The first book to document the peasant rebellion against Soviet collectivization, Peasant Rebels Under Stalin retrieves a crucial lost chapter from the history of Stalinist Russia. The peasant revolt against collectivization, as reconstructed by author Lynne Viola, was the most violent and sustained resistance to the Soviet state after the Russian Civil War. Conservative estimates suggest that over the course of the 1020s and early 1930s, more than 1,100 people were assassinated, more than 13,000 villages rioted, and over 2.5 million people participated in this active struggle of resistance.
This book is about the men and women who tried to preserve their families, communities, and beliefs from the depredations of Stalinism. Their acts were often heroic, but these heroes were homespun, ordinary people who were driven to acts of desperation by cruel and brutal state policies.
This is a study of peasant community, culture, and politics through the prism of resistance. Based on newly declassified Soviet archives, including previously inaccessible OGPU (secret police) reports, Viola's work documents the manifestation in Stalin's Russia of universal strategies of peasant resistance in what amounted to a virtual civil war between state and peasantry. This book is must reading for scholars of Soviet history, Stalinism, popular resistance, and Russian peasant culture.