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Who were Kulaks in Russia?

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  • Last Updated : 04 Sep, 2022
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The meaning of the word Kulak is wealthy peasants farmer. The word Kulaks was famous in the Russian empire in the 19th century. This was the term used to describe the farmer who has nearly 8 acres and is capable of leasing land and hiring the labor having a large farm and several herds of cattle. This was all before the Russian revolution in 1917. Stalin party members used to raid the peasants because there is a belief that Kulaks and traders in the countryside have stocks that have high prices.


Collectivization is a program launched by Stalin Joseph to meet the shortfall of grains. For this, all the Peasants were forced to cultivate the land for grains for food in collective forms from 1929. This is known as kolkhoz. These kolkhoz profits used to be distributed but this doesn’t help in production increment. The peasants who doesn’t support this Kolkhoz were exiled. The reason behind implementing this Collectivisation was, that the Soviet government imposed a price to sell the grains but many of the peasants didn’t agree with this. So, the Kulaks were raided by the party members, and the production of the grains was taken by the government. Even though the government tried to do these there used to be a shortage in grains. Because of this issue, the collective form came into the picture. In the country, around 80% population were traditional village farmers and they were called kulaks by communists.

In the first five years, Kulaks were mentioned by Joseph Stalin if a peasant have more than two cows or six to 7 acres of land or more than neighbors then they were called Kulaks. In 1917 Russian empire use to call batraks and bednayaks true allies of the Soviets and Kulaks were treated as enemies because they went against the Russian empire. There is nothing like all peasants are Kulaks. Some are Poor peasants and some are rich peasants who were known as kulaks. By socialist agitators, poor peasants went against Kulaks who were known as rich peasants and rode on their property. Some of the Kulak’s property was taken and some are killed and a few fled from that place. By this, the population of the kulaks falls under 50% which was there at the beginning.

In the era of Stalin’s ruling, he asked kulaks to combine with the government and help to produce grains and more food for the people. But most of the kulaks refused to do those. Because of this Stalin thought to take action against them and Soviet policy stated that kulaks should not be terrorized and enlisted into collective farms for this Stalin did not agree. He stated we have the opportunity to carry out an offensive against kulaks by breaking their resistance and by removing them as a class. Then they decided to make replacement of KolKhozes and sovkhozes production with kulaks production.

Kulak’s liquidation came out without any prior instructions. This encouraged local leaders to take action on kulaks and they were eliminated or exiled from the place. This happened in the year the 1930s. Kulaks were made into classes and they were divided into three categories

  1. Gulags
  2. North Urals and 
  3. Kazakhstan

Kulaks refused to give up their property and production so they decided and killed their cattle. Around 1934 nearly 63 to 65 million cattle had been lost. In the 1930s there is a huge death toll as these kulaks were sent for work as a labor and the total number of people send to the labor work as per the report is around 18 million people but only 13 million people reached their destination. This is a huge death rate in a year. Books that are based on this issue said that this is a part of kulaks liquidation. The End of the kulaks happens in the year 1930 with the liquidation of kulaks into classes. This happened because of the future insurrection of Stalin. Declared enemies of people and they were left homeless and without any kind and possession, everything was taken from them even their home utensils and things. 

FAQs on Kulaks

Question 1: For what reasons do kulaks have to be eliminated?


The main reason why kulaks were eliminated was to develop new forms and run them along the industrial lines and machinery and establish state-controlled lands.

Question 2:  Around how many kulaks died during the process of collectivization?


Around 30,000 kulaks were killed directly, and about 2 million were forcibly deported.

Question 3:  Why Kulak class opposed Collectivization?


They opposed modernization and machines and clung to their old farming methods, as they were wealthier than other peasants, they supported workers’ rights, and wanted to protect individual farmers’ rights.

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