Magazine article Russian Life

Where Do We Sign? A Propaganda Photo from February 1930, with Smiling Peasants Eagerly Lining Up to Join a Kolkhoz

Magazine article Russian Life

Where Do We Sign? A Propaganda Photo from February 1930, with Smiling Peasants Eagerly Lining Up to Join a Kolkhoz

Article excerpt

"Oh, that's a fine way to do things! No, Comrade, that won't work. You'd undermine trust in everything we're doing. And what will the average peasant think then? He'll say to himself, 'So that's the way it is! Soviet power! Pushing the peasant around every which way.' That, my friend, is childishness."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Childishness?" Davydov turned beet red.

"Seems like you think Stalin made a mistake, eh?"

"What does Stalin have to do with it?"

"I read the speech he gave at the conference of Marxists, of those, what do you call 'em? Those landonomists, er, agronomists?"

Here is a clear sign of the times--this was taking place in December 1929, just when Stalin had called for the "elimination of the kulak as a class" at a conference of "Marxist agronomists," and thousands of Davydovs, selflessly devoted to him, lashed out against prosperous peasants, driving people almost to the point of rebellion ... And then came March 2, 1930.

After a delay due to flooding, on March 20 the postman brought the newspaper with Stalin's article "Dizzy with Success" to Gremyachy Log. It just took one day for every household to get a look at one of the three copies of The Hammer, and by evening they had turned into damp, grease-stained scraps. They read it, gathered in groups, in huts, in the lanes, in back yards, at the entrances to granaries ... One would read it out loud and the others would listen, afraid of missing a single word, being as quiet as they possibly could. Terrible arguments broke out all over the hamlet about the article. Everyone interpreted it in their own way, for the most part seeing in it whatever they wanted. And almost everywhere, when Nagulnov or Davydov appeared, for some reason they hurriedly passed the newspaper from hand to hand until, like a white bird flitting about the crowd, it disappeared into someone's roomy pocket. …

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