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Joseph Stalin (1879—1953) Soviet statesman, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR 1922–53


Soviet Union


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The creation of collective or communal farms. The policy was ruthlessly enforced in the Soviet Union by Stalin between 1929 and 1933 in an effort to overcome an acute grain shortage in the towns. The industrialization of the Soviet Union depended on cheap food and abundant labour. Bitter peasant resistance was overcome with brutality, but the liquidation of the Kulaks and slaughter by peasants of their own livestock resulted in famine (1932–33). Gradually more moderate methods were substituted with the development of state farms. In the early 1990s collective farms accounted for about 67% of the area of cultivated land, state farms about 30%, and privately owned farms about 1.6%. Private ownership of land was encouraged by Gorbachev as part of his economic reforms. After 1945 a policy of collectivization was adopted in a number of socialist countries, but was generally reversed after the collapse of communism in eastern Europe after 1989. The Soviet example was followed in China by Mao Zedong in his First Five Year Plan of 1953, but was only enforced by stages. China did not copy the ruthless subordination of agriculture to industry, preferring the peasant commune.

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