Exile and Discipline: The June 1948 Campaign Against Collective Farm Shirkers

Jean Lévesque


In February and June 1948, the Stalinist state issued two decrees aimed at a radical solution of the problem of labor discipline among Soviet collective farm peasants. Borne out of the initiative of the Ukrainian Communist Party Secretary N.S. Khrushchev, who found examples of community self-policing in tsarist legislation, the decrees granted collective farm general meetings the right to deport to distant parts of the Soviet Union peasants reluctant to fulfi ll the minimal labor requirements set by the state. Based on a wide array of formerly classifi ed Russian archival documents, this study draws the complete story of this little known page in the history of Stalinist repression. It demonstrates that despite the harshness of the measures employed, the decree did little to force peasants back to work on collective farms given the seriousness of the postwar agrarian crisis.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/cbp.2006.129


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