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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2016 year, number 1


V.A. Ilyinykh
Institute of History SB RAS, 8, Ak. Nikolaeva Str., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Keywords: agricultural policy, NEP, land use, land surveying, peasantry, peasant commune, Siberia


The article analyzes basic trends in land policy of the Soviet state in the 1920s. It also provides an analysis of the discussion that took place in Siberia and was focused on the choice of optimal forms of peasant communes’ land surveying. Analysis of this problem allowed to describe the dynamics of NEP and to outline its periodization. Land surveying was aimed at rationalization of the peasant communes’ land use. In Siberia where communes consisted of multiple households the peasants’ individual allotments were scattered all over the communal territory and were far from a household and from each other. Moreover, individual allotments could be subject to compulsory repartitioning. With regard to this region it was proposed to replace communes consisting of multiple households with smaller settlements separated from the former communes. However, the discussion arouse on what forms of land use were to be chosen within these settlements. A solution to this problem depended on the changing policies of the Bolshevik party. In 1924 the first attempt was made to wind up the NEP. In 1925-1926 agricultural policy was liberalized. In the late 1920s the Bolsheviks set off on a new course of collectivization of agriculture. In 1924 specialists from the agricultural management bodies of Siberia envisioned three possible ways of land surveying: recovery of communal practices within the territories of new settlements; establishment of kolkhozes; division of communal lands into individual parcels. In 1925-1926 division of arable lands into individual parcels (with pastures and sources of water supply left in joint use) was considered as an optimal form of land surveying. In the late 1920s the allotment of individual parcels was rejected as an obstacle in the path of collectivization. In the course of land survey the communes with multiple households were supposed to be split into several kolkhozes or into smaller peasant communes which later would serve as a basis for collective farms. Specialists from the agricultural management bodies who supported individual forms of land use were strongly criticized and later subjected to repression.