Impact of Collectivisation and Stalin's Purges in the USSR

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The USSR needed to produce more food, so increasing production was essential. The majority of peasants were poor and lacked equipment for working the land. The kulaks were rich peasants who were influential in villages but annoyed the Communist Party. Stalin began collectivising all farms: peasants worked together on lands, and when the harvest was collected, a part was sold to the government at a low price, the rest for peasants. They were forced to collectivise. The problem with collectivisation was that due to the speed of the change, their traditional way of life was destroyed. Kulaks resisted the change. The new exploitations were forced to grow particular crops needed for industry and had to supply a specific amount to the state. Party officials were brought in to run collectives, and some were furious. Stalin declared war on the kulaks because they opposed collectivisation. The result was the expansion of famines in some regions.

The Results of Collectivisation

The famine continued as production reduced. But collectivization continued, the kulaks had been eliminated, and the remaining peasants were afraid of communist power.

Positive and Negative Aspects of Collectivisation


  • Ended exploitation of peasants by landlords.
  • Helped peasants work together.
  • Provided large-scale organization of food production.
  • Served to put communism into practice.
  • Useful for Soviet propaganda.


  • People were left with no other choice.
  • The kulaks were scapegoats for inefficient food production.
  • Millions of people were murdered or deported.
  • The new system didn't work initially.

State farms were created, where the State owned the land, and peasants were workers who received wages. Food was delivered to the state, and peasants bought it with their wages.

Terror and Purges

Stalin, an organizer, began by making speeches and organizing strikes. His power base came from being General Secretary of the Party. After becoming the undisputed leader of Russia, he eliminated rivals. Kirov, the popular head of the Party in Leningrad, was murdered. Stalin ordered a purge of those involved. Old communists like Zinoviev and Kamenev were arrested and charged in 'show trials.' Soon, the purges reached ordinary people. Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Stalin was taken away by the NKVD. Stalin controlled all information and even manipulated photographs or documents to appear as a key figure of the revolution. The purges resulted in the disappearance of valuable citizens, weakening the army, navy, industrial progress, and technological advancements. A new constitution was introduced, and power was centralized in the Politburo. The government seized church properties, and many priests were murdered or exiled. Russia became a dictatorship under Stalin's rule, with party members receiving privileges while most lived in fear and silence.

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