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The Significance of the Memorandum on the Grain Problem Issued on December 2nd, 1932, during the 93rd meeting

of the Politburo, the memorandum on the grain problem served a significant purpose in the agenda of the Soviet Union at the time. Following this document, they assumed, would lead them to further success under the policy of Collectivization, which had been pursued by Stalin since 1928. However, this document was a direct result not only of the failures of collectivization, but also of the flawed design of other policies, such as Stalins nation-building policy of Korenizatsiya, which led to many unexpected consequences within the system. Ultimately, the issuance of the memorandum on the grain problem would set the grounds for one of the most horrifying man-made disasters in the history of the Soviet Union, the Holodomor. Fueling the need for this memorandum were the faulty policies of Stalin, namely the policy of Korenizatsiya, or korenization, which called for the indigenization of cultures within each Soviet republic in order for the people to more readily accept the necessary steps of a successful implementation of communism. Stalin believed that the communist movement would become more internationalized and palatable to non-Russians, for the previous policy of Russification during the tsarist regime was stifling to the ethnic minorities. An unexpected result of Korenizatsiya was the uprising of Ukrainization, a policy that was at first not only tolerated, but encouraged until it began to expand out of the control of the Russian elites within the Ukrainian governments. Korenizatsiya was becoming one of the leading elements of counter-revolutionary sentiments within the USSR, unfortunately for Stalin. As the policies failures were surfacing, the Politburo began its elimination of the Ukrainian cultural elite, coinciding with the implementation of the policies concerning the grain memorandum. This

led to further unrest within Ukraine, especially in urban areas which were becoming the communication centers of the nation. Urbanization itself was one of the leading factors in the failures of collectivization, which led to the grain memorandum. Considering that traditionally countryside-bound individuals were being either forced or highly persuaded to work in the emerging industries in the cities for higher pay and more opportunity, they would congregate and begin to spread the sentiment of counterrevolution, taking these ideas back into the countryside with them. Unrest within the area of Ukraine became an unavoidable dilemma for Stalin, and soon those who were working on collective farms, namely kulaks, started rebelling, which ignited the ire of the Politburo. In retaliation to the harsh policies of collectivization, the kulaks would destroy their equipment, slaughter their livestock incessantly, and generally try to cause as much chaos as possible. Considering Ukraine was the breadbasket and most fertile region of the USSR, this was a situation that could not be ignored, for Stalin heavily relied upon the success of the crops in Ukraine to supply grain to feed the factory workers, put aside as a reserve in case of a war, and use as a product of exchange to get desired necessities from other countries. As a result of the kulaks attempts at sabotaging the policy of collectivization, Stalin implemented the policy of dekulakization, claiming that he would liquidate them as a class. Kulaks were ill-defined as a class, although Stalin had categorized them as enemies. Eventually the kulaks were given lofty characteristics to be defined by: usage of hired labor, renting or lending agricultural equipment (rather, the ability to), involvement in finance and money-lending, or ownership of complex machinery or a mill. The characteristic concerning involvement in finance left a large majority of peasants to be classified as kulaks, for many

peasants engaged in selling their surplus and personal transactions. At the conclusion of the memorandum of the grain problem, the Politburo calls upon all the farmers to struggle against the kulaks in order to reestablish effective strategies. However, the problem lay in the fact that a majority of the farmers were clustered into the kulak identity. As a result of the actions of the kulaks, the Soviet government enforced the following sanctions on underperforming Ukrainian villages in the memorandum: ban on supply of any goods or food to the villages, requisition of any food or grain found on site, ban of any trade, and, lastly, the confiscation of all financial resources. The result was an estimated average of 5 million deaths, making the man-made Soviet Famine of 1932 to 1934, also known as the Holodomor in Ukraine, one of the most bizarre genocides to occur. Unlike the typical pattern of famine in which the cities are hit worse than the rural areas, this particular famine was the exact reversal. The seizure of grain and food from these people caused them to perish in one of the most fertile, fruitful regions in Eurasia. Ultimately, the significance of the memorandum on the grain problem is that it is one of the only existing documents that prove that the Soviet Famine of 1932-1934 was an organized, intentional process that Stalin followed in order to liquidate the kulaks and attempt to get Collectivization back on the right path. While many may still debate that there were other environmental conditions that caused the famine, the fact remains that this document states that the starvation of the Ukrainian people was a deliberate course of action taken by the Politburo. Sources The Soviet Famine of 1932 to 1934, by Dana G. Dalrymple

Memorandum on the Grain Problem (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/k2grain.html)