Stalin ‐ On the cessation of mass evictions of peasants ‐ May 8, 1933

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Stalin ‐ On the cessation of mass evictions of peasants ‐ May 8, 1933

Directive‐instruction of the Central Committee of the All‐Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars of the USSR ʺOn the cessation of mass evictions of peasants, streamlining the process of arrests and unloading places of detention.ʺ May 8, 1933

A source: The tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession. Documents and materials Volume 3. End of 1930 ‐ 1933. Moscow ROSSPEN 2000. Pp. 746‐750

Archive: RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 163. D. 981. L. 229‐238. Script. Typewritten text edited by I.V. Stalin. No. 333

Secret. Not for print.

To all party and Soviet workers and all organs of the OGPU, the court and the prosecutorʹs office

The desperate resistance of the kulaks to the collective farm movement of working peasants, which unfolded at the end of 1929 and took the form of arsons and terrorist acts against collective farm leaders, created the need for the Soviet government to use mass arrests and acute forms of repression in the form of a massive eviction of kulaks and podkulaks in northern and distant lands.

Further resistance of the kulak elements, sabotage on collective and state farms, uncovered in 1932, widespread massive theft of collective and state farm property demanded further strengthening of repressive measures against kulak elements, thieves and all kinds of saboteurs.

Thus, the last three years of our work in the countryside were years of struggle for the elimination of the kulaks and the victory of the collective farms.

And these three years of struggle led to the defeat of the forces of our class enemies in the countryside, to the final strengthening of our Soviet socialist positions in the countryside.

Summing up, we can now say that the position of individual farming has already been overcome in all the main regions of the USSR, collective farms have become a ubiquitous and dominant form of farming in the countryside, the collective farm movement has become firmly consolidated, and the complete victory of the collective farm system in the countryside is assured.

Now the task is no longer to defend the collective farm form of management in its struggle against the private form of management, for this task has already been successfully solved. The task now is to meet the growing urge of individual working peasants to join the collective farms and to help them enter the collective farm, where only they can save themselves from the danger of impoverishment and hunger.

The Central Committee and the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars of the USSR believe that all these circumstances create a new favorable environment in the countryside, which makes it possible, as a rule, to stop the use of mass evictions and acute forms of repression in the countryside.

The Central Committee and the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars believe that as a result of our successes in the countryside, the moment has come when we no longer need mass repressions, which, as we know, offend not only the kulaks, but also individual farmers and some of the collective farmers.

True, demands are still coming from a number of regions for mass evictions from the countryside and the use of acute forms of repression. The Central Committee and the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars have applications for the immediate eviction of about a hundred thousand families from the regions and territories. There is information in the Central Committee and the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars, from which it is clear that mass indiscriminate arrests in the countryside still continue to exist in the practice of our workers. Collective farm chairmen and members of collective farm board are arrested. Chairmen of village councils and secretaries of cells are arrested. District and regional commissioners are arrested. All who are not lazy and who, in fact, have no right to arrest, are arrested. It is not surprising that with such a rampant practice of arrests, the bodies that have the right to arrest, including the organs of the OGPU, and especially the police, lose their sense of proportion and often make arrests without any reason.

But what does all this say?

All this suggests that there are still quite a few comrades in the regions and territories who have not understood the new situation and still continue to live in the past.

All this suggests that, despite the existence of a new situation requiring a shift in the center of gravity to mass political and organizational work, these comrades cling to obsolete forms of work that no longer correspond to the new situation and pose a threat of weakening the authority of Soviet power in the countryside.

It seems that these comrades are ready to substitute and are already substituting political work among the masses in order to isolate the kulak and anti‐collective farm elements with the administrative‐KGB operations of the GPU and the militia, not realizing that such a substitution, if it assumes any mass character, can reduce to zero the influence of our party in the countryside.

These comrades, apparently, do not understand that the method of mass eviction of peasants outside the region in the new situation has already outlived its usefulness, that eviction can be applied only in a partial and individual manner and only to the leaders and organizers of the struggle against collective farms.

These comrades do not understand that the method of mass and indiscriminate arrests, if only it can be considered a method, in the new situation gives only disadvantages that undermine the authority of the Soviet government, that arrests should be limited and strictly controlled by the relevant authorities, that arrests should be applied only to active enemies of Soviet power.

The Central Committee and the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars have no doubts that all these and similar errors and deviations from the party line will be eliminated in the shortest possible time.

It would be wrong to think that the presence of a new situation and the need for a transition to new methods of work mean the elimination or at least a weakening of the class struggle in the countryside. On the contrary, the class struggle in the countryside will inevitably intensify, since the class enemy sees that the collective farms have won, he sees that the last days of his existence have come, and he cannot help but grab onto the most acute forms of struggle against Soviet power in despair. Therefore, there can be no question of weakening our struggle against the class enemy. On the contrary, our struggle must be intensified in every way, our vigilance must be sharpened in every way. It is, therefore, about intensifying our struggle against the class enemy. But the fact is that it is impossible to intensify the struggle against the class enemy and eliminate it with the help of the old methods of work in the current new situation, because these methods have outlived their usefulness.2 * more accurate and organized. Finally, the point is that each of our blows should be politically prepared in advance, so that each of our blows is backed up by the actions of the broad masses of the peasantry. For only with such methods of improving the methods of our work can we achieve the final elimination of the class enemy in the countryside.

The Central Committee and the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars have no doubts that all our party‐Soviet and KGB‐judicial organizations will take into account the new situation created as a result of our victories, and accordingly reorganize their work in relation to the new conditions of the struggle.

The Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and the Council of Peopleʹs

Commissars of the USSR decide:

I.    On the cessation of mass evictions of peasants

Immediately stop all mass evictions of peasants. Eviction should be allowed only on an individual and private basis and in relation to only those farms whose heads are actively fighting against collective farms and organize the refusal of sowing and harvesting.

Eviction will only be allowed from the following areas and in the following limits:


2 thousand farms            

North Caucasus

1 thousand farms

Lower Volga

1 thousand farms

Middle Volga

1 thousand farms


1 thousand farms


1 thousand farms

Gorky Territory

500 farms

Western Siberia

1 thousand farms

Eastern Siberia

1 thousand farms


500 farms

Western Region

500 farms


500 farms


500 farms

middle Asia

500 farms


12 thousand farms

II.  On streamlining the execution of arrests.

1)                   Prohibit the process of arrests by persons who are not authorized by law, chairmen of RECs, district and regional commissioners, chairmen of village councils, chairmen of collective farms and collective farm associations, cell secretaries, etc.

Arrests can only be carried out by the prosecutorʹs office, the OGPU or the chiefs of the police.

Investigators can only make arrests with the prior approval of the prosecutor.

Arrests made by police chiefs must be confirmed or canceled by district OGPU officials or by the prosecutorʹs office of their affiliation no later than 48 hours after the arrest.

2)                   To prohibit the prosecutorʹs office, the OGPU and the police from using detention pending trial for minor crimes as a preventive measure.

As a measure of restraint, only persons accused in cases of: counterrevolution, terrorist acts, sabotage, banditry and robbery, espionage, border crossing and smuggling, murder and severe injuries, large embezzlement and embezzlement can be imprisoned pending trial., about professional speculation, about currency dealers, about counterfeiters, malicious hooliganism and professional repeat offenders.

3)                   Establish the preliminary consent of the prosecutorʹs supervision in all cases when making arrests by the OGPU bodies, except for cases of terrorist acts, explosions, arson, espionage and defectors, political banditry and counter‐revolutionary anti‐party groups.

The procedure established in this clause is put into practice for the DCK, Central Asia and Kazakhstan only after 6 months.

4)                   To oblige the prosecutor of the USSR and the OGPU to ensure the unswerving execution of the 1922 instruction on the procedure for prosecutorial control over the arrest and detention of persons arrested by the OGPU.

III. Unloading places of detention.

1) Establish that the maximum number of persons who can be held in custody in places of detention of the NKYu, OGPU and the Main Directorate of Militia, except for camps and colonies, should not exceed

400 thousand 3 * people for the entire USSR.

To oblige the prosecutor of the USSR and the OGPU, within a twodecade period, to determine the maximum number of prisoners for individual republics and regions (territories), based on the above total figure.

To oblige the OGPU, the Peopleʹs Commissariat of Justice of the Union republics and the USSR Prosecutorʹs Office to immediately start unloading places of detention and to bring the total number of those deprived of liberty from 800 thousand, actually imprisoned today, to 400 thousand within two months.

The responsibility for the exact implementation of this resolution shall be assigned to the USSR Prosecutorʹs Office.

2)  Establish for each place of detention the maximum number of persons who can be held in a given place of detention, based on the above figure of 400 thousand.

Prohibit the heads of places of detention to accept those arrested in excess of the established limit.

3)  Determine the deadline for keeping arrested persons in police custody for no more than three days. It is imperative to provide those arrested with bread rations.

4)  Suggest that the OGPU, the Peopleʹs Commissariat of Justice of the Union republics and the USSR Prosecutorʹs Office immediately organize a review of the personnel of investigating prisoners so that everyone, except for especially dangerous elements, can replace detention with another measure of restraint (surety, bail, recognizance not to leave).

5)  In relation to convicts, carry out the following measures:

a) replace imprisonment with compulsory labor for up to 1 year for all those convicted by the court up to 3 years, and consider the rest of the term conditional;

6) send convicts for a term of 3 to 5 years inclusive to the labor settlements of the OGPU;

c) send convicts for a term of over 5 years to the OGPU camps.

6)                   Kulaks sentenced to a term of 3 to 5 years inclusive are subject to being sent to labor settlements together with their dependents.

7)                   For unloading the places of confinement and holding specified in paragraphs. 5 and 6 events to organize in each republic, region (region) special regional commissions consisting of: the regional (regional) prosecutor, the chairman of the regional (regional) court, the OGPU PP and the head of the regional (regional) police department chaired by the regional (regional) prosecutor.

8)                   In the republics, territories, regions, where the total number of prisoners currently exceeds 30 thousand people, allow the regional commissions to form inter‐district exit sub commissions as their subsidiary bodies, so that the decisions of the inter‐district commissions are approved by the regional commissions.

9)                   Provide the right to regional commissions to exempt from being sent to camps and villages, regardless of the term of conviction, the disabled, disabled, old people, mothers with small children, pregnant women, replacing them with imprisonment with forced labor.

In some cases, regional commissions have the right to send especially dangerous elements to the camps, even if they are sentenced for up to 5 years.

10)               To carry out unloading in the Central Asian republics, Kazakhstan, Kara‐Kalpakia, propose to the USSR Prosecutorʹs Office, the OGPU and the Supreme Court of the USSR to send special commissions from Moscow for general management of the work of the republican commissions of these republics.

To oblige the Peopleʹs Commissariat of Justice of the Union Republics and the Peopleʹs Commissariat of Health of the Union Republics to completely eliminate typhus diseases in prisons within a month.

Chairman of the Council of Peopleʹs Commissars of the USSR V.

Molotov (Scriabin)

Secretary of the PC of the CPSU (b) I. Stalin

1  * Crossed out against. The words inscribed by I.V.  Stalin are highlighted in bold.

2  * Crossed out ʺFrom indiscriminate and ill‐considered.ʺ

3  * Crossed out ʺ300ʺ.