Collectivization in Romania

Collectivization in Romania
Medal granted in 1962 at the completion of collectivization in Romania

The collectivization of agriculture in Romania took place in the early years of the Communist regime. The initiative sought to bring about a thorough transformation in the property regime and organisation of labour in agriculture. According to some authors, such as US anthropologist David Kideckel, the collectivization was a "response to the objective circumstances" in postwar Romania, rather than an ideologically-motivated enterprise.[1] Unlike the Stalinist model applied in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, the collectivization was not achieved by mass liquidation of wealthy peasants, starvation or agricultural sabotage, but was accomplished gradually, without significant violence or destruction.[2]

The programme was launched at the plenary of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers' Party of 3–5 March 1949, where a resolution regarding socialist transformation of agriculture was adopted along the lines of the Soviet kolkhoz. The collectivization strategy covered two directions: model collective structures were set up, such as Gospodării Agricole Colective (GAC; Collective Agricultural Institutions) and Gospodării Agricole de Stat (GAS; State Agricultural Institutions), aimed at attracting peasants; and the full propaganda system (newspapers, radio, mobile caravans, brochures, direct action by agitators) was put in motion in order to convince peasants to form collective farming units.

The initial collectivization drive was accompanied by an intensification of the class struggle in the villages, indeed through the elimination of some wealthy peasants (chiaburi, also referred to by the Russian term kulaks); some members of this class were intimidated, beaten, arrested and imprisoned, on the grounds that they had employed the labour of poor peasants to work their land.

Violent means were also used against poor or "mid-level" peasants and in general against all those who refused to sign up willingly for tillage associations (întovărăşiri) or join the collective. Much attention was devoted to involving members of the rural elite (teachers, priests, well-off peasants), who often had to choose between GAC and prison under an accusation of sabotage. Peasants entered a GAC not only with their land, but also their buildings (barns, villas, warehouses), farm vehicles and tools, carts and working animals. Collectivization was accompanied by peasant revolts that broke out when brutal "arguments" were employed as a means of persuasion by the party, and also due to abusive measures such as obligatory quotas taking away part of the production of individual plots (while GAC that had already been set up were excused from such requirements).

Militia and Securitate troops quelled the revolts, the leaders of which were arrested and harshly punished. According to data supplied by the Communist authorities, 50,000 peasants were arrested and imprisoned, many of them being tried publicly and sentenced to long prison terms.

A warning against the use of violent means in the process of collectivization was issued by Communist leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej in 1951. Moreover, after the marginalization of Ana Pauker and Vasile Luca, he accused the two of instigating provocative measures and "trampling on the free consent by the peasants" during the process. In 1961 the Romanian leader also condemned the large number of public trials against peasants "in the name of the struggle against Kulaks" during the first phase of collectivization.[3]

The progress was slow at first, Romania lagging behind all Eastern bloc countries in 1952, however in 1957 the party decided to accelerate the process.[4] The speed up has been attributed by Kenneth Jowitt to Romania's leadership desire to prove its independence from the Soviet Union, whose leader at the time, Nikita Khrushchev, opposed the program.[5] At an extraordinary session of the Great National Assembly held between 27 and 30 April 1962, General Secretary Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej announced the end of the collectivization programme; 96% of the country's arable surface and 93.4% of its agricultural land had been included in collective structures. At the same session, he criticized the "Muscovite faction" of the Romanian Communist Party

In the assessment of historian Stan Stoica, collectivization seriously harmed the Romanian village: he cites the loss of "independence, dignity and identity" by the peasants; a decline in the rural population that accelerated when young people migrated to the cities (forced industrialization was going on at the same time); and the fact that families were "wrecked" by poverty, while interest in work plummeted.[6]

See also

  • Eastern Bloc economies


  1. ^ Creed, p. 35
  2. ^ Bideleux & Jeffries, p. 473
  3. ^ Jowitt, p. 99
  4. ^ Verdery, p. 46
  5. ^ Jowitt, p. 213
  6. ^ Stoica, p.78


  • Bideleux, Robert; Jeffries, Ian. A history of Eastern Europe: crisis and change. Taylor & Francis, 2007.
  • Creed, Gerald W. Domesticating revolution: from socialist reform to ambivalent transition in a Bulgarian village. Penn State Press, 1998.
  • Jowitt, Kenneth. Revolutionary breakthroughs and national development: the case of Romania, 1944-1965. University of California Press, 1971.
  • Stoica, Stan (coordinator). Dicţionar de Istorie a României, p. 77-8. Bucharest: Editura Merona, 2007.
  • Verdery, Katherine. The vanishing hectare: property and value in postsocialist Transylvania. Cornell University Press, 2003.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Collectivization in the Soviet Union — was a policy pursued under Stalin between 1928 and 1940. The goal of this policy was to consolidate individual land and labour into collective farms (Russian: колхоз, kolkhoz, plural kolkhozy). The Soviet leadership was confident that the… …   Wikipedia

  • Collectivization in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic — Holodomor topics Historical background Famines in Russia and USSR · Soviet famine of 1932–1933 Soviet government Institutions: All Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) · Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine · …   Wikipedia

  • Collectivization in Hungary — In the Hungarian People s Republic, agricultural collectivization was attempted a number of times in the late 1940s, until it was finally successful in the early 1960s. By consolidating individual landowning farmers into agricultural co… …   Wikipedia

  • Romania — /roh may nee euh, mayn yeuh/, n. a republic in SE Europe, bordering on the Black Sea. 21,399,114; 91,699 sq. mi. (237,500 sq. km). Cap.: Bucharest. Romanian, România /rddaw mu nyah/. * * * Romania Introduction Romania Background: Soviet… …   Universalium

  • România — /rddaw mu nyah/; Eng. /roh may nee euh, mayn yeuh/, n. Romanian name of ROMANIA. * * * Romania Introduction Romania Background: Soviet occupation following World War II led to the formation of a Communist peoples republic in 1947 and the… …   Universalium

  • Romania, Socialist Republic Of —    In accordance with the regional pattern, following the close of World War II Romania found itself embracing Marxism–Leninism as espoused by the Soviet Union. At the behest of Moscow, a communist government was installed in Budapest in March of …   Historical dictionary of Marxism

  • Socialist Republic of Romania — Infobox Former Country native name = Republica Socialistă România ¹ conventional long name = Socialist Republic of Romania common name = România Romania continent = Europe country = Romania era = Cold War status = empire = event start = Monarchy… …   Wikipedia

  • Communist Romania — Romanian People s Republic/Socialist Republic of Romania Republica Populară Romînă/Republica Socialistă România¹ Satellite state of the Soviet Union …   Wikipedia

  • Nationalization in Romania — The nationalization of the means of production was a measure taken by Romania’s new Communist authorities in order to lay the foundation of socialism. The act that allowed this measure to take place was Law 119, adopted by the Great National… …   Wikipedia

  • Collective farming — and communal farming are types of agricultural production in which the holdings of several farmers are run as a joint enterprise.[1] This type of collective is essentially an agricultural production cooperative in which member owners engage… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.