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The relation of the peasantry of Central Volga area to the Soviet power in the period of the new economic policy

l. Yu. Petryanina


Work is presented by department of history and the right of the Penza state pedagogical university of V.G. Belinsky. The research supervisor - the candidate of historical sciences, professor L.Yu. Fedoseyeva

This article written on the basis of the extensive archive material and data of periodicals of the period of the New Economic Policy makes a contribution to studying the relation of the Middle Volga peasantry to the Soviet power and its representatives on places.

L. Petryanina


Based on the extensive archival materials and data of the periodic press of the New Economic Policy period, article contributes to studying the attitude of the Middle Volga peasantry to the Soviet authority and its representatives in regions. Key words: New Economic Policy, peasantry, Soviet authority.

The new economic policy - the historical period in which the main beginnings of policy of the Soviet power in the conditions of peace time were realized. It was time when citizens "looked narrowly" at the new power, estimated to her politician.

The peasantry was the social force with which the authorities in power could not but reckon owing to its large number. Therefore the relations of the state and the peasantry were a key problem of the New Economic Policy.

Reports of OGPU about political moods of the peasantry confirmed comparison by peasants of the situation "before" and "now" which was not in favor of the Soviet power. [3, l. 3]

Negative reaction of the Middle Volga country population to the policy of the power was aggravated with the general social and economic conditions: periodic crop failures, epidemics, lack of seeds, low standard of living. At the beginning of 1921 the political mood of the Simbirsk province was characterized as "... excited, threatening to develop into a hungry revolt" [26, l. 8]. In the Samara province during this period there were "food" revolts. 3000 peasants who expressed intentions to carry out a large-scale performance against the proletarian state [4, l took part in one of them (Kanayevsky district of the Pugachevsky County). 9, l. 6].

About moods of peasants tell also rumors about fast falling of the Soviet power with which abounded the Province of Central Volga area. In one of numerous country letters which fragments are given in the report of acceptable office Samara lips checks, we read: ". all Samara province about -

tiv this power also expect change. From peasants all bread was taken away, mills are closed. Stalemate. There is a hearing that Lenin and Trotsky quarreled, and expect change" (on February 7, 1921) [20, l. 6]. The slogans "Beat Communists!" attracted peasants in gangs Popov-Vakulina, Devyatkin, Sar-fankina in the Samara province [7].

The Soviet power sought to limit receipt in printing of data on suicides and pomeshatelstvo because of unemployment and hunger what it is told in the circular Glavlita about. The circular letter of the Simbirsk provincial committee for 1921 is indicative. In it it was recommended to assure peasants of lack of information of higher bodies on hunger, to carry out the direction of country delegations to Moscow [17, l. 75].

The policy of the new power often went to a section with ideas of peasants of justice, rationality, their interests and requirements in quiet, peace, and, the main thing, full life. Peasants did not feel protection from the state. The revolution which did not bring improvement was unclear to villagers.

Z.I. Faynburg so characterized political consciousness of the population of the period of the New Economic Policy: an interlacing "superficially acquired some few ideas of scientific socialism, considerable elements of utopian socialism (their assimilation is more available, more natural to usual consciousness), dobur-zhuazny country and petty-bourgeois ideology, religious understanding of nature of social processes and the relations in society" [25, page 28-29].

In the report of one of assistants to the Samara provincial prosecutor it was noted: "It is impossible to speak about the authority local

the device when till 1923 a full arbitrariness, the fullest ignoring of legitimate rights of citizens was observed from chairmen and workers of volispolkom and the Village Councils" [5, l. 27].

However and in the next years the situation changed a little. The reason of it is the low qualitative list of local Party members and weak control of their activity from the central power. So, in the first half of 1925 the Samara provincial prosecutor's office received 4500 applications from the population of which 65% made complaints of peasants to abuses of local government [16, page 24].

The discontent with representatives of the Soviet state on places in combination with belief in justice of the power of the center, - the transformed "naive monarchism" was characteristic of the Middle Volga peasantry: "Lenin not so does, not such issues laws, it on places - counties or the province" [1, l. 54]. At the request of peasants of the Simbirsk province in 1926 "the worker from the county", for explanation was sent to villagers of various economic, political and social problems to the settlement of Tukhlovsky [27, l. 4].

Many of rural communists, the ideas of socialism, to answer their questions, to explain political and economic problems of the state and a way of their decision designed to inform inhabitants, nearby left the ordinary inhabitant. Cases of alcoholism of the Soviet and party heads in a workplace were frequent, it is confirmed by numerous country correspondence in newspapers [14]: "At a meeting drunk citizens who during the performance even lose the report and the chairman of this meeting not in a sober look" [15, l participated. 7], "... we demand to re-elect the chairman of the Village Council Sadov-nikova who drinks and whores in the face of the population" [11].

With mistrust the peasants treated also work of Party members: "We have one party here, it is so directly a pity to look at it: will begin to speak - so lies, and itself does not know what" [13, page 116]. Partly is explained by it

careful attitude of the population towards local communists. On elections of sowing committees the countrymen demanded: "Any communist should not go to committee" [18, l. 19]. In 1925 among peasants of the Krasnoyarsk volost of the Samara County there were following opinions: "Communists business is not strong, think to slip away abroad therefore they drag us in councils. They need to be held in councils, and to us to go only for control there" [22, l. 117].

As a result in the spring of 1925 in village councils of the Samara province the share of communists decreased from 10 to 4% [23, l. 24]. Peasants of the Bugoruslansky County of the Samara province so characterized political moods of the village: "They say that many peasants wait for return of landowners. It is correct: at the Soviet power it becomes impossible to live. What is the union of workers and peasants when us communists" [24, l govern. 5].

Local authorities noted "hostile", "mistrustful" and "extremely tense peasantry relation" [19, l. 36]. In 1923 at the XV party conference in the city of Penza it was noted: "If we say that from peasants attitude, good to us, is had, then we deceive ourselves and we deceive the Center" [2, l. 53]. Local Party members saw the reasons of it in the following: "It (peasant) was told that tax one, and their ten. These taxes terribly irritate the peasantry, and pushed away all poor from our party" [2, l. 53]. "The weight attitude towards communists, in particular peasants, passive in view of absence partsit which could explain to the peasant the project of the Soviet power and its value in the future owing to what for them the value of economic policy remains not clear" [21, l. 2].

Political preparation of most of rural communists came down to "several main and elementary lectures available to broad masses, on the following subjects: "What is communism?", "Way to communism", "Our party" [6, page 25]. Obviously, proletarian state rasschity-

a shaft that it will be enough, the rest will be made by class consciousness and confidence of communists in historical correctness of the Soviet power. The negative, categorical attitude of the Soviet power to church in many respects served as the catalyst of country discontent.

The population reacted to action of local authorities and to the policy of Councils in general as it is passive, and is active. In the first case it was the talk reflecting discontent with the power. There were leaflets of similar character. Peasants against Party members and the Soviet activists undertook specific actions. In nine months 1929 across RSFSR 1002 terrorist attacks, from them 141 arsons, 384 murders were conducted [10, page 197]. Each district in case of performances of the population held special army groups of OGPU and field parts.

Many young people of the village, as well as youth in general, noncritically apprehended everything that was offered by the Soviet power. It was connected with aspiration to a new way of life and the benefits inaccessible earlier. "In shop I went to buy a suit so I have a day festive today", "culturally put on, went to the cinema" [8, page 78]. Young people had new values and aspirations:

"-When you will go to the city, take.

>- And for what?

>- I want to study. On courses to arrive.

>- On what?

>- Yes, here, I want to study as the speaker.

>- How so on the speaker?

>- Yes so to tell speeches. Unless you do not know?" [12, page 8].

"Recently I felt some thirst for magazines; to write down political events, (any) digital data, dushepronizayushchy phrases, words in the diary" [9, page 160]. The rural youth believed that it belongs to "the becoming obsolete class" [8, page 80-81]. New, still unknown life attracted youth, promised fulfillment of desires. Young people believed: what place they will take in society, depends only on their efforts, desire now and abilities to fit into this new life, having learned its laws.

Thus, in the first years of the New Economic Policy the villagers realized distress of the state that found reflection in numerous rumors and the general mood of the peasantry of Central Volga area when separate flashes of discontent threatened to develop into a general performance. In the next years the moods of peasants gained more "peace" character, but the discontent with local government combined with belief in justice of the center remained. However to tell that villagers considered the Soviet power, would be a mistake. Avoiding confrontation with her representatives, peasants often sought to become isolated in "world". Showing high social activity in the solution of economic, cultural problems of the village, peasants remained indifferent to authorities in power which them silently admitted.


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Sherman Joseph
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