Climate Dependence and Food Problems in Russia, 1900-1990: The Interaction of Climate and Agricultural Policy and Their Effect on Food Problems

By Nikolai M. Dronin; Edward G. Bellinger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
The collectivization of Soviet agriculture
(1929–1940)

In contrast with the previous decade, this period saw a very centralized, autocratic development of the economy. During the 1930s, a Socialist economic system was being constructed, the first in the world. This new system was characterized by the priority it gave to the development of heavy industry, its extremely centralized management, the drafting of detailed five-year plans for all industrial and agricultural branches, strong administrative control over the realization of these plans, and the rapid mobilization of massive human and material resources when needed for the most important Soviet projects. Simultaneously, the actual performance of the Soviet economy became more difficult for outsiders to interpret as Soviet statistics were increasingly distorted. On the eve of World War II the country became richer due to its accelerated industrialization, but the majority of the Soviet people still lived in villages and found themselves poorer and consuming less than in the 1920s.


5.1. Major developments in agriculture

There were two major stages in the development of Soviet agriculture in the 1930s: a very short stage during which the NEP was demolished; and a longer stage which saw the accelerated construction of the Soviet system of collectivized agriculture. During two years, 1928 and 1929, the use of coercion by the state replaced the market mechanism of the NEP. The “emergency measures” of the state grain procurement plan at the beginning of 1928 became a permanent feature of the new system. From the beginning of 1930, the forcible collectivization of agriculture strengthened state control over agricultural output.

The “emergency measures” for grain collection were first put in place by the Soviet authorities in 1927–1928 in the face of the failure of the state procurement campaign. The grain procurement crisis of the

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