Anu Mai Kõll (Södertörn University, Sweden)
The Soviet collectivization campaign that began in 1929 is generally regarded as a starting point of the “Stalin revolution.” It served as a blueprint for the collectivization campaigns that took place in the late 1940s in the newly occupied areas of the Soviet Union—the Baltic states, western Ukraine and Moldova.
Interestingly, access to source materials since perestroika has not dramatically changed the picture of the initial Soviet collectivization campaign, while research in the Baltic states, and to some extent western Ukraine, has mushroomed in the last twenty years. This paper presents a survey of the literature and tries to see what from the experiences of 1929-32 was used in the later campaigns and what was changed. In the latter part, the focus is on Estonia.
While historians tend to agree on the intentions for launching the campaign against the kulak class, there are differences as to what extent it succeeded in breaking the back of the peasantry. There are also some questions regarding the procedure and the responsibility of differing Soviet institutions. When it comes to the corresponding campaign in the late 1940s, one obvious difference is the impact of World War II and the German occupation of the new areas. However, the war is not addressed at all in much of the existing literature.