The Grain Crisis of 1927–29
After the scissors crisis of 1923 the policy toward the peasantry proposed by the Right was largely adopted. Industrial prices were lowered; in 1925 leasing of land and hiring of labor were authorized; taxation remained low. But the price scissors re-emerged as industrial production neared its limits within existing plant. In 1927 the amount of grain marketed began to fall off seriously at a time when the industrialization program was enlarging the urban population rapidly. The problem was that 85 per cent of Soviet grain was produced by poor and middle peasants who increasingly chose to consume rather than sell their products. Almost all the rest was supplied by richer peasants (widely called by their traditional peasant name of kulak, literally “fist”), who were able to hold back their grain until prices were high. In a departure from the policy of the Right, industrial prices were kept high, and emergency measures (increased taxation and confiscation of unmarketed surpluses) were directed against the kulaks. In the next two years the grain crisis became worse as production was cut back. At a meeting of the Central Committee of the party in July, 1928, Stalin bluntly argued that the grain crisis proved the urgent necessity of ending the disequilibrium between agriculture and industry.
KeywordsCentral Committee Class Struggle Emergency Measure Peasant Farm Chief Source
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- Speech to the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, given July 9, 1928, in J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. XI (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1954), pp. 165–196, with deletions.Google Scholar