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A sovkhoz[a] (Russian: совхо́з, IPA: [sɐfˈxos] (About this soundlisten), abbreviated from советское хозяйство, "sovetskoye khozyaystvo (sovkhoz)"; Ukrainian: радгосп, romanizedradhósp), was a form of state-owned farm in the Soviet Union.[1]

It is usually contrasted with kolkhoz, which is a collective-owned farm. Unlike the members of a kolkhoz, which were called "kolkhozniks" or "kolkhozniki" (колхозники), the workers of a sovkhoz were only colloquially called "sovkhozniki".


Soviet state farms began to be created in 1918[2] as an ideological example of "socialist agriculture of the highest order".

Kolkhozes, or collective farms, were regarded for a long time as an intermediate stage in the transition to the ideal of state farming. While kolkhozy were typically created by combining small individual farms together in a cooperative structure, a sovkhoz would be organized by the state on land confiscated from former large estates (so-called "state reserve land" that was left over after distribution of land to individuals) and sovkhoz workers would be recruited from among landless rural residents. The sovkhoz employees would be paid regulated wages, whereas the remuneration system in a kolkhoz relied on cooperative-style distribution of farm earnings (in cash and in kind) among the members. In farms of both types, however, a system of internal passports prevented movement of employees and members from rural areas to urban areas. In effect farmers became tied to their sovkhoz or kolkhoz in what is described by some as a system of "neo-serfdom".[3]

In 1990, the Soviet Union had 23,500 sovkhozy, or 45% of the total number of large-scale collective and state farms. The average size of a sovkhoz was 15,300 hectares (153 km2), nearly three times the average kolkhoz (5,900 hectares or 59 km2 in 1990).[4] Sovkhoz farms were more dominant in the Central Asian part of the Soviet Union.

During the transition era of the 1990s, many state farms were reorganized using joint stock arrangements, although the development of land markets remained constrained by opposition to private ownership of land.

In other countries[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian plural: sovkhozy; anglicized plural: sovkhozes.


  1. ^ "sovkhoz". Merriam Webster.
  2. ^ Padalka, S. "Radhosps (РАДГОСПИ)" (in Ukrainian). Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine.
  3. ^ How Russia Is Ruled, by Merle Fainsod, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, revised edition (1970), p. 570.
  4. ^ Narodnoye Khozyaiatvo SSSR [Statistical Yearbook of the USSR] (in Russian), State Statistical Committee of the USSR, Moscow, 1990.
  5. ^ Smith & Naylor (2014), p. 226.