Talk:Collectivization in the Soviet Union

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Old talk[edit]

There have been a lot of recent entries in the Casualties section (by a new user, if I was VeryVerily I would be accusing him of being a sockpuppet of Fred Bauder already).

I added some stuff about the Ukrainies current political climate. Anyone reading the Main Page is aware that Ukraine is bitterly divided between pro-Russian and pro-Western leaders, and that only one party plays up these memorials, which even your own citations say few attend, bears mentioning.

The drought and typhoid epidemic should be mentioned.

And so forth. I know a lot of Ukrainians - most of them talk about the Nazis coming into their villages and shooting everyone, including children, they didn't worry much about a bad harvest during the same period of time the US had its own dust bowl, with sheriffs throwing families off their farms. Ruy Lopez 06:14, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Once again, the Ruymaster's last sentence proves that he is the master of analogies. Tard. Trey Stone 04:49, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Dust Bowl = Great Famine. Next thing ya know Ruy will be comparing the great purges to the McCarthy trials. Oh wait -- he's probably already done that. J. Parker Stone 01:07, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I will assume I am the new user Ruy is referring to. Rest assured, I am not made of wool and my eyes are not sewn on. Furthermore, I don't know Fred Bauder and have never communicated with him outside of this article's discussion's page.
As for this entry, I came across it one day and was so surprised at what I read that it spurred me to join Wikipedia and provide my own input. Presumably that's the point of a Wiki? I'm here to do two things: 1) ensure that a neutral POV is presented and 2) hopefully make this entry readable by mere mortals.
IMHO, this entry has become an ideological battleground with neither side showing much interest in maintaining a neutral POV, much less presenting the opposition's viewpoints. When I edited the Casualties section the other day, it was to distill a rambling, incoherent mess into something that presented factual information succinctly. I did not remove contrasting viewpoints, rather I trimmed irrelevant material and identified the sources of all the claims in order to let the reader draw her own conclusions.
Regarding the most recent additions about the current political climate in Ukraine, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? The events under discussion in this article ("Collectivisation in the USSR") occurred 70 years ago. I don't think a discussion of current political events is appropriate or even relevant to the article. Why is it necessary? That's a rhetorical question. I know why it's necessary but it's not appropriate if your goal is a neutral POV.
I'm glad you know a lot of Ukrainians, Ruy. Is it safe to assume they're now living in the United States? If so, there are probably some very simple explanations as to why they don't discuss the 1930s famine. But that would require going off on yet another tangent.
Anyways, I hope we can do without the antagonism I saw prior to this page being protected. This is a very important topic and it deserves a well-researched, unbiased Wikipedia entry. Horbal 09:44, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I don't know what events 70 years after the fact have to do with anything, but someone felt they had to add comments on events in 1998 so I spoke about the political issues regarding this. You will have to ask the person who originally thought what happened 70 years afterward was relevant. Everyking apparently thought part of it was irrelevant but kept the anti-communist feelings from 70 years later, so I removed all of it. I don't care if it is the 70 years thing is in or not, but if someone wants to discuss perceptions of this 70 years after the fact, let it be discussed, we're not restricted to discussing only negative perceptions 70 years after the fact. Ruy Lopez 18:19, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I also noticed your disdain for discussing events 70 years after the fact didn't prevent you from noting that the New York Times current management is distancing itself from Walter Duranty's reporting on these events 70 years ago. Ruy Lopez 18:21, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I support the removal of the "1998 declaration" passage. If the page is to remain on topic, we need to keep it focussed on what happened in the 30s. Let's state what happened to the best of our abilities given the passage of time and keep it at that. Holodomor memorials would be better discussed on a dedicated page, IMHO.
As for Duranty, I feel it's tremendously irresponsible to rely upon the authority of the New York Times in covering these events and not point out the facts that later came to light about their coverage. It's one thing to inject modern day political views into events that transpired a long time ago. It is _quite_ another to reveal a sham for what it is. Horbal 21:04, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

This article is an utter disgrace, and if I ever return to editing modern history articles, this will be one of the first I will rewrite. Adam 22:40, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Definately lots of bias here, but who has the time to fix it... Mir 05:15, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well I made lots of edits to this removing what looked biased to me. Because there are lots of small edits, please dont revert everything, but bring up the section that doesn't seem right to the talk page. The passage that some may find contraversial is the Soviet govn't cutting off supplies to areas/ppl who resisted collectivization. I dont know if there is a way to prove this beyond doubt, but there are certainly sources out there that support this. However, if there is a problem with the way it is worded, I would accept "It is believed that the Soviet government cut off supplieds to kulaks and areas that resisted collectivization", or something in that respect. Also, maybe someone can clarify this for me but weren't farmers self sufficient enough that cutting off supplies to them wouldn't lead to famine. Or was the government responsible with not providing them with relief of the famine, after the livestock and grain has been confiscated/destroyed. Mir 17:50, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Re: You are correct the farmers (especially kulaks) were self-sufficient to survive a famine; however, confiscation of livestock and grain forced the famine; I think that had next year's grain was not confiscated the famine would not have been as severe (perhaps a few million less).

--Wiki User

Use of word kulak[edit]

There are a lot of references to kulaks in this article. From what I know, the term was prejorative. Maybe we should use "rich peasants" instead of "kulaks". After all isn't the word kulak comparable to word nigger in its context. Mir 05:49, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Does that mean we can change Khmer Rouge, Shining Path, Viet Cong, partial birth abortion, free market and so on?
Never mind. I think the word kulak should be mentioned once or twice, but beyond that rich peasant is fine. Ruy Lopez 07:22, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Kulak is historically accurate as the language used by Communist cadre included "poor peasant", "middle peasant", "rich peasant" and "kulak". There were different consequences for rich peasants from those for those classified as kulaks. Fred Bauder 11:32, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

I am not sure you are correct about "rich peasants". It's probably an incorrect translation of zazhytochny which means "well to do", not "rich". I think bogaty (rich) was synomymous with "kulak" and "miroyed" (the eater of a community). --Gene s

I'm looking for the Russian words, (I'm sorry, but no cyrillic on this computer), I have found "serednyak", middle-income peasant. I havn't found a word for rich peasant other than kulak, so you may be correct. Fred Bauder 14:20, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

I think, it goes like bednyak (poor) - serednyak (middle)- kulak (rich). At least initially kulak was not a pejorative term. It was meant as someone economically strong, solid. Miroed was a pejorative term for rich peasants. --Gene s 15:06, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The USSR goal was equal status for all peasants so I dont see why they would make the distinction between rich peasants and kulaks, if there it is possible to make a distinction. 20:51, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Kulak means rich peasant, though its direct translation from russian means "tight fisted one", i believe this term was originally used during the requisitioning of war communism, when the rich peasants refused to give up their grain and were somewhat 'tight fisted'. 00:04, 6 Jan 2005

As far as I knew, the term Kulak / Khulak evolved from describing a rich class of peasant, and became a term the government of the USSR used to brand those it decided to select out as enemies of the state as part of their policy of inciting class warfare to deflect anger at the relative failure of collectivisation from themselves.

Not all those branded Kulaks were actually rich, whilst not all rich peasants were called Kulaks.

I don't know how to define the precise true meaning of Kulak, but it should either be used in the capacity of its true and original meaning, or of how the term was used as a brand, not both. This should be defined in the article.

The term 'kulak' is offensive to nobody because the distinction of a kulak from any other peasant was not significant. Whatever the orginial Russian meaning of the word, it was used to describe Stalin's scapegoats... that is any peasant which had the even the samllest potential to incite the envy of other peasants. Stalin ordered "the liquidation of kulaks as a class" in his Leninist drive for "class struggle". Thus he was able to mobilise the proletariat and some peasants themselves in assisting with grain requisition by brutal force, by cultivating the image of greedy "class enemy" lurking in the countryside.

This is nonsense, especially for this: "is offensive to nobody because the distinction of a kulak from any other peasant was not significant". It was significant. First, there were poors with very few property, second, after "raskulachivanie" (dispossession), "kulak" became a stamp on those people. Nobody uses nazi's terms for the oppressed nations. Nobody uses the term "vrag naroda" (people's enemy) without quotes, no normal person would call so anybody sentenced with this statement. The same for "kulak". Ъыь 08:45, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

The Kulaks were quite simply the term used by the government to denote the group of people it used as a scapegoat for its problems. Often times this happened to be the richer peasants, as they were an easy group of people to target to please the lowest classes. However, this was not only not always the case, but by virtue of this definition, the use of "rich peasants" as a replacement for the term "kulak" is a misnomer. The two terms are clearly not interchangeable. GWing02 7 Nov 2005

I think that earlier, under the Russian Empire, the term may have been more innocent. But during the 1932–33 famine, local officials were put under intense pressure to find kulaks, and given complete discretion to identify them. The results were predictable. Michael Z. 2005-11-8 06:34 Z
The word 'kulak' without quotation marks or without the added 'so-called' is little more than hate-language. It should not be used as if it described something that actually has a resemblance to reality. The word was used by the Bolsheviks to de-humanize their political opponents, similar to the term 'rootless cosmopolitan', though the latter was a purely Bolshevik invention. Dietwald 09:16, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm a native speaker and can't agree more. From my reading experience, the word is used as a negative label, and the victims or their relatives never do use it, neither the historic reports. Pre-perestroika history textbooks for 5-th grade do use it, but that's ugly. Ъыь 06:15, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

I would just like to point out that anyone currently being taught History (at least in England) is highly likely to have been taught to use 'kulak'. Additionally, I think you will find kulak defined in English as "kulak noun, historical a wealthy, property-owning Russian peasant." by Chambers Dictionary, so surely: a) It is fine to use the word kulak in English since it is not derogatory by definition. or b) The dictionary definition should be changed to reflect the outcome of this discussion.

At the time in Russia, it was hard to define actually what a kulak was. Officials who enforced the law were unsure of the correct definition and so rounded up any people who were there at the time. How can we, with hindsight, discuss the exact definition of the term 'kulak' if the people who were there did not know themselves?

Generally speaking, a kulak is someone who uses hired labour, thus "exploiting" those labourers by taking some of the income they produce. However, there were other definitions as well. With respect, Ko Soi IX 10:06, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
To go back to the original point, the problem with using rich peasant is that kulaks often were not very rich in an objective sense, only in a relative sense. Someone who farms 60 acres, owns two cows and a team of horses is not rich. Calling them rich peasants distorts the meaning of the text. Therefore, the meaning of kulak in the soviet context of the time should be explained and "kulak" used. Many who oppose the rich would not consider a small holder with a team of horses and two cows farming 60 acres rich, simply because he hired a helper even poorer than himself. User:Fred Bauder Talk 21:47, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

revisions by Ruy Lopez[edit]

Your other edits are reasonable but can you explain why you made these changes:

1. liquidation of private property of land. changed to: transfer of the land from kulaks to peasants.

I favor the first version because the land wasnt realy transfered to peasants, it was transfered to the state (or am I wrong). Furthermore, land was taken from everyone who had land, not just kulaks and again transfered to the state.

liquidation of private property of land doesn't sound like a phrase from someone who uses English as their primary language. The important thing is that private property did not cease to exist - peasants shoes weren't owned by the state, so why mention private property of all? "Ownership of land, the majority of which was in the hands of rich peasants, was transfered to the state" is fine.
Private ownership of land specifically did cease. I dont know if its right to say kulaks had the majority of land, anyone have any stats on this? If they had more than 50% then i'd agree with "Ownership of land, the majority of which was in the hands of rich peasants, was transfered to the state". Also, while theoretically land was supposed to go to the peasants in reallity it went to the state Mir 23:54, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

2. Removal of link to canadian resolution. I put this link because it affirms the validity of the paragraph instead of something the Ukrainian historians made up. Are you disputing that the soviet government took those actions? 21:21, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't mind if the resolution is there but it belongs at the end of the article, if at all. The Canadian government deciding what happened in the Ukraine 70 years after the fact is - politically motivated, far removed from the fact and in many ways irrelevant. Ruy Lopez 21:50, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What is your argument for it being politically motivated. It is as biased as anything Stalin did, and his quotes are included in the article. Also, you removed it from that section without putting it at the end. Mir 23:54, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

During the revolution, the peasants seized the land, but the state had nationalized it by decree. See THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF LAND SOCIALIZATION. So no one owned land, but there was an existing right to use it. It was that use which was extinquished, not a true property right, however the language used to describe collectivization customarily describes the situation in terms of property. Also, most land was owned by poor and middle peasants, kulaks owned more than the average, but only a small fraction of the total. Fred Bauder 22:02, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

"During the revolution, the peasants seized the land," so who owned the land before the revolution? I know a large part of it was owned by large land owners, but certainly not all of it. I find it hard to imagine that every single hectare of land was "seized" by a different owner after the revolution, thereby making Stalin's collectivizations a just and fair enforcement of the legal status quo. I'm quite sure that at least some of the land persisted in the hands of the same owner from circa 1900 up until Stalin's collectivization program. 23:41, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I noticed that Ruy Lopez removed statements that the collectivization had been forced. I'm bringing this information back, at least until Ruy reveals his rationale. Boraczek 09:48, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I have been able to find evidence for a drought in 1931 (by searching online at Amazon in Years of Hunger, ISBN 0333311078, but not during the period of greatest impact of the famine, early 1933, following the harvest of 1932. Could those of you who feel drought played a significant role in the famine, please clarify the situation? Also, while there is some mention of both typhus and typhoid affecting people weakened by starvation, there does not seem to be any evidence of this as an independent factor. Fred Bauder 15:10, Dec 14, 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I would like to see someone look into this a bit more. This article seems to occasionally be edited with assertions that a large portion, or even the majority, of the deaths were due to drought conditions. I would love to see a deeper source based analysis of these claims. 23:36, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

external links[edit]

Trey Stone, you can not remove links to web pages whose opinion you disagree with, and leave only external links to pages you agree with. This is trying to impose your POV on the article. Ruy Lopez 11:10, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Central Asia and Kazakhstan[edit]

In areas where the major agricultural activity was nomadic herding, collectivisation met with massive resistance and major losses of livestock. Hundreds of thousands of households fled into [[China]] and of those who remained as many as a million died in the resulting famine. Livestock in Kazakhstan fell from 7 million cattle to 1.6 million and from 22 million sheep to 1.7 million. In [[Mongolia]], a Soviet dependency, attempted collectivisation was abandoned in 1932 after the loss of 8 million head of livestock<!--From the chapter, "Central Asia and the Kazakh Tragedy, pages 189-198, Harvest of Sorrow, ISBN 0195040546-->.

Ruy Lopez removed the above with the comment, "See talk", but I see nothing on talk that relates to it. These sorts of facts need to be included in article. As late as the 1950s and 60s a similar attempt was made in Tibet with dismal results. This is what happens when people don't have access to accurate information. It is Wikipedia's responsibility to have accurate information available for people to consider. We never know who may be reading an article and then acting on it decades later. Fred Bauder 16:01, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)

Moving articles back and forth[edit]

What's the deal with moving Collectivisation to Collectivization and back? Is is some sort of pissing match? --Gene s 09:46, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

You're damn straight it is. J. Parker Stone 22:00, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)


VeryVerily's changes reverted as a condition of my unblocking him. Although his changes seem mostly rather minor, he also deleted a good deal of material in the same edit and should make such changes gradually and with due respect of using the discussion pages a well where there is disagreement. - Marshman 05:30, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I noted in E-mail to Marshman that most of the deletion was a mistake, but not a huge one as this is a wiki where it's easy to patch such things up, but even so this was absolutely not a revert as Neutrality falsely charged (and blocks are harder to fix). I have made the edit with the paragraphs alluded to in E-mail restored, which is what we agreed to. VeryVerily 06:07, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Goebbels claims[edit]

just simply reading the page, I noticed the sentence "Decades later, with the start of the Cold War, historians would begin reinvestigating Goebbels' claims and, surprisingly, most investigators found them to be true." No mention is made of what Goebbels claims are, and no link is provided. This seems rather dumb.

The point is that with The New York Times and other sympathetic media publishing stories about how wonderful conditions were in Ukraine at the height of the famine, it was thought that Goebbel's claims were just Nazi propaganda. They turned out, in large part, to be true. Not sure that information is still in the article, but that was the point being made. User:Fred Bauder Talk 20:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Unselfconscious use of the term "kulak"[edit]

The terminology has been discussed before (#Use of word kulak, above), but this exact issue wasn't broached.

Kulak may have been a traditional term for a class in the Russian Empire, but it was used and wildly misused by the Soviet communist party. I'm concerned that this article is making the mistake of unselfconsciously doing the same when it says that "kulaks did this or that", or that "X number of kulaks were deported".

I'm not saying the term is offensive, I'm saying that we don't use the term, or at least that we don't assign the same meaning that the Soviets did during collectivization.

The article at kulak seems to avoid this, by referring to "people who were labelled kulaks", or putting quotation marks around the word. Would anyone oppose my editing this article, and any others, to use the term in the same way as that article does? Michael Z. 2005-04-7 03:13 Z

Ye me

Just wanted to add is some of the Russian translation slightly wrong, just noticed some differances of the spelling for state and collective farms?

I have tried to clean up the article in this respect. Dietwald 09:49, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I just wanted to point out that by the English dictionary, since this article is written in English, defines a kulak as "kulak noun, historical a wealthy, property-owning Russian peasant." Why don't we use this definition of Kulak? 14:05, 9 December 2006 (UTC)Martin H.

The problem is that simply people were labelled "kulaks" by the communists doesn't mean they necessarily were wealthy, property-owning Russian peasants. It may have been the case, or they may have simply been considered enemies for their opposition to communism, and therefor accused of being kulaks. - 20:02, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

False statements[edit]

Some communists such as Jeff Coplon and Ludo Martens have recently claimed a much more modest figure of between several hundred thousand and two million deaths.

This is complete nonesense. Walter Duranty in August 1933 for "The New York Times" estimated that there were 2 million excess deaths in the famine-stricken regions of Ukraine, Lower Volga, and North Caucusus. Over 60 years later, his estimates have been vindicated as Russian archives have revealed that excess deaths in Ukraine, Lower Volga, and North Caucusus amounted to slightly under 2 million for 1932-1933. The following table is derived from Russia's archives and is from "Years of Hunger: Sovet Agriculture, 1931-1933" by Stephen Wheatcroft and R.W Davies. It has been posted by scholar Mark Harrison of Warwick University:

Ah, you're basing figures off of SOVIET records and an article written by the Times in 1933? A bit silly to say the least.


Repeated attempts to use the term genocide to describe the Ukrainian famine are POV. Even if I agree with you that it was a genocide, it's still disputed by a number of historians. It's clearly a famine, clearly a democide (which includes "knowingly wreckless and depraved disregard for life"), but its status as genocide is disputed. Even the Holomodor article acknowledges the dispute. -- TheMightyQuill 12:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. For all it matters. The Ukrainian famine can be considered a genocide, but there is no agreement on this -- unlike the Holocaust, or the killing of Armenians by Turkey at the end of WWIDietwald 19:51, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Funny, I was going to disagree with you as I thought using the word genocide in reference to the massacre of Armenians is up for debate, but after reading the Armenian Genocide page, it turns out I was wrong, and the word genocide was largely invented to describe those massacres. Yay for wikipedia. So, I guess thanks for helping to remove my ignorance. -- TheMightyQuill 13:34, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

anytime:) Dietwald 13:32, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Amis and 'Koba the Dread'[edit]

As a historian of Soviet Russia, I would like to point out that Amis's book is considered by the majority of historians of this subject to be largely biased and poorly sourced. I completely agree with the mention of the August 7 decree on pulic property and think it is relevant to the discussion, but could this point be referenced to a historian of more repute and more thorough research? 09:54, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

British vs American spelling[edit]

So, generally you're supposed to go by what the first person who wrote the article used, but unfortunately, the first entry gave the article a title with British spelling (Collectivisation) but wrote content with the American spelling (Collectivization). Can anyone give any reason to choose one spelling over the other? - TheMightyQuill 09:39, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

American English is spoken by more people around the world

I'm not sure. Most europeans use british spelling, plus, many of the former british colonies. Canadians such as my self would write collectivization, but our population doesn't add much to the global total. - TheMightyQuill 03:54, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

"American english is spoken by more pople around the world" - Care to cite such a bold statement?Tourskin 01:11, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

"American English (AmE) is the form of English used in the United States. British English (BrE) is the form of English used in the United Kingdom and the rest of the British Isles. It includes all English dialects used within the British Isles." Source "United States of America...Population - 2007 estimate 301,366,000" Source "United Kingdom...Population - 2006 estimate 60,609,153" Source Surely, the British Isles do not have 240,000,000 residents, and surely the population of the UK has not increased 500% since last year.

Collectivization after the second world war?[edit]

This article makes no mention of collectivization or Soviet agriculture after the second world war. Itoldalthea 04:15, 2 March 2007 (UTC)iToldAlthea

It remained much as the same as before.Tourskin 01:12, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Chengiz (talk) 16:56, 1 September 2011 (UTC) Even if this were enough, it needs to be said. But it's not enough. Why did it remain the same? Did the collective farmers just sit and take it? Was there any backlash? Was overall collectivization a success in terms of the numbers? What was the social fallout? This article is mainly about "introduction of collectivization in the soviet union" and not "collectivization in the soviet union".

kolkhoz sovkhoz[edit]

Please don't add categories that do not follow from article text. The term unfree labor has a specific meaning that you have no rights to extend. In principle, all labor is unfree: if you don't work and earn for living, you will die (unless you live in a banana paradise or have millions). This is especially true for soviet Union, where not working was a criminal offense (called "social parasitism"). `'mikka 23:36, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

kolkhoz/sovkhoz were not serfdom or "unfree labor": the workers were neither slaves nor prisoners: one could leave kolkhoz and work elsewhere. And let us not go into a discussion that the whole Soviet Union was not a free society. I strongly suggest you to edit things you are expert or can provide references from material published in reliable sources. `'mikka 17:06, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

You will not start reverting anything basing on your reasoning only. Passports and crops do not make it unfree labor. Please stop discussions and provide references into text. I don't see any your edits in these articles "about a year ago". `'mikka 16:11, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Please stop adding unreferenced claims into articles. `'mikka 15:20, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Threats and Reversions[edit]

Please provide references or you will be blocked from editing. `'mikka 16:44, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

You know I am getting rather bored of being threatened every other day. I have done nothing wrong. I suggest that you use the Talk Page to try and explain what you are doing rather than attempting to threaten and bully me. If you really want to denounce me to the Authorities, please, knock yourself out. This is not, however, a Soviet and I doubt it will get you anywhere. Any time you want to behave like a reasonable person and talk about the Soviet agriculture pages I'll be only too happy to have a sensible and reasonable discussion. In the meantime would it be too much to ask you cease to threaten me on my talk page? Thank you. Lao Wai 10:44, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


I cannot reasonably discuss you until you start complying with wikipedia policies. When you startt reading books carefully in order to provide references for wikipedia, you will probably notice that in some cases you write nosense. I will only happy to discuss with you the published material, but not your conclusions and thoughts about history.

As an example let me explain you your blunder "of nationalisation of individual land and labor into cooperatives." The labor cannot be nationalized. the land was nationalized right after revolution and given to toiling peasants for use. Later it was consolidated into kolkhozes. `'mikka 16:24, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Laws that exist only on paper can hardly be said to exist in reality. I have explained what the situation was in the USSR between 1918 and 1929 and I am happy with it. What is your objection to it as it stands? You can nationalize labor as the USSR did through Labor Armies and the Gulag. I would also argue that forcing peasants to work on the land is also a nationalization of labor, but I am happy to take that "labor" out if you object. Lao Wai 16:34, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Once again, I will not discuss your opinions and conclusions. Once again, I am very strongly suggest you to understand the difference betwen writing your own book or paper and writing wikipedia articles. Please read and understand Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Attribution#Unpublished_synthesis_of_published_material. `'mikka 16:40, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I am not putting in any of my opinions. There is no OR. Everything I have done lately has been sources from reputable text books. I agree there is no point discussing your opinions, but I try not to do that. Lao Wai 16:42, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, the last statement was not exactly correct. What I wanted to say is "I will not discuss your opinions and conclusions made to 'prove' some statements in the article". When I have some spare time, I may discuss anything related to the topic to understand the way of your thinking and your knowledge. `'mikka 16:58, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

You wrote: "Everything I have done lately has been sources from reputable text books." A quote taken out of historical context and placed into some illogical place may significantly distort the truth. An example is your sentence "It was not until the 1950s that Soviet farm animals approached their 1928 levels" In your text one may conclude that it was all fault of collectivization. Because your omitted the catastrophe of 1941-1945, which threw the economy of the country into middle ages. In addition there was a severe drought in 1946, which hit about 50% of the arable land. And in fact it was miracle (actually very hard labor) that industry and agriculture was recovered in mere 5-7 years. And dont tell me about labor armies and gulag. I wrote these articles myself, and much more. `'mikka 17:10, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I am happy to add a little bit of context that would point out the damage done to Soviet agriculture in the Ukraine and elsewhere by WW2. However as Soviet animal levels were no where near 1929 level in 1941 it is clearly not all the war's fault:
Year Cow Pigs Sheep Horses
1928 33.2 27.7 114.6 36.1
1941 27.8 27.5 91.6 21.0
1950 24.6 22.2 93.6 12.7

From which we can conclude the Collectivization was worse for all Soviet farm animals except pigs than WW2 and the 1946 drought put together.

As for context, I have all the context I need thank you. But if you can see any place where more is needed please let me know. Lao Wai 17:13, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Your numbers say nothing new. Yes during the period of forced collectivization 1928-1933 there was massive slaughtering of livestock. It is written in wikipedia in several places, including the discussed article. What is your point? `'mikka 17:20, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
That obviously the reference you keep cutting is 1. true, 2. relevant, and 3. proves that your claims that drought and War were the cause of the low animal numbers is factually wrong. What else could I possibly ask it to prove? Now do you have any other complaints? Lao Wai 17:35, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
"drought and War were the cause of the low animal number": I nowhere said that. You again are drawing your own conclusions from written text. `'mikka 17:46, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Once again, please don't put your reasoning ("in is clear", etc.) into the article. Numbers OK, but your conclusions are not OK. `'mikka 18:09, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

No sooner said than done. Not a hint of reasoning. Lao Wai 18:22, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Totally disputed[edit]

Lao Wai adds false and incorrect material, but since no one else bothers to edit this page, despite my requests for comments in several places, I am tired to figth stubbornness alone, leaving the article tagged for future editors. `'mikka 20:05, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

16 April RfC[edit]

The RfC was initiated by mikka. I am going to look further but it appears from the article history that both mikka and Lao Wai have backed off for a day or two and that is probably best. Both of you came very close to violating the WP:3RR during your conflict. In fact, you probably did but I haven't looked that closely.

It is certain that you are both passionate about your views and we need that at Wikipedia. But it is important that we maintain a proper team attitude here. It will not serve your passions if you find yourself blocked from editing. Once you return to the article, if you find you cannot avoid conflict, you might want to go to WP:MEDCAB for informal assistance. If I can assist, please post to my talk page. As we say in my part of the world, "I ain't got a dog in that fight" so I can probably help. JodyB 13:46, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I saw this on the RFC log. What exactly is the main issue here? The use of the word "kulak"? The nature of the sources used and whether that conforms to WP:RS? I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest but it might help to have an "outsider" comment on your discussion.

Watchdog07 Watchdog07 (talk · contribs)

Neutrality between Communism and Ukrainian nationalism[edit]

Okay, I know dbose2's recent edits are going to be reverted soon, and the great majority of them should be. Unreferenced accusations against people like Koestler & Orwell are totally out of line, referring to Ukrainians who view the famine as genocide as "western propagandists" is totally out of line, and a great many other things are obviously NPOV and should be reverted. The main issue, however, is difficult: how to find a version of this article that will be acceptable to both communists (who seem to have some legitimate criticisms of accusations of genocide and sources) and ukrainians (who have legitimate criticisms of communist actions and soviet sources)? "The black deeds of the kremlin" is an interesting example: I can't find any references to it on the internet aside from "Genocide memorial" pages holding it up as proof, and Communist pages, decrying it as the work of Goebbels. It was published with the author "S.O. Pidhainy" but I can't find any information on him either. Before we descend into a long revert war, can we please discuss? - TheMightyQuill 15:05, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

I believe we must simply use most recent scholarly sources written by internationally recognized scientists like Robert Conquest. Some people think that one should find a "middle ground" between the official Soviet propaganda and "western science". But the middle ground between huge lie and truth is lie (as Vladimir Bukovsky said). Fortunately, no one is trying to find the middle between the science and pseudo-science in natural sciences, where I came from.Biophys 16:47, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Saying that, I agree 100% that a lot of statements in the present version are completely unsourced and misleading, as far as I know from the books.Biophys 16:51, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I think we simply do not need a long discussion of situation at Ukraine here, because there is Holodomor article. As well, we should not discuss Conquest. There is a separate article about him.Biophys 22:35, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

"Incredible falsehood and lies of Robert Conquest"[edit]

Someone just inserted here a text telling about "incredible falsehood and lies of Robert Conquest", without actually supporting this by credible references. This is original reserach (OR) that has no place in WP.Biophys 16:19, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Although most of the inserted text was completely unsourced, some sources have been actually provided. For example: "The famine in the Soviet Union was in 1931-33 and it was unrelated to the Colletivization Programme that has really started in 1934 (Source: E.P.Terletsky, The Collective Farms of the U.S.S.R, All Union Council of Collective Farms, page 43; Baykov, A., The Development of the Soviet Economic System, Macmillan, 1948, Pages 189-212).". This is like referring to Nazi propaganda books to "prove" that Holocaust has never happened. Sure, this is Soviet propaganda, not the Nazi propaganda, but any propaganda is not a good source about anything exept itself (propaganda is like pseudo-science - see my comment above). Biophys 16:35, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

NYT Article:[edit]

The source specifically states, re: Harvest of Sorrow by Conquest:

The endnote gives as the source a book called "The Black Deeds of the Kremlin," edited by S. O. Pidhainy in 1953. Nowhere in the notes or in the bibliography is the credibility of this source even discussed. As it happens, like several other of Mr. Conquest's principal sources, the book was published by Ukrainian emigres in Canada and the United States not long after World War II.

The eyewitness testimony may indeed be reliable, but far more debatable is the thesis that the famine was specifically aimed as an instrument of genocide against the Ukraine. The clear implication of this book is that the author has taken the side of his Ukrainian sources on this issue, even though much of his evidence does not support it well. Mr. Conquest's attempts to document the claim that while people were starving in the Ukraine they were being well fed just across the border in Russia fall far short of a rigorous standard - a few citations from "The Black Deeds of the Kremlin" and other exile sources do not make the case. And the author himself estimates that at least two million of the approximately seven million people who died in the famine perished not in the Ukraine, but in the Northern Caucasus and other intensely agricultural areas elsewhere in the country.

The Village Voice article (I can reference this as well if that helps) states:

In The Harvest of Sorrow, Conquest outdoes himself. He weaves his terror-famine from unverifiable (and notoriously biased) émigré accounts. He leans on reportage from ex-Communist converts to the American Way. He cites both "Walker" and Ammende. Black Deeds of the Kremlin, a period piece published by Ukrainian émigrés in 1953, is footnoted no less than 145 times.

What exactly is your problem with these sources? - TheMightyQuill 17:26, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

First of all, did you read this book by Conquest? It is based on many hundreds of publications, not on the obscure "Black Deeds of the Kremlin". Your segment says: "Robert Conquest, however, has been criticized for an over-reliance on one book "Black deeds of Kremlin" by S. O. Pidhainy) as a source for estimations on the death toll in Ukraine". However your source only disputes a couple of specific examples. It does not claim and does not provide any arguments that Conquest wrongly estimated the number of victims. Most important, the estimate of the number of victims by Conquest was not based on "Black deeds of Kremlin"Biophys 18:44, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
With regard to your second point, if you make a reference Village Voice, you must provide a link to Village Voice, not to a personal web site (WP:SOURCE)Biophys 18:44, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
First, I'm using other peoples criticism, not my own reading of the book, as that would be original research. Second, I don't need to provide a link to the Village Voice article, as it hasn't been archived online. If you don't want to read the version on the personal website, you can go find the print article yourself. - TheMightyQuill 19:37, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Why did you revert all my changes in the first paragraph? Using the book by Conquest is not OR. Quite the opposite. This is scholarly secondary source published by a notable internationally recognized historian, exactly as recommended by WP:SOURCE.Biophys 20:03, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, the revert was unintentional. I thought I had edited that paragraph to keep your changes, but i must have messed it up. Citing the book by Conquest is not OR, but citing my own criticisms of it would be. I'm citing other people's criticisms, of which there are plenty, and not just by communists or soviet apologists, as the wikipedia article had previously suggested. - TheMightyQuill 00:34, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Proposed merging[edit]

Narrowly speaking, collectivization is formation of collective farms. But it is often used in the books as a combination of three different policies intended to create socialism at the countryside: (a) collectivization (narrowly defined); (b) elimination of kulaks as class (mostly their deportation); and (c) confiscation of grain. It is the combination of all three policies led to hunger as described in this article. So, can we describe "collectivization" more broadly, as a combination of all three policies? Biophys 22:15, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

No. You cannot define anything. You have to use published definitions, You probably want to say that collectivization may refer to creation of collective agriculture and also it may refer to the historical period in the USSR. About "confiscation": you are using wrong terminology. Let me explain by an example: a worker at a, say, toothbrush factory does not have toothbrushes he made confiscated from him. The same with kolkhozes and sovkhozes. In sovkhozes the peasant was no longer an owner; he was work for hire. In kolkhozes he was an owner, but he was robbed by price scissors and other tricks. Some emotional people even go further and say they were slaves. So you may say that he was mercilessly exploited, but he was not "confiscated". `'Míkka 00:24, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I would say collectivization is simply collectivization narrowly defined. That doesn't mean, however, that policies of "de-kulakization" and grain confiscation can't be mentioned in the article. Grain confiscations long pre-date collectivization though...
O'K. I looked the books. Collectivization and "de-kulakization" are described as two different although related policies. However confiscation of grain was described as a part of collectivization (of course it was also practiced much earlier). In fact, the essence of the policy was taking a part of private property from the people (land, horses, cattle, grain, etc.) and bringing all of that under state control. As such, that was a program of nationalization, not just collectivization. By the way, DBose2 is back. He said that we promote Joseph Goebbels propaganda in WP. I am not going to revert him immediately, leaving this matter up to you.Biophys 15:58, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

It was proposed to merge this article with dekulakization. That was exactly my question. If dekulakization and collectivization are two different policies, as everyone seems to think, then no merging. However, if dekulakization is a part of collectivization - why not? So, that should be decided by consensus. I do not have any strong opinions here. Biophys 18:10, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

It's also helpful to have the short article (extended definition?) about dekulakization on its own, even if there is some overlap. Because the collectivization topic is so lengthy, the other may get lost in this article, and difficult for readers to extract. Dekulakization is also part of class conflict, history of the Soviet Union, communism, etc. but we can only consolidate so much.
The ideal situation is to leave this article as a summary article including dekulakization, with the other remaining broken out as a more detailed article on the topic.
(By the way, how did the main article history of the Soviet Union be allowed to be completely gutted—there is no main summary article!!!) Michael Z. 2007-07-21 19:20 Z

I think it's worthwhile having two articles. Both could be expanded, and they're obviously not synonyms. Dekulakization occurred simultaneously with collectivization, but that doesn't make it the same thing. - TheMightyQuill 20:57, 21 July 2007 (UTC)


Mikka, would you agree that Gulag prisoners were slaves? Biophys 16:09, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes and no. Prison labor is a unique category of forced labor. Yes, their labor is called "slave labor" as a metaphor, but in an encyclopedia the term slave has a specific meaning and better not create a confusion. There are many important distinctions. In this metapohorical sense the whole Soviet population may be called slaves. But again, in a newspaper, but not in encyclopedia. Metaphors are useful to give a better explanations, e.g., one may write "gulag inmates have often been compared to slaves" (and provide quotations, explaining in which respect they were like slaves), but to simply say that "inmates were slaves" would be not very helpful for encyclopedic understanding who they really were. `'Míkka 16:44, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Agree. We must be as precise as possible.Biophys

Edit of Themightyquill[edit]

Please explain in detail the massive deletions you did during reorganization, or your work will be reverted. `'Míkka 15:23, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

A lot of the deletions were unsourced, so no further explanation is required. Others were simply incorporated elsewhere new text and leaving them in would have been redundant. Which ones were you concerned about? - TheMightyQuill 20:56, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Blog reference[edit]

For "The failures of collectivisation are also revealed in official documents":

The two references for this sentence are from a blog. WP:Verification states:

Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason, self-published books, personal websites, and blogs are largely not acceptable as sources.

An exception is carved out for:

Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. However, caution should be exercised when using such sources: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so.

I don't believe this blog is maintained by an established expert and question their use as source material. Thoughts? ∴ Therefore | talk 01:27, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

You are a bit mistaken about the issue here. In this case it is not a blog but rather an archive. Ane the ref is to a photocopy of a letter to a Soviet official, it and may be a temporary supplementary ref in lieu of a more direct ref. However I deleted the sentence as misplaced and falsely referrnced: the document in question is not a "Soviet offcial document", but a personal letter. `'Míkka>t 02:10, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I apologize if this site is an official archive usable as a reliable source. I was taken aback by the site's home page self-description as a blog. If this site is self-published, then please understand I am not questioning whether the documents are valid (in this case, I presume as much) but instead rather if they are reliable as defined by WP:V: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth." Thanks for taking care of this matter. ∴ Therefore | talk 16:52, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Other republics[edit]

We have information on Latvia and Ukraine, but not on other republics. Perhaps efforts could be made to assist the writing of paragraphs on other areas and their experiences of collectivisation. I will add chapter headings for the other two Baltic States if someone wants to fill them in for me. Lstanley1979 (talk) 22:26, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Add it up[edit]

"The equal land shares among the peasants gave rise to food shortages in the cities. Although grain had nearly returned to pre-war production levels, the large estates who had produced it for urban markets had been divided up.[2] Not interested in acquiring money to purchase overpriced goods, the peasants chose to eat their produce rather than sell it, so city dwellers only saw half the grain that had been available before the war.[2] Before the revolution, peasants controlled only 2,100,000 km² divided into 16 million holdings, producing 50% of the food grown in Russia and consuming 60%. After the revolution, the peasants controlled 3,140,000 km² divided into 25 million holdings, producing 85% of the food, but consuming 80% of what they grew. .[3]"

Remaining for city dwellers: Before: 40% of 50% is 20%.
The peasants grew half the food. What remained after they had eaten 60% of that was 20% of the total grown.
After: 20% of 85% is 17%.
The peasants grew 85% of the food. What remained after they had eaten 80% of that was 17% of the total grown.

A difference of 3%. This cannot, alone, produce food shortages worth discussing, except maybe at dinner, by the city folk.

What is truly significant about these numbers is not, how much less was produced for city consumption, but how much of the percentage of the total crop they obtained per unit of land. As the number for total crop before and after is not given, and neither is the productivity of the land given to the peasants, before it was given to them, this is only a curiousity, but it is a curiousity that is statistically more significant than the supposed fact that is being presented in the article.

Before: 50% / 2,100,000 square kilometres = 0.0000002381 of the total crop per square kilometer.
After: 85% / 3,140,000 square kilometres = 0.0000002707 of the total crop per square kilometer.

2381 / 2707 = .8795
Peasants produced 88% as much of the total crop per square kilometer before, as they did after.
2707 / 2381 = 1.1369
Peasants produced 113.7% as much of the total crop per square kilometer after, as they did before.

They were given land that had previously belonged to landowners. Perhaps that was better land. Because we don't know the total productivity, they might even have produced less per acre than before. Or both. Or it was a little better, and they produced more, maybe it wasn't better, and they produced more; any combination of those. But the one thing we know for sure is, the statistics that are given do not show that it wasn't the dividing up of the land in itself that caused the famine. Which is in the article. This needs fixing.
I am 96% sure that my figures aren't Original Research. It was mathematics, and therefore empirically observable, repeatable, and verifiable. It is a scientific fact, as long as it is presented correctly. Anarchangel (talk) 04:55, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

  • You calculations are very interesting and appear to be essentially correct. Your interpretation of the numbers also seems to be perfectly valid, and the language of the article will need to be refined by someone. Please note, however, that the problem was not insufficient production, but rather insufficient "procurement": the 17% available for city consumers according to your calculations may have been sufficient to feed the cities in theory, but in practice they were not reaching the city markets because of hoarding at the farm level. This was the nature of the "procurement crisis" of 1927, as is clearly stated even by Conquest on p. 87 of his Harvest of Sorrow. In any event, I have enjoyed reading your analysis. Your results demonstrating the higher yields (per unit of land) achieved by post-distribution individual farms are consistent with what Soviet and post-Soviet studies have been showing over the years. --Zlerman (talk) 06:14, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Martens, Ludo. Un autre regard sur Staline - a source?[edit]

The book is an apology of Joseph Stalin and isn't a "source" but rather an anecdote.Xx236 (talk) 12:39, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Number of victims[edit]

The collectivization caused the death of 11 440 000 [1] plus organized transfer of several millions plus flight of millions peasants. According to logic of another articles Collectivization can be described as a population transfer of (probably) 24 million.Xx236 (talk) 13:39, 18 September 2009 (UTC)


Why is there a lack of precursor information regarding the cause of Collectivization in the Soviet Union? There are numerous textbook sources that indicate the important role of Buhkarin and Trotsky on the formation of the idea of collective farms in the USSR. They introduced the idea as a positive change to counter the agricultural issues within the state, and to the best of my knowledge, Stalin used these ideas to exploit and terrorize the countryside. Is this a correct understanding? If so, why is this overlooked in the background section of the page? Alihay (talk) 22:32, 11 December 2009 (UTC)alihay

I agree with this comment, and would like to see discussion of why Stalin changed from opposing collectivization when Trotsky supported it, to later enacting it in Trotsky's absence. Tibetologist (talk) 13:26, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

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Viola citations[edit]

Can we roll all of the Viola citations into one? I'm sorry, but every page of a book doesn't count as a new source of information. (This might lead to most of that 'information' being removed; which I think would benefit the article) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:42, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

You can list Viola as a source and then use cites of page such and such for each fact cited. Citations should cite the page of the source for each fact used. User:Fred Bauder Talk 20:43, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Decollectivization under German occupation[edit]

The title misinforms, there was no real decollectivization.Xx236 (talk) 11:58, 22 January 2014 (UTC)