Stalinʹs speech. July 2, 1934

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Stalinʹs speech. July 2, 1934

A source: The tragedy of the Soviet village. Collectivization and dispossession. Documents and materials Volume 4. 1934 ‐ 1936. Moscow ROSSPEN p. 186‐192

Archive: RGASPI. F. 558. Op. 1.D. 5324. L. 1‐23. uncorrected transcript. No. 66

First of all, the first reason why this question has been raised is the question of the state of collective farms, the growth or stabilization of collectivization, the profitability of collective farms, individual farmers and collective farmers, and the estates of collective farmers and the estates of individual farmers. Why did we raise this question?

Listening to some speakers, one might think that we are almost ready to overestimate all values. For example, Kabakov said 1 * so that it is worth, say, all talk about it when the individual peasant where life is better than the farmer, and in general the sole work gives more benefits than the farm. At least he did it. And the speeches of other comrades revolved around this question. If an outsider, who does not know the history of this issue, listened to us, he would say: things are bad with the collective farms, if the individual peasant cheats us, the village council saddles, he has a horse, and the collective farmer does not have a horse, the individual peasant has more income, and if the personal income of an individual farmer gives more than collective farm labor, then what is a collective farm then?

We know that not because of abstract ideals the Bolshevik party in power, so to speak, operates, mobilizes people, but because of economic interests. That which does not go along the lines of the economy of the working people is denied by us, no matter how beautiful it is, no matter how exciting it is. So, the comrades got carried away in their criticism when they thought that the question was whether the collective farms were profitable or not. The question of whether collective farms are profitable or not profitable has already been decided. People on collective farms sit, work, people do not want to leave. What makes them sit there? Obviously, there are some material benefits, the basis, the root that enables the collective farm to develop. After all, our collective farms are developing, they are arming themselves technically, their experience is accumulating. This is a new farm. We had no personnel at all. That, what we have created in 2 ‐ 3 years is a very big deal. What does kolkhoz mean? This is a large economy, this is what used to be called economy, landlord estate in terms of its volume. Indeed, for this, the old ruling classes had people. These classes were rich, their sons learned the art of management and learned this art not only in school, but also in practice. We have other classes in power ‐ the working class and the peasantry. These are poor people who did not have the opportunity to learn this art on their own, because it was not they who managed the economy, but they were managed by other owners. Their sons also did not have this opportunity. And if, despite this specificity of the basic character of those classes and their strata that are in power, despite the fact that these are the poor strata, which could not study, if, despite this, people were able to select the necessary cadres, who are leading a large economy forward, it is clear that this very big deal has been done. This, comrades, must not be forgotten. We do not have the question of whether collective farms are profitable or not. Not worth it and will not stand. The question is not and will not be whether it is expedient for individual collective farmers to be on the collective farm or not, because this issue has also been resolved.

And the question is like this. Apparently, the new reality on the collective farms — not only on the collective farms, but in the countryside — has raised a whole series of new questions that our comrades have not yet figured out. That is why they were not talking about what should be said. As if, now we are talking about the rates, as if the rates are weak. This is not what we are talking about, but why our local activists have ceased to pay enough attention to collectivization. They calmed down, they say, everything is done, the victory is complete ‐ this is true, and there is nothing to worry about further, we will go as we are looking for. It is for this purpose, in order to dispel this wrong approach to the matter and against the practice of our attitudes, attitudes that the stability of the collective farm movement is not bad, in order to dispel these vague views ,

So, it is not a question of whether the collective farm system is profitable, whether it is progressive and advanced. This question is not raised, it has been resolved.

There is also no question of whether it is profitable for the collective farmer, as an individual, to be on the collective farm, having a certain part of his personal economy, or whether it is profitable for him to leave and become an individual; this is not an issue, this has also been resolved. There is no question that the rates of collectivization are weak. Nobody demands to speed up the rate of collectivization. We, already a year ago, in 1933, said that there is no need for a forced rate of collectivization 2 *, but we need that collectivization grow by 2, 3, 4% every year, but that collectivization grows. We are not satisfied with stability in collective farms. Thatʹs what it is about.

How could it happen that our comrades did not have enough attention for the further growth of collectivization? They calmed down with the latest successes ‐ this is, firstly, secondly, they did not notice some new issues that have now arisen in connection with the new situation ‐ after the victory of the collective farms. The individual re‐armed, did not notice it. There should be a certain democracy on the collective farms, but it is often completely destroyed. Does the board of a collective farm or the chairman of a collective farm have the right, for example, to exclude from the collective farm? It does not, in my opinion. And what does the charter say?

Voices from the field. General meetings only.

Stalin. Is this point being fulfilled with us? Not executed. I now know the materials and of the inquiries comrades, that in some areas directly hundreds beating 3 * and are not considered the fact that the means to expel a person from the farm. And this means ‐ doom him to a hungry existence or push him to steal, he must become a bandit. This is not an easy matter, to be expelled from the collective farm, it is not something to be expelled from the Party, it is much worse. This is not to exclude the old Bolsheviks from the Society 62, it is much worse, because your source of livelihood is taken away from you, you are disgraced, firstly, and secondly, you are doomed to a hungry existence.

Then, about the two cows, there is also a lack of clarity. Many in the commission, and we had a commission before the plenum; in the commission, everyone, except Vareikis, spoke for the second cow. Do you know what it smells like? This is a serious matter. I would not say that this is a matter of principle, it can be admitted in certain areas where livestock farming plays a very significant role, it can be admitted here, but this is not the point. After all, we are working out a directive for the entire USSR, and if a slogan is given within the entire USSR ‐ the second cow, what does that mean? It is impossible to understand: on the one hand, they want to reduce to a minimum the individual farming that collective farmers have, to reduce the estates from 2 hectares to tenths, and on the other hand, they want to give a second cow. We must have logic after all. Ambiguity of views. This needs to be clarified. And we tried to clarify by the decision of the plenum, excluding this issue. It is placed incorrectly. It is not a question of a second cow, or of increasing the factors of individual farming on a collective farm. We must not move along this plane, but, on the contrary, we must increase the social share of the economy, not the individual. This does not mean that the individual share should be excluded, I am against it when they say that tenths of shares should be given to the collective farmer for the estate and thatʹs enough. This is not true. In some places you can limit yourself to half a hectare, and in some places hectares, or maybe two hectares, it depends on the situation that the individual share should be excluded, I am against it when they say that tenths of shares should be given to the collective farmer for the estate and thatʹs enough. 

It did not go so far as to abstract completely from individual interests. Of course, we are still far from this. When the farms grow up, become real farms, when there is an abundance of food and everything necessary, then the peasant himself will raise the question of this, why should he bother with two cows, isnʹt it better to get everything he needs at a known minimum price? Have you gotten to this? Didnʹt get it. You cannot rush from one extreme to another ... 4 * But nevertheless, this meeting consisted of poles and extremes, for example, the second cow. This business will not go from pole to pole.

The third question is about the subsidiary enterprises of the collective farm. Do you know what it smells like? Why do we need collective farms? For field cultivation and animal husbandry. If we raise the question of subsidiary enterprises, then they will forget about animal husbandry. If you want to open factories, factories, then this is nonsense, in my opinion. Where do you get the workers from in the cities? There is no other source here to take workers to the city; where do you get them, if things go better for the collective farms, and they go better, then you canʹt pull him out of the collective farm with a stick. You know that? After all, we have a country where there is no unemployment, there are no surplus workers. We have a collective farm country. If a collective farmer is given sufficient security, then he will not go anywhere to the plant, but you cannot drag them to underground work even on a lasso. And you are saying that factories and factories should be opened on the collective farm. There is no raw material for this. When collective farms switch from agriculture to the rails of factory reality, they will have to choose one thing: either agriculture or a factory: you cannot not choose. It should be borne in mind that factories have a lot3 *, there are not enough workers, and the further, the more there will be a shortage. When you talk about subsidiary enterprises, you must bear in mind the branches of the same agriculture: fishing, beekeeping. There are industrial centers for industry, and collective farms for agriculture. Mix this, i.e., it is impossible to compare one with the other.

I donʹt know what Comrade K is about ... 5* said, in general one cannot appeal with such things, one cannot say that Ilyich spoke about it. Ilyich never said that collective farms should be turned into factories and plants. This is what Ilyich said. Such facts cannot be appealed. Collective farms for agriculture, and first of all, the main and most important branches of field cultivation and animal husbandry. Keep in mind that the most profitable type for a collective farm is animal husbandry, the second is gardening and then field cultivation. Field cultivation will give a very big effect when our mechanization goes well, when we improve the cultivation of the land, the fields will be better, then the yield will increase. Productivity will increase when fertilizers are distributed properly, agricultural technology is applied properly, but collective farms are a new business, one cannot demand that they give much. 

That is why we raised this question in order to improve the leadership, while the whole point, if we bear in mind the question of agriculture, is in the formulation of the leadership. This is a weak point in our localities.

If we read all your speeches and notes, then I must say where the main reason is that things are not going so well with collective farms, although they are not going badly, but not the way we would like, although they are going pretty well ‐ our leadership is the reason ...

Who told you to allow an individual peasant to rent land? Who! Why are you allowing this? Who told you to allow an individual to have more farmsteads than a collective farmer? Who! On what grounds?

We ourselves are to blame. Our leadership looked the other way and overlooked here. Itʹs all about leadership.

Why do we still have collective farms with large debts to the state, some old debts that deserve to be forgotten? When individuals moved to a collective farm, some property was there, something helped, and then they put everything together, and even with interest, you, Comrade Grinko, probably collect it?

Grinko. No interest.

Stalin. Canʹt this case be liquidated altogether? All the same, there is little benefit.

Kalinin. Not really only.

Stalin. Some old debts from the times of agricultural cooperation.

I repeat, comrades, once again that the question is not about a reassessment of values, not about collective farms or individual farming, because one cannot get carried away with such criticism and forget all perspectives, but about how best to conduct business on collective farms. We do not need to force the rate of collectivization at all. It is not necessary because we have already passed the period of forcing, we finished it in 1932. We need a gradual, but systematic move forward in terms of collectivization, not by means of administration to drive people into the barn, but in the order of economic and agitation measures so that there is no chance not in a single region where the number of households on collective farms fell in total. And it falls here and there. You take comfort in the percentage of all households. This should be taken into account, but it does not solve the problem. If your population has become smaller in the region, they have gone somewhere, therefore, there are fewer households, then you may be able to achieve that the percentage of collectivization is growing. But this is not a real increase in collectivization if the number of households in the collective farm sector has decreased. This is not the growth we need. Move forward, gradually, but move forward, and not stabilize at the same level, because we are far from over with this business, keep in mind. It is during this period, when the matter of collectivization is not finished, that 2–3–4% of individual farms that exist and are dodging are of importance. For the fluctuation of collective farms, this matters. In two or three years, the presence of 2‐3‐4%, even 10% of individual peasants will not matter that much, because the collective farms will grow, any comparison of the income of the collective farmer with the individual will be removed by history, because the income of the collective farmer will be large. Then maybe this question is irrelevant. But now this income of the collective farms is not so great, we are still building, completing the building of the collective farms, the construction period has not yet passed, there are areas where there are not even public buildings, as Comrade Razumov told us today.6 *.

Until this construction period is over, for us every percentage of the availability of individual farms ‐ when the income of collective farmers is not so great ‐ matters. You do not console yourself with the fact that few percent of individuals remain. This percentage is scattered across all districts, this is a very active percentage, he is offended, he dodges this way and that, we do not have enough attention and ability to keep up with him. And he does the work of his existence and therefore dodges. And if the case goes to an individual, he, of course, scoffs at the collective farm. And in order for a certain number of farms to fluctuate on collective farms, this is of great importance ... at this stage, in these 2 ‐ 3 years, it cannot be neglected that 1 ‐ 2% of individuals remain. This is also important for the strength of the collective farms, in order to save the collective farmers from hesitation.

You cannot operate with an average figure. They understood that the average figure is nothing. This is not true. But it is impossible to be guided in all work by the average figure, because you also lost sight of those areas and those collective farms that still live poorly, sometimes degrade. This happens in the history of the development of new economic relations. It happened that some enterprises degraded, and capitalism developed. You cannot get carried away by a separate collective farm or region. Why is the average figure bad? Because it smears out concreteness.

In this area, say, 1,000 collective farms, of which 200 collective farms live well. I believe that for these conditions it is good if, for example, 1,000 poods. bread remained from workdays, and 5 thousand more in money, as the Ukrainians reported ( voices: right, right). Itʹs good. Out of a thousand 200 collective farms, there are, say, 700 medium‐sized collective farms, which are moving forward with hesitation, need to be raised, 100 collective farms literally die (maybe the leaders are bad, they came at the wrong time, or forgot about them), if you bring out the average figure, the situation will be successful, it will turn out, say, an average of 6 ‐ 7 kg, which is not bad, but there are 100 collective farms that do not receive one kilogram. How to deal with them? The average number gets in the way, but it is important for us that the rest catch up. Therefore, all your speeches and all criticism (if we are talking about criticism, whether we are conducting it, whether the enemies are conducting it) revolve around these collective farms. They are carried away by the fact that 700 collective farms live tolerably more or less and do not focus on the fact that 100 collective farms are degrading. This is a live demonstration of all our work. Therefore, they must be raised, and in order to raise them, you cannot be distracted from the average figure. This average figure is indicative for statistics, but if you take it as a symptom, as an indicator of your work, then it will be death. This is what we are talking about.

How to be now? I believe that it would be inappropriate now for us to come forward with the aim of reducing the land of the collective farmers. This is not the time now. You canʹt do it now. Iʹm not even talking about the fact that it is impossible to establish the same standards. Different norms are absolutely necessary. I also consider it inappropriate if we would suggest anything else that could narrow the individual economy. In general, this will be a blow to the collective farm, keep in mind. We must find the right time; if you start to attack, then you have to on the individual farmer. Do you think it is possible to admit that the same rate should be kept in the estate for both the collective farmer and the individual farmer? It is necessary to make a difference between the individual and the collective farmer, so that the individual can see what is better on the collective farm.

We now quite often have more farmland for individuals, in fact, and not on paper, more land than a collective farmer. Because the collective farmer is all here, under control, and they know how much of the estate land he has but catch an individual: part of the land is leased, part is seized, part is taken for a while, and business starts. It is necessary to create such a situation in which the individual, in the sense of the individual farm household, would have a worse life, so that he would have fewer opportunities than the collective farmer as an individual farm. Until now, all the time we have been practicing one directive ‐ in everything to maintain a more favorable position for the collective farmer as a social activist in comparison with an individual. And now somehow, they rolled off these rails here and there. How can this be explained? This attitude, this line must be restored in all areas — in the area of taxes, and in the area of trade, and in all others.

It is necessary that in all our work and activity, legislative and administrative, one idea runs like a red thread, that in all this the collective farmer has more rights and privileges than the individual. This does not mean that I am in favor of destroying individuals, arresting, punishing, disrupting and so on. It wonʹt work either. This is not a cost‐effective approach.


To take him straight and strangle him is stupid. Individual farming gives us some bread. How much bread did Comrade Kleiner get?

Kleiner. 130 million

Stalin. We cannot put an end to this. But the individual must know that our starting point of view, given by Ilyich, is that we give the collective farm and the collective farmer advantages over the individual.

This advantage must be preserved, but I am opposed to strangling individuals, They must be educated, re‐educated and made clear in the manner of economic and financial measures, they will understand this that it is more profitable for them to be on a collective farm than to be in individuals, it is more profitable to give up individual farming and to go to a collective farm or it is more profitable to completely go to the city for work than to engage in individual farming, speculate, rob, steal, engage in horse‐stealing, and so on. This is what concerns the estate economy.

As for the farming of individuals, you say that most of them have given up on farming, but some are engaged.

Kosior. Two thirds are engaged.

Stalin. Obviously, it is necessary to strengthen the tax press, but I am against strengthening this press so that the individual has nothing left of it. Here, too, one must have a measure.

Everything in our country should revolve around one line, that the collective farmer as a social worker has more advantages in all branches of labor and work than the individual farmer. If we do this, we will surely get the best individuals on the collective farm. And those who are not able to go to the collective farm will go to the state farms, some will go to the cities to work. Those who are incorrigible, declassified, they will become bandits or hooligans.

These are my considerations, which follow from your speeches and on which, obviously, we will have to make a well‐known decision. I think that today we are not in a position to make a decision, because it is not enough to limit ourselves to one general decision, since we have raised very specific questions. It is possible to make such a decision today: taking into account the exchange of views, instruct our secretaries of regional committees and chairmen of regional executive committees, so that each of them in their area presents their views and their specific proposals in relation to the specific conditions of their area, and not only the area, but also individual areas within the region itself, so that they present their specific proposals, perhaps justified by the attached notes 7*. And the Politburo can use this material and give something suitable, maybe give something general and something concrete in the context of the regional one.

Kalinin. And the village council?

Stalin. You see, the village councils ... I didnʹt blame them at all. We do not have a legal commission to accuse anyone and put an end to it. But one must bear in mind, Comrade Kalinin, that in some places the village councils have turned into agents of individuals. Who is to blame for this? We are all to blame here, and the village councils are to blame. But the main thing here will ask more of us. After all, the mood that the village councils are nonsense has not yet been overcome. This is our mood is wrong. And not only village councils. Among our party members there are “Marxists” who think that Soviet forms are generally nonsense, there are people like that, I assure you. As a rule, more solid and more experienced people are not sent to the village councils themselves. We send people to collective farms, to MTS, to political departments, but I don’t remember that the best people are sent to the village councils. There are people sitting there who are out of work.

Voice. They are already starting to send good workers.

Stalin . It is necessary, in my opinion, to break our assets, so that they pay attention, follow, help the village council, put the best people, shoot the worst.

I think this will have to happen exchange of views, let each region undertake to send its specific proposals, and we will process this matter.

Molotov. There is a proposal to end the debate. No objections? No.

There is a proposal to accept Comrade Stalinʹs proposal. No objections?

No. The meeting is closed.

1  * See doc. No. 65.

2  * See: Report of JV Stalin at the January (1933) plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the All‐Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) ʺResults of the First Five‐Year Planʺ //

Stalin I.V. Op. T. 13.P. 195.

3  * So in the text.

4  * Hereinafter, outlines of the document.

5  * So in the text. Name not set.

6  * See doc. No. 64.

7  * See doc. No. 93‐97.

62 The Society of Old Bolsheviks was created in 1922. It was under

Istpart, then the Lenin Institute under the Central Committee of the AllUnion Communist Party (Bolsheviks). According to the charter, adopted in 1931, the purpose of the Society was to use the experience of the old Bolsheviks in educating young people, to collect historical and party materials. The Society consisted of members of the All‐Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks with continuous party experience of at least 18 years. At the beginning of 1934, the Society consisted of over 2 thousand people. Since 1931 the chairman of the Society ‐ Em. Yaroslavsky. The society of old Bolsheviks was liquidated in accordance with the decree of the Central Committee of the All‐Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of August 2, 1935 (SEI. T. 10. S. 413).


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