Lenin’s Agricultural Policies

To gain support of rural dwellers, in November 1917, the urban-based Bolshevik government nationalized all land in Soviet Russia. The expropriated land was not given to the farmers. It remained in the hands of the state. Huge state farms and state-directed cooperative farms were created. From World War I until 1921, successful farmers were discriminated against. Their produce was frequently confiscated. The gains of the earlier reforms were wiped out. Many farmers were forced to rejoin village communes.

Bolshevik agricultural policies resulted in a horrible famine between 1918 and 1921. Faced with mass famine in the urban industrial areas of Soviet Russia, Lenin introduced his New Economic Policy in 1921. Under this policy, agriculture recovered from the damage done by “War Communism,” in which the government had taken farm products without paying for them. By 1928, agricultural production had been restored to its 1913 level.