Starvation, a new government program

The Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin was an oppressive and totalitarian regime whose callousness and ineptitude led to innumerable atrocities. These atrocities are crystalized by the accounts of Mukhamet Shaiakhmetov in 1930s central asia. Farm collectivization forcibly removed food from the hands of farmers and then Soviet mismanagement of that food led to a national famine in the USSR. Mukhamet witnessed these policies in effect as his father was labeled a kulak and dispossessed and sent to work coal, not to mention the other atrocities that his family was forced to endure. We see first hand the Soviet dekulakization policy at play when the author recounts the confiscation “You still have some livestock, expensive things even gold hidden from authorities, hand them over!”(56) These actions were taken against more productive farmers as they were framed as enemies of state for being obstacles in the farming collectivization effort. Mukhamet details his and others confusion at the government’s persecution against people who were simple workers. In this class we have discussed Soviet policies at both a micro and macro scale, discussing both policy and how it affected individuals. However the scale of the atrocities committed in the name of collectivization are hard to fathom so does this memoir illicit a more comprehensive grasp on how these actions affected the lives of people confused about their designation as an enemy of the state? Also is there at least an element of immorality that is at play when discussing how the Soviets applied these policies or is it simple ineptitude?

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