chapter  12
11 Pages

Political Elite and Agrarian Specialists in the Soviet Union in the Twenties

WithAlessandro Stanziani

This chapter describes the origins and characteristics of Alexander Chaianov's cooperative theory and his influence on Vladimir Lenin and Nikolai Bukharin. Then it also describes Bukharin's cooperative project and, in view of that project, and examines the Soviet agrarian reality and Chaianov's ideas. The chapter exposes the cultural and ideological background of Bukharin's attitude toward the specialists and sheds light on the consequences of this attitude for his political and intellectual role. At first, the twenties appear to be a critical turning point in the relationship between the peasants and Soviet power; both seem to have found a joint platform in the cooperative movement. The efficiency of a large part of the measures that Bukharin suggested with a view to cooperatives was impaired by tension and gaps in communication among ministries and between center and periphery. The cooperatives were denied credit and the means of production; they were undermined by unfavorable prices and lived on the brink of bankruptcy.