The Bolshevik Sowing Committees of 1920: Apotheosis of War Communism?

Lars T. Lih


In December 1920, on the eve of the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP), the Bolsheviks embarked on a crash campaign to avert an agricultural crisis. The Eighth Congress of Soviets passed legislation known by the name of one of its principal innovations, the sowing committees (posevkomy). The usual view of this legislation is that it was a last binge of revolutionary inebriation before the sobering morning after of NEP -a desperate attempt to use civil-war methods to undo the damage done by civil-war methods. The full record of the legislation and the debate surrounding it tell a different story.

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