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Why did the attempt under stalin to increase agricultural productivity prove to be such a fundamental failure ?

On blocking the implementation of progress in agrarian technology (1929‑1941)
Pourquoi, sous Stalin, la tentative d’augmenter la productivité agricole s’est-elle révélée un échec désastreux ? Du blocage de la mise en œuvre du progrès dans la technologie agricole (1929-1941)
Stephan Merl
p. 191-220

Резюме

This article seeks to explore why the Soviet Union failed to achieve the two aims associated with the transition to “Socialist agriculture,” namely the industrialization of agricultural production and a rapid increase in agricultural yields. In the 1930s, the party leadership under Stalin launched four large-scale campaigns for the implementation of these aims. These included land consolidation, the introduction of progressive crop rotation and the use of selected seeds. The paper describes what informal institutions acted to deter the agricultural producers and those officials with relevant responsibility in the Soviet party and state bureaucracy from introducing crop rotations, and why agricultural producers under Stalin lost interest in increasing per hectare yields. The study reveals the contradiction-ridden character of Stalin’s agrarian policy and highlights its long-term consequences.

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Translated from German by Bill Templer

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Полное изложение текстаПлан

1-Did collectivisation mean a transition to “industrialised agrarian production” ?
2-The forced collectivisation 1929‑1932 : Loss of control over the soil
3-Kolhhoz system and crop rotation : the first campaign for land consolidation 1932‑1935
4-The transfer of land to the kolkhozes “for unlimited use, i.e. in perpetuity”
5-The extensive loss of selected seeds after the poor harvest 1936
6-The execution of the cautioners : agronomists as scapegoats
7-Bonded labour : Why the kolkhozniki did not want to stay in the kolkhozes
8-Benediktov’s sober assessment of the failure to increase yields
9-The plans for reshaping nature, 1940/1941
10-General findings : The paradox of state action in the field of agricultural policy

Заголовки

The Marxists harboured great expectations of a revolutionising of agricultural productive forces in the transition to a “Socialist” agriculture, which in their conception would be characterized by large‑scale enterprises. The external prerequisites for a rapid increase in hectare yields and a lasting improvement in the output of Soviet agriculture were very good at the end of the 1920s. The Russian experts by then had come to play a leading role in international agrarian research. They had investigated the regional peculiarities of farming in Russia and were in a good position to draft sweeping programmes for agrarian reform. Economic planning promised to translate new agricultural knowledge more rapidly into production, thus facilitating a substantial rise in hectare yields and animal performance. Small‑scale production was still predominant and displayed a range of serious defects, including strip positioning, numerous border furrows, remoteness of land under cultivation, strip fa...

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Электронная ссылка

Stephan Merl, « Why did the attempt under stalin to increase agricultural productivity prove to be such a fundamental failure ? », Cahiers du monde russe [Онлайн], 57/1 | 2016, Выложить онлайн 01 janvier 2019, Наводить справки в 21 octobre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/monderusse/8343 ; DOI : 10.4000/monderusse.8343

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© École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris.

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