Stakhanovite movement

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Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov with a fellow miner

The Stakhanovite movement (Russian: стаха́новское движе́ние, romanizedstakhánovskoye dvizhénnie) was a mass cultural movement of workers which originated in the Soviet Union, and encouraged socialist emulation and rationalization of workplace processes. The Stakhanovites (стаха́новцы, stakhánovtsy) modeled themselves after Alexei Stakhanov, a coal miner, and took pride in their ability to produce more than was required by working harder and more efficiently, thus contributing to the common good and strengthening the socialist state. The movement began in the coal industry but later spread to many other industries in the Soviet Union. Initially popular, it eventually encountered resistance as the increased productivity led to increased demands on workers.


USSR Medal "For Labour Valour"

The Stakhanovite movement began during the Soviet second five-year plan in 1935 as a new stage of socialist competition, emerging as a continuation of the rapid industrialization and forced collectivization that had transpired seven years prior.[1] The movement took its name from Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov, who reportedly mined 102 tons of coal in less than 6 hours (14 times his quota) on 31 August 1935.[2] However, Stakhanovite followers would soon "break" his record.[2] On February 1, 1936, it was reported that Nikita Izotov had mined 640 tons of coal in a single shift.[3]

The Stakhanovite movement, supported and led by the Communist Party, soon spread over other industries of the Soviet Union.[4] Pioneers of the movement included Alexander Busygin [ru] (automobile industry), Nikolai Smetanin [ru] (shoe industry), Dusya Vinogradova [ru][a] and Marusya Vinogradova [ru] (textile industry), Ivan I. Gudov [ru] (machine tool industry), Vasiliy S. Musinsky [ru] (timber industry), Pyotr Krivonos [ru] (railroad),[5] Pasha Angelina (agriculture),[b] Konstantin Borin [ru] and Maria S. Demchenko [ru] (agriculture), and many others.[6]

On November 14–17, 1935, the 1st All-Union Stakhanovite Conference took place at the Kremlin.[7] The conference emphasized the outstanding role of the Stakhanovite movement in the socialist reconstruction of the national economy.[7] In December 1935 the plenum of the Communist Party's Central Committee specifically discussed aspects of developing industry and transport systems in light of the Stakhanovite movement.[citation needed]

In accordance with the decisions of the plenum, the Soviets organized a wide network of industrial training and created special courses for foremen of socialist labor. In 1936 a number of industrial and technical conferences revised the projected production capacities of different industries and increased their outputs. They also introduced Stakhanovite contests in many industries to find the best workers and encourage competition among them.[1]

Female Stakhanovites emerged more seldom than male ones, but a quarter of all trade-union women were designated as "norm-breaking".[4] A preponderance of rural Stakhanovites were women, working as milkmaids, calf tenders, and fieldworkers.[8]

The Soviet authorities claimed that the Stakhanovite movement had caused a significant increase in labor productivity. It was reported that during the first five-year plan (1928–32) industrial labor productivity increased by 41%.[citation needed] During the second five-year plan (1933–1937) it reportedly increased by 82%. The discussion of the draft constitution in the 1930s was used to encourage a second wind for the movement.[9]

In September 1959 near Neustrelitz, East Germany, a forester on his AWO 425T motorcycle congratulates a team of women who achieved 184% of a production goal by planting 25,000 saplings during their shift, despite only being set a quota of 16,000.

During World War II the Stakhanovites used different methods to increase productivity, such as working several machine-tools at a time and combining professions. The Stakhanovites organized the two-hundreders movement [ru] (двухсотники, or dvukhsotniki; 200% or more of quota in a single shift).[10]

Opposition and termination[edit]

Opposition to the movement merited the label of "wrecker".[11] Not all workers were excited about the Stakhanovites and the demand for increased productivity. Some groups held Stakhanov responsible for making their lives harder and even threatened him for it.[12]

In 1988 the Soviet newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda stated that the widely propagandized personal achievements of Stakhanov were puffery. The paper insisted that Stakhanov had used a number of helpers on support work, while the output was tallied for him alone. Stakhanov's approach had eventually led to the increased productivity by means of a better organization of the work, including specialization and task sequencing, according to the Soviet state media.[13]

In fiction[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Namesake of the Vinogradovites (виноградовцы).
  2. ^ Honored as the first Soviet woman to operate a tractor.


  1. ^ a b Siegelbaum (1990), p. [page needed].
  2. ^ a b Overy (2004), p. 258.
  3. ^ VOKS (1937).
  4. ^ a b Overy (2004), p. 259.
  5. ^ Krivonoss (1939).
  6. ^ "The Stakhanov Movement (1938)". Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  7. ^ a b Stalin (1935).
  8. ^ Siegelbaum & Sokolov (2000), p. 19.
  9. ^ Siegelbaum & Sokolov (2000), p. 161.
  10. ^ Williamson (2013), p. [page needed].
  11. ^ Service (2005), p. 217.
  12. ^ "The Poster Boy for the Communist System". Witness – BBC World Service. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  13. ^ Komsomolskaya Pravda. 15 October 1988. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)[title missing]

Works cited[edit]