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How successful was Stalin's collectivisation policy?

Stalin's collectivisation policy was successful in terms of increasing state control, but it had devastating effects on the peasantry and agricultural productivity.

Stalin's collectivisation policy, implemented in the late 1920s and early 1930s, aimed to consolidate individual landholdings and labour into collective farms. The primary goal was to increase agricultural productivity and provide the state with a surplus of grain to fund industrialisation. From the perspective of increasing state control over agriculture, the policy was a success. By 1937, 93% of peasant households were collectivised, and the state had a firm grip on the agricultural sector.

However, the policy was disastrous for the peasantry and agricultural productivity. Forced collectivisation led to widespread resistance among peasants, resulting in the slaughter of livestock and destruction of crops. This, coupled with poor management and inefficiencies of the collective farms, led to a severe drop in agricultural output. The years following the implementation of the policy saw a series of famines, the most severe of which occurred in 1932-33, known as the Holodomor in Ukraine, resulting in millions of deaths.

Moreover, the policy had a profound social impact. It led to the destruction of the kulaks as a class, who were wealthy peasants targeted by the state as class enemies. Many were executed or sent to labour camps, while others were dispossessed of their land and property. This resulted in a significant loss of agricultural expertise and further contributed to the decline in agricultural productivity.

In conclusion, while Stalin's collectivisation policy achieved its goal of increasing state control over agriculture, it did so at a tremendous human and economic cost. The policy resulted in widespread famine, the destruction of a social class, and a long-term decline in agricultural productivity. Therefore, its success is highly questionable and largely depends on the perspective from which it is evaluated.

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