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The Soviet cooperative legislation on the way of nationalization of cooperation (1917-1931)

UDK 93/99

A.V. Chichulin


Omsk state pedagogical university

In modern conditions of search of optimum ways of an exit from agricultural crisis the studying historical experience of cooperative construction is of particular importance. Search of top trends of this construction will be ineffectual if distinctly not to imagine that legal framework within which was determined to develop to - peration. Owing to this circumstance it is necessary to analyze the cooperative and legal policy of bodies of the Soviet power in 1917-1931 which had significant effect on economic development of the country in general and cooperations in particular.

During the postrevolutionary period of the politician of the government of Bolsheviks had no complete and accurately expressed cooperative program. The first steps of the new power were aimed at the development of one type of cooperation - consumer. Dominating in economic life, it had to become the important distributive mechanism in the society of new type.

At the end of December, 1917 the head of the Soviet government V.I. Lenin developed "The draft of the decree about consumer communes" which provisions had anti-cooperative character [1, page 206-210]. According to the decree all population of the country united to productive and consumer communes through which regulation of production and consumption in the state scales was planned. The supporting role at distribution among the population of necessary goods was assigned to cooperation. In essence it was exposed to nationalization.

In January, 1918 Narkomat on food developed the draft of the decree about consumer whom - muna, assuming full nationalization of consumer cooperation and creation of consumer communes. The project was published in the press, but extremely negatively apprehended in society. So, on February 17, 1918 the joint meeting of representatives of the cooperative organizations in Petrograd recognized the draft of the decree not as acceptable because of its anti-cooperative orientation [2, page 28-29]. At the end of February, 1918 in Moscow the All-Russian cooperative congress at which the draft of the decree was recognized "as disastrous for cooperation" took place [3, page 18]. At a congress an attempt of development of the alternative program of legal development of cooperation was made.

In the circumstances the government under pressure of the public was forced to go for conciliatory negotiations. In March, 1918 the meeting of representatives of the government (V.I. Lenin, A.I. Rykov, etc.) and cooperations took place (D.S. Korobov, L.M. Hinchuk, etc.). Each of the parties made the aforesaid demands. During difficult negotiations the compromise option which laid the foundation for development of the Soviet cooperative legislation was developed.

The first postrevolutionary cooperative act was adopted by SNK on April 10, 1918, and on April 11 this year VTsIK approved the decree "About the consumer cooperative organizations" [4, l. 55; 5, l. 6]. With its help the state expected to strengthen economic relations. According to the decree, cooperation was involved in performance of obligatory state tasks with maintaining some cooperative principles. For example, consumer societies had to serve all population around their activity, and everyone on condition of introduction of membership fees could become members of cooperative. The part of the auxiliary device at a food commissariat in distribution of food among the population was assigned to cooperation.

On April 12, 1918 VSNKh informed bodies of the Soviet power that the government agreed with cooperation about collaboration. From now on it was recommended all oppressions against cooperation and its employees to stop, to restore the liquidated cooperatives, and to let out the arrested cooperators [5, page 2-3]. The provision of cooperation from this point improved a little though these concessions were temporary.

On April 22, 1918 the first meeting of specially educated cooperative department of VSNKh into which about three representatives from cooperation and the government entered took place. The department kept statistics of the cooperative movement, was engaged in development of cooperative bills, represented the interests of cooperatives before bodies of the Soviet power. In May, 1918 there was a resolution of VSNKh according to which at all provincial and regional councils of the national economy cooperative departments were created [6, page 62]. However newly established institutes could not stop proceeding

persecutions on cooperatives from local public authorities. Complaints to prosecutions constantly came to departments from power bodies which sought to put cooperatives under the control.

On May 29, 1918 VSNKh issued the provision "About Registration of Cooperative Associations and Unions" according to which legal registration of cooperatives and their associations was assigned to the special commissions at provincial economic councils or councils consisting of two representatives of public authorities and one cooperative worker. The state control over cooperation even more amplified [7; 8, page 80].

The decree of SNK of November 21, 1918 became the following step on the way of nationalization of cooperation. "About the organization of supply" [9, page 879]. It included cooperation in network of state distribution points. The duty of preparation of products of a household was assigned to a commissariat of food. For distribution of products the network of the state and cooperative warehouses and benches was used. Control over supply of the population with products was imposed on a food commissariat which had the right to cancel any decisions of cooperative Centrosoyuz if they contradicted the existing state resolutions.

In February, 1919 after issue of the resolution of a commissariat of agriculture "About committee on affairs of agricultural cooperation" [10, page 88] agricultural cooperation joins in the sphere of public administration. The committee was established at board of People's Commissariat for Agriculture. From now on all acts concerning agriculture and agricultural cooperation had to be approved by this committee.

Process of nationalization of cooperation continued the March decree of 1919. "About consumer communes" [11, l. 363-365]. It, in fact, destroyed other types of country cooperation. Distribution of products and necessities was transferred to consumer cooperation in the country. Everywhere consumer cooperatives united and reorganized into uniform distribution body - the consumer commune which included all population of this area is universal. The strict management system of the organization and management was installed. The uniform system of cooperation was headed by the central union of consumer communes. It performed management of the provincial and regional cooperative unions which in turn directly directed cooperatives on places. Representatives of food bodies were entered into cooperative bodies, as a rule, it were people,

far from cooperation. All employees of communes were equated to employees of food public authorities. The spirit of voluntary friendly cooperation inherent in cooperation disappeared. Cooperation lost amateur performance, an initiative, existence of shares and was transferred to the government budget. In essence, the decree deleted the whole economic movement which arose last century, took deep root in the country environment and in practice promoting strengthening of country economy (now the last appeared under the threat of destruction).

Adoption of the resolution of VSNKh of June 1, 1919 became the following natural step on the way of nationalization of cooperation. "About management for cooperation, cottage and light industry at VSNKh" [12, page 334]. In it it was said that management is created for use of cooperation in public affairs. Management had to coordinate and control activity of all bodies of the national economy and the cooperation on the basis of the publication of the relevant decrees, circulars and instructions.

The decree of SNK of January 27, 1920 became the peculiar final document which completed systematic process of nationalization of cooperation. "About association of all types of the cooperative organizations" [13, l. 21, 21 about.]. According to the decree, credit and loan-and-savings cooperative associations and their unions were absorbed by consumer cooperation which undertook performance of functions of credit and loan-and-savings associations. Concerning other types of cooperation of provision of the decree carried softer formulations. The All-Russian center of agricultural, trade and other types of cooperation merged with the central union of consumer societies, as its separate sections. The power hesitated to liquidate them completely as it was made concerning credit cooperation.

After the decree of January 27, 1920 there was a resolution of SNK "About Liquidation of Councils of Cooperative Congresses" [14, l. 21 about.]. Parallel existence of the special all-cooperative center represented by Council of the All-Russian cooperative congresses and its provincial councils was represented to the power excessive and politically dangerous. Their functions, property and the capitals were transferred to the All-Russian central union of consumer societies (Centrosoyuz) and the provincial unions of consumer societies (gubsoyuza). Definition of an order of elimination and transfer of affairs was assigned to the main committee on cooperative affairs at Narkomproda.

Concerning more accurate administrative submission agricultural and trade

cooperation adopted on April 19, 1920 the additional decree "About the agriculture and trade cooperative organizations" [15, l. 40]. Organizational creation of these types of cooperation was improved. Cooperatives of the first degree united in regional, provincial, all-Russian scale in autonomous sections of the relevant unions of consumer societies. Those, in turn, were under control of the appropriate public authorities (Narkom-proda, People's Commissariat for Agriculture, VSNKh and their local bodies), carrying out their direct orders. The main objective consisted in the organization of production of certain products, collecting the made products for the subsequent transfer to public authorities.

Thus, and these types of cooperation, as well as consumer, lost completely the independence, independence and got under complete control of the state. It is visible from the decree of VTsIK of June 24, 1920. "About the organization of control of councils and the commissions at consumer societies (communes)" [16, page 268]. The decree put cooperation under comprehensive control of the state, creating a certain mechanism of its implementation. Obligations for control over activity of boards, for verification of the reporting, documents, etc. were assigned to the inspecting instances

An important innovation on the way of nationalization of cooperation was the fact that public financing was the basis for its activity while during the pre-revolutionary period the cooperation carried out the activity on own means. Legislatively it was issued on December 13, 1920 by the decree of SNK "About Cooperation Financing" [17, page 530]. In it was defined that assistance of cooperation in performance of the tasks assigned to it by the state is expressed in the form of a holiday of funds for certain expenses according to tasks of public authorities. All necessary means were provided to cooperation in the form of the state target credits.

All above legislative actions were caused by policy of "military communism" which did not allow other relation to cooperation. During this period there was the first nationalization of all types of cooperation. In the absence of the market and the commodity-money relations, transition to subsistence economy, introduction of a surplus-appropriation system, centralization of production and distribution cooperation could exist only as the state industry, otherwise at this conjuncture it was waited by elimination.

The sharpest economic and socio-political crisis of spring of 1921 led to change of Provo -

dimy ruling course. The power officially recognized impossibility as military and communistic methods to construct new socialist society. With transition to the new economic policy the cooperation has a revival opportunity, but already on qualitatively other legal basis.

The legal foundation was laid for the New Economic Policy by the resolution of VTsIK of March 15, 1921 on replacement of a surplus-appropriation system with a natural tax. The state opened the road to development of the commodity-money relations, trade, a financial and credit system, etc. In fact, the foundation was laid for formation of multistructure economy which basis cooperation had to form. The New Economic Policy changed the provision of cooperation and the attitude towards her from outside both the power, and society. The state and legal policy of the power found the reflection in a number of the decrees which are directly reviving various forms and types of cooperation.

First of all, the decree "About consumer cooperation" [18, l was adopted on April 7, 1921. 1-3], the cancelled previous decree "About consumer communes" and partly restoring intrinsic cooperative bases of consumer cooperation. In spite of the fact that the organizational structure remained the same (local consumer societies were included into gubsoyuza, the last into Centrosoyuz), the right to raise shares from everyone who in it consisted returned to consumer cooperation. Narkomprod performed management and control over activity of consumer cooperation in the field of performance of obligatory state tasks. The decree so far only designated readiness of the power to make concessions, but in what volume while it was represented vaguely (the accurate action plan in power for this moment was not).

To loosen controls in its relation a little the market filling problem goods of industrial and agricultural production pushed. Without economic and organizational freedom of cooperation it was impossible to make it. The subsequent decrees concerning producers' and agricultural cooperation restored the intrinsic cooperative principles. So, on July 7, 1921 there was a decree of VTsIK and SNK of "About Producers' Cooperation" [19, page 322] which restored the cooperative principles inherent in it. This type of cooperation received independence of functioning, management, formation of the unions and came out direct submission of consumer and public authorities. Direct management was performed by a meeting of representatives and board. Citizens acquired the right to freely organize trade cooperatives for conducting coproduction, snabzhe-

a niya of the members the corresponding goods. Cooperatives had the rights of the legal entity and could make independently transactions, sign contracts, incur obligations and answer on them to other persons, organize the economic enterprises, etc. In May of the next year the All-Russian union of producers' cooperation was created (Vsekopromsoyuz).

Throughout the entire period of the New Economic Policy the provision of cooperation almost completely depended on financial policy which was pursued by the state. So, the new decree of SNK "About Means of Cooperation" which established the principle of the state financial assistance to cooperatives in the form of short-term and long-term loans on which amount in principle success of cooperative development depended was adopted on July 26, 1921 [20, page 382].

The great value for development of country cooperation was played by the government decree adopted by VTsIK and SNK on August 16, 1921. "About agricultural cooperation" [21, l. 27]. It restored independence, independence and voluntariness of formation of cooperation of this type. The right for creation of legally independent cooperative system allowed to create various forms of cooperative associations. Behind country cooperation the right to be engaged in supply of the members with means of production and to conduct practically any economic and financial activity admitted. The demand of the decree was shown already that the All-Russian congress of the authorized agriculture cooperative organizations which laid the foundation for revival of the All-Russian agricultural union (Selskosoyuz) took place on August 20. At a congress tasks were defined and the allied charter is adopted. However in the conditions of absolute power of Bolsheviks it was not necessary to speak about full independence of cooperation. Upon the demand of the power the Council of the educated union included two representatives of the National commissariat of agriculture.

In agricultural cooperation, according to the adopted decree of November 17, 1921. "About equating of agricultural collectives concerning performance of the national taxes to farms of individualists and about distribution on agricultural collectives of Provision on agricultural cooperation" [22, page 628], communes, artels and associations on joint processing of the earth were included. On November 18, 1921 the Central Committee of RCP(b) formed the commission on party work in cooperation which problem consisted in the political leadership in the cooperative movement and in gradual replacement of "old cooperators" by shots party [23, l. 28-29].

For improvement of conditions for development of agriculture the decree "About credit cooperation" [24, l was issued. 49] of January 24, 1922. This type of cooperation, as well as previous, received independence of the organization and functioning and also the independent legal status. Credit and loan-and-savings associations were allocated from consumer cooperation and could conduct the supplementary, loan, trade and intermediary and other operations inherent in this type of cooperation.

On May 20, 1924 the decree "About consumer cooperation" was adopted [25, page 645]. Consumer societies began to work now at principles of the charters which provided their legal status, independence and voluntariness of membership. They were granted the right to get and realize agriculture products, to make trade and intermediary operations, etc.

Thus, during an initial stage of the New Economic Policy the functioning of main types of cooperation was legalized. The separate laws returning cooperations inherent democratic principles were issued for each look.

The cooperative legislation of the period of the New Economic Policy fixed a new order of registration of cooperatives and their unions. For example, according to the decree "About agricultural cooperation", the cooperative agriculture organizations arise an attendance order without preliminary permission if the area of their activity does not exceed one province. Registration in this case was carried out by local regional executive committee. Charters have to be registered surely in lips-zemotdelakh in a month if they did not contradict the decree. In addition to this decree the People's Commissariat for Agriculture approved "The provision on registration of agricultural cooperatives and their unions" [26]. According to Situation, registration of the All-Russian and regional associations and also the associations which are going beyond administrative borders of provinces happened with the consent of Presidium of VTsIK. The attendance nature of establishment of cooperatives remained behind small cooperatives of the grassroots level. The right of registration of cooperative associations passed from judicial authorities to the state organizations which often made the decision proceeding from the departmental interests, often breaking laws.

Thus if cooperatives of the first step could be established by an attendance order, then institutions of the All-Russian and regional associations had allowing character, i.e. demanded consent from the local and central authorities. In fact, the state possessed the right not only to create, but also to regulate the figure -

cooperation nost and also right of liquidation of the cooperative organizations. All above had natural character. Public policy was initially directed to creation of a system of the state control and regulation of all economic and economic system in general and cooperations including.

All adopted acts did not protect cooperation from an arbitrariness from the power and from succession of events in the opposite direction. So, the resolution of the Central Election Commission And SNK of the USSR "About agricultural cooperation" [27, page 61] was accepted on August 22, 1924 in which after transfer of the rights and duties of cooperation conditions under which the agriculture cooperative organizations were subject to elimination were formulated. For example, "in case of evasion of its activity aside, opposite to the interests of the state...". This point soon extended also to other types of cooperation, and then was recorded for all cooperation in the special resolution of June 15, 1927. "Provision on an order of the termination of the cooperative organizations at their elimination, connection and division" [28, l. 11] which concerned other types of cooperation.

In December, 1927 at the XV congress the resolution "About work in the village" was adopted [29, page 14541468]. According to it the part of the organization promoting the state interests first of all in collective-farm construction and cooperation of the poor was assigned to cooperation. The subsequent legislative documents already not so much limited cooperation activity how many abolished all functions inherent in it, staking on association of peasants in collective farms. For example, resolutions of the Central Election Commission and SNK of the USSR "About the organization of large-scale grain Soviet enterprises" [30, page 421], the resolution SNK USSR "About actions for the economic help to the rural poor and farm work" [31, page 530], etc.

Since the end of the 1920th the situation in the country begins to worsen. The state seeks to subordinate to the management all parties of cooperative activity more and more persistently. The cooperative system is exposed to organizational reorganization, there passes the new wave of cooperative cleanings. The "old" cooperative shots checked by practice, having wide experience of work are removed from cooperation. The power introduces the people a little knowing, but betrayed by it and surely consisting party members instead. Economic methods of management are finally forced out by mandative. Cooperation gradually joins in the system of state administrative management, losing at the same time the independence. In the resolution SNK USSR of December 28, 1928. "About measures

fight against pseudo-cooperatives" [32, l. 53-57] it is indicated the need of acceptance of urgent measures for elimination of such cooperatives and use of criminal liability to their organizers. On September 19, 1929 the resolution SNK USSR "About funds of cooperation and collectivization of the rural poor and farm work" [33, page 557] which provided formation of these funds at all cooperative organizations was accepted. The power shifted implementation of the class policy to cooperation shoulders.

The state begins to allocate legislatively for each type of cooperation strictly certain functions and duties. For example, this form of relationship was fixed by special resolution HUNDRED of 1929. "About the general contracts signed between the state industry and consumer cooperation" [34, page 394]. General contracts provided: list of shareholders, terms of delivery and product sales, etc. Consumer cooperation had to become the centralized system providing planned sale of industrial output.

The subsequent resolutions more and more specifically determined the place of consumer cooperation in the administrative management system by economy. For example, in the resolution of SNK "About Measures for Improvement of Work of Consumer Cooperation" [35, page 447] of August 18, 1929 provided the system of submission of consumer cooperation to governmental bodies, tough structural construction in the most consumer cooperation, the mechanism of establishment of plan targets and control over their execution.

In 1931 there was a directive address of SNK USSR, Central Committee All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) and Centrosoyuz "About consumer cooperation" [36, page 224] which provided organizational changes in the system of functioning of consumer cooperation. This document established behind it, in fact, one duty - selling of finished goods and only partially procuring activity. Consumer cooperation finally became a component of the state economy.

Similar occurred also concerning agricultural cooperation. On June 27, 1929 there was a resolution of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) of the Central Committee "About organizational creation of agricultural cooperation". Problems of socialist reorganization of agriculture on the way of its collectivization, through specialization of a cooperative system were assigned to this type of cooperation [37, page 19-20]. On September 18, 1929 there was a resolution of the CEC and SNK "About Agricultural Cooperation and Its Work" [38, l. 2-9]. These normative documents, in essence, razrusha-

whether all organizational structures country to - operations. The state relied on production cooperation of country farms.

Final submission of agricultural cooperation to the state took place in March, 1931, with liquidation of the Union of the unions of agricultural cooperation. In this respect there was special resolution SNK USSR "About reorganization of a system of agricultural cooperation" [39, page 151]. According to it economic links of this type of cooperation turned into maintaining a national commissariat of agriculture.

Thus, the analysis of legislative policy of the Soviet state in the field of cooperative construction allows to draw a conclusion that it had contradictory character. In the history of development of the Soviet dokollektivizatsionny cooperative legislation it is possible to allocate two large stages: the first covers the end of 1917-1920, the second - 1921-1931. The first stage coincided with policy of "military communism" and was characterized by attempt of full legislative nationalization to - operations. The second stage is connected with carrying out the new economic policy which promoted revival of the intrinsic principles of the cooperative movement. However throughout the New Economic Policy

cooperation constantly felt a lack of the steady legislative base which could provide stability and efficiency to - perativny development. The provision of cooperation was defined by numerous resolutions and decrees of state and party bodies which constantly supplemented, changed or cancelled effect of the previous regulations. Since the end of the 20th the cooperation in respect of organizational creation and submission of a system of planning, activity and functioning in general was turned into the state organization which is under strict administrative control of party and state bodies. The last did not allow a thought of existence of the free and independent, democratic organization seeking to improve in the evolutionary way society, combining economic economic activity with cultural and educational. At the beginning of the 30th the New Economic Policy was replaced with kollektivizatsionny policy which was characterized by centralization of the economic management, a strict state regulation of the economic relations and planting of collective farms in the conditions of folding of the commodity-money relations.

Came to edition 02.10.2006

Literature and sources

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2. V. Kabanov. A compromise or as the decree about cooperation//Soviet consumer cooperation was born. 1988. No. 12.
3. Works of the First regular All-Russian cooperative congress. M, 1918. Issue 1.
4. State Archive of the Russian Federation (SARF). F. R-130. Op. 23. 11.
5. GARF. T. 4390. Op. 1. 2.
6. Cooperative life. 1918. No. 2.
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14. State Archive of the Novosibirsk Region (SANR). T. 51. Op. 1. 417.
15. In the same place. T. 32. Op. 1. 233.
16. SU. 1920. No. 59.
17. In the same place. No. 99.
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20. In the same place. No. 53.
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23. RGAE. T. 484. Op. 1. 159.
24. GANO. F. R-3. Op. 1. 23.
25. SU. 1924. No. 64.
26. Agricultural life. 1921. No. 39.
27. SU. 1924. No. 5.
28. GARF. T. 3316. Op. 20. 162.
29. Verbatim record of HU of a congress of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks). M, 1962. Part 2.
30. SU. 1928. No. 48.
31. In the same place. No. 59.
32. GARF. T. 3986. Op. 1. 334.
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34. SU. 1929. No. 45.
35. SU. 1930. No. 43.
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37. News of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) of the Central Committee. 1929. No. 23-24.
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UDC [947+957] "20"

N.V. Vorobyov


Tomsk state pedagogical university

Transition to the new economic policy (New Economic Policy) in 1921 promoted considerable revival of consumer cooperation in our country. According to the decree of SNK of April 7, 1921. "About consumer cooperation" it was exempted from submission to the National commissariat of food, it was granted the right of an entry into the free market, education within the uniform consumer societies (UCS) of volunteer consumer societies (DPO-working cooperatives) was allowed. If EPO acted on the basis of the principle of obligation entered into the period of "military communism", then in DPO-rabkoopakh the principle of voluntariness was restored. They had an opportunity to buy through EPO various goods on monetary and natural contributions of the participants [1, page 230-231].

The important role in formation of city and working cooperation was played by the decree of SNK of April 7, 1921. "About natural awarding" according to which the industrial enterprises acquired the right to deduct a certain share from the production in fund of a naturpremirovaniye of workers [1, page 233-234]. For realization of this fund regional and provincial workers to - operational committees were created central. Their distinctive feature was that they had no own technical device and had to carry out all operations via the device of all-civil consumer cooperation. DPO-rabkoopa received

the right of direct barter with a condition of bringing to board of EPO of information on the concluded bargains. All this caused fast proliferation of working cooperatives: in their September, 1921 was in Siberia 189 [2, l. 35]. They exchanged the natural funds for industrial and first of all for food products. Besides, in 1921-1922 primary cooperative associations were engaged in distribution of the state supply.

Carrying out goods exchange operations distinctly designated economic weakness of working and city cooperatives, their dependence on public authorities, a shortcoming (and sometimes and total absence) at them funds. Besides, besides the slave-koopov, labor unions, economic councils, the separate enterprises were engaged in goods exchange operations. Owing to intense competition between them barter was carried out on low equivalents. Consumer cooperation lost the competition to the private capital that also V.I. Lenin was forced to recognize: "... barter broke: broke in the sense that it developed into purchase and sale" [3, page 207]. The Soviet state was forced to go for broader legalization of the private trade capital. For fight against it in the market the socialist sector in the form of cooperative and state trade was formed that caused expansion ho-

Joseph Fuller
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