Soviet Union: De-Stalinizing The Farm

De-Stalinizing The Farm

There is hardly a more painful period in Soviet history than the years beginning in 1929, when Joseph Stalin forcibly collectivized agriculture. More than 10 million people are believed to have died of starvation as Stalin herded peasants onto huge state farms and marched their former bosses, the well-to-do kulaks, off to Siberia. Given history and Communist dogma, it seemed that not even Mikhail Gorbachev would dare challenge the primacy of the collective farm in the system. But last week the General Secretary did exactly that.

In a speech to farmers and officials at a Central Committee conference, Gorbachev called for...

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