Summary

In the pre-war decades of the Russian Empire, the agricultural sector developed quickly. There was a remarkable increase in grain production which outpaced the unprecedented high growth in the Russian population. It is important to understand that the increase in grain production by 50 percent occurred as a result of more land being placed under cultivation. Grain exports became the major item in Russian external trade. The government was successful in developing the largest railway network in...

The postrevolutionary decade 19171928

Many experts welcome the abundance and diversity of statistical data published in the first post-revolutionary decade. In fact, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Soviet Union published immense quantities of data about every possible subject. Its yearly plans contained the minutest details. Besides data on crop areas and harvests, experts could find in the Soviet reports of the 1920s statistical information about peasant budgets, the state provision of agricultural products, and food trade...

Food problems

Food problems in this period are well covered by historical documents in the materials of the KGB mentioned above (Berelovich and Danilov, 2000a, c). Table 4.5. was compiled on the basis of these materials, showing a number of reports by the KGB on food crises and mass famine in the economic regions of the USSR. These data indicate the regions affected by food crises and mass famine. If a report only mentions food shortages, peasant malnutrition, or mass protests about the lack of food, the...

Linking crop failure and food availability in the country

This subject is the most complicated to analyze since it concerns social and political rather than physical phenomena. When evaluating a crop failure as potentially dangerous for the country, one cannot know for certain whether it would inevitably develop into a large-scale food crisis. No simple or direct links between crop failure and food availability in local stores exist. The crop failure would first impact on the economic, social, and political factors of the country, then these changes...

Weather variations and agricultural production

It is widely accepted that Soviet agriculture performed poorly in the 1930s because of the destruction of traditional farming and of agricultural markets in the course of forcible collectivization. In addition, the poor weather that predominated in the 1930s could also be an important factor for crop failure in any particular year. Under Soviet political conditions, weather fluctuations were particularly damaging to agricultural development because the Soviet leaders, especially from the 1920s...

Notes

1 The official name of the Russian statistical service changed several times 1858, the Central Statistical Committee (TsSK), under the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Empire 1918, the Central Statistical Board 1927, the Central Statistical Board of the USSR 1930, Economic and Statistical Section of Gosplan USSR 1931, Central Administration of Economic Accounting (CAEA) of Gosplan USSR 1948, Central Statistical Board under the aegis of the Council of Ministers of the USSR...

Figure 12 Main weather factors affecting agriculture in Russia

Europe, the air mass loses its humidity and reaches European Russia completely dry (Protserov, 1950). The droughts resulting from these large-scale atmospheric processes usually occupy vast territories of Russia, including the North Caucasus, the Middle and Low Volga basin, and the Urals, and periodically spread over the Central Black Soils region and even northern regions of European Russia. For example, the drought of 1946 affected 50 percent of the total agricultural land of the USSR, which...

Figure 93 Balance of feed grain in the USSR 19761990

Source Narodnoe Khozyastvo SSSR, various years. pared with the 1970s, when such feed shortages occurred only in years of severe drought. The whole set of unresolved problems in the Soviet livestock breeding sector are certainly an important cause of this permanent grain shortage in the USSR between 1975 and 1990. The Soviet feed grain conversion ratio was 2 to 2.5 times lower in the USSR when compared with Western countries, and it would have been more effective to import meat than feed grain...

Table 35 Child mortality in peasant families in Voronez province

No arable land 1-5 hectares 5-15 hectares 12-25 hectares over 25 hectares attributed to the cholera epidemic, although a sizeable proportion of the cholera deaths were undoubtedly famine linked. The final estimate of the number of deaths occurring as a direct consequence of the mass famine ranges from 375,000 to 400,000. This clearly indicates that the level of excess mortality was significant and that it was concentrated in the Volga and the central agricultural regions. Robbins also pointed...

And provinces per one hectare and provinces per one hectare of arable landof arable land

Source calculated on the basis of work carried out by Lubny-Gertsik (1925). Source calculated on the basis of work carried out by Lubny-Gertsik (1925). ent value. The quality and quantity of feed was only sufficient to keep cattle more or less alive by the end of winter, even in an average year. In a bad year it was not uncommon for the straw from roofs to be fed the cattle and for more than a third of the cattle of the village to be slaughtered or sold due to the lack of adequate means to...

Figure 72 Grain production and scale of drought in the RSFSR 19541965

Sown area not affected by drought, dry in Kazakhstan and Western Siberia as well as in many regions of the Russian Federation (Figure 7.2.). Other key agricultural regions of the USSR, such as the Ukraine, suffered from severe droughts in 1954 and 1960. Weather did little to help Khrushchev's agricultural projects. One Soviet report evaluates 1960 to 1965 as the worst in Kazakhstan in terms of climate in the period 1946 to 1975 (Agroklimatichesky prognoz, 1978). Evidently the weather was not...

Major developments in agriculture

During World War II, Soviet agriculture experienced a severe decline. In the autumn of 1941, as the Germans invaded the south and west of the country, two-fifths of the whole Soviet wheat harvest and two-thirds of the potato crop area was lost. In 1942, the total amount of agricultural production under Soviet control had fallen by one-third. Because of the loss of the Ukraine and part of the Volga region, the cultivation of field crops shifted onto the inferior soils of the northern and eastern...

The prerevolutionary period 19001916

This period covers the last years of the Russian Empire. From the point of view of economic development, the pre-war period presents a continuation of the process of reform in Russian society which started with the abolition of serfdom in 1861. The process of the modernization of the country was at times held up by more conservative moves. An unprecedented growth in the population and a shortage of land in the central regions made reform very urgent. In 1904 and 1905 there were numerous...

The collectivization of Soviet agriculture 19291940

In contrast with the previous decade, this period saw a very centralized, autocratic development of the economy. During the 1930s, a Socialist economic system was being constructed, the first in the world. This new system was characterized by the priority it gave to the development of heavy industry, its extremely centralized management, the drafting of detailed five-year plans for all industrial and agricultural branches, strong administrative control over the realization of these plans, and...

Figure 94 Grain production and intensity of drought in the RSFSR 19761990

Sown area not affected by drought, Source for grain production Sel'skoe khozyastvo v Rossii, 2000. Some Western experts believe that the weather continued to be the dominant variable in Soviet agricultural production in this period. In 1978, Severin and Carey predicted that relatively favorable weather in the late 1970s would be reversed in the next years, bringing many problems for Soviet agriculture (1978). This did, indeed, happen. The second half of the 1970s was relatively good but the...

Evaluating the scale of crop failure

A scale of harvest decline of approximately 10 percent for a country would be no more than a normal statistical variation from an average harvest, but in certain circumstances the same drop of 10 percent could bring many problems. This potential impact of crop failure on the food situation in a country depends on the balance between agricultural production and domestic requirements. We suggest that if grain production too closely follows demand, the vulnerability of a country to crop failure...

Preface

Russia belongs among those countries that are the most vulnerable to climate variability due to unfavorable natural conditions. This, together with a weak agricultural sector as well as poor mechanisms of social insurance, has frequently resulted in crisis situations. During the last hundred years the country has faced numerous severe droughts that have affected its major agricultural zones. In some years, food shortages affected the whole country. Mass famine occurred in the years of political...

Figure 75 Area affected by drought in 1965

. Non agricultural regions I j Moscow . Non agricultural regions I j Moscow place in 1963 (Table 7.9.1.). The single good harvest did little to help the difficult situation in Soviet agriculture. In its annual review, the Department of Agriculture of the United States confirmed that, despite a good harvest in 1964 in the USSR, the gross agricultural production per capita had fallen compared with 1958. It said that at best for 1965 the harvest would be not very high and it should be expected...

Procurement in 16 25 43 24 No data No data 40 production zone

Sources calculated on the basis of for 1918 to 1920, Statisticheskii ezhegodnik 1918-1920, 1921 for 1921 Statisticheskii ezhegodnik 1921, 1922 for 1922 to 1924 Sbornik statisticheskix svedeniipo Souzy SSR 1918-1923, 1924 for 1924 (low estimate) Kochetkov (2000). 3.6 centners per hectare is found in historical materials, evidently indicating the existence of the food crisis that occurred in the Ukraine in 1924-1925 (Kochetkov, 2000). This more closely corresponds to the reported social problems...

Table 42 Decrease in area of valuable market crops in Russia from 1917 to 1920 percent

(according to pre-war prices) in 1922-1923, when exports of agricultural products were only one-third of the level in the pre-war period. As for domestic turnover of agricultural products, some experts believe it was one-third of the pre-war level (Oganovsky, 1927). There was also a decrease in the labor force and other capital. According to some expert assessments the number of agricultural workers had fallen by 14.4 million (4 million women and 10.4 million men) by 1920. Taking into account...

Glossary

Biological yield provisional estimate of yield based on field studies of crops in spring or early summer. Centner unit of weight equaling 100 kilograms, widely used in Russian agricultural statistics. Consumption regions central and northern regions of Russia which are not self-sufficient in food production and have to import considerable amounts of grain (for human and animal consumption) and other produce from southern regions of the country. Economic regions the main administrative units of...

Kazakhstan

Total grain production of 164 to 180 million tons, were not met (even in the best year, 1964), nor were Khrushchev's expectations for Kazakhstan to produce no less than 20 million tons of grain annually. The expectation of a minimum average yield of 10 centners per hectare from the virgin lands for 1956 was not realized either. Moreover, in his 1954 speech the Soviet leader said that he also hoped to obtain as much as 14 to 15 centners per hectare, an amount that, he alleged, had been produced...

Table 95 Sown area of main cereal crops in the Russian Federation 19701987 percent

Food cereals Winter wheat Spring wheat Winter rye Rice Buckwheat Feed cereals Winter barley Spring barley Oats Millet Legumes Corn Source Kruchkov and Rakovetskaya, 1990 One specific Soviet problem was the unsatisfactory structure of cereal crops. Agricultural statistics on food and feed grain for 1970 to 1980 show that food grain production prevailed over feed grain, despite a much higher demand for the latter (Table 9.5.). In the late 1970s, the feed grain demand was 120 to 140 million tons,...

Table 93 Plan targets for agricultural production in the USSR 19711990

1971-1975 1976-1980 1981-1986 1986-1990 The most striking thing concerning the five-year plans for the development of Soviet agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s, is that the Soviet planners seemed to ignore the great fluctuation in grain harvests. It is reasonable to expect that the Soviet planners would take into account the variability of grain yields and suggest some sort of buffer between the plan for grain production and that for livestock growth in order to ensure that any drop (by, say,...

Table 75 Livestock numbers in the USSR and USA

Number of cattle (millions) Cows (millions) Sheep and goats (millions) Pigs (millions) Convenient units (millions) Meat production (millions of tons) Meat production (kg per capita) * Data on the livestock inventory relate to January 1962. Data on meat production are given for 1960. The number of convenient units (or heads) is calculated on the basis that one pig equals 0.6 head of cattle and one sheep or goat equals 0.4 head of cattle. total. Managers had long tended to keep more cows than...

Year Deviation of yield from trend 10 percent30 percent50 percent

Source Agroklimatichesky prognoz , 1978. amounts of precipitation reached only 20 to 60 percent of the norm. In some regions no rain was observed for 20 to 30 days. In June and July the drought spread to the east and occupied Northern Kazakhstan and the south of Western Siberia. The parameters of the main droughts of the post-war period show that the drought of 1975 was the largest, and of an unprecedented character (Table 8.9.1.) The Volga basin, the Urals and Kazakhstan were at the center of...

Thousands of tons

Source Narodnoe khozyastvo SSSR v 1989, 1990. stock inventories had grown by 3.5 percent since 1980. This meant that again only 97 million tons of feed grain were available, sufficient for producing only 12 million tons of meat. A colossal amount of grain, 44 million tons, was imported, but it only partly helped relieve the feed grain shortage. The Soviet Union produced 17.3 million tons of meat instead of the 18.3 million tons planned (initially as much as 19.5 million tons were planned). Four...

The availability and reliability of statistical agricultural data for Russia

One specific issue in retrospective analyses of Russian economic development is the availability of reliable statistical data that is freely accessible and can be used to check the claims of any researcher. The availability of Soviet agricultural statistical data at a regional level is extremely important in research on the impact of climate (mainly in the form of droughts) on agricultural production. Ideally there should be no interruptions in data sets for regions and years covered by the...

Table 78 Grain production millions of tons and grain yields centners per ha in the USSR and in the virgin lands of

Indicator 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 Grain 85.6 106.8 127.6 105 141.2 125.9 1 25.5 130.8 140.2 107.5 152.1 121.1 production Yield 7.6 8.5 10 8.4 11.3 10.5 10.9 10.7 10.9 8.3 11.4 9.5 Grain 7.7 4.8 23.8 10.6 22 19.1 18.7 14.6 15.9 10.6 23.6 7.6 production Yield 9.2 2.9 10.6 4.6 9.4 8.6 8.5 6.6 6.5 4.4 9.8 3.1 Source Narodnoe khozyastvo v 1965, 1966. This situation, however, was reversed in 1955 when Western Siberia and Kazakhstan suffered from an extensive...

The Stalin era 19291953

This period is prominent due to the lack of any reliable statistical data on agriculture and the economy in the Soviet Union. Most of the statistical parameters published in the pre- and post-revolutionary period are missing in the Stalin era. The most important data on cereal production were incorrect, if not deliberately falsified. The turning point was in 1936, when the Stalin terror led to the suppression of any economic data. In the last years of Stalin's life, hardly any statistics were...

Introduction climate and agriculture in Russia

Busting Out Brick Wall Clip Art

When analyzing the development of Soviet agriculture it should be borne in mind that Russia is comparatively poorly endowed in terms of agricultural land and climate and that, under any system of farming, agricultural productivity would be appreciably lower than, for example, that of the United States or Western Europe. Russian farming is characterized by its extreme northerly location. The center of Russia lies at roughly the same latitude as Hudson Bay, and St. Petersburg is actually at the...

Table 54 Estimates for grain production in the USSR between 1928 and 1940 millions of tons

Source Wheatcroft and Davies, 1994. good but less than planned about 83.5 million tons. The Western estimate is only 64 million tons. Grain delivery was less than planned but twice that of 1928. It was a very good result and the country was able to export about 5.8 million tons in 1930. Much of the grain harvested should have been reserved for the state grain stock (Conquest, 2002). The planned target for 1931 was fixed at 97.9 million tons but already by 1...

References

Will Climate Change Affect Food and Water Security in Russia Summary Report on the International Project on Global Environmental Change and Its Threat to Food and Water Security in Russia. Available from Center for Environmental Systems Research, University of Kassel, Germany, Report No. A0302. A preliminary look at Soviet agriculture in 1980 livestock. 1980. Radio Liberty Research. 1 December. A time of troubles for the Soviet economy. 1972. Radio Liberty Research. 20...

Table 36 Grain production per capita and number of migrants from the provinces of European Russia in 1911 and 1912

Province Number of migrants in Net grain production 1911 (thousands) per capita in 1910-1911 Province Number of migrants in Net grain production 1912 (thousands) per capita in 1911-1912 *1. Central Black Earth region 2. Middle Volga 3. Low Volga 4. Urals 5. Novoros- syskaya 6. Southwestern region 7. Malorrosyskaya (Ukraine) 8. Belarus Source Statisticheskii ezhegodnik Rossii 1915, 1916. *1. Central Black Earth region 2. Middle Volga 3. Low Volga 4. Urals 5. Novoros- syskaya 6. Southwestern...

List of Tables

Grain production in the Russian Empire Table 2.2. Regions affected by famine, and average food consumption in selected regions of the USSR Table 2.3. Per capita meat consumption (kilograms per annum) in the USSR and European countries 29 Table 3.1. Changes in crop area (thousands of hectares) and population (thousands) in the economic regions of the Russian Empire from 1904 to 1914 37 Table 3.2. The availability of grassland in European Russia Table 3.3. Cereal yields in the major...