The Disaster of Collectivization (1929-33)

Shown (unintentionally) in a Soviet Graph

"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
--"Ozymandias," by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

File added 990216
Latest update 990922

Copyright 1999 by Hugo S. Cunningham


At top:

"The USSR transformed itself from an agrarian country into an industrial country."

At bottom:

"Each circle represents 10% of national product.
Sickle -- agriculture.
Hammer -- industry."

Source: Vsesoyuznyj Institut Izobrazitel'noj Statistiki Sovetskogo Stroitel'stva i Xozyajstva pri CIK SSSR ["All-Union Institute of Graphic Statistics of Soviet Construction and Economy for the CEC (Central Executive Committee) of the USSR"], Na Strojke Socializma: Dostizheniya Pervoj Pyatiletki ["Building Socialism: Achievements of the First Five Year Plan"], OGIZ-IZOGIZ, Moscow, 1933. Page 1

We are supposed to interpret the fall of agriculture's share from 50% in 1928 to 30% in 1932 as the reflection of huge growth (133%) in industry, rather than a fall in agricultural production. If one considers 133% industrial growth in just 4 years to be a fantasy, however, this graph would indicate a catastrophic fall in agricultural production (which indeed is what actually happened).

Nevertheless, one should not try to go far with this analysis. Soviet graphics, especially public ones, were intended for inspiration, not accurate disclosure.

A quote from the young Lenin on the advantages of famine

Should post-Communist Russia reverse collectivization?

Not necessarily. Even though Collectivization was a disaster, wiping out the most productive and talented farmers, history cannot automatically be reversed.

Return to discussion of "Revisionist" views of Soviet history.

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