Why did the peasants starve in 1932? subject logo: DONBASWAR
Posted by:

ДМИТРИЙ ВЕРХОТУРОВ, 3 сентября 2021, 07:34 — REGNUM

Some of the results of the fight against the "Kazakh genocide", quite satisfactory, allow us to turn to an earlier topic - the fight against the "Ukrainian Holodomor". On this issue, we have suffered a serious setback, costing the political consequences.

This failure should not be hushed up, since the theory of the Holodomor is still one of the foundations of the current political outlook in Ukraine, as well as the political course of this country. The question is weighty enough to return to it.

The theory was absurd In a nutshell, the main reason for the failure was that Russian historical science did not have a completely different and independent explanation of the events of 1932-1933 based on facts and calculations. As far as I can judge, without going into a detailed examination of the literature, in Russia there were two main points of view on the famine of 1932-1933.

These are the tragic consequences of collectivization, the destruction of the peasant economy, etc.

The famine was caused by severe drought and the spread of pests, which were also partly related to the decline in agriculture during the collectivization period.

Both points of view were not only related, but also led to public policy as the main and main reason for the events that took place. Thus, Russian and Ukrainian historians, in essence, took a common position and differed only in the degree of radicalism in their interpretations. In both cases, the state staged a famine, only Ukrainian historians insisted that it staged it deliberately. In this situation, it was impossible to achieve a convincing victory in the dispute.

A different point of view was required on the causes of the famine of 1932-1933, if only for the simple reason that the perestroika concept, which consisted in the fact that Joseph Stalin only thought how to get all the grain from the peasants to the grain, right up to the starvation of the peasants, was pure absurdity. If you take everything from the peasants without leaving it for food and for sowing, then the peasant will not sow and, accordingly, will not reap. There will be no new harvest, and this is the inevitable death of the whole country. Industrialization is not a one-step process, it takes many years, and the workers in the cities need bread today, tomorrow and next year. Then the peasant must plow, sow and reap, and this year, and in all subsequent ones. This is straightforward economic pragmatism.

In addition, dead people are economic losses, and large ones. The worker produced on average 11 thousand rubles of products per year. The USSR lost about 7 million people from hunger, including 4.7 million able-bodied people. This is a loss of 51.7 billion rubles of unproduced products, one and a half times more than all the engineering products of the USSR in 1937.

Actually, that is why all the harassment of the "Holodomor", "Kazgenocide" and other "harsh dramas of the people" smell strong like such wild absurdity with the imposition of the opinion that Stalin deliberately cut the foundations of the existence of his state. Russian historians could not get away from this absurd theory, and in the dispute they quite naturally lost to those who fell into absurdity much more zealously, frenziedly and openly.

In his book "Stalin's Collectivization. Fight for Bread", published in 2019, I managed to create this very different, logical and factual concept of collectivization, what it was and why there was a famine. Not to say that the job was easy. Now I would like to supplement it with some digital material that I did not have at hand then, as well as turn against the “Ukrainian Holodomor”.

Grain-feed balance of the USSR When people talk about hunger, they implicitly mean that the country is physically short of bread, that is, the harvest is less than food needs. This is completely true for 1921. At that time, 1,683 million poods of grain were collected, while the food supply of the population required 1,386 million poods, the seed fund - 718 million poods and fodder for horses - 279 million poods, the total expenditure on the main grain consumption items - 2,383 million poods. The physical shortage of grain in 1921 was 700 million poods, or 11.4 million tons.

Was there a physical shortage of bread in 1932 and 1933? In the literature, there is no direct answer to this question, but there are only significant hints, such as the fact that the harvest during these years fell, and since there was a famine, there was not enough bread. On this assumption, we note, completely not supported by any facts, but standing only on one bare conviction, the whole theory of the Holodomor-genocide is built: if there was not enough grain and the peasants were starving, and Stalin demanded to procure grain, then he actually killed the peasants. This is the main postulate of the Holodomor-genocide theory, its “backbone”. Further - just a matter of emotions, political engagement and writing.

Now I will give this ridge a “great turning point”. Let's compose the main grain-feed balance of the USSR for 1931−1933 on the basis of statistical materials from the yearbook “Agriculture of the USSR. Yearbook. 1935 ", published in 1936, and a very interesting reference book" Yearbook of grain turnover for 1931-32 and 1932-33 and preliminary results of procurements in 1933 ", published in 1934 by the Procurement Committee under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, that is, the most authoritative grain procurement department. Eyes are on the forehead, what materials have emerged in recent years.

The first handbook on agriculture in the USSR is very detailed, regional and contains basic information on the incoming part of the grain-feed balance, as well as many information on the expenditure side. The arrival is the gross harvest, in which it is indicated in natural weight (we will translate the centners into million tons). They will also tell me that in the reference book the crop is estimated at the standing, but it is necessary to consider the granary, which is less. No problem! The barn yield is 15% less than the standing estimate; this was the opinion of the German experts who assessed the agrarian potential of the USSR before the attack on it. So, what happened (on the vine / granary - in million tons):

1930 83.5 / 71; 1931 69.4 / 59; 1932 64.8 / 55.1; 1933 84.8 / 72.1; 1934 89.4 / 76.

The sharp drop in the harvest in 1932 and 1933 was the basis for all the assumptions that there was not enough bread and this was the cause of the famine. There were times when I myself hung on this hook. However, the study of the vast experience of the State Planning Committee of the USSR allowed me to raise the level of understanding of economic development and, in particular, to realize that a number of harvest figures do not mean anything yet. A lot or a little - this becomes clear only in comparison with consumption.

How to calculate consumption? Consumption is not a procurement of the state. What the state harvests for its own needs is only a part of consumption, since the peasants themselves also eat, feed their livestock and sow the fields. For this they take grain from their own barn, and not from the state warehouse. The ratio of rural and urban consumption is an interesting question, but in order to answer the question posed: was there a physical shortage of bread, it is necessary to calculate the consumption of bread for the entire population of the country, horses and crops for all fields.

We know the population in these years, the size of the fields is also known, as well as the number of horses. We only need coefficients. Food for the soul of the population - 160 kg per year, horse feed - 290 kg per year, sowing per hectare - 195 kg. In order not to take up space with a large table, I will immediately give data on the expenditure side of the balance in grain (million tons):

Food of the population Horse feeding Sowing fund Total 1930 25.1 8.7 19.8 53.6 1931 25.5 7.6 20.3 53.4 1932 25.8 5.6 19.4 50.8 1933 26 4.8 19.8 50.6

So, the total consumption by the main items of consumption was just over 53 million tons, and then dropped to just under 51 million tons. To this should be added the consumption of grain for industrial needs, which, according to Komzag's reference book, amounted to 1.6 million tons per year in 1931-1933, as well as exports: from the harvest of 1931 - 4.7 million tons, from the harvest of 1932 - 1, 6 million tons. There was almost no export from the 1933 harvest. Thus, taking into account industry and exports, the grain consumption will be as follows (million tons):

1930 59.9; 1931 59.7; 1932 54; 1933 52.2.

We proceed to the general grain-feed balance of the USSR (million tons):

Coming Consumption Balance 1930 71 59.9 +11.1 1931 59 59.7 -0.7 1932 55.1 54 +1.1 1933 72.1 52.2 +20.3

Well what can I say? The country was with bread! The arithmetic deficit of 1931 did not play any role, since it was repeatedly covered by the stock of last year's grain, which remained even after a very significant export.

The Komzag directory contains interesting information about the availability of grain, flour and other baked goods in warehouses for a specific reporting date (million tons):

the USSR Ukrainian SSR October 1, 1931 6.998 1,689 January 1, 1932 9,095 1.584 April 1, 1932 4.638 0.627 July 1, 1932 1,360 0.113 October 1, 1932 5.431 0.930 January 1, 1933 8.498 1.073 April 1, 1933 5.897 0.541 July 1, 1933 1.996 0.171

As you can see, both the USSR as a whole and Ukraine in particular at any time of the famine years had grain, flour and other bakery products in their warehouses. These data show a completely normal picture of how warehouses from the end of the harvest to the end of grain procurement, that is, from October to January, are filled, and then, from January to September, are used up. But even at the very bottom of the consumption, in July, there is still a significant stock in the warehouses. This stock as of July 1, 1932 and July 1, 1933 clearly shows that there was no physical shortage of grain in the country.

In order to dig a hole in the place of the theory of food shortage in 1932-1933, I will say that there was also potatoes, which were harvested relatively little and mainly remained with the peasants (million tons / kg per capita):

1930 49.4 / 314; 1931 44.8 / 280; 1932 43.1 / 266; 1933 49.2 / 302.

Yes, really 160 kg of grain and almost 300 kg of potatoes would not be enough for the peasant to survive the year ?! Gentlemen of the famine, you yourself are in a position to devour so much?

Collectivization is a conflict over communes

So, a new picture: there was no physical food shortage in the country, but there was famine. We cannot deny the abundant evidence.

Faced with this picture, I made a conclusion. This hunger was organized. But not Stalin against the peasants, but on the contrary, the peasants against Stalin. In essence, it was a political hunger strike. It cost the peasantry sacrifices, but the reason for this was extremely weighty.

Collectivization is a conflict. It is obvious. The Soviet government "dispossessed", but not the real kulaks, who had disappeared shortly before that, and often the poor peasants; peasants retaliated with attacks on activists, arson, acts of sabotage and sometimes even uprisings. The whole question is - what was the subject of the conflict? This is the main question in the whole topic, and the fact that Russian historians did not pose it and did not give an answer to it puts them on the brink of scientific disqualification.

There was both a question and an answer in my work. If we condense all the arguments into the most concise presentation, we get the following picture.

The peasantry, of course, was not against the collective farms and created them themselves, especially when it was necessary to earn extra money. But a peasant collective farm is a share farm, where you can enter and from where you can leave, in any case remaining a peasant, with his own yard and allotment.

Joseph Stalin, in resolving the grain issue, relied on tractors. But the tractor economy meant large fields, correct crop rotations, and qualified machine operators and agronomists had to manage it. The peasants in such an economy could only be auxiliary workers. Comrade Stalin decided to make a "great turning point": to unite the peasant lands, to liquidate the peasant households, let tractors plow instead of horses. It was a program of total and lightning-fast de-peasantization, when the peasant was deprived of land, yard, cattle, implements and turned into an agricultural worker, into a rural proletarian.

Moreover, in 1930, peasants were going to be collectivized into collective farms like communes, where workers had to live in apartments, have only personal belongings and had to pay for everything. Members of such collective farms did not dispose of the harvest, but had to surrender everything, minus their food, livestock and seeds. All in these "communes" were to be run by specially selected and trained leaders freed from labor. Of course, the peasants did not like this extremely. They wanted to remain peasants. A large-scale land reform added fuel to the fire, when tens of millions of hectares of land were interspersed. Then it was in the order of things to take away the land of a collective farm or commune to organize, say, a state farm. For the peasant it was inconceivable that his land, which he plowed for many years, could be taken away at any moment, given to the state farm,

This was the collapse of the entire peasant world, all its foundations. Hence the sharp resistance. Verbal objections to such "communes" were followed by dispossession of kulaks, uprisings were suppressed, and by 1932 the peasants had no other forms of resistance except hunger strike.

The peasants could not be frightened by hunger. Those who were 40 in 1932 remembered the famines of 1901, 1911, 1921 and the major famine of 1924, not counting local crop failures. There will be a fifth famine forever - business!

The hunger strike was an irresistible weapon. Firstly, they will not force-feed, and you cannot force a hungry peasant to work. Secondly, a person who is ready to die of hunger will not be frightened by arrest, deportation, or execution. Violence stops working. Thirdly, and this is the most important thing, time worked against the government: the moment was inexorably approaching when the peasants, weakened by hunger, simply would not be able to work, and then there would be no bread. In 1931, state farms provided only 12% of urban consumption.

It was precisely a deliberate hunger strike.

Realizing that this topic is extremely controversial, and my explanation of the background of the famine is also extremely unusual, especially against the background of many decades of accusations of the state in organizing the famine, then the question of the political hunger strike of the peasants will have to be further explained.

First. It is usually said in objection that the peasants could not starve themselves, because they loved their families. Loved. But the attitude towards the death of relatives and children was easier than we, the townspeople. In peasant families, many children were born, but many died, since medicine was almost absent. In addition, the peasants, drawn into collectivization, lived before that a whole era of war, robbery and famine, in which many people perished.

Second. When the peasants are deprived of land, horses, implements and forcibly forced to work in collective farms-communes in which they will not dispose of either their labor or the harvest, then the peasants had a well-founded doubt that they would be able to feed their families and children. Under such conditions, the state - the organizer of the communes - could take everything from the peasants, every grain, and the peasants had no doubts about the cruelty of the Bolshevik power. Why so hungry, what so - they did not see much difference. There was no need for any conspiracy, for the peasants this question was self-evident.

Third. The choice of a hunger strike as a means of struggle against collective farms-communes unacceptable for themselves was determined by many reasons. The main one is the unwillingness to work on such collective farms. A hungry man will not be driven to work, and if they are driven, then nothing will be taken from him. It was the undermining of communal collective farms from within. On the other hand, the peasants definitely hoped for a change of policy if the communal collective farms were ineffective and did not produce anything. The state started industrialization, the construction of factories and plants, and the peasantry reasonably believed that this idea would not work out without bread. Therefore, the state will be forced to listen to the peasant opinion, despite all its cruelty.

Fourth. A combination of hunger and secret bread pits. There is a lot of evidence of how secret pits were found among peasants half-dead from hunger and swollen from surrogates, in which there were hundreds of poods of grain, sometimes 500-600 poods. 600 poods is 9.7 tons. A peasant family of six, with a horse and sowing of 5 hectares, will have enough grain for more than 4 years, with all the usual needs of a peasant farm. This is no coincidence. To starve with so much grain hidden is a completely deliberate, carefully thought-out decision. The peasants clearly hoped for a quick abolition of collectivization, unacceptable to them, and after such a cancellation, a secret supply of grain would quickly restore strength and then sow.

The peasantry resisted collectivization, unacceptable for them, in all ways: they protested, rebelled, wrote hundreds of thousands of letters and complaints. The hunger strike was for them the last, most radical and fastest way to get their way out of the government. Yes, at any cost.

Well, how else can one explain such an acute unacceptability of the collective farm-commune for the peasants that it was worth starving for the sake of disagreement with it? Well, imagine, they tell you: rent out an apartment, you will be given a bed in a hostel; go to work wherever they tell you; you will eat in the canteen and pay for it from your salary; hand over the car too, then you can rent it twice a month for a fee; to decide where you work, how and how much you get, there will be special responsible managers who will not work themselves. This is roughly how you can describe what Stalin proposed to the peasants in the spring of 1930. I am sure you yourself would go on a hunger strike in protest if you were required to live by such rules.

How the peasants pushed Stalin

Stalin against the peasants! Forehead to forehead. Stalin could take everything from the peasants: land, livestock, grain. The peasants could starve to death and give nothing more, dooming the Bolsheviks to starve to death after them.

Stalin had to make concessions. Already in the spring of 1932, faced with a sharp drop in the harvest in 1931, which fell dangerously to the level of consumption, he went to meet the peasantry. Grain procurements were reduced, it was allowed to freely trade in surplus grain after grain procurements were completed. The reduction in grain procurements was lowered down in a fire order so that only the peasants could sow (just in May 1932, the sowing campaign was underway). Then it was announced on behalf of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR that the collective farmers were the full masters of their artel.

Further, in the summer of 1932, the communes were converted into artels, in all artels it was allowed to have a private yard, and large collective farms were divided. In November 1932, new procurement rules were introduced - firm obligations to the state with the force of a tax. They were calculated according to the norms per hectare, which were established by the already mentioned Komzag under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, and no one on the ground had the right to raise the norms. The delivery of grain and other products was a sale to the state at fixed prices, and the products were immediately paid for in cash. In 1933, firm norms of payment in kind for the work of machine and tractor stations were introduced.

Finally, in 1933, a section of land from state farms began and its return to collective farms (in total, 22 million hectares of land were returned to collective farms until 1937), and in 1935 it was proclaimed that the collective farm uses the land indefinitely, it cannot be bought or sold or leased , and no one had the right to cut off the land from the collective farm. The use of land was secured by special acts.

The peasants accepted these changes. At the end of 1933, the resistance and hunger strike almost ceased, grain procurements were completed before the beginning of December 1933, faster than the plan. Collective farmers began to work more: if in 1932/33 - 116 workdays on average, then in 1933/34 - 156, and in 1937/38 - 194 workdays. Collective farms began to sell more grain to the state. In 1934, out of 26 million tons of government procurement, 17.4 million tons were mandatory deliveries, and the collective farms sold 3.5 million tons to the state themselves. In the previous year, such sales were only 0.4 million tonnes.

False theory will inevitably collapse

Thus, it was an acute political struggle over the place and role of the peasants in Soviet society. Stalin wanted to liberalize them and turn them into agricultural workers who worked in machine-tractor "wheat factories" without any economic rights, while the peasants wanted to continue to remain independent owners, with a yard, land, cow, horse, etc. to extreme forms of bitterness and great sacrifices, since both sides had good reasons for their stubbornness, had their own logic and their own truth. The famine, therefore, was a peasant political hunger strike, conscious and voluntary. As soon as the causes of peasant discontent were eliminated, the famine ended.

In a clash with this concept, the theory of "Holodomor", "Kazgenocide" with all its variants crumbles to dust, because it is unfounded facts and figures in the main postulate that Stalin took the last bread from the peasants in conditions of its physical shortage and thereby destroyed the peasantry , in particular, Ukrainian.

Since the opposing concept is unfounded in the main postulate, it means that either it must be abandoned, or we, with a clear conscience, declare its supporters and propagandists to be conscious and willful liars. Any historian who pushes a knowingly and proven false theory devalues ​​all his previous achievements and academic degrees. Following this, the entire political superstructure erected on this false historical concept collapses. For what is false cannot be great.

If you have something to add, Fire Away!

Number of Comments so far: 0

Click here for a list of stories in the The 2014 War in Ukraina category