ISSN: 2158-7051





ISSUE NO. 1 ( 2012/2 )













This paper renders the analysis of complex and dramatic events, which took place in agriculture of Uzbekistan from 1925 to 1933. After the establishment of Soviet power in Central Asia (November and December 1917) the Communist Party (of the Bolsheviks) forcibly carried out radical changes in agriculture. First, they accomplished the land-and-water reform as a result of which for a very short period the land and property of both large and medium sized proprietors was confiscated. The second stage of forced reorganization of land relations in Uzbekistan became a policy of ‘dekulakization (dispossession the kulaks)’ and was the basis of overall collectivization. To do away with the institute of private property in agriculture, Soviet power resorted to such forms of reprisals against middle proprietors as arrests, deportation, and acquisition of their property by confiscation and forced incorporation of peasants into collective farms.


Keywords: The Soviet power, Bolsheviks, agriculture, land-and-water reform, confiscation, dispossession the kulaks, class struggle, collectivization.




The essence of totalitarianism of Soviet power was clearly displayed in the first years of its existence. The repressive policy of Soviet power in Uzbekistan which included arrests, purges, and the confiscation of property was instituted as early as the 1920s. The Bolshevist policy in Uzbekistan directed at land-and-water reform and collectivization revealed a class character as it provided the change of the form of the land property by forced methods.


Land-and-water reform was the first stage in accomplishing the Bolshevist strategy in agriculture. According to the Bolshevik administration, feudal relations that were represented in small groups of landowners and bay-kulak (large and medium landowners), which represented one third of all cultivated lands, were not liquidated in kishlaks (village, countryside) yet. As the Soviets addressed this problem, they “severely exploited” the lower and middle classes of society. Therefore, these circumstances put forward the next tasks before the Bolshevist party and Soviet power – entering upon the implementation of land and water nationalization in Uzbek Republic”.[1]


In the beginning of the 1920s, the policy of stimulating the development of commodity-money relations was carried out. However, for the Bolshevist leaders, this policy resulted in double consequences; on the one hand, it inspired the accumulation of “socialist elements” in Soviet economy through the amplification of positions of state-owned capital, while on the other, it provided the opportunity for the strengthening of private capital through its coupling with minor land owners (smallholders) - the dehqonlar (in Uzbek), dekhkane or dekhkanstvo (in Russian). Private trading capital witnessed its greatest development and retail trade was completely in its hands”.[2] For the Bolshevist party with its strategic goal to build socialism, that should lack “antagonistic classes and exploiters”, the policy unwittingly represented such “danger” as a real “threat” to accomplishing of those objectives. The party of the Bolsheviks considered that the basic preconditions for carrying out the agrarian reform in Uzbekistan had been created in 1924-1925. They came to such a decision by virtue of the fact that by that time, “both the local and the Soviet apparatus of authority became stronger and purged off from persons alien to the Soviet power” after mass purges and reprisals.


Land-and-water reform should have become the first important step in radical, forced breakage of old land relations functioning during several centuries in agricultural areas of Central Asia. Thus, as the Bolshevist leaders believed, land-and-water reform cleared up the road for them to accomplish goals that were even more grandiose, such as the task of the collectivization of Uzbek agriculture.


Land-and-water reform as the first stage of forced reorganization of agriculture in Uzbekistan (1925-1929)


Prior to land-and-water reform, land measuring works that accounted the amount and size of the economies, irrigated lands, draught cattle and implements were conducted. Thus, on 2 December 1925, at the Emergency session of the Central Executive Committee (Tsentralnyi Ispolnitelnyi Komitet, hereinafter TsIK) of the Soviets (Councils) of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (hereinafter UzSSR) decrees were adopted “On nationalization of land and water resources”, “On land-and-water reform”. The given normative documents became the basis for accomplishing the land-and-water reform by compulsory-repressive methods. The Bolshevist political leadership provided carrying out the land-and-water reform in two stages. At the first stage it was accomplished in the Fergana, Samarkand and Tashkent oblasts (provinces). The above mentioned documents sanctioned the confiscation of dehqon’s (large and middle) households and their transferring to the state land fund. Those were the economies owning the area of the irrigation land in the Fergana oblast from 40 desyatines (Russian land measure, 1 desyatina is equal to 1.09 gа), in Tashkent and Samarkand oblast 50 desyatines and above. Together with the land it was also expropriated from these households all agricultural stock.[3]


Soon, after adoption of these documents by the Central Executive Committee of UzSSR, the Communist Party (hereinafter CP) of Uzbekistan issued a circular on the tasks of the party organizations in connection with carrying out the land-and-water reform in which it was specified that success of the reform depends on  simultaneously solving such problems, as “complete liquidation of feudal relations and the nationalization of land and water and allotted them to workers in the probably shortest terms”.[4] Therefore the command - administrative and mass principles have been laid as a basis of reforms being accomplished. Thus, it has been emphasized that “carrying out the land-and-water reform should be rapid, and by spring of 1926 it is necessary to finish it as extension of terms is associated with the general decline in agriculture and cotton-growing, first of all … the sluggishness and hesitation can cause a number of political complications in kishlaks, and kindle mass struggle (noted by  - Bakhodir Pasilov).[5]


Yet, the rapidity that the reform was carried out caused many negative phenomena in development of agriculture of Uzbekistan. First of all, radical breakage of agrarian relations, representing centuries-old traditions, was an inevitable outcome of this policy. It is necessary to note that the mistakes committed by the Bolshevist party leadership of the republic, the regional land-and-water commissions were specified in 1928 in the Resolution of the Soviet government – the Council of People’s Commissars ( Soviet Narodnykh Komissarov, hereinafter SNK) of the USSR “On the results of 1925-1926 reforms”. It was marked that “… land-and-water reform in the Uzbek SSR has been carried out with great haste, lacking sufficient organizational preparation and was accompanied by a number of drawbacks in its accomplishing and strengthening stability, which weakened its positive effect”.[6] In order to break resistance of land owners during the reform, the Soviet power adopted a number of decisions according to which “concealment or the incorrect indication of the size of the land area or a number of alive and dead stock subject to confiscation and the compulsory repayment, as well as waste or plunder of the property already adopted to the account by the local land commissions, as a measure of social protection, entails imprisonment within three years with confiscation, or without confiscation, of all or a part of property”. [7]


The command - administrative and repressive methods of carrying out of land reform stirred dissatisfaction not only among large landowners, but also clergy and middle class peasants. As we stated above, the political leadership of Uzbekistan, summing up the reforms in three oblasts had recognized a lack of accomplishment. For example, the Fergana regional department of the incorporated state political board in its information report on the results of carrying out and the plan for consistency of results of land reforming in the oblast emphasized that “… we launched implementation of the Decree on land reform on 9 December 1925, originally the termination date of reform was planned for 15 April, but depending on intensification of pace of work. The terms were extended toward reduction: from 15 April it was put to 20 March, then to 1 March, then to 20 February, then to 5 February, at last, works in the oblast completed by 1 February 1926...”[8]


In this oblast, first of all, they liquidated large-scale households and 34 regional Soviet workers were engaged in that. The given work was implemented so quickly that some of the owners had no time to read the decree on the land reform[9]. This certainly provoked some resistance to the decree. However, these facts were considered by Communist party of Uzbekistan as an aggravation of the “class struggle” in kishlaks: preparation and carrying out of land-and-water reform goes in conditions of the acute class struggle. Bays (a prosperous layer of the population, the large land owners or the large proprietor, Bolsheviks considered them as class enemies of the Soviet power) and the clergy fiercely resisted to the land commissions. They were responsible for the dissemination of anti-soviet propaganda among the population, referring to the Shariat (Islam) laws and threatening the Soviets with “the divine punishment”; they also hid the real amount of land and agricultural implements, fictitiously sharing them between family members, or relatives, etc. In particular cases, this struggle took the form of "terrorist" acts.


Proceeding from such estimation of the political situation, the Party and Soviet organs of the republic resorted to repressive measures in order to suppress the resistance of large owners, clergy, and in some cases, and the middle class peasants.  These measures resulted in “…open suits at law versus "terrorists" (-B.P.) and their inspirers, as well as everybody hiding land and agricultural implements, equipment from confiscation as well as waging anti-soviet propaganda”.[10]


On December 16, 1926, the TsIK of Councils and the SNK UzSSR adopted the decree “On land-and-water reform in the Zerafshanoblast”[11] that planned to carry out land-and-water reform in this oblast on the following grounds:


To make complete withdrawal and transfer to the state land fund the following categories of lands:


а)  the households having in use the area of the irrigation land 35 desyatines and above, regarding as large - bay households, irrespective of the place of stay of their owners;

b)  the households belonging to former emir’s top officials (the Bukhara emirate. - B.P.), irrespective of the size of their land tenure, and once having occupied the following posts:

1)    in the central administration - koshbegi (prime minister), qozi kalon (the chief judge), lashkar-boshi (the commander of emir’s armies), mirshab (the chief of police), divan - begi (the chief clerk of office), emir’s advisers (djamoa), etc.;

2)    in viloyat (regional) administration bek (heads of local administration), zakatchi (officials of tax administration), qozi (judge), rais and mirshab (policeman), etc.[12]


In addition to  the large-scale estates and the emir’s land and property, the owners of the households who were not residing in a kishlak and not processing the land by their own forces were liable to complete withdrawal of land, and the entire work cattle was to be sold out compulsively.[13]


The provisions of the present document clearly show that land-and-water reform was carried out according to class principles. In spite of this, such categories of citizens as Red Army-men, the officials of the Soviet and Party (Bolshevist) machinery, etc. did not cultivate their lands themselves or neither did the members of their family, their landed property was not confiscated.[14]


Summing up the land-and-water reforming in the Zerafshan oblast, the Fifth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist party (of Bolsheviks) of Uzbekistan emphasized that “the reform, in practice setting farm workers and the poor peasants jointly with middle peasants against the bays “having unleashed class struggle” (-B.P.) in the kishlak, and created the basic preconditions to final Sovietization.[15] 


During the period of enacting reform in the Zeravshan okrug (region), many categories of land, households, and property were liquidated:


1)   11 large-scale households with an area of 3677.75 tanap (the local land measure, 1 tanap is equal to 0.7-0.8 га), as well as i: bulls - 79, horses - 41, donkeys – 26 and all of the agricultural stock;

2)   56 “non-labor” (-B.P.) households that consisted of75 tanap of lands of merchants (traders) and the other townspeople, and from them there was “compulsorily bought out” (read it is forcedly taken away - B.P.): 43 bulls, 13 horses, and 4 donkeys;

3)   32 “non-labor” households with an area of 889.5 tanap from which there was “compulsorily bought out”: 34 bulls,  12 horses, and 1 donkey;

4)    households (of former emir’s officials) with an area of 287.5 tanap, as well as 10 bulls,  7 horses, 9 donkeys  and agricultural stock;

5)    from 603 households11504.65 tanap of  land was confiscated, and there were “compulsorily bought out”: 351 bulls, 182 horses,  and 6 donkeys.[16]


The analysis of the specified facts has shown that the Soviet power through confiscation of not only the lands, but even agricultural stock (including the small implements), as well as work cattle completely deprived the large-scale households from opportunity to cultivate the lands, and thereby it tried “to break class resistance of bay-and-exploitative elements”. And the compulsory purchasing was the latent form of confiscation of property from large-scale households.


The final stage of land-and-water reform carried out in the Surkhan-Darya, Kashkadarya and Khorezm okrugs (regions). The question of land-and-water reform in these districts was considered and approved by the Third Congress of the Communist party of Uzbekistan (November, 1927). The Congress passed a decision on liquidation of large landed property. The practical actions on statistic-economic inspection in these districts were completed in April 1928.


It is necessary to note that the resistance of former landowners was regarded by the Soviet power as “the resistance of class enemies and conceptualized as a to revival of the movement "Basmachestvo"[17] (from Uzbek basmachi which means ‘thief or robber’ .This appellation comes fromSoviet historiography who mischaracterized the reaction to land-water reform as an armed resistance of local population against the Soviet power in Central Asia, which occurred in 1918 - 1933, and its active phase fell on 1918 to 1924 (B.P.); For details see: Radzhabov K.K. Armed movement in the Turkestani territory against the Soviet regime (1918-1924). Synopsis of the thesis on the scientific degree competition of the Doctor of Historical Science. Tashkent - 2005).


After completion of statistical-economic inspection in April 1928, the political commissions were formed to direct activities on implementation of land-and-water reform in the Kashkadarya and Surkhan-Darya districts. Work of the commission became the reason of open disobedience in the Khorezm district, where mass dehqon riots alongside with cases of hiding land, cattle, stock, etc. were observed. Other commissions were created by the totalitarian Soviet power "to liquidate" such protest.


In October 1928, a project draft on the implementation of land-and-water reforms in three districts was developed and basically approved by the Executive Committee of the CP (B) Central Committee of Uzbekistan, and by the Central Asian Bureau (Sredazbyuro) CP (B). However, because of the massive dehqon protests in the Khorezm district against the reform, it was recommended to refrain from its implementation.. The Presidium of the TsIK of Councils of the UzSSR on 1 November 1928 adopted the Decree “On liquidation of large non-labor land tenure in the Kashkadarya and Surkhan-Darya districts of the UzSSR”. It was authorized by the TsIK of Councils of the UzSSR on 19 November 1928.[18]


Later, on 2 December 1928, the Presidium of the TsIK of Councils of the Uzbek SSR adopted the Decree “On liquidation of large non-labor land tenure in the Khorezm district”.[19] Hence, land-and-water reform was conducted on the basis of Bolshevist strategy “establishment of communistic relations” in the kishlak, therefore, it pursued to liquidate:


·    the households which are not cultivating the lands on their own or by work of members of their families;


·   the households belonging to the former emir’s top officials, the high-rank clergy, former tsarist officials, emir’s family members, irrespective of the sizes of their land tenure.[20] (Decree on the Khorezm district enlisted the households belonging to khan’s officials and khan’s family members).[21]


Thus, the Soviet totalitarian authority started the liquidation of large-scale households by forced alienation; this was the underlying cause of social structure upheaval of the Uzbek kishlak.


The land commissions, in charge of the implementation of land and water reform, “were overzealous”, and liquidated households and land areas in excess numbers, contradicting those set by the Soviet normative documents.


For example, in the Surkhan-Darya district, the decree of the Soviet government of Uzbekistan called for the liquidation of 388 households and the confiscation 3 thousand desyatines of the irrigated land.[22] However, as a result of the “excessive activity” (-B.P) of the commission, t overall 531 households were liquidated and  6,307 ha of the irrigated lands confiscated.[23]


It appeared that not only large-scale households were confiscated, but also the landholdings of middle peasants.  These actions provoked their open protest against the members of the land commissions. Thus, the Komsomol member Hakniyazov who participated in work of the commission was killed by the middle peasants.[24]


Different forms of reprisals were applied in relation to those who showed resistance against land-and-water reforms. For example, the summary records of the session of the presidium of the city council authorized the decision of the Karshi regional land commission about the H.Khatamov's dispatch outside the limits of the district. The decision specified that H.Khatamov waged anti-propaganda against government actions. The district executive committee petitioned before TsIK of the UzSSR for the urgent validation of their decision to dispatch Khatamov, as “especially detrimental element”, on the ground of the farm laborers’ appeals.


Examination of the results of reforming in other districts, such as Khorezm and Kashkadarya, has shown the following:


In total, 532 households were liquidated, of them 200 belonged to officials, 128 to bays, 52 to representatives of clergy, 141 to merchants, etc. In total, 3,372 ha of  irrigated land was withdrawn.[25]


However, confiscation fell on some groups of households, which according to their structure should not be liquidated. From the liquidated households, in addition to the land 180 mills, 45 rice scourers, 146 creameries, 313 constructions, 448 heads of work cattle, 154 dray-carts and etc. were confiscated.[26]


In the Kashkadarya district 989 households were liquidated, among them the 339 households belonging to bays, to 195 officials, and to 174 clergy, etc.[27]


After accomplishing liquidation of large-scale households the TsIK in January 1929 issued in addition to available normative documents one more decision; “On additional liquidation of the pomeshchichie (landlord-owned) and large-scale kulak households survived during the land reforming”.[28] The Soviet totalitarian power in motivating the reasons of the given document specified that actions for land-and-water reform were “entirely supported by labor dehqons, and with their active participation were successfully put into life. Nevertheless, in view of "concealment" of their lands by some of owners of large-scale households and landlords during the land reforms, and insufficiently proper work of the regional land commissions, “insufficient activity” almost in all areas “it is found out the existence of certain households according to their characteristics as belonging to the category of non-labor land tenure”.[29]


Therefore, the totalitarian Soviet power whose agrarian policy consisted of forced breakage of centuries old land relations and patterns of ownership in the Uzbek kishlak (countryside), decided to also confiscate the "non-labor" (B.P.) households of pomeshchik (agricultural landlord) type and large-scale kulak landholdings because they were inadmissible and broke the main principles of the Decree of the TsIK of the UzSSR of 2 December 1925 “On nationalization of the land and water”.[30] Hence, it was necessary to accomplish the following tasks:  To carry out in the districts of Samarkand, Fergana, Tashkent, Zerafshan and Andizhan complete withdrawal to the state fund of the land plots of the households having in use the areas of the irrigation lands exceeding the norms established by decrees on land-and-water reforming and by instructions issued for promotion of those decrees, with confiscation of property and stock. It is necessary to accomplish the above stated in the order adopted by decrees, decisions and instructions, i.e. to implement complete withdrawal of the lands with confiscation of property and stock from "non-labor" (-B.P.) households and other categories.[31]


As it was seen earlier, these forced measures of the Soviet power generated rightful indignation and resistance of the population. Thus in the Balykchi district I.Azimbaev was killed by K.Amanbaev, a middle peasant. I.Azimbaev was an active participant of the commission on additional curtailing the lands, “concealed from land reform”.[32]


Summing up the land-and-water reform results carried out in Uzbekistan in two stages in 1925-1927 and in 1927-1929, it is necessary to make the following conclusions:


Stipulated by the totalitarian Soviet power, the land-and-water reform was implemented, “on the basis of demands of broad masses of workers and in interests of farm laborers and poor and middle layers of the population” completely destroyed large-scale - bay-owned households and households of landlord-owned-type”, also hurt “strong bays and kulaks”, “considerably accelerated development of agriculture, in particular, of cotton-growing, and, thus, created conditions for the accelerated reorganization (noted by B.P.) and forced collectivization of agriculture of Uzbekistan.[33]


According to the Bolshevist strategy, only complete liquidation of large, in some cases even close to middle households, would allow them to create the bases of socialist relations in agriculture. Therefore, even after implementation of land-and-water reform on the basis of the additional decision of the TsIK of Councils of the republic they waged the policy of “additional liquidation and additional cuts of the categories of households regarded as owned by the landlords and kulaks, and other of non-labor households” , and it corresponded to the Bolsheviks’ explanation of the class principle of existing state of affairs, hence, those measures have allowed them to limit “exploitative possibilities” of non-labor households belonging to landlords and kulaks”.[34]


Unpreparedness of regional authorities, “insufficiency of supervising work of district authorities, hastiness, and forced methods of carrying out the land-and-water reform and its class character in practice resulted in distortion of even the Bolshevist laws having the forced administrative character, as well as in their accomplishing, outrage mistake were committed in relation to the middle households.[35]


Because of the mass protest of dehqons against carrying out the land and water reforms, the Soviet power had to confess that instead of liquidating the large landowners, middle peasant and in some cases poor peasant’s households were liquidated by Bolsheviks.   


Despite the fact that the principal causes of the committed mistakes were hastiness, and unpreparedness of both the population and official organs in relation to this reform, the liquidation of privately held lands and materials continued to be the main objective of the land-water reform policy. The Second Session of the TsIK of Councils put before the People’s Land Commissariat (Narkomzem) of the republic a task “in every possible way to force the implementation of continuous land management in the entire territory of the UzSSR, to reduce as much as possible and in the near future to liquidate completely (noted by B.P.) any non-labor use of the land”[36], and instead of it to introduce “in mass scale labor land tenure”, thereby to regulate the system of land-and-water relations definitively according to the “socialist reorganization” of agriculture in Uzbekistan.


Policy of liquidation of the kulaks and accomplishing of collectivization: spreading the communal (socialist) pattern of ownership in agriculture of 1929-1933)


The following stage of reprisals and violence in agriculture was associated with a repressive policy of the Soviet power “liquidation of prosperous, rich peasants - owners - kulachestvo or kulaks (in Russian  kulak  means fist) as a class on the basis of overall collectivization”. However, before its accomplishing the Soviet power had “a corresponding and certain experience” in the organization of collective farms. For example, the initial organization of collective farms – kolkhozes- can be dated 1922. Then collective farms were served by the association " Koshchi " in the organizational aspect, and by Narkomzem (the People’s Commissariat on Land Management) concerning the agrotechnical help, and supply by means was made by the district rural unions through cooperative societies - shirkats.[37] The quantitative growth in number of collective farms as per years is as follows:


1922 - 2;

1923 - 24;

1924 - 64;

1925 - 24;

1925 - 110;

1926 - 345;

1927 - 864.


However, after the strengthening of collective farms the verified data made 822.[38] “The certain experience” of the totalitarian Soviet power during the initial organization period consisted in that even then the forced involving of dehqon masses in the collective organizations took place; such errors were committed by both the particular groups, and by the collective organizations with full connivance of the local Soviet organizations. Besides, such actions were carried out in the atmosphere of assistance to collective construction.[39] For example, there were issued the instructions of the Soviet administrative organs to organize the particular number of collective farms without any account of social and economic preconditions (such case took place in Burkhart). Sometimes, the Narkomzem organized collective farms only by means of blandishments and giving promises (which were not to be fulfilled) to the future members of collective farms. Female artels (cooperative societies) were created more often according to the orders of the Bolshevist authorities, without taking into account preconditions to their organization; the members were hired casually, from different kishlaks, sometimes almost by way of compulsion, sometimes organized from wives of executive Soviet workers and as a result such pseudo kolkhozes disintegrated after a little while.[40]


Some districts arranged a contest among themselves in creation of new collective farms; because one district tried to outdo another in number of created collective farms, many of the created entities were actually fictitious.[41]


For the defense of such actions of Soviet and party organizations, the administrative organs indicated in instructions that “they have insufficiently correctly acquired the slogan of the Fifteenth Congress of the Communist party on collectivization of agriculture”.[42]


Similar arguments for justification of forced and repressive methods of collectivization carried out in 1930-1931, will be used even later, explaining that supposedly it was the fault of the local party and Soviet organizations, instead of the central authorities.


The land-and-water reform which was carried out in Uzbekistan in two stages in 1925-1927, 1927-1929, became the first stage in mass forced change of the “class structure” of the kishlak, but the “socialist reconstruction”, i.e. liquidation of “the kulaks as a class” and accomplishing the total collectivization meant “the in-depth revolution” in life of the kishlak. This process is of course connected to the transition of “socialism omitting capitalism”. Thus, the basis of this revolution was made with forced transformation of the dehqons private ownership of the means of production into the communal property.


In the beginning of January 1930, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan issued an instruction to forbid the inclusion of kulaks into collective farms. This decision followed the new line of the Bolshevist policy in relation to kulaks, which was put forward in December 1929, at the All-Union Conference of agrarian-Marxists and the Central Committee of All-Union Communist party (Bolsheviks) (hereinafter the VCP (B) Central Committee) confirmed it in its Resolution of January, 5, 1930 “On collectivization rates and measures of the state assistance to collective-farm construction”.[43]


The Resolution stipulated the rates and terms of carrying out the collectivization specified for various districts. Its decisions and the instruction had a class character as it determined, as the basic line of the Bolshevist policy in agriculture, that it was necessary to pass from the policy of restriction of the “exploitative tendencies of the kulaks to the policy of liquidation of the kulaks as a class.[44]


As is known, the collectivization policy was adopted yet in the Fifteenth Congress of VCP (B). It was planned to collectivize 20 % of the land area under crops toward the end of the first Five-Year Plan, i.e. by 1933.


However, the decision of the VCP (B) Central Committee reconsidered the initial term, “… instead of collectivization of 20 % of arable lands under crops stipulated by the Five-Year Plan, we can solve the problem of collectivization of the vast majority (noted by - B.P.) of peasants’ households, at that the collectivization of such important grain-growing districts … can be principally accomplished by autumn of 1930 or … in the spring of 1932.[45] As is seen from the given project, the totalitarian center “lead the way” in changing the terms of implementing collectivization toward acceleration of its rates; but when such steps were undertaken by the political management of Uzbekistan they were rebuked that “transfer of the accelerated rates of collectivization from the center of the USSR into districts of Central Asia we regard unreasonable”.[46]


As for the term established by the center about the completion of collectivization in Uzbekistan, here it is necessary to note one important detail. Some party documents of the republic, for example, in Resolutions of the Fifth Plenum of the Central Committee CP (B) of Uzbekistan (April, 1930) contain already the reference to the Decision of the VCP (B) Central Committee “On rates of collectivization and measures of the state assistance to collective-farm construction” (January, 1930), where it is marked that in this document “it was planned to basically accomplish collectivization in Uzbekistan by the end of 1933”.[47] However, the text of the decision of the VCP (B) Central Committee[48] lacks any facts about the time for completion of collectivization in Uzbekistan. At the beginning of carrying out the collectivization the party organs of the republic for example, the Decision of January plenum of Central Committee CP (B) Uzbekistan (1930) set a course for acceleration of rates of collectivization, and proposed to reconsider the plans of collective-farm construction toward its "substantial growth".[49]


Prior to the above mentioned Decision, the Plenum of the Executive Bureau of the Central Committee on 14 December 1929 and on 21 January 1930 adopted the Decision on declaring the Fergana and Andizhan districts as the districts of overall collectivization and the completion of collectivization in these districts in 1930/1931. Also, following the January Plenum decisions, on 11 February 1930 seventeen more districts were declared as districts of overall collectivization. Thus, the Bolshevist leaders of Uzbekistan provided to collectivize 35 % of the dehqon households by spring of 1930.[50]


Local party organs also tended "not to lag behind" in acceleration of rates of collectivization in their districts. For example, the Tashkent district Party committee passed the decision to complete collectivization by autumn of 1930 that was authorized by the Central Committee of the CP (B) of Uzbekistan. The Surkhan-Darya district committee made a decision to complete collectivization in the same term, and the Samarkand district committee - in 1931. Later these decisions of local party organs on the part of a political management of republic declared obviously erroneous.


Excessive haste and pursuit of high rates of collectivization in January - February 1930 assumed a kind of mass character. The principle of voluntariness was violated. Instead of “attacks on kulaks”, as it was proclaimed by the Soviet political leaders, a number of the organizations “slipped down” onto the way of struggle with middle peasants, forcedly “registering” and incorporating them in collective farms. Some administrative organs carried out the policy of “liquidation the kulaks as a class” by the Bolshevist methods - immediate universal liquidation of the kulak households, everywhere, and in the shortest terms”.[51]


The repressive and forced policy of the Soviet power toward dehqonstvo resulted in anti-soviet riots and even in armed uprising not only in Uzbekistan, but also throughout Central Asia. The materials of the Ob’edinennoe Gosudarstvennoe Politicheskoe Upravlenie (Unified State Political Department) (hereinafter OGPU) about excesses and distortions in the course of collectivization and anti-Soviet actions in the Fergana district stated that “there are detailed materials, the analysis of which with all clearness testifies to the character of mass anti-Soviet actions in Fergana”.[52] These documents defined the principal reasons generated violence and chaos in the kishlak, and sharp outburst of mass anti-Soviet actions:


1)    the apparatus of local officials conducting collectivization is extremely weak, almost none of the district org-men knows what a collective farm is and how it is necessary to organize it.

2)    the decision on transition to overall collectivization was made exclusively on the basis of the decision of the local apparatus in the district and at the meeting of the body of active kishlak functionaries. The dehqon gatherings were informed of the decisions, and offered to elect the board of collective farms.

3)    the explanations given to the peasants about collective-farm construction, were reduced simple documentation such as,  “to enter the name in collective farms necessarily, those failed to be written (not enrolled) would be deprived of water, imposed with large taxes, and taken off from the state supply and deported outside boundaries of Uzbekistan”.

4)    During the organization of collective farms the following took place: attributing the middle peasants to the category of bays (noted by - B.P.), house-to-house searches, etc.


The similar sort of bureaucratic administering, violence and repressive methods toward dehqons were allowed in other districts of Uzbekistan. For example, in the districts of Dzhalalkuduk and Naryn (the districts of overall collectivization) the dehqons were forced to enter into collective farms; there were registered some cases of arrests of the poor men who refused to enter collective farms, and forced bringing to assemblies, etc.[53]


As operative report OGPU testifies to that during 15-20 February 1930 in the Fergana district tense situations arose, and armed revolt was threatening to incur serious complications to reform.. If in the Baghdad district from 1 to 15 February, there were five mass dehqons’ actions in which 1,950 persons participated, subsequently they spread to other districts and from 15 till 20 February the number of mass actions added up to 10 with 5,200 dehqons participated in them.[54] In March of the same year the number of mass actions achieved 70 in Uzbekistan, of them 59 actions were directed against collectivization, and the total number of participants in 53 actions made 30143 persons.[55]


As we stated above, the most mass-volume actions of dehqons’ against collectivization occurred in the Fergana valley. The similar extreme form of the protest against collectivization was shown in other districts: Samarkand, Surkhan-Darya, Kashkadarya, Khorezm, Tashkent, and Bukhara due to that the Soviet administrative organs in these districts committed distortions and excesses, and applied repressive methods for inclusion of the dehqons in collective farms.


Thus in the Mitan district of Samarkand province, the Soviet power representatives who came with purpose of organizing collective farms, carried out explanatory work in Russian by way of sending out of advertisements. The lists of the cattlemen "who entered" into collective farms were also made without their consent.  In the Zamin district at the assemblies concerning the organization of collective farms the functionaries "had explained": “to be enrolled in the collective farm literally means to have a common cauldron (pool), a common cup and a common bed”. In some kishlaks the organization of collective farms was carried out by the administrative, compulsory order: the lists were made in absentia and those enlisted were declared collective farmers.[56]


Active participants of anti-kolkhoz movement were women as well. For example in the beginning of February 1930, in the kishlak Serakayan of the Khanka locality (the Khorezm district) the crowd of three hundred women armed with axes and sticks disrupted the meeting dedicated to the collective farm organization. As a result, 10 people were arrested. The similar actions of women armed with axes and sticks took place on 31 January 1930 in the kishlak of Chandyr Kiyat of the Novourgench district, its participants cried out “Down with the collective farms”.[57]


Wide scope of anti-Soviet and anti-kolkhoz actions compelled the political leaders of the republic to admit as “politically erroneous” application by party organs of forced, repressive methods in carrying out the collectivization. Thus, on 11 February 1930, an Executive Bureau of the Central Committee of CP of Uzbekistan discussed the question on the Mirzachul district, in which the Soviet administrative organs wanted within one night (noted by - B.P.) to dispossess all the bays. As it was stated in the Central Committee’s Resolution “rough distortion of the Party policy in liquidation of the kulaks as class in work of the local organizations (Mirzachul, Yangiyul, the Tashkent district, etc.), basically reduced to the following attempts:


а) replacement and substitution by administrating the self-activity of farm-laborer's and poor-and-middle peasants in liquidation of the kulaks;

b) applying the actions which the party carries out against the kulaks to the middle peasants;

c) carrying out dekulakization by methods of 1918-1920, i.e. when the kulak-owned lands, the stock, and property were to be distributed among the poor and the middle peasants;

d) Practical raising a question and carrying out dekulakization outside the districts of overall collectivization.[58]


Therefore, the political leaders of the republic proposed “to intensify the struggle” against any attempts “to separate dekulakization from carrying out the overall collectivization and, moreover, to replace overall collectivization by dekulakization”.


In April 1930, the Fifth Plenum of the CP (B) Central Committee of Uzbekistan was held. Its Resolutions stated that in particular districts there were continuing attempts to reduce the struggle against kulachestvo only to administrative - repressive measures.[59] This plenum also emphasized the necessity to intensify the political work among the middle peasants, to check scrupulously the performance of party instructions regarding the struggle against excesses toward the middle peasants (wrong disfranchisement, imposition of an individual tax, crediting, etc.)


The Plenum suggested all local party organs to check up and provide performance of the decision of the center on prohibition of the markets closing and restoration of markets, on interdicting the sale their products in the markets by peasants, including collective farmers.[60]


In accordance with the spirit of that time and methods of struggle of the Soviet totalitarian power against their ideological opponents, the Bolshevist leaders admitted that “rough distortions in the party policy toward the middle peasants, taken place during the collectivization objectively helped our class enemies (emphasis added - B.P.)


Despite the numerous protests of the local population sometimes passed to the armed revolt against the Soviet policy of forced collectivization, the Bolsheviks continued this policy. However, they were compelled to take into consideration the developed state of affairs.  They had to insert some corrections. On 2 March 1930, the I. Stalin’s article "Dizziness from successes"[61] was published, where the leader of the Bolshevist party explained “the party policy in collective-farm construction and focused the party political cadres on correction of the faults in the collective-farm movement, on consolidating the "successes" (-B.P.) of collectivization”.


In such a way, the Soviet power through the methods of reprisals of owners and confiscation of their property by 1933 had managed to destroy private property in agriculture and carry out the total collectivization which was estimated by the Bolsheviks as the victory of socialism in the countryside. Thus the dehqons were put under the total control of the Soviet totalitarian authority.


The conclusion


1. Taken as a whole, the land-and-water reform became the first and significant step of the totalitarian Soviet power in liquidation of large private property in land, which within many centuries determined the level of development of agriculture in Central Asia. Thereby the bases of socialist relations in the kishlak were incorporated. The Reform was a preparatory stage for carrying out the policy of liquidation of large private property, and according to the Bolshevist theory without its implementation it was impossible “to open the way” to the creation of the basis of socialist households. Thus, land-and-water reform in Uzbekistan was carried out from class positions, through methods of forced alienation of forms of ownership, reprisals, deportation and arrests.


2. The change of the form of ownership in agriculture, i.e. liquidation of private property in land and the forced establishment of the collective (communal, collective-farm) property was a leitmotif of the agrarian policy of the Bolsheviks. Because in accordance with their general concept for construction of socialism in the USSR it was necessary to carry out three interconnected conceptual tasks; 1. the industrialization of the country; 2. the collectivization of agriculture and 3. enforcing a cultural revolution. And without domination of the socialist property in the countryside, as the Bolshevist leaders declared at the end of the 1920s, it was impossible to create the basis of socialism. If liquidation of the large landed property was the first stage along the road to socialism in the countryside, organization of collective farms began the second (and the decisive) step, which determined the major stage in building the foundation of the socialist society in the USSR.[62]


Thus, the second half of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s became the critical periods in social and economic life of the dehqons. The forced methods of transformations in the following years exerted very strong influence on transformation of society, on mentality of people, who became objects of the Bolshevist experiment with the name “construction of socialism in the backward, separately taken country”. Those changes were linked with both positive socio-economic aspects as well as negative, but at times even with tragic moments of history.



[1]Kommunisticheskaya partiya Uzbekistana v rezolyutsiyah i resheniyah s`ezdov i plenumov TsK (1925-1986). In four volumes. Vol. 1. Tashkent: Uzbekistan, 1987.p. 135.

[2]Kommunisticheskaya partiya Uzbekistana v rezolyutsiyah... Vol. I. p. 19

[3]Socialisticheskoe pereustroystvo sel'skogo hozyaystva v Uzbekistane (1917-1926 gg.). Sbornik dokumentov. - Tashkent, 1962. p. 247.

[4]Socialisticheskoe pereustroystvo sel'skogo hozyaystva v Uzbekistane... p. 249-250.

[5]Ibid. p. 250.

[6]Ibid. p. 279.

[7]Tsentral'niy Gosudarstvenniy Arkhiv Respubliki Uzbekistan (hereinafter TsGA RUz ), fund (hereinafter f.). Р-86, opis (hereinafter op.) 1, delo (hereinafter d.) 2218, list (hereinafter l.) 428.

[8]Socialisticheskoe pereustroystvo …  p. 257.


[10]Ocherki istorii Kommunisticheskoy partii Uzbekistana. Tashkent, 1974. p. 245-246.

[11]TsGA RUz, f. Р-225, op. 1, d. 1, l. 31-35.

[12]TsGA RUz, f. Р-225, op. 1, d. 1, l. 32.


[14]Ibid.,l. 33.

[15]Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii v Uzbekistane (1927-1929). Sbornik dokumentov. Tashkent, 1961. p. 61.

[16]TsGA RUz, f. Р-837, op. 26, d. 137, l. 14-15.

[17]Ocherki istorii Kommunisticheskoy partii … p. 249

[18]Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii … p. 83-84.

[19]Ibid. p. 84

[20]TsGA RUz, f. Р-86, op. 1, d. 4630, l. 293-295.

[21]Ibid, d. 4631, l. 178.

[22]Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii … p. 91.

[23]Ibid. p. 96-97.

[24]Ibid. p. 91.

[25]Ibid.p. 98.

[26]Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii... p. 98.


[28]TsGA RUz, f. Р-86, op. 1, d. 4631, l. 142-144..

[29]Ibid l. 143.

[30]TsGA RUz, f. Р-86, op. 1, d. 4631, l. 143.

[31]Ibid, l. 144.

[32]Uzbekskaya pravda. 1929, 17 aprelya (№ 45).

[33]Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii … p. 102.

[34]Ibid. p. 103.


[36]Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii p. 105.

[37]Ibid. p. 318.

[38]Ibid. p. 319.

[39]Ibid. p. 329.                      

[40]Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii... p. 346.



[43]See. Tragediya sredneaziatskogo kishlaka: kollektivizaciya, raskulachivanie, ssilka. 1925- 1955. Dokumenti i materiali. Vol. 1. Tashkent, 2006. p. 53-56.

[44]Tragediya sredneaziatskogo kishlaka … Vol. I. p. 53.

[45]Ibid. p.53-54.

[46]Ibid p. 57.

[47]Kommunisticheskaya partiya Uzbekistana v rezolyuciyah s`ezdov i plenumov TsK (1925-1981). In four volumes. Vol.1. 1925-1937. Tashkent, 1987. p. 513.

[48]Tragediya sredneaziatskogo kishlaka … Vol. 1. p. 53-56.

[49]Kommunisticheskaya partiya Uzbekistana v rezolyuciyah … Vol. 1. p. 513.

[50]Kommunisticheskaya partiya Uzbekistana v rezolyuciyah. p. 58.

[51]Tragediya sredneaziatskogo kishlaka … Vol. 1. p. 58.

[52]Ibid. p. 79-80.

[53]Tragediya sredneaziatskogo kishlaka … Vol. 1. p.80.


[55]Ibid.  p. 169.

[56]Ibid. p. 91.

[57]Tragediya sredneaziatskogo kishlaka. p. 60.

[58]Arkhiv Apparata Prezidenta Uzbekistana. (AAP RUz.) f. 58, op. 5, d. 47, ll. 85-88.

[59]Kommunisticheskaya partiya v rezolyuciyah i resheniyah s`ezdov … Vol. 1. p. 521.

[60]Ibid. p. 522.

[61]Istoriya Kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soyuza. М. 1959.p. 423-424.

[62]Istoriya Kommunisticheskoi partiip.427.




Arkhiv Apparata Prezidenta Uzbekistana. (AAP RUz.) Istoriya Kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soyuza,  М. 1959


Kommunisticheskaya partiya Uzbekistana v rezolyuciyah s`ezdov i plenumov TsK (1925-1981). In four volumes. Vol.1. 1925-1937. Tashkent, 1987


Podgotovka usloviy sploshnoy kollektivizatsii v Uzbekistane (1927-1929). Sbornik dokumentov. Tashkent, 1961


Socialisticheskoe pereustroystvo sel'skogo hozyaystva v Uzbekistane (1917-1926 gg.). Sbornik dokumentov. - Tashkent, 1962


Tsentral'niy Gosudarstvenniy Arkhiv Respubliki Uzbekistan (hereinafter TsGA RUz ), fund (hereinafter f.). Ocherki istorii Kommunisticheskoy partii Uzbekistana. Tashkent, 1974


Tragediya sredneaziatskogo kishlaka


Uzbekskaya pravda. 1929, 17 aprelya (№ 45).



*B. Pasilov - PhD., Senior research fellow, Institute of the History, Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan