Wednesday, 30 January 2019

A Russian Story

Over the past month or two, I've spent a fair amount of time looking at Soviet/Russian history, and different historical events that occurred.  A lot of these events rarely, if ever, get discussed.

So I came this week to a Soviet creation of division (it was always important in the Communist split people up into essene to divide them).  After the 1917 Communist Revolution, and the Czar is fired (later executed with his family)....the Communists come to this odd situation.

They decide that out beyond urbanized areas....there exists farms and ruralized folks.  One could suggest that they were not as sophisticated or smart as the intellectual folks....but that wasn't really enough to divide folks up (against each other).

So three groupings were created.

At the top level of this rural business....were the Kulak folks.  They were the ones who'd be given farm land and opportunities since pursue commerce at their own level.  Their allotment of land was set at roughly 8 acres of land per male in the family.  So if you were the father, and you had four sons among the 8 members of the were entitled to 40 acres minimum.  You can do the math (in this pre-tractor period) and realize their agricultural production level.  These weren't cattlemen or ranch owners.  They probably had forty hogs....a chicken house....some pear or apple trees, and land for corn or garden-style vegetables.  What was considered excess....sold via their local cooperative operation, and made it's way into cities and towns.

The Kulaks, for all practical discussions....were pursuing profits.  Most writings of the period indicate that the Kulak folks had farming tasks that were beyond their manpower, and they hired folks on, to help with the work.  Unfortunately, this hiring business is what helped to undermine the Kulaks in the 1920s.  These folks left as the employees of the Kulak group were disgruntled, and had the frustration of being 'left-behind'.

If WW I had never occurred and the Communists never took control?  One might suspect that their significance in commerce would have multiplied in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.  They would have pursued tractors, advanced planting practices, and been a major part of Russian society.

One step down from the Kulaks were the Serednyak.  The Serednyak were termed as middle-class 'poor'.  They weren't making the money that the Kulaks were making.

Then you come to the bottom dirt-level group.....bednyak folks.

There's not a lot to explain how and why three groups came to exist, or to explain why you needed to have a dirt-poor group and a better-than-dirt-poor group.  This is one of those mysteries which historians don't really talk much about.

Having grown up in the a rural environment, I would readily agree that there were the successful and the unsuccessful farmers.  A lot of this division though led back to three central factors:

1.  Educational levels (even in rural regions) differed greatly.  So you could have a hundred young men, and twenty of them might be fairly educated, asking questions, and pursuing new ideas.  The other eighty might be people with no interest in education, or assembling a better master plan for their 'dream-farm'.

2.  Risk taking.  There are generally individuals who are willing to review priorities, assign risk factors, and take steps which most avoid.  Risk takers in a commerce environment....are the type who usually advance, and accumulate wealth (even if meager in terms of amounts).  The non-risk takers?  They stay at a stagnant level.

3.  Alcoholism.  It's worth bringing up that in a rural environment, with little to do for drink.  Some drink excessively.  Some drink to a reasonable peak.  In the Russian case....I would suspect that the  Bednyak folks were favored to drink excessively.

In this odd atmosphere, the Communist folks plotted this out and decided that they were better to take the two lowest groups....getting them into a frenzy of sorts, and have them blame the Kulak folks for their position in life.

So here we are in 2019, and it's kinda interesting that the division of society is going on in America, with various groups pursuing blame toward particular groups for their standing in life.  Failing at educational goals, attaining false education values, refusing to take reasonable risks, and allowing drugs/alcohol to be a part of their've allowed a faction versus faction situation to develop.  What comes next?  It's hard to say.