Mobilizing Soviet Peasants: Heroines and Heroes of Stalin's Fields
- Publish Date: 2006-04-27
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: Mary Buckley
In the Soviet Union in the late 1930s, a number of peasants turned to shock work (working to produce as much as humanly possible) and became local heroines and heroes, serving as role models for the rest of the rural community. In this compelling work, Mary Buckley explores the neglected story of rural shock work and Stakhanovism in the Soviet countryside and analyzes its relevance for Soviet subjects, society, state and propaganda.
Why were some peasants keen to become Stakhanovites? Certainly there were rewardsthese workers were glorified in ideology and blazoned in the press as role models for others to emulate. However, local conditions were difficult and Stakhanovites often suffered a lack of support, were ridiculed, and endured hostility and violence. Some gave up, but others remained resolute. The reader is introduced to individuals like Mariia Demchenko, a twenty-two-year-old peasant from the Comintern collective farm in Kiev oblast, Ukraine, who urged those working in sugar beet production to step up their pace and to bombard the country with sugar.
Mobilizing Soviet Peasants contextualizes Stakhanovism, considering historical context, changing party priorities, propaganda, the press, the nature of farm leaderships, shortages, peasant attitudes, gender, purges, and local organizations. An innovative look at the complexities of rural Stakhanovism, this book probes behind the ideological lines and jubilant cries of the movement's resounding successes into the handling of the movement by political structures from the Politburo and Central Committee party departments all the way down to the local party, procuracy, farm leadership, and families.