The “Facing the Village” Policy as a Manifestation of NEP Contradictions in 1924-1926 (Based on Don and Kuban Materials)

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Abstract


The authors analyze one of the aspects of the New Economic Policy (NEP), which meant finding a compromise between the Bolshevik party-state power and the Russian peasantry. This policy course is studied with the example of the large agricultural regions of the Don and Kuban. Using new archival documents and published sources, the authors reveal causal relationships between trans formations and changes in the status of local Soviets on national level and in the southern region, and show the impact of reforms on the economic situation and political behavior of the peasantry in the South of Russia. The authors highlight the features of the implementation of the “Face to the Village” policy in the Don and Kuban, which combined class and estate tasks of civil reconciliation, a slower pace of land management while maintaining Cossack allotments, and an active attracting of Cossacks and middle peasants to cooperations and Soviets, among other things. The refusal to use administrative pressure and the provision of the voting right to “deprived people” (lishentsy) during the election campaign led to the victory of the Cossack opposition in a number of local Soviets and land societies in 1925-1926. The result was a dual power situation in which village councils (sel'skie sovety) stood opposite to party committees. The reforms of the NEP period in southern Russia brought well-to-do strata of the population the right to participate in cooperations and local authorities (Soviets); they also led to the introduction of long-term leasing of land, separated farmers from the peasant community, and started the elimination of the traditional land use order. Reforms consolidated the division of the rural population into Cossacks and “nonresidents”, which contradicted the goals of socialist construction in the countryside; the Bolsheviks saw themselves threatened by a loss of control over local authorities, and by a loss of support from the poor and “nonresidents”. As a result, in the south of Russia the Bolsheviks rejected the “Face to the Village” policy course much earlier and with more decisiveness than in the country as a whole.


About the authors

Yuri A. Yakhutl’a

Kuban State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: a075ca@yandex.ru
149, Stavropolskaya St., Krasnodar, 350040, Russia

Kandidat Istoricheskikh Nauk [Ph.D. in History], Associate Professor of the Department of Russian History

Valery V. Kasyanova

Kuban State University

Email: culture@kubsu.ru
149, Stavropolskaya St., Krasnodar, 350040, Russia

Doktor Istoricheskikh Nauk [Dr. habil. hist.], Doktor Sotsiologicheskikh Nauk [Dr. habil. soc.], Professor, Head of the Department of Russian History

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