, kolkhozian women, poor peasants and Presidents of Soviets.

During the first few weeks of 1930, Ukraine organized 3,977 short courses for 275,000 peasants. In the fall of 1929, thirty thousand activists were trained on Sundays, during their time off, by the Red Army, which took on another contingent of 100,000 people during the first months of 1930. Furthermore, the Red Army trained a large number of tractor drivers, agricultural specialists and cinema and radio operators.


Ibid. , pp. 206--207.

Most of the people coming from the towns worked for a few months in the countryside. Hence, in February 1930, the mobilization of 7,200 urban Soviet members was decreed, to work at least one year in the countryside. But men in the Red Army and industrial workers were permanently transferred to the kolkhozes.

It was in November 1929 that the most famous campaign, the `25,000', was launched.

next up previous contents index
Next: The 25000 Up: The organizational line Previous: The Party apparatus

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995