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Treatment of the peasants 1.Why is it important to study the history of the peasants? 2.Why was there some desire not to emancipate the serfs? 3.Why was.

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Presentation on theme: "Treatment of the peasants 1.Why is it important to study the history of the peasants? 2.Why was there some desire not to emancipate the serfs? 3.Why was."— Presentation transcript:

1 Treatment of the peasants 1.Why is it important to study the history of the peasants? 2.Why was there some desire not to emancipate the serfs? 3.Why was the 1891 famine significant? 4.How did the fall of Tsarism impact upon the peasants? 5.What was similar or different about the policies of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev?

2 Assess the view that no Russian ruler in the period from 1855 to 1956 succeeded in improving the lives of the peasants.


4 Key Economic Developments Witte (1890s) Stolypin (1900s) War Communism (1917 +) NEP (1920s) Collectivisation (1920s) Five-Year-Plans (1930s) Seven-Year-Plans (1950s)

5 Why nothing before Witte? Society still evolving from feudal to ‘free agricultural’, let alone industrial Reactionary land policies of Alexander III meant most peasants did not move to cities Hence very little industrialisation

6 Witte Aim: “Save Russia” Focus: Industry Theory: – Railways built – This required coal/iron – This led to ‘supporting industries’ – Led to increase in agricultural goods – All areas of economy stimulated

7 Witte: Continuity There had been small-scale railway and industrial growth pre-1891

8 Witte: Change Witte’s Great Spurt relied on foreign investment in Russia The new industries created needed to be protected by tariffs, which greatly increased the living costs

9 Witte: A Turning Point? State involvement in industrial planning Russia took great steps towards becoming an industrialised power The notion of the peasantry being central to Russian development took a less prominent role

10 Stolypin Aim: Save Russia (“Wager on the strong”) Focus: Peasantry Theory: – Through loans and land and rights, encouraged peasants to leave mir and develop as independent farmers – Created a new level of wealthy small-holding peasants, loyal to the regime

11 Stolypin: Continuity The peasant had always been central to Russia No redistribution of land In the same way that Witte aimed to develop an industrial class loyal to the Tsar, Stolypin wanted an agricultural group loyal to the Tsar

12 Stolypin: Change The emphasis shifted from industrial to agricultural Peasants were viewed as people with rights and freedoms

13 Stolypin: A Turning Point? Stolypin’s ‘wager’ was the final effort of the Tsar to do anything proactive towards the peasantry

14 War Communism Aim: Save the revolution Focus: Agriculture Theory: – The requisitioning of grain and the execution of those thought to be hoarding it would allow the regime to continue

15 War Communism: Continuity The peasants continue to be badly treated Led to the organisation of peasant resistance, the same sort as seen by Alexander and Nicholas Production still low Cities still undersupplied

16 War Communism: Change The state was now prepared to use violence not as a last resort, but as a first method The focus was not on production, but on the distribution of what had been produced

17 War Communism: A Turning Point? It shows a negative attitude from the Communist Party towards the peasantry

18 NEP Aim: Save the revolution Focus: Agriculture Theory: – Farmers had to give a set amount of their income to the state – The remainder can be sold for profit

19 NEP: Continuity The peasants continued to see part of their harvest taken by the state

20 NEP: Change The peasants became recognised as a hugely important section of Russian society A radical departure from both war communism and Marxist theory

21 NEP: A Turning Point? NEP was a departure from the period immediately after 1917 It was a return to the pre-1917 period It did not endure beyond 1928 Short-term it ended famine and stabilised the economy

22 Collectivisation Aim: Save the revolution Focus: Agriculture Theory: – Peasants working together collectively produce more than peasants working alone independently – Large-scale farms would produce large-scale crops – Farming would be equal, eliminating Stolypin’s “strong”

23 Collectivisation: Continuity Link with the mir of Tsarist Russia? It was followed ruthlessly, much like War Communism had been

24 Collectivisation: Change Agriculture became industrialised Wealthy peasants were viewed as dangerous rather than desirable

25 Collectivisation: A Turning Point? After this point, there was little or no private agriculture in Russia The cities and the countryside finally formed a symbiotic relationship, with each needing the other

26 Five-Year-Plans Aim: Save the USSR Focus: Industry (Heavy and Light) Theory: – The USSR was non-industrialised – Stalin reckoned that they had about 10 years before someone exploited this and invaded – USSR must be forcefully and totally industrialised

27 Five-Year-Plans: Continuity Link with Witte, in terms of the focus (heavy industry, coal, iron, steel and railways) Marxist ideology depends heavily on an industrialised working class The total disregard for the suffering and loss of life that it caused was a continuation of the attitudes of previous approaches There was a reliance on foreign expertise in the same way that Witte had relied on foreign capital

28 Five-Year-Plans: Change Attention switched back to industry – this was the first time since Witte that it became central The scale of involvement was far greater that Witte The Five Year Plans incorporated movements to modernise the army and defence, which had not been a feature of Witte’s plans Some new industries, which Witte had not examined, were included – electricity being the most notable

29 Five-Year-Plans: A Turning Point? After them, the USSR was an undeniably industrialised nation It set the scene for future centralised planning initiatives, notably the seven-year-plans Focus clearly shifts back onto industry over and above agriculture

30 Seven-Year-Plans Aim: Make people happier Focus: Consumer goods Theory: – “It is no good having the right ideology if everyone has to walk around without any trousers” – More consumer goods led to a happier populace – This led to a contented populace – This safeguarded the regime

31 Seven-Year-Plans: Continuity State planning Production targets Continued city/countryside relationship Although new targets in new areas were set, traditional areas like industry and defence continued to be important

32 Seven-Year-Plans: Change The welfare of people is paramount, at least in the first instance Consumer goods A genuine understanding of the needs of the workers/peasants

33 Seven-Year-Plans: A Turning Point? Difficult to say, as at the end of the period BUT the first time that welfare of the people had made the list of important considerations

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