In the late 1920's and early 1930's, Josef Stalin instituted a program known as Dekulakisation. While millions died, the Soviet goverment maintained that it was an important part of their domestic policy. Here are some of the justifications that were employed.
- The Kulak class would slow the progress of collectivisation; peasants with their own wealth and land would be less likely to cooperate with the policy.
While the incentive to acquire personal wealth still existed, it would be increasingly difficult for the government to enforce grain requisition.
- In order to fund industrialisation, Stalin believed that grain exports would need to increase greatly.
Collectivisation meant that agricultural methods would be applied universally, and thus advances would be spread more efficiently.
- With the increasingly technological nature of farming, machines and tractors could be spread over large areas of land, instead of just used on small individual parcels of land.
- With greater government control of agriculture, farming could be co-ordinated on a national scale. This meant that food production could be adapted for the needs of the economy.
- The greater efficiency of collectivisation would create an excess of unneeded peasants. These could then migrate into the urban centres, and become proletariat workers. This would help fuel industrialisation.
- The government would have detailed information on all economic activity within the nation; this would not only give them an advantage in taxation, but international trade.
- The Kulak’s represented a pre-Bolshevik tradition at a time when Russia was eliminating its past. This reminder of Tsarism was unacceptable to Stalin.
Kulaks were direct contradiction of the Marxist theory upon which the Soviet Union was based.
- The Kulaks would have economic, and thus political, power of their own. All power in Russia had to lie in the hands of the state.
- In the same vein, Kulaks would be able to employ followers and perhaps even a militia of their own. It was important to Stalin that the people be loyal only to him.
- Dekulakisation was a surprisingly effective way of winning the support of many poorer peasants. These less fortunate farmers were more than happy to exact revenge upon their former masters.
- Kulak was a politically elastic term- it could, if necessary be applied to anyone, for any reason. It made political arrest far easier, as little justification was needed for prosecution.
- The drive against Kulaks also allowed Stalin to continue with some of his more extreme schemes of political repression, The Terror, with relative impunity.