First published in 1989. Perestroika, it was widely believed, must succeed in agriculture before permanent change could be affected elsewhere in the Soviet economy. But Soviet agriculture had so far remained stubbornly inefficient and resistant to change. In this book Stefan Hedlund investigates the reasons for this state of affairs.
The author gives an account of the emergence, development and performance of private agriculture in the Soviet Union. In particular he describes the essentials of the peculiarly Soviet hybrid of private and socialized agriculture. He places the private sector within the broader framework of Soviet agriculture. He saw Soviet agriculture as a ‘Black Hole’, ready to absorb any resources that came near, be they private plots, urban gardens, factory workshops or military units.
Hedlund also examines the impact on the peasants as producers of decades of negative ideological pronouncements in Party propaganda, and of discrimination and at times outright harassment by local officials. He points out that this background makes the prospect of any positive response from the peasants to Gorbachev’s call for perestroika in agriculture extremely unlikely.
Table of Contents
List of Tables; Introduction; Preface; 1. A Black Hole in the Soviet Economy 2. The Emergence of a ‘Support’ Agriculture 3. The Two Fringes of Soviet Agriculture 4. The Soviet Attitudes to the Private Sector 5. The Practice of Harassment 6. Response to Decline 7. A Pyrrhic Victory and its Consequences; Notes; Bibliography; Index