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State policy on the peasantry upon transition to the New Economic Policy in 1921-1924 (on materials of Stavropol Territory)

 © 2008 O. Shpakov

STATE POLICY on the PEASANTRY UPON TRANSITION To the New Economic Policy In 1921-1924


In domestic historical science the opinion was approved that the spring of 1921 should be considered date of refusal of soviet leadership of policy of military communism and transition to the New Economic Policy. Replacement of a surplus-appropriation system with the fixed food tax gave to peasants a certain relief, but their economic situation remained disastrous that often is explained by historians the objective reasons: drought, influence of world and civil wars, consequences of policy of military communism. But it is impossible to forget that RCP(b) formed the economic policy on an ideological basis that did not contribute to the development of the national economy. In the present article an attempt to consider is made, how exactly there was a transition process (from military communism to the New Economic Policy) from a surplus-appropriation system to a prodnalog when and as the principles and methods of economic policy of the state changed as it was reflected in a condition of country farms and a political situation to Stavropol Territory.

In a modern historiography there are various points of view on a question since what moment the New Economic Policy began to be purposeful strategy, but not private tactical maneuvers of Bolsheviks which took place and in the years of civil war. Besides the version, most widespread in science, about March, 1921 as the moment of basic change in policy of the party, there are also other points of view on this problem. According to A.V. Baranov, only the end of 1924 can be considered the moment when "the New Economic Policy was shown as the strategy of expansion of the market relations and the civil world...", whereas "... are obvious discrepancy of actions of the power concerning the city and the village to the previous period" [1]. The German researcher M. Vener claims that till 1923 "the New Economic Policy had no considerable impact on the village". According to him, even the course "facing the village" 1924 "was at the beginning not a certain policy, but set of various actions" [2].

The addressing the statements of V.I. Lenin and other political figures does not clear up a question of the moment of change of an economic course as their activity was connected with frequent maneuvers and separate quotes by consideration out of a context of communistic ideology can generate various interpretations of views of the country leaders. For example, V.I. Lenin in 1921 considered assumption of local barter "a concession of petty-bourgeois elements", and in 1923 supported transfer of the center of gravity from political struggle to organizational and cultural work and voluntary cooperation of multistructure society. In March, 1922 I. Lenin wrote: "The greatest mistake is to think that the New Economic Policy put an end to terror, we still will return to terror and terror economi-

chesky" [3]. It is thought that in this case evolution of party ideology, how many development of tactics of maneuvring and compromises took place not so much at preservation of former strategy on creation of classless society, elimination of the capitalist relations. The resolution of the X congress of RCP(b) underlined: "The party has to be rather elastic in case of need to pass to the system of battle-orders" [4].

The economic situation in the village of the beginning of the 1920th was defined not only by material consequences of two wars and policy of military communism, but also preservation of stereotypes of the last in consciousness of the central and local administration.

In the first year of the New Economic Policy social tension in the country kept the sharpness. In March, 1921 SNK made the decision not to cancel a surplus-appropriation system in a number of regions where the plan of grain-collections was not implemented. The North Caucasus therefore here it was entered "uniform prodnaryad" of 10 million poods also treated them and barter till fall of 1921 is forbidden. Thus, the decree about replacement of a surplus-appropriation system prodnalogy did not extend to the most ruined and starving regions of the country.

Fall of 1921 at a meeting of presidium of a gubis-half-lump the provincial food commissioner Shugol reported that from four counties of the province two - Blagodarnensky and Medvezhensky - are absolutely poor harvest, and other two - Stavropol and Aleksandrovsky ". in comparison with a normal harvest of the province it is possible to consider also poor harvest". Having heard the report, the presidium of a gubis-half-lump decided: "To offer Provincial Revtribunal. to strengthen application of repressive corrective actions on faulty payers of a prodnalog" [5, l. 116]. The central power considered economic ruin of the beginning of the 1920th the basis not for weakening of tax pressure upon the peasantry, and for strengthening of pressing holders of bread and centralization of management of the national economy. In the conditions of a crop failure, lack of full statistical data, all gubispolkoma received in August, 1921 resolution HUNDRED signed by Lenin in whom it was recommended "to recognize as necessary at the first signs of counteraction to collecting a prodnalog or delay in its contribution immediately to take drastic measures of compulsory character, entering military units into the persisting volosts and settlements, immediately directing visiting sessions of Revtribunal there" [5, l. 68]. At input of military groups their food supply was assigned, as well as during the surplus-appropriation system, to local community, up to full delivery of a tax.

By March 1, 1922, according to provincial Workers' and Peasants' inspection, the lack of bread till a harvest made 12.2 million poods. Throughout fall of 1921 - spring of 1922 provincial authorities received reports from places on hunger in Blagodarnensky and Medvezhensky Counties and a small harvest in other counties of the province. The decisions made at meetings of presidium of a gubispokom, GubRKI Gubprodkom combined two political lines. On the one hand, resolutions of provincial authorities were directed to strengthening of administrative pressure on defaulters and volost executive committees. On the other hand, the provincial authorities constantly petitioned for recognition of Blagodarnensky and Medvezhensky Counties and 11 more villages of the province starving, for reduction of a prodnalog and a delay of payment of a seed loan. Stavropol a gubispolok in July, 1921 decided to petition before regional economic council for leaving of the province of all bread of 100% of the forthcoming prodnalog as "necessary for an obsemeneniye at least parts of acreage of all-provincial scale" [6].

Thus, position of the Stavropol peasantry in the fall of 1921 - spring of 1922 reminded peak of military communism at the end of 1920 Prodnalog was very high also in the conditions of the natural consuming nature of country farms, the tough policy on its performance led to a bigger agrarian decline. Local authorities: the gubprod-lump, the Village Councils and volost executive committees - appeared mobilized and undertook to execute prodnalog in the shortest possible time. In case of non-performance of tasks the officials were arrested and got under tribunal. All markets were closed, barter stopped [7]. Military groups which commanders together with the ranking officer headed food work were entered into villages. To each defaulter the ultimatum was delivered - to hand over a tax in few days, otherwise he was obliged to pay a penalty fee of 20% of the amount of tax. If in 4 days prodnalog it was not paid, then the repeated penalty fee of 20% of a tax was assigned to all volost. Besides a penalty fee, arrests of defaulters and compulsory alienation of products [5, l were used. 27].

The party and state management continued to consider the administrative methods of the management of agriculture similar to methods of military management, the most effective. On July 10, 1922 the regional economic council demanded from a gubprod-lump to declare the office of food bodies militarized. Also it was supposed "to establish immediately the order of works and intercourses existing for bodies of the Defense Ministry, to install the system of battle-orders on a prodapparata". For non-execution of battle-orders or counteraction to that from prodovolstvennik the responsibility "on court of Revolutionary-military tribunal for condemnation for war laws" [8, l was established. 295].

So cruel centralization did not eradicate abuse and plunder in provincial food committee. But this centralization and militarization of local government did not allow the last to soften distress of the population, opposition between the power and the peasantry remained, the antigovernmental formations which are officially called "gangs" continued to work. In September, 1921 to Stavropol Territory 123 hostages for fight against gangsterism were taken. Only in St. New maryevskoy 26 hostages were shot. During attack of gangs on the granaries which are owned by the state nearby villages by the principle of mutual responsibility were responsible. Thereby the state recognized that fight against gangsterism in practice represents fight against the peasantry as owner of bakery products.

The central power, seeking to extort from the village at most of means, at the same time understood danger of a starvation of country farms. VTsIK adopted on August 4, 1921 the resolution on the address of all types of a food tax in poor harvest regions only on satisfaction of own needs of provinces. As the economic situation in the Southeast was various, Stavropol gubprodky a lot of time was required to prove that Blagodarnensky and Medvezhensky Counties are starving, and the province in general needs the help. By February, 1922 the collecting a prodnalog was stopped, and further privileges at payment of taxes were provided to two poor harvest counties of the province. But it was insufficiently for the termination of ruin of the peasantry. In the spring of 1922 to Stavropol Territory 2/3 population starved.

Decrees and resolutions on privileges to poor harvest areas long did not come into force owing to all-republican food crisis. The Stavropol province was not recognized starving, however in April, 1922 it was recognized needing the credit for recovery of agriculture. Besides, by resolutions of the Central Committee Pomgol of May 13, 1922, regional economic council of July 16, 1922 it was solved necessary to apply to two poor harvest counties of the province of Paragraph 7 of the decree about the Uniform prodnalog on which 50% of a privilege at payment of a prodnalog were provided. However nobody hurried to carry out these resolutions judging from the fact that the chairman of a gubispolkom Kulikov at the end of July, 1922 continued to ask the regional and central authorities to apply to the starving counties of the province of Paragraph 7 of the decree.

The Central Committee Pomgol decided to release the credit for needs of Stavropol Territory of 100 thousand rubles gold on account of the church values sent from Stavropol Territory to Gokhran. Narkomvneshtorg which was carrying out operation of calculation with the province did not spend a part of means (2 thousand rubles gold).

Summer of 1922 Stavropol Territory was comprehended by a drought, the hunger escalation threat hung. Gubprodk continued to ask the center about the help.

The deficiency of grain in the summer of 1922 only in Blagodarnen-sky and Medvezhensky Counties was 7.9 million poods. In other counties of the province the situation also was unsuccessful. At the same time the province had to pay prodnalog 6.5 million poods, a seed loan and shortages on it of 850 thousand poods [8, l. 6].

Basic changes in the policy of the state began to be shown by fall of 1922. The Land code which gave exact definition of land rights came into force. Competent judicial authorities for protection of land rights were created. Short-term land lease was legalized. Since November 1, 1922 the militarization of food bodies was cancelled.

The government was engaged in studying defects of tax policy and took measures for their elimination. At Narkomproda and provincial food committees review commissions of the legislation on taxation were created. Such commission was created to Stavropol Territory which comprehensively and deeply studied a problem. In the reports it emphasized that natural taxation in itself has an adverse effect on an economic and political condition of the province as the same object fell under several taxes: for example, the milk cow is assessed with a tax on meat, oil and raw materials. It was noted that categories of productivity were established on counties while the real harvest in villages of the same county was various. The commission pointed to unprofitableness for the state of preparations of a number of products: birds, eggs, vegetables.

The commission came to a conclusion that the reason of all these defects, including mass plunders, in a natural form of taxation. To eliminate these defects, the commission claimed, the single natural tax is not able, it is necessary to pass to taxation in cash, and "the necessary quantity of products can be prepared in the market that it will even be more favorable, than goods exchange operations" [9].

In the early twenties in a motivation part of the Soviet documents as main objectives of policy of the authorities specified encouragement of the peasant as small producer. But performance of a grain procurement campaign which volumes were established in the center without the interests of a small hleboproizvodi-tel was for the authorities a priority. The above-stated commission at a gubprodkoma spoke against permission of individual barter and delays in performance of a prodnalog, being afraid of disruption of a food campaign.

Gradually economic and political situation of the province improved in comparison with 19201921 though in the province to speak about the beginning of recovery of agriculture still early, reduction of acreage continues, and for payment of a prodnalog the peasants continue to sell the working cattle and stock.

By October, 1923 94% of the tax planned to receiving by this month arrived. But it was achieved such success at the expense of a monetary part of a tax which made a half from its total amount.

Receipt "in kind" made only 32.7%, the tendency to decrease in this part of a task was observed. But also the population paid a monetary part of a tax not without prejudice to the economy. According to the report of the chairman of district executive committee of the Aleksandrovsky County, the most safe in the province, spring of 1923 solvency of the population "it is impossible to consider satisfactory", at the majority not only surplus of bread ran low, but also bread from stocks, necessary for family, was realized. The population was forced to pay a penalty fee and to sell bread for nothing. According to executive committee, the reason of a nedopostupleniye of taxes in their plurality, unexpectedness of presentation, requirements of urgent payment [10, l. 113 about.].

Spring of 1924, by data gubstatbyuro, the province there were no 1.9 million poods of grain. Prodnalog it was paid in general successfully, but at preservation of tough pressing defaulters. For 1923 8.6 thousand defaulters were arrested, according to data of lips-prodkoma. According to the district executive committees arrested was even more. Itself a gubprodok reported that "at the disposal of the population for its daily needs there is extremely insignificant rest" [11].

In 1923 the New Economic Policy to Stavropol Territory came into full force. Grain-collections were carried out at the competition of a number of the state organizations including by means of use of a private counteragency. But GubRKI estimated a result of a procuring campaign of 1923-1924 as unsuccessful - only 64.2% of the plan by February 1, 1924, and suggested to pass to the centralized state preparation without use of a private counteragency.

In 1923-1924 the negative influence on the village of a command system of the leadership in grain-collections remained. In August, 1923 narkomprod established the 4th category of productivity for the Stavropol province though according to provincial Workers' and Peasants' inspection the productivity did not exceed the 3rd category. Calculation of a prodnalog depended on the established category of productivity. Besides the overestimated prodnalog ruined peasants and requirements of high quality of the grain which is handed over to the state.

One more manifestation of the military and communistic principles of the management of economic policy were sowing campaigns. In days of the New Economic Policy SNK approved in December, 1920 and the VI congress of Councils the decree "About measures for strengthening and development of agriculture" continued to work. On the one hand, this decree contained point on awarding of diligent rural societies and certain peasants, on rendering to the peasantry the help in supply with cars and seed materials. But this law was aimed at the development of policy of military communism as he announced the "correct" introduction of agricultural economy a duty of peasants before the state. The Soviet power undertook obligations to help the village by cars, seed material, and peasants it obliged to increase as the state duty sowing on pla-

to us center. For providing low-power farms with seeds it was planned to carry out redistribution of seeds by implementation of a seed allotment. "Surplus" of seeds was withdrawn from prosperous farms and transferred to the poor.

the Plan of a spring sowing campaign for 1921 was developed by

in January, prior to the X congress of RCP(b) and was too optimistic. It was planned that the amount of crops had to be 90% of the level of 1916, at the same time it was planned to exceed the level of 1920 for 25% [12]. It could not be carried out in the conditions of weakness of the transport system and static accounting and the reporting of bodies of distribution. A considerable part of seeds spoiled or was late. In 1922 the last route with grain arrived to Stavropol Territory on June 7. In February, 1923 the Aleksandrovsky district executive committee reported on impossibility to unload ssyppunkt because of an impassability of roads and transport difficulties. The grain-producting province sent seed material to the center, in the conditions of weakness of the transport system, with enormous efforts, and itself received seeds not in full and not in time.

The overestimated plan of a sowing campaign affected development of agriculture. In June, 1923. Stavropol a gubprodok reported to the representative of plank beds-komproda Kolegayev to Rostov that, despite fight against concealment of an arable land, the target figure in 1.4 million tithes will not be revealed though 1 million tithes promised "to scrape up". From Rostov the answer was received that "identification of the hidden arable land it is necessary to achieve by all means to our target figures because Moscow gave the target figures much above ours and demands their performance" [13].

In March, 1923 the Blagodarnensky district executive committee petitioned for increase in a seed loan, claiming that that quantity of a loan which is released on the county, will be enough only for 38% of cultivated area. In reply a gubispolok decided to refuse the petition and suggested the district power "to strengthen work on performance of tasks of crops at least for 80%" [10, l. 46].

The seed loan not especially strongly promoted growth of country farms. When receiving a loan the borrower was obliged to bring on the arrangement fees which are not subject to return from each pood of wheat or barley of 150 thousand rubles. As the rate of gold ruble was put in principles of the contracts signed by agricultural associations, peasants already as a percentage of obviously usurious - from 50 to 400% depending on culture paid off with gubselsoyuzy. As a result when carrying out in life of contracts and obligations for return of a seed loan in 1922. The Stavropol province had to return instead of 0.9 million poods of seeds received by it in a loan over this quantity 2.18 million more poods and also to pay to 223,369,200,000 rubles bank notes [14]. In days of the New Economic Policy the public policy, despite considerable decrease in a tax burden, cannot be considered as contributing to the development of agriculture. Disturbed the last not

only the objective reasons, post-war ruin, but also stereotypes of thinking of the party management which got used to lean on administrative, but not economic control levers economy. The government continued to consider the village as a source of means for national needs. And as the last appeared the supreme value in comparison with the interests of private enterprises, the legislative measures directed to improvement of the situation of poor harvest areas, support of the poor and families of Red Army men, to prevention of slaughter of the working cattle, suppression of abuses of officials when collecting a prodnalog did not work at practice.

The amount of a food tax was much less a surplus-appropriation system, but also it was ruinous for the country farms which got as a result of Bolshevist policy naturally - consumer character. A little taxation methods changed since military communism: arrests, confiscations of the working cattle, the penalty fee imposed on the volost entirely with maintaining the principle of mutual responsibility. And though the economic situation, results of grain procurement campaigns improved every year, the solvency of the population and in 1923-1924 was recognized as local government unsatisfactory, the administrative pressure on defaulters, mass arrests and confiscations of stock remained.

In 1923 the New Economic Policy in the field of agriculture came into full force. A half of a prodnalog was paid in cash, grain-collections were conducted at the competition of the public procuring authorities to use of a private counteragency. But the principles, the purposes and problems of public policy in the village remained almost invariable and were carried out, as before, by command and administrative methods. One of manifestations of military and communistic stereotypes in the policy of the authorities was the allotment of seed material. Ideological installations, but not economic feasibility were the cornerstone of such policy.


1. A.V. Baranov. Social and political development of the North Caucasus in the conditions of the new economic policy (1921-1929). SPb., 1996. Page 130.
2. M vanner. Facing the village: Soviet power and country question (1914-1925)//National history. 1993. No. 5. Page 376.
3. V.I. Lenin.//Half-N of SOBR. soch. T. 42. Page 302; T. 45. Page 376; T. 44. Page 428.
4. The CPSU in resolutions and decisions of congresses, conferences and plenums of the Central Committee. T. 2. 1917-1922. M, 1983. Page 327.
5. State archive of Stavropol Krai, t. river-163, op. 1, 111, l. 116.
6. In the same place, 114, l. 365.
7. In the same place, 112, l. 87.
8. In the same place, 428.
9. In the same place, t. r-151, op. 1, 706, l. 6 about.
10. In the same place, t. r-163, op. 1, 510, l. 113 about.
11. In the same place, 945, l. 75.
12. Yu.A. Polyakov. Transition to the New Economic Policy and Soviet peasantry. M, 1967. Page 276.
13. GASK, t. r-151, op. 1, 963, l. 262.
14. In the same place, t. r-163, op. 1, 480, l. 6.

North Caucasian state technical university On December 4, 2007

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