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‘Taking Grain’: Soviet Policies of Agricultural Procurements before the War

  • Moshe Lewin

Abstract

During the so-called era of the Five-Year Plans in the Soviet Union, and indeed during the whole of Stalin’s rule, grain (and the ways of securing it) played a crucial role in the Soviet system. It was a strategic raw material indispensable to the process of running the state and of industrialising it. The term ‘strategic’, with its military connotations, is here quite appropriate; the grain, as leaders would constantly remind their subordinate administrations, ‘would not come by itself’ and had therefore to be literally extracted. Such extraction of grain from peasants could not proceed as a normal economic activity. In order to succeed, so the leaders felt, a state of mobilisation had to be declared for the duration of the campaign, with party cells and specially created shock-administrations mightily seconded by the state’s punitive organs.

Keywords

Local Official Black Market Industrial Good Private Farmer Political Department 
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Notes

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Copyright information

© Moshe Lewin 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moshe Lewin

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