JV Stalinʹs speech on collective farm development.

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JV Stalinʹs speech on collective farm development.

JV Stalinʹs speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the AllUnion Communist Party (Bolsheviks) on collective farm development.

May 22, 1939

A source: The tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession. Documents and materials Volume 5. 1937‐1939. Book 2.

1938 ‐ 1939. Moscow ROSSPEN 2006. Pp. 416‐424

Archive:               RGASPI. F. 558. Op. 11.D. 1123. L. 1‐30. uncorrected transcript.

No. 206

Stalinʹs speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the All‐Union

Communist Party (Bolsheviks) on collective farm development 110

I wanted, comrades, to shed light on a few issues.

A number of very serious issues are noted in the draft resolution, but they are not deepened, because from the point of view of practice, this is not necessary. However, I would like to take these questions more seriously at the root, so that the comrades in their work are guided by these practical needs. We mean perspectives. To lead, you need to look, see and notice a little further than your nose. To lead, one must foresee. And if we are dragging along the events as we have been dragging until now, we do something, and then it turns out the other way around ‐ what a guide! To lead, one must foresee, look beyond oneʹs own nose. And in order to foresee, one must know in a Marxist way what is taking place in the environment. Take, for example, the question of estates and collective farms, of manor land and public collective farmland. When we in the Central Committee were deciding the question of in order to recognize that the artel is the predominant basic form of the collectivefarm movement, we, of course, knew that the struggle between the beginning of the artel and the beginning of the personal economy would take place. There is a social collective farm form as the basis of collective farm production, and there is a personal field estate as the basis for personal production. We proceeded and proceeded from the premise that it is personal, contrary to the public, nevertheless, it should be combined, consistent with the public for the first time. There are no other ways to transfer the individual peasant economy to the collective path. There is no other way for this. But we knew that the struggle of these two paths, dull, not stopping for an hour, would take place.

Apparently, the comrades forgot about this.

Yesterdayʹs peasant will strive to round up this business in his personal household, because this is an uncontrolled business, no one encroaches on him, no one cares, this is mine, it is eternal, attention should be focused on this. But even on the collective farms there were forged cadres who, on the contrary, wanted to focus on the public field as stimulating and representing the main sources for the life of both the collective farmer and the collective farm as a whole.

This struggle between them must take place. What has it led to, this struggle between the beginning of the personal economy, the basis of which is the estate field, and the beginning of the social economy, the basis of which is the collective farm field? What did this lead to? You tell about this quite colorfully that the second clause of the charter has been violated, the field of personal economy has been expanded in spite of the requirements of the charter and, most importantly, in spite of the requirements of our Bolshevik Leninist policy, and the expansion of the private individual field was due to the public collective farm field. All of you have stated this fact that the public collective farm field is shrinking, since we are not pursuing an absolute expansion of arable land in favor of the personal farming of collective farmers, which can no longer be reconciled with the requirements of our Bolshevik policy.

Where did we want to start? From the artel, then go to the commune. What do you do? We started with an artel in order to step back to the individual farm. Hereʹs what you get in practice. I am far from scaring you or exaggerating what we have, but I am sure that if we take the specific weight of the personal plot and compare it with the specific weight of the collective farm field, it is insignificant, and the basis of our entire collective economy is a public field, but we must take things not in the form as they are now, but it is necessary to take into account the tendency of development, this slope of development, which has emerged, and the slope is that the private field increases due to the public field, and if this continues for 30‐40 years, therefore that families are dividing, many families are dividing plots, if in practice you have outlined the allocation of household plots at the expense of the public field, if the allocation of estates takes place at the expense of a public field, therefore, the size of the public collective farm field in your country will decrease from year to year, and the total fund of farmstead land will increase progressively, and it is necessary to drag along the events for another 30‐40 years, and not lead them as the Bolsheviks should, and we did not behave like the Bolsheviks in this matter, but dragged along the events. If we continue to drag along the events, and not lead, then in 30‐40 years we will get such a picture that collective farms will disintegrate, instead of collective farms, farms will be formed, new individual farms included in collective farms, which either have no social field at all. or there is very little left, no tractors are needed, because on small fields there is nothing for tractors to do, a lot of threshers, combines, social labor are not required, for he himself sits as king on his personal plot and returns to individual peasant farming, semi‐natural farming or completely natural farming. The commodity output will be 3‐4 times less than it is now, then industry must be closed, liquidated and returned back to individual farming, eliminating the fleet of tractors and combines. Here, in 30‐40 years, what could have happened to the collective farm economy, if we also dragged behind the events, and did not lead, as we are now dragging.

We are magnificent communists, Leninists, Bolsheviks, we write a report, we swear by the name of Lenin, Marx, but we turn out to be fools, opportunists, Mensheviks in practice. This is Menshevism, when leaders think of themselves as leaders and do not direct events, but drag themselves, as if on a ramp, behind events, in the tail of them. What did Lenin accuse the Mensheviks of? In tailism. What can you be accused of? In tailism. This was Menshevism in our practice. This is what the development of our agriculture would lead to if there were no people among us who want to turn events in the other direction, who want to help the Bolsheviks, i.e., to lead the business, and not to be dragged behind the events. Theoretically, this picture is quite admissible, this is exactly what happened ‐ collective farms would disintegrate into farms, farms, estates, small farms, the tractor fleet and combines should be eliminated, because in small plots who need combines would return to individual peasant farming with its semi‐natural character, with its low marketable output, but what is a small marketable output of grain farming? This means there would not be enough grain for the cities and the army, which means that our industry must be cut 3‐4 times, and our industry is 4‐5 times more than the peasant economy. Is it possible, if the marketable output of grain was small, our marketable output of grain is 2 times more than in previous years, and maybe 3 times? On this we are going, on this we have built a new large industry, on this is based our army and our entire new culture. Try to take this thing away, you have nothing from modern industry, big industry will not remain and there will be no more of mechanized agriculture, because small farms do not need mechanization, and you are well aware of the laws of individual farming. Theoretically, I repeat, this picture would be inevitable, well, of course, practically in 5‐8 years our district communists, comrades, no matter how they forget, no matter how blind, they still noticed that we are going in the wrong direction. How is it that we want to strengthen the collective farm, but it turns out on the contrary, that we are turning in the other direction. A fight is needed here. we want to strengthen the collective farm, but it turns out on the contrary, that we are turning in the other direction.

And in order to prevent this and to correct the situation in time, it is wrong to refer, as you do, to the peasant. The peasant has nothing to do with it, he does what suits him. You are to blame, the Central Committee, and especially you, who sit in the localities, see the matter and do not signal.

Of course, in 5‐10 years our blind‐minded comrades will notice that they have gone wrong and that we need to turn, and our task is not to wait until the last people notice that we have turned in the wrong direction, but to foresee and correct the situation in advance ...

This is what the basis for the fact that we have raised this question for discussion at the plenum of the Central Committee comes down to. If you want to turn to individual, peasant, farmstead farming without mechanization and without our large‐scale industry ‐ just say so, then you can drag along behind the events. If you do not want this, then if you please, turn towards expanding the collective farm fields, towards introducing individual peasant farming into the framework.

They talk about workdays. Some have painted a gloomy picture here that, they say, the collective farmer is directly floating in wealth, and the collective farm is disappearing, as one could understand from some speeches. How people love to scourge themselves! Yesterday we were still writing a report on collective farms, our newspapers shouted hoarsely that collective farm labor is the greatest thing, collective farms are millionaires and so on. and so on, just look at Pravda. And as soon as the question was raised ‐ where are you taking, comrades (it is you who are carried by the elements, and not you who lead it, here are the Bolsheviks in quotation marks!), As soon as this question was raised, everyone immediately began to scourge themselves. There was talk that the collective farm labor was worth nothing, that workdays were not workdays, but that the whole thing was concentrated on the collective farm field, from there income and expenses, and so on. This is nothing but the other extreme from too much praise to the collective farms there is a transition to too indiscriminate criticism of collective farms, collective farm labor. This is also useless. It means that people do not have an anchor, they are carried like a splinter: now in one end, then in the other. That doesnʹt work either.

If we summarize the materials that we have, say, on the participation of collective farm members in collective farms, on the question of which groups generate how many workdays, etc., this is quite interesting material, one can come to the following conclusions. It turns out, for example, that in 1936 12.8% of able‐bodied collective farmers did not give a single workday. In the USSR, 12.8% of able‐bodied collective farmers did not give a single workday. In 1937 this category was reduced by 2.4%. In 1937, there were 10.4% of such collective farmers instead of 12.8%. This category is not growing but shrinking. This is a good sign. Who are these collective farmers?

Who are these collective farmers? These are registered, formal collective farmers. These are mostly city people, partly employees. There is hardly a real collective farmer who lives in the village in full view of everyone, so that he does not have a single workday. Maybe there are such people, but there are few of them, maybe they are disabled, and I take people who are able to work, not disabled.

So, this category of collective farmers, people called collective farmers, represented 12.8% in 1936, and now, in 1937, one year later, it represents

10.4%. Category that is declining.

The second group of able‐bodied people on the collective farms of the USSR. If we take people who have from 1 to 50 workdays a year, then there were 22.3% of them in 1936, from one to 50 workdays a year. There were them in 1937, a year later, 21.2%. This means less, which means that this group of collective farmers is also a group that has undergone a reduction, not growing, but declining. Over the year ‐ from 1936 to 1937 ‐ decreased.

Take the third group of collective farmers who work from 51 to 100 workdays a year. Such was in 1936 18.3% of all able‐bodied collective farmers. There were 15.6% of such people in 1937, less by 2.7%. This means, again, this is a group of collective farmers that is not growing but shrinking.

The next group is collective farmers who work out from one hundred to two hundred workdays during the year. There were 26.5% of them in 1936. The largest group. Became 25% in 1937. Again, this is the group that is not growing but shrinking. In one year, it managed to decrease by 1.5%.

The next group of able‐bodied collective farmers working out up to three hundred workdays. There were 17.4% of them in 1936, this group became 18.4%. This means that this is the first group that grows, a group that produces up to three hundred workdays a year. This means that this is a group with a future; it has grown by one percent in a year.

The next group, producing from 301 to 400 workdays per year. There were 9.8% of such collective farmers in 1936, while in 1937 it was 11.3%. This means that this group, which also has a future, is growing; it has grown by almost 4% in one year. ʺCollective farms in 1937ʺ ‐ itʹs published, you can get it, there is interesting material there.

The next group of collective farmers, giving from 400 workdays per year and more ‐ 500 ‐ 600 ‐ 700 ‐ 800 workdays. There were 5.7% of such in 1936, and in 1937 it was 8.5%. This is also a group that has a future and is growing.

What happens if we outline a general tendency in the development of collective farm labor and the importance of various groups, despite all our mistakes, despite the fact that we are not so much leading as dragging along the events?

It turns out that groups are less valuable, for example, groups that do not have a single workday, or groups that have from 1 to 50 workdays, or groups that have from 50 to 100 workdays, groups that have from 100 to 200 workdays, that is, less valuable groups, these groups do not grow, on the contrary, their share is declining. But the more valuable groups, the groups that have worked out from 200 to 700 workdays, these groups are growing.

This is the basis of our work on collective farms. How viable are collective farms, how progressive they are, and how unsuitable we are as leaders! With such a great base, where the best groups grow and the laggards fall, we cannot do anything with this base. We are fake leaders, comrades, fake!

So, the situation is not as bad as the comrades painted here.

How do you explain that groups with more than 200 workdays are growing? In general, it turns out that 60% of able‐bodied collective farmers give over 200 workdays, and about 40% ‐ less, of which only 10% give nothing. These are registered people, not real collective farmers. And only 21% gives from 1 to 50 workdays. If we combine this group with another group that gives up to 100 workdays, a total of 37% of collective farmers come out who give less than 200 workdays. And the remaining 63% minus 10% of the unemployed, that is, 53%, give more than 200 workdays.

You see what a healthy soil the collective farms provide.

I repeat, the situation is not as bad as they said here, they relished: how is it that collective farmers take income after income from their microscopic plot, and how collective farms, having mechanization and tractors, disappear straight away. Correspondents know how to draw, castigate themselves. This is not a merit.

The situation is not as bad as some comrades think.

That, therefore, is how matters stand, comrades. It means that we have two roads before us, if you like: one road ‐ so that we will not bother with this matter any longer and in order to put an end to the dull, but tireless struggle between personal farming, estates and collective farms, collective farms, perhaps to go over to communes? Is the time for this or not? The time has not come for this. In order to switch to communes, you need to have the richest farms on the collective farms, you need the collective farmers to see that instead of having a cow and even fiddling with it, it is better to go and get milk from the farm, the same with other products. This is not yet the case. The material conditions ‐ you are well aware of this ‐ are not sufficient for the transition from artel to commune. Therefore, for now, this road is closed for us. Therefore, we remain in conditions where the struggle between personal economy,1 * Here, in this struggle, we must manipulate. People go to the other extreme. Since this is the case, we, they say, missed, did not notice, and the peasant walked around us, give him a tail and a mane.

To reduce, to bring to a minimum the backyard fields ‐ it will not work.

As long as you allow both private and collective‐farm fields, it must be honestly said that the household field must be such that it gives the collective farmer something, otherwise there will be no sense. There must be a collective farm field, and a household plot, and a household plot in no case can be expanded at the expense of the collective farm field. It is clear that the total funds of household plots will grow as soon as reproduction takes place, people multiply, families divide. Since we are in the framework of combining a private economy with a collective farm, personal plots must be given without fail, honestly, we must give them, you cannot deceive here. We must tell the peasant: now we do not have the conditions for the transition to a commune. This means that the estate farm remains, the collective farm remains, just keep in mind, dear comrade, that our collective farm field will be at the forefront, we will not allow it to be reduced, on the contrary, it must be expanded. As for your site, what to do with it, by the fall we will convene a collective farm congress and there we will make proposals, we will reduce it a little to the size that is necessary in order to satisfy some personal, family everyday needs, so as not to do something from the site that wants to undermine the foundations of collective farm economy. The basis of the collective farm system is the collective farm, not the manor. We will say this directly to the peasants at the collective farm congress. At the collective farm congress, we will try to arrange matters so that the peasants have their own all‐Union organ, something like their own All‐Union Central Council of Trade Unions. Please let the All‐Union Administration of Collective Farms be elected and let the AllUnion Administration ‐ it also solves some issues of collective farm development, with our participation and with our help. It will be very good. It is inconvenient and wrong for us to give orders to collective farms from the depths of the Peopleʹs Commissariat for Land, this is non‐state. They need to create their own All‐Union Central Council of Trade Unions, let them have one, and weʹll see who will work better, the peasant All‐Union Central Council of Trade Unions or Shvernikovʹs (general laughter).

Shvernik. Yes, there will be competition.

Stalin. Such a congress will go to reduce the norms of personal land. You see, 60% of collective farmers have over 200 workdays a year. Here is our support. Here are the majority. Any tidying up, any limitation of the estate economy will meet with delight on the part of these 60% of real collective farmers, who give more than 200 workdays a year, and many 800, 600, 400. And these groups are growing from year to year. Here is our support. Here we will find full response and full understanding. And as for the assigned 10%, who are on the collective farm and don’t give anything to the collective farm, they themselves will shake themselves out of the collective farm with joy. As for the people who sit on the collective farm and give from 1 to 50 workdays, they will also be shaken out with pleasure, and we will welcome. As for the next group, which gives from 100 workdays, they will be accepted, they will say: no, work like a human,

So, if the congress of collective farmers decides to amend the collective farm regulations, which are outdated ‐ all laws are getting old, the best laws are getting old, it is necessary that the laws adapt to life, to its development ‐ and, therefore, the regulations are outdated, the collective farm congress will adopt amendments, will reduce, I have no doubt about it, I repeat, 60% of the best collective farmers will be on our side. In the meantime, we must dance from the charter. Let the plenum of the Central Committee, the communists get together and write a law for the collective farmers. Itʹs necessary.

Here, in our decisions, we must proceed from the charter for the time being, not from reducing personal plots, but not violating clause 2 of the charter, which indicates the norms for personal plots that must be implemented. This guy will understand. He will understand that the Bolsheviks do not want to change anything in the charter without his consent, but there will be a congress, will make a decision, then we will reduce it.

So, for now, until the convocation of the congress of collective farmers, we will dance, as they say, from the charter, and we will demand that all the levads and melons that are interspersed in the collective farm fields, all these ʺordersʺ (or rather, disorder), when the collective farm the field is not taken into account and is considered a reserve for expanding the personal economy of the collective farmer, all these ʺordersʺ were eliminated immediately. Household plots must be measured, levad. Any dissemination of individual pieces into collective farm fields must be eliminated. If the plenum comes to the conclusion that less land is given for a plot, we will give it for the time being according to the charter, while there is no congress.

This is the first question on which I wanted to draw your attention in order to reveal the prospects of where it is taking us, and what we, the Bolsheviks, who consider themselves leaders, need to look ‐ whether we are leading, or some element is leading us and carries somewhere, in order to turn your attention towards the Bolshevik path, where people should lead, and not drag along the events, for this I touched on this issue.

If we drag out, the collapse of the collective farms will continue, the transition to their destruction, I repeat. Reducing our entire industry by a factor of four is like that.

If you do not want this, and you do not want this, then you need to turn away from the elements, to the Bolshevik leadership, and set yourself the task of leading, and not dragging in the tail, and then you will see that we can straighten out this matter in one year and set it to the proper height, because 60% of us generate more than 200 workdays, this is already a living force, this is a revolutionary force, on which one must be able to rely.

The second question is about resettlement or about regulation, if you will, of the labor force. When we plan this, what do we rely on? That we can distribute the entire fund. Of course, any plan, a five‐year or two‐year plan, is worth nothing ‐ it is a piece of paper if there are no funds and funds to implement it correctly.

We have everything in order to realize our plans, in order for them to be real, there are funds, funds are available, sometimes there is not enough, but, in any case, if we want to distribute money, we are the masters in organizing the distribution We are more or less the owners of funds, but we are not the owners of the distribution of labor power, and without this, plans cannot be realized. If we want to build as many factories as we want and if there is not enough manpower, nothing will come of it.

We have money ‐ this is the first factor, funds are ‐ the second factor, labor is the third factor, but in this third part we are weak, not the owners.

How could this happen? Very simple. We are a country where there is no unemployment. We have eliminated unemployment on our own heads (laughter in the audience), and now there is nowhere to get workers. It is one thing when there is unemployment, when there is a reserve of workers, when you can get it, workers work better, being afraid to get out of the factory gates and, moreover, when there is an opportunity in industry to maneuver, to attract people to go to work. We do not have such an opportunity; we do not have a single extra worker in the market. For the capitalists, this is facilitated by the fact that they can distribute labor power, some have a million in reserves, some with two million, and some with three million, and we do not have a reserve of one hundred thousand.

In this area we need to become masters, we need to take control of the distribution of labor. Do we have an unemployed workforce? There is, of course. Whereʹs she? On collective farms. Here we have a group of 10.4% of collective farmers who do not have a single workday on the collective farms. I believe that this figure has not been deciphered, I understand that here most of the urban and semi‐urban people, there are collective farmers, today they go to the station to be hired, and tomorrow they live on their homestead land, etc., there are collective farmers, people who call themselves collective farmers, not working on a collective farm, but living on a collective farm, these are real parasites for collective farms.

The second group, 21% of collective farmers giving up to 50 workdays. These are also real parasites, they need to be shaken out, the collective farm does not need them, but they need the collective farm in order to have the authority of the collective farmer, to have collective farm benefits, these are people who use the collective farm firm, the collective farm banner for their own purposes, they need the collective farm, and the collective farm does not need them. This requires a minimum of workdays. We are making an offer ‐ 50 workdays. We know very well that this figure is inapplicable for all areas, but we wanted to name some figure so that you, the practitioners, would say what minimum workdays to have, in which zone. I think that in the South and East, where there is grain farming, where industrial crops are labor‐intensive, profitable crops, there, of course, at least 50 workdays, it will be funny there. In some, as they said before, consuming areas, where there is a holiday, there, maybe 50 workdays is even a lot. You, practitioners, must tell you in which zones what labor minimum, what minimum workdays, and without this minimum you cannot free collective farms from an unnecessary and parasitic group. There are collective farms that are not provided with land. Yesterday you were told that there are collective farms where 1 hectare per yard is 2 hectares, 4 hectares. It would be nice to have these parasites ʺcollective farmersʺ who are not needed by this collective farm, but who need a collective farm, it would be good to relocate them. You donʹt have a workday norm, you are violating this, if you please move to another place, you are in vain settling our personal plot, move to another place, there you will be given a plot. and without this minimum you will not be able to free the collective farms from an unnecessary and parasitic group. 

Touch this group as well, because people multiply, families will share, there are three generations in large families, but we will not deal with this, this is not our business, but families will share, young people, finished work 2* do not want to be under guardianship, they will have to give a plot. As long as we have plots, we will give. I must say that there will be collective farms, whole areas where funds for plots will not be found, as soon as we pass a law that the collective farm field cannot in any case be reduced, where can we get funds for personal plots? We must honestly give personal plots; we must not cheat here. A leader who cheats, no matter how Marxist he is, will be driven to hell. We must give sites honestly. There are areas where there are no such funds for plots, all the land has been used, public plots cannot be occupied, and funds for household plots have been exhausted. New families need to be relocated to new areas, more multi‐land, where there is a personal plot for them. There are two motives.

Firstly, parasites, people who have stuck to the collective farm, but do not give any benefit ‐ they need to be shaken out. Some of them will go to industry, others will try to move to another place. There will be people among them who will not want to part with agriculture, there are such patriots, they will want to move to other regions: Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Volga region, there are many lands, to Kazakhstan, the Far East, and so on.

This is the basis on which we are creating opportunities to regulate the workforce. If we do not create such opportunities, in the absence of unemployment we will be completely handless in the implementation of the economic plan, because we will not have that need to dispose of things, we need to dispose of things, but we also need to dispose of people, if you want the plan not to remain on paper. You feel it, decisions are made, but there are not enough workers. Today they are recruiting several thousand, and in two weeks they leave, again it is necessary to recruit.

Here is an atmosphere of absence of unemployment.

This means that the second question is not just about giving household plots to some farms that do not have enough land, but this is a big, serious question. In our theses, this issue is touched upon from the point of view of pure practice, but if we theoretically look more deeply at the issue of labor force regulation in a state where a planned economy is conducted, and in order to run a planned economy, I repeat, one must be the master in the distribution of money, funds and people. In the matter of distributing money, you are full masters, in the matter of distributing funds, we are more or less masters, but not completely, in the matter of distributing people we are not masters. It is necessary to become the owner, and for this it is necessary to free the collective farms from surplus labor. Mechanization is taking place on collective farms, but look, 30% of people are sitting for nothing. Hereʹs your labor. And for this, it is necessary to create an appropriate body ‐ the resettlement administration under the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars, a large resettlement administration, which would have its own local bodies, in the republics, so that people can be disposed of not only within the USSR, but within individual republics, within the regions. There are inhabited areas and there are unpopulated areas. This must be done with. A planned economy cannot afford this matter to the elements. A planned economy, if it is a planned socialist economy, must manage not only money, not only funds, but also labor force. This is the second remark. So, you look at things more from this point of view. It is necessary to shake out the worst, to refresh and improve the health of the collective farm, because if one generates 600 workdays, and the other 50, the other has benefits and the other has no benefits, by this we offend the best people. To support the best collective farmers, the worst must be shaken out. This is the second remark. 1 * Hereinafter, an outline of the document.

2 * So in the text.

110The main issue discussed by the plenum (it worked on May 21‐24, 27) was formulated as follows: ʺOn measures to protect public lands of collective farms from squandering.ʺ Preparations for discussing this issue began almost a month before the opening of the plenum. In the Agricultural Department of the Central Committee under the leadership of A.A. Andreev, three special meetings were held on this issue. Andreev, who oversees agricultural issues in the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), made a report at the plenum. Stalin spoke shortly after Andreev. Stalinʹs speech, which was of fundamental importance, was not only not published, but even removed from the typewritten transcript of the plenum; it was not found in the typographic proofs of the set prepared for publication. The compilers of the next volume of Stalinʹs Works used the text extracted from his personal collection. Such a detail is curious. During the report, Andreev, relying on the opinion of a number of secretaries of regional and regional party committees, members of the Politburo who participated in the preparatory meetings, he raised the question of the need for a significant reduction in the personal lands of collective farmers, since ʺthe 1935 charter is outdated.ʺ Stalin interrupted him with a remark: ʺSo far the charter has not been canceled,ʺ pointing out that the question must be decided by the collective farmers themselves at the III Congress: ʺThe congress must take a decision to change the charter, which is outdated.ʺ And before that, “let the plenum of the Central Committee, the communists get together and write a law for the collective farmers. Itʹs necessaryʺ. In a speech at the plenum, Stalin gave the following reasoning: ʺA man in a private household will always strive to round up this matter.ʺ ʺA step back to individual farming has been taken.ʺ “If we continue to drag along the events, and not lead, then ... we will get such a picture that the collective farms will disintegrate, instead of collective farms, farmsteads are formed, new individual farms ... then industry must be closed, the fleet of tractors and combines must be liquidated, there will be no more grain for the cities and the army. ʺ ʺIt is necessary to turn in advance from the elements to the Bolshevik leadership ... Lead, not be in the tail.ʺ

In essence, it was a question of revising the norms of individual land use, enshrined in the collective farm charter of 1935. Stalin demanded a thorough measurement of the farmsteads of collective farmers, withdrawing from personal use levada, vegetable gardens, melons and annex them to the public lands of collective farms. Collective farmers who produce few or no workdays, he called ʺreal parasitesʺ, ʺparasitesʺ, ʺimaginary collective farmersʺ who must be sent to industry or relocated to other areas where there is a lot of land (Siberia, the Volga region, Kazakhstan, the Far East ). ʺCollective farms must be freed from surplus labor.ʺ Stalin, without any irony, complained that ʺwe have eliminated unemployment on our own heads, and now there is nowhere to get workers,ʺ although ʺthere is certainly an unemployed labor force on the collective farms.ʺ

By the decision of the plenum, on the basis of Stalinʹs instructions, in the collective farms, a mandatory minimum of workdays per year was established for each able‐bodied collective farmer and collective farmer (from 60 to 100), in case of failure to fulfill which the violators were considered to have left the collective farm and lost the rights of the collective farmer.

Measurements of household land, seizure and transfer of ʺsurplusʺ to collective farms were decided on the basis of a resolution of the plenum. Special commissions were created with the participation of rural activists, and their decisions were approved by the district party committees. The measurements were completed by the beginning of October 1939. The total area of the withdrawn land was 1189.1 thousand hectares. In accordance with Stalinʹs instructions, the Migration Administration and its local bodies were formed under the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars of the USSR to ʺmanage the resettlement of the surplus part of collective farmers to multi‐land areas.ʺ The resettlement of collective farm families to the East began. This was argued by the fact that ʺcollective farm public lands cannot be reduced, and in small‐land collective farms the reserves for providing collective farmers with personal plots according to statutory norms have already been exhausted.ʺ


Having lost their homestead land and part of the livestock, the families of such collective farmers were forced to leave their homes and leave for Siberia, the Far East, Kazakhstan. They had to urgently, for a pittance, sell their livestock and poultry, or hand over the animals to the offices of the Zagotskot in exchange for personal receipts giving the settlers the right to receive livestock at the places of settlement. However, this condition, as a rule, was not met. Great difficulties arose due to the lack of housing. Many settlers were forced to return back to their old places. According to the data of the Resettlement Administration, as of October 1, 1940, about 6 thousand peasant families returned back (History of the Soviet Peasantry. Vol. 3. P. 30‐31) (note by IE Zelenin).


Source; “Transcripts from the Soviet Archives”, 14 Volume, Svitlana M, Erdogan A