The Party and Policy towards the Countryside 1933–39

  • Daniel Thorniley
Part of the Studies in Soviet History and Society book series (SSHS)


In response to the rural economic débâcle of 1932, the authorities reacted quickly with a series of reforms of the rural-economic administration. The party-political organisation in the countryside was radically reshaped by the introduction of the political departments, which lasted until the end of 1934. On the legislative side, the whole procurement procedure was markedly altered in a series of resolutions, in particular by that of 19 January 1933, which made procurements less arbitrary and based on a known sown area.1 Kolkhoz markets were closed for the duration of the procurements but reopened once a region had completed its procurements. It was stressed that in the new system targets were to be obligatory but fixed and there do seem to have been genuine attempts made to prevent ‘counter-plans’, that is additional targets, from being slapped on kolkhozy which had completed their plans by the local authorities. These were not, however, the only payments that the kolkhozy were obliged to make. In 1933, in order to make the MTS more responsible in the work they carried out for kolkhozy, they were to receive a percentage of the crop (naturplata), rather than a fixed rate in money for every hectare they ploughed. Combined with the introduction of political departments at most MTS, this made the MTS the key centre of economic and political control in the countryside in the early years of the second Five Year Plan.


Procurement Procedure Collective Farm Political Department Peasant Household Genuine Attempt 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    These are high and low variants taken from S.G. Wheatcroft, ‘A Reevaluation of Soviet Agricultural Production in the 1920s and 1930s’, paper presented at the S.S.R.C. Conference on Soviet Economic Development in the 1930s held at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham, June 1982, Appendix 5, pp. 29–30.Google Scholar

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© Daniel Thorniley 1988

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  • Daniel Thorniley

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