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SiberiaA History of the People$
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Janet M Hartley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300167948

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300167948.001.0001

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Collectivisation and the Camps

Collectivisation and the Camps

(p.201) Chapter Fourteen Collectivisation and the Camps

Janet M. Hartley

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the impact of Stalin's policies on Siberia. The young Soviet state waged war on peasants by forced collectivization. The first victims were the relatively prosperous peasants, known as kulaks (or “fists”). In all, over a million peasant families (some 5 to 6 million people) were “dekulakised”, that is, had their possessions seized, were expelled from their homes, deported to remote parts of the country, sent to labor camps or simply executed and, as a result, were eliminated as a social group. By the 1930s, some 300,000 people were in corrective labor camps, known as Gulags. Over the next two decades the number of inmates increased massively—not only peasants who resisted collectivization but anyone convicted of anti-state or counter-revolutionary activity as well as common criminals could be sent to them. Siberia was at the centre of this human tragedy. Many prosperous Siberian peasants were defined as kulaks; some 2 million peasants were deported from European Russia to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Particular groups in Siberia were targeted for collectivization and then persecuted, including shamans and members of religious sects.

Keywords:   Siberia, Siberian history, peasants, Stalin, collectivization, persecution, Gulags

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