Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

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Chinaski1917
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Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 24 Oct 2009 15:07

source :The Economic transformation of the Soviet Union, 1913-1945
Robert William Davies,Mark Harrison,S. G. Wheatcroft p.286

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Those 2 bad harvests 1931 and 1932 are the main cause for the famine.
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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 24 Oct 2009 19:22

if someone could provide for the harvests for the ensuing years that would be great.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 26 Oct 2009 10:57

Image

there seems to be an error in the sown area for 1913 ,it's 105 million (p.110)

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Art » 29 Oct 2009 13:57

For Illustration: that is the table with grain collections from the same source ("Economic Transformations...):
Image
The common thesis is that the famine of 1932/33 was caused by extraordinary grain confiscations in this year. In fact, as the table shows, the amount of grain removed from households of peasants (either individual or collectivized) was extraordinary low and was smaller than in any other year after 1930.
Note also that there was another year with obviously poor harvest - 1936, but no excess mortality on a scale comparable with 1932/33 ensued.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 29 Oct 2009 14:57

Art I am just doing research for an article to be published in a collection on October revolution.

I'm trying to produce a big table with all harvest years , procurements and exports for the whole Soviet history.

So I have to point out one thing regarding your statement :

The common thesis is that the famine of 1932/33 was caused by extraordinary grain confiscations in this year. In fact, as the table shows, the amount of grain removed from households of peasants (either individual or collectivized) was extraordinary low and was smaller than in any other year after 1930.


Truth is that the procurements in terms of proportion ( % ) of the harvest were sky-rocketed comparing with what the state got its hand on during NEP or even war-communism era.

During the "great turn" and Stalin''s "socialist" offensive procurements amounted to 34% (for 1930) , 40,71% (for 1931) 33-37% depending if you take Taugers or RW Davies&Wheatcroft estimates of the harvest of 1932 and 35% for 1933. Where proportions for previous years ranged from below 10% to 17,8% in 1927.

Exports of grain in 1931-1932 sky-rocketed also comparing to what was exported the whole time before that (they doubled the average or even more) . I've even calculated how many bread for how many people the export of the second half of the 1932 equalled to. No good for Stalin's policies that's for sure.

So Art, yes the "common thesis" has a lot of truth in it. But that's not the whole picture at all. There are also other factors but we can't rule out the high procurements. Even if they did reduce them inadequately and way too late.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Art » 29 Oct 2009 16:19

High grain collections were an immanent factor throughout thirties, but famine with millions excess deaths happened only in one year or more precisely in one half-year (January-August 1933). Extraordinary events must be explained by extraordinary factors, the size of grain collections was not extraordinary high. To say that the famine was due to grain collections of 1932/33 is like saying that the reason of dying of influenza is breathing - normally breathing doesn't lead to death. Here I'm talking strictly about the effect of removal of the part of the harvest.
The grain export in 1932-1933 was smaller in comparison with the previous two years, numbers can be found here:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=85211&p=1237442
In general there were two years with especially high grain export - 1930 and 1931, in the following years the export dropped. From memory, the export from the harvest of 1932 was about 10% of the total grain collections or some 1 800 thousands tons.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 29 Oct 2009 16:40

Art I'm sorry to say you are not quite right.

Neither Mark Tauger nor RW Davies and S.Wheatcroft claim that high procurements FOR 1931 weren't responsible. There were partly responsible. That's what they claim.

Famine and millions of starving people emigrating was secretly documented even before the first half of 1933. Kazakhstan was a living hell from 1932. But Stalin kept exporting and he didn't lower either exports or procurements in 1932 that much to avoid what happened in the first half of 1933.

Yes it wasn't a genocide legally speaking but it was a tragedy with human ,that is Stalin responsibility, and natural factors causing it. Not to mention that Stalin wasn't open about the famine. There was no famine for Stalin officially speaking . No famine was mentioned in the Party History of 1938 just those damn kulaks doing their evil all around the place ! Well he couldn't go out saying ooops we made a mistake because he had just done away with the left and the right opposition. That would be admiting political defeat so onwards they went to "socialism" (poor marx,lenin et al...).



From memory, the export from the harvest of 1932 was about 10% of the total grain collections or some 1 800 thousands tons.


And ? What does that tell you ? Do you know what that equals to ? Well let me tell you.

In the second half of 1932 CCCP exported 1,387 million tons. One tonne is equal for a yearly good bread ration for 3 people. Meaning that before the time when there would be cases(documented by OGPU now online in the Russian embassies throughout the world) of people eating kids or people going for a snack to the cemetery :

a) Stalin told in January 1933 that we had eradicated poverty in the country side !
b)They had already exported grain that amounted to a good bread ration for a whole year for 4.1 million of people. RW Davies and Wheatcroft estimate 4.5 to 5.5 million deaths for the famine in all CCCP. You can judge for yourself.

(source for the equivalent 1 tonne - 3 people fed with good bread ration for a year is :R.W. Davies , M.B. Tauger and S.G. Wheatcroft, “Stalin, Grain Stocks and the Famine” , Slavic Review , Autumn 1995, p.643)
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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 29 Oct 2009 16:46

And another thing you keep talking about the thirties and the thirties again. Well I'm not talking only about the thirties... That's the difference. Your comparison is lacking so as to downsize Stalin's responsibility for a)the famine b)implementing a policy that was in complete contrast to marxist guidelines on agrarian collectivization.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Art » 30 Oct 2009 15:58

Chinaski1917 wrote:Famine and millions of starving people emigrating was secretly documented even before the first half of 1933. Kazakhstan was a living hell from 1932.

There is a diference between "famine" and "millions escess deaths". On the territory of the USSR (excluding Kazakstan, for which demographic statistics is problematic, as far as I understand) the latter occcured only in 1933. Native population of Kazakhstan was engaged in agriculture on a limited scale, the famine in this case was caused mainly by decline of livestock poplulation, the situation with grain was hardly of primary importance. There was indeed a rise of mortality in the summer of 1932, but not nearly of the scale of the next year.
either Mark Tauger nor RW Davies and S.Wheatcroft claim that high procurements FOR 1931 weren't responsible.

The thesis advanced by Davies and Wheatcroft as far as I understand it is that there was a negative influence of high procurements on the size of the harvest. That is a serious argument, though again correlation between the collections and harvests after 1933 shows that this influence wasn't fatally predetermined. However, I talk about the effect of removal of a part of the harvest, I specially emphasized it. There is no doubt that under normal conditions (that is the average harvest), the grain collections of 1932 won't lead to large-scale famine.
And ? What does that tell you ?

It shows to what extent procurements could be lowered without comprimising domestic consumption. About 1,6 millions tons of grain were exported from the harvest of 1932 (I've checkhed the number), hence a complete refusal from export would result in grain procurements of about 17 millions tons. That is less than 10% lower of the actual number and anyway higher than NEP level. One of the obvious reasons for that was the rapid rise of urban, non-agricultural population. According to the census of 1926 the urban population of the USSR was equal to 26 millions, in 1932 it was already estimated as 40 millions, a 50% higher. All these people needed food, and there needs were mostly supplied by the state. So the return to the level of grain collections of late 20s was not a realistic strategy. A realistic strategy IMO would be accumulation of sufficient grain reserves in early 30s, instead of all-out export of excessive grain. But, as you probably know, I didn't happen.
I didn't state that continuation of export in 1932 was a wise decision, though I would not support the thesis that it was the root of all evil, the similar amount of grain was spent for vodka and beer production, after all.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 30 Oct 2009 17:03

Here we go again what a nice circle! , back where we started

One of the obvious reasons for that was the rapid rise of urban, non-agricultural population. According to the census of 1926 the urban population of the USSR was equal to 26 millions, in 1932 it was already estimated as 40 millions, a 50% higher.


And may I ask why this happened ? Was it maybe (a naive question) due to all-out collectivization pursued by Stalin who wanted to collectivize all peasants in a mere 4-5 years while up to 1929 only 1% had joined kolkhozs ?

And other thing he claimed also that internal immigration was ceased !!! There were million impoverished peasants fleeing to the cities they even set an internal passport and he in public said that all trouble has been finished.

No poverty no one leaves the villages because they are entering into socialism ! I find his cynicism comparable with the Tsars attitude in the famine 1891/1892 who kept on exporting grain and Winston Churchill statement that the Bengal Famine was caused by Bengali breeding like rabbits. Not a nice comparison for a guy claiming to propound socialism , being compared with an imperialist ruler and an monarch.

They even collectivize the Kazakh population which were a nomad population at that time. What a real threat those illiterate sheep owners were ! Real kulaks ready to align with Nazis !

It's called internal immigration due to a severe decline in the living standard of peasants. So ...ooops there we have another Stalin responsibility for his adventurous anti-marxist agrarian policy.

I don't quite get how Stalin is devoid of responsibility for totally wrecking things in terms of his agrarian policy and then like an idiot trying in a hurry to mend them a bit !!! It seems you 've been seeing the tree but can't see the forest.

Bottom line is that "all-out collectivization" and "liquidation of kulaks as class" imposed by Stalin was \
a)an anti-marxist policy and not in relation with Lenin's NEP writings
b)destined to cause huge havoc , and it did. Stalin as always blamed it to others , middle officials , kulaks not himself.

Collectivization in marxist terms is an procedure set to win peasants over the revolution by making it for him economically more advantageous to join in collective cultivation.

Karl Marx :
the proletariat... must as government take measures through which the peasant finds his condition immediately improved, so as to win him for the revolution; measures which will at least provide the possibility of easing the transition from private ownership of land to collective ownership, so that the peasant arrives at this of his own accord, from economic reasons. It must not hit the peasant over the head, as it would e.g. by proclaiming the abolition of the right of inheritance or the abolition of his property.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... -notes.htm



So to sum up we've had enough of :
1)the cold-war propaganda or nowadays anti-Russian about the Ukrainian genocide by the President of Ukraine the European Parliament's complete lack of historical knowledge and their laws and petitions.
2)the Russian chauvinism , worked up in Putin era, trying to downplay Stalin's responsibility claiming it was "communism/marxism" whereas now they are they champions of freedom and democracy.
3)All those equating socialism/communism/marxism with Stalin's policies.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by bf109 emil » 01 Nov 2009 06:23

Stalin declared "the very essence of the nationality problem," collectivization was pressed more strongly and met with more military resistance in the Ukraine than in the rest of Russia. By mid 1932 some 70% of Ukrainian peasants were in Kolkhozes...many kulaks and other anti-Soviet elements had sought to take refuge-and where they were responsible for the resistance to meeting the procurement quota's.

Stalin was incessed with the efforts of the Ukaranian party and soviet leadership to get the targets set by Moscow reduced. Stanislav Kossior, the Ukaranian first secretary, passed the message on. Addressing a meeting of activists in the summer of 1930 he told them:
The peasant is adopting a new tactic. He refuses to reap the harvest. He wants the bread grains to die in order to choke the Soviet government with the bony hand of famine. But the enemy miscalculates. We will show him what famine is. Your task is to stop the Kulak sabotage of the harvest; you must bring it in to the last grain and immediately send it off to the delivery popint. The peasants are not working. They are counting on previously hidden grain they have hidden in pits. We must force them to open their pitsquoted from harvest of sorrow by Petro Grigorenko forwarded in book Hitler and Stalin parallel lives by Alan Bullock

It goes on more How Stalin was convinced and sent members to prode for hidden grain, how starving Ukrainians who collected at train stations trying to emigrate where chased away by guards and forbidden to leave as well as how anyone returning with or tried to make the frontier with supplies of bread where subject to be arrested and their packs confiscated...as well as part of Stalins policy was what Boris Pasternak has called "the inhuman power of the lie". No word about the famine was allowed to appear in the press, and anyone referring to it was subject to arrest for anti-Soviet propaganda and five years in a labour camp...Reports from international press where rebuffed as based on lies, and the Soviet press printed resolutions by collective farmers rejected such impertinent offers of help.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 01 Nov 2009 07:31

"Harvest of sorrow" is nowadays outdated.

And another thing , the internal passport and the punishment of leaving a certain area wasn't enacted because Stalin or his government wanted people to starve out.

It was enacted having in mind :
a)That if all leave the villages there would and even worse situation as there would be no one to sow and harvest so the famine will hit the cities even worse.
b)Overcrowding of cities by typhus infested peasants would bring more hell.

I'm not saying that Stalin lacks responsibility for its his policies that made the peasants WANT to leave the villages in the first place. But if we take this as a fact then the internal passport isn't quite illogical as it seems. The state is just trying to fix its wrongdoings. It's not "nice" but the whole "Socialist Offensive"-era wasn't meant to be nice at the first place.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by bf109 emil » 02 Nov 2009 06:56

It was enacted having in mind :
a)That if all leave the villages there would and even worse situation as there would be no one to sow and harvest so the famine will hit the cities even worse.
b)Overcrowding of cities by typhus infested peasants would bring more hell.

a. so 7 million+ starved to sow a harvest, no it was from over collectivization and Stalins mythical thinking peasants where hiding grain
b.what typhus epidemics where plaguing Soviet cities, and better yet those returning with bread or food had belongings confiscated and where subject to arrest?
And another thing , the internal passport and the punishment of leaving a certain area wasn't enacted because Stalin or his government wanted people to starve out.
was this not the end result? and could both be scene and known to be happening...while excess grain was not sent back to the Ukraine in 1932-33 as it was forbidden to organize relief. The SU exported 4.8 million ton of grain in 1930, 5.2 million in 1931 and 2 million in 1932-33. In fact there were stores of grain in the Ukraine itself, some of it in locale granaries under armed guard-much of it in large heaps piled in the open (for example at Kiev-Petrovka station), where it was left to rot, still under armed guard. source Victor Kravchenko "I choose freedom" page 130

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Attrition » 03 Nov 2009 11:23

Has anyone compared the course and consequences of the Soviet famine with the UK famine of the 1840's? The combination of a low harvest and an inability to prevent exports because of a lack of severeignty seems compelling.

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Re: Grain harvests for Russia/USSR

Post by Chinaski1917 » 03 Nov 2009 13:09

Mark Tauger has compared them and believes that they are similar.

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