The Attitude of the Polish Population in Podolia Towards Collective farming Cover Image

Ludność polska na Podolu wobec kolektywizacji wsi
The Attitude of the Polish Population in Podolia Towards Collective farming

Author(s): Antonina Kozyrska
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL & Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Keywords: Polish population in Podolia; farm collectivization; repressions against Poles

Summary/Abstract: At the end of 1929 the Soviet authorities started a country-wide collectivization campaign that consisted in liquidation of individual farms and combining their land, agricultural machines and other equipment and livestock into collective farms. This was supposed to boost the efficiency of work and agricultural production. Villages were to constitute the base for towns, which was indispensable in executing the plans of industrialization of the Soviet state. The collectivization process was proceeding slowly, raising strong opposition from the farmers. The authorities used various forms of psychological pressure, financial sanctions and repressions including deportations. A fast pace of collectivization in its first stage and the brutal methods of its effecting shook the existing structures of the country and were a threat to the foundations of the villagers’ sustenance. The greatest peasant actions occurred in March 1930 and they spread to a lot of Podolia villages. Peasants in large numbers withdrew from kolkhozes, slaughtered the livestock and campaigned against kolkhozes. Also bloody riots took place; there were attempts at freeing peasants who had been imprisoned, and activists sent by the authorities were punished. The uprisings were suppressed by State Political Directorate troops in the Ukraine. The anti-government feeling among the peasants was additionally heightened by the State’s atheist policies. Compared to the Ukrainian peasants, Poles in Podolia, who were historically attached to land and to the Catholic Church, presented greater opposition to kolkhozes. Because of the geographical situation of Podolia its population was perceived as unreliable, as saboteurs, spies, or enemies of the Soviet authorities, who aimed at annexing those territories to Poland. Only by using methods of terror (a system of high taxes and deliveries of agricultural products, arrests and deportations, shootings), by establishing ethnic kolkhozes and by making use of the spreading famine were the authorities able to break the resistance of the Polish population and to carry out the collectivization plan. The tragic fate of the Poles was sealed by mass repressions in 1937-1938, when the issue of opposition to collectivization was used as evidence proving that the innocent victims were guilty.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 32
  • Page Range: 117-142
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: Polish