From Krestianka to Udarnitsa: Rural Women and the Vydvizhenie Campaign, 1933-1941

Matt F. Oja


From the end of the first five-year plan onward, the Soviet Communist Party faced a chronic failure of its program for transforming the Soviet countryside from a cultural and economic backwater to an advanced, industrial society. The Party tried

to cope with runaway labor turnover and consequent cadre shortages in one important way by attempting to mobilize a huge potential labor pool that had remained almost completely unexposed to modem technology: peasant women. In 1933, Stalin personally initiated a comprehensive campaign to tap this potential by actively requiring that peasant women be trained to operate heavy farm machinery, and that the most capable women be promoted to higher positions such as brigade leader, kolkho chairman, and rural Party positions.

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