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"Oust the kulak from the kolkhoz"

Kulaks,[a] kulaki, or the kulachestvo were wealthy landowners in the Russian Empire and early Soviet Union. They exploited the poor peasants and forced them to work on their farms,[1] often charging interest rates of 100% or higher.[2] Kulaks made up 5% to 7% of the rural population.[3]


Russian Empire

The kulaks emerged in the 1860s after Tsar Alexander Nikolayevich abolished serfdom. By 1903, 500,000 kulak households controlled as much land as almost ten million peasant households.[1]

New Economic Policy

The first collective farms in the Soviet Union were created during the NEP, but the majority of peasants continued to work their own land. Kulaks controlled many farming cooperatives during this period and even took over some local soviets. In 1926, the kulaks controlled at least 20% of market wheat while collective farms only controlled 6%. Following a bad harvest in 1927, the kulaks hoarded grain in order to create a price hike. The government imposed new taxes on kulaks, restricted the number of workers they could hire, and established quotas on grain collection. Village soviets could seize kulaks' land if they did not meet these requirements. In January 1928, the Politburo unanimously decided to seize grain from kulaks to avoid famine in urban areas.[3]


In 1929, the Soviet government banned renting land and private hiring of labor. It allowed peasants to expropriate kulaks and take their cattle, machines, and other farming equipment to use in collective farms. During collectivization, kulaks burned crops and destroyed farm equipment.[4] They also killed millions of livestock; the number of horses decreased from 30 million to under 15 million, cattle decreased from 70 million and 31 million, goats and sheep decreased from 147 million to 50 million, and hogs decreased from 20 million to 12 million.[5] The Soviet rural economy did not recover from the kulaks' sabotage until after the Great Patriotic War. By 1936, the kulaks had been completely eliminated.[6]

The kulaks spread many lies in an attempt to turn the peasantry against the CPSU. They claimed that the Bolsheviks would collectivize women and children and sell people into slavery to pay for a railroad in China, and they also said that the reign of the antichrist had begun and the world would end within two years.[3]


  1. Russian: Кулак; Ukrainian: Куркуль; Azerbaijani: qolçomaq


  1. 1.0 1.1 Joseph Stalin (1939). History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): 'The Struggle for the Creation of a Social-Democratic Labour Party in Russia'. [MIA]
  2. Austin Murphy (2000). The Triumph of Evil: 'The Documented Facts about Eastern Europe and Communism' (p. 84). [PDF] Fucecchio: European Press Academic Publishing. ISBN 8883980026
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ludo Martens (1996). Another View of Stalin: 'Collectivization' (pp. 46–50, 59–65). [PDF] Editions EPO. ISBN 9782872620814
  4. Walter Duranty (1949). Stalin & Co. New York City: W. Sloane Associates.
  5. Ludu Martens. Another View of Stalin (p. 108). [PDF] Stalin Society.
  6. Joseph Stalin (1939). History of the Communist Party of Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): 'The Bolshevik Party in the Struggle for the Collectivization of Agriculture'. New York: International Publishers.