Institute of History of the State

Republic of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan city, Beibitshilik Street, 4


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Dr. Burkitbay Ayagan,
Professor, Director of the Institute
of State History (Kazakhstan)



Dear participants and guests!

The problem of investigating the Soviet experiment on destruction of private property in the village and on creation of ineffi cient collective farms was actual not only in the past, but remains the topic of the day. So, for example, starvation is characteristic till now for such countries as the North Korea, some states of Africa. The analysis shows that experiment made in Northern Korea bears a strong resemblance to Soviet Union in 30th: the same neglect of economic laws, concealment of the information on famine, refusal of the international aid and charity, economy militarization, armaments drive.

Objective researches on an agrarian policy of the Soviet power had appeared in

the years of so called Gorbachev’s perestroika. In 1990 the substantial works of historians, such as M.Kozybaev, K.Nurpeis, V.Shepel, K.Aldazhumanov, M.Asylbekov, Z.Abylhozhin, E.Sydykov, K.Atabaev, A.Gali, the demographer M.Tatimov, writers S.Eljubai, V.Mihajlov, B.Kojshybaev and others’ were published.

The powerful impulse and push in public opinion formation, withdrawal pains

of former ideological stamps have brought publications of the Russian scholars V.P.

Danilov, V.Kondrashin, V.Kozlov, E.Zhiromskaya, and also our colleagues from the

states of Central Asia Z.Kurmanov, A.Radzhabov. Colossal importance in the research theme has had the capital works of scholars from the USA, Australia, France: R.Conquest, M.B. Olkott, S.G. Weatcroft, I.Ohayon, and also the articles of R.Kindler, A.Abdulhairov.

Methodological principles and studying toolkit about which I speak now, are various, but conclusions of scholars are identical: unprecedented famine in Kazakhstan had mainly been caused by poor control, neglect of economic laws in particular, and of destinies of people as a whole. Famine in Kazakhstan, as well as in Ukraine, Russia and Bashkirya caused as a result of politicians’ activity, and can be partially in connection with natural cataclysms.

The ideological reasons of collectivization and the years of starvation as the analysis shows are in the political doctrines of the Bolshevism by K.Marx and V.Lenin. These are classics of Marxism that have proclaimed the purpose of destruction of a private property and creation of the so called public property in the theoretical programs; erection in the absolute of dictatorship of proletariat and declaration the peasantry as a class, to put it mildly, unhistorical and hostile to building of a new system. And, it is in «the Communist party Manifesto» had been declared that «the class antagonism», the struggle of classes is the engine of a human civilization. In 20th the Bolshevist power conducted feverish search of reserves which would help to overcome ruin in the country, and also to pursue a policy of industrialization. Kazakhstan, in their opinion, had the big possibilities for replenishment of food stocks.

Creation of the commission for the organization and management of campaign on August, 5th, 1928 had become key event in carrying out of a course of collectivization in Kazakhstan. Unlike other areas of RSSFR the policy of collectivization in Kazakhstan had a number of essential distinctions.

Firstly, the policy of collectivization in republic began to be spent in parallel with so-called policy of «sedentarisation» which consequences had struck huge blow to traditional forms of housekeeping of local population. Secondly, F.Goloshekin considered necessary to carrying out «Small October» course and, accordingly, stir up of class antagonism in villages (auls). April plenum of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in 1929, on which all diffi culties of carrying out of a course of collectivization had been shifted on peasants, became a turning-point in carrying out of a collectivization course. Without any reasons «feudal-kulak» elements and representatives of the dismissed for a long time alternative parties and movements: Alash-Orda, etc., had been declared as active opponents of carrying out of this course.

Extrajudicial bodies had specially been created for short work of people who disagree. As it had been noted in the Decision of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic, only from 1929 till 1933 «the three» had been considered 9805 cases and passed sentences concerning 22933 persons, 3386 persons sentenced to be shot, 13151 persons sentenced to be sent to concentration camps for 3 till 10 years. Under the pretext of struggle with kulaks and counterrevolution the real arbitrariness had started. Local militia and parts of Red Army quite often resorted to executions and self-courts. So, Shakarim Kudaiberdyev had been shot in October 1934, and also set of people were sentenced to death without any guilt on what eloquently inform archives. For the forced rates of collectivization party committees by means of the youth organizations and mass media defamed disagree persons or used various forms of compulsion, such as house or cellar arrests, a blackening or restrictions in the rights. On August, 7th, 1932 the law «About protection of the socialist property», which was named by the people «the law on fi ve spike of weat» had been published. For plunder of the collective-farm property, including for secret thrashing ears in the fi eld, extreme measures relied, up to execution. In the same years the power intentionally infl ated antireligious, atheistic propaganda.

For short terms in the republic the considerable part of mosques, houses of worship and churches had been destroyed. The so-called antireligious campaign which was spent cruelly, had never achieved its goal. On the contrary, such statement of a question had strengthened religious moods of inhabitants of region. Probably, the people, peasants in rough and not especially very party orators saw original devil incarnate what shouldn’t be in normal, civilized society.

As the President – the Leader of the Nation N.A. Nazarbayev has underlined: «the Kazakh land became a fi eld of social experiments, socially empty space» for modernizers of totalitarian sense».

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Owing to those steps on collectivization which were spent by communist party, in many areas of the country the severe famine had burst. Driven to despair, peasants had been compelled to leave native places, and got over in cities, accumulated at railway stations. Thousands and thousands hungry people had fi lled cities on what heads of party committees regularly informed. The country was overfl owed by epidemics of various illnesses.

The discontent of peasants and as a whole various strata of society had poured out in the armed rebellion or migration abroad. By estimates of scientists, in 1929–1931 in Kazakhstan 372 revolts took place in which more than 80 thousand persons participated.

Especially tragic popularity was received by the country revolts in Suzak, Irgiz,

Abralinsk, Mangistau, Shemonaihin, Samara and other regions. During excitements peasants grasped village councils, beat representatives of the authorities, burned documents.

For suppression of peasants’ rebellion of the power except demagogical promises, widely used militia groups and regular military units. So, for example, in Mangistau region for these purposes forces of the Caspian fl otilla had been involved. For suppression of the dissatisfi ed in Southern and Eastern Kazakhstan regular parts of army had been used.

Thousands and thousands families as «kulak elements» had been sent abroad. As it is counted up by supernumeraries, about one and a half million person migrated abroad. The steppe had become empty.

Simultaneously to these empty places the dispossessed peasants from the central regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus moved. So, for example, settlements Robin,

Osakarovka, many villages round mines had been organized during this period.

Starvation, epidemics and retaliatory spot-checks of militia and army had led to enormous loss of human life. These years the population of the republic was considerably reduced. So, for example, number of Kazakhs in the republic in 1926 was 3628000 persons. The following census of 1939 had shown that for these years, the people had lost 1 million 300 thousand persons, i.e. about 36 percent of all population.

Number reduction had occurred among other people occupying Kazakhstan. But losses among indigenous population were especially notable.

Party committees had forbidden any mention of Great Famine. Moreover, mass propaganda demagogically declared outstanding successes of a policy of collectivization.

Leaders of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) considered that any mention of famine undermines the prestige of the party and consequently didn’t allow the various charitable organizations to assist people dying of starvation.

* * *


By 1933 party tops, at last, have realized that the policy of collectivization had failed. First, instead of capable and powerful collective farms the country had received weak, hardly working and low-power cells. Moreover, for all the years of the Soviet power existence, the created collective farms couldn’t provide the population with food. Otherwise, what for in 1982 the Soviet government and communist party still accepted a food programme and tried «to re-equip» agriculture? Secondly, from wide weight of peasants the most vigorous and strong business managers had disappeared.

Under the pretext of struggle with kulaks they had been exterminated and destroyed as a class. Urgent reduction of grain-collections couldn’t rescue village: millions people were lost for starvation and epidemics, millions had been compelled to run for native land limits.

Stalin, his environment and F. Goloshekin didn’t recognize their errors. They remained insensible. Moreover, peasants and the alternative parties which for a long time have stopped the existence had been charged with all the faults of the Soviet power.

All over the USSR and Kazakhstan the wave of arrests and prosecutions, both countrymen, and representatives of intelligence had swept. They had soon been declared as «enemies of the nation», «nationalists» and sent to the camps. It is symbolical that as if derisively, new formed collective farms were named after I.Stalin, V.Molotov, L.Kaganovich, S.Kirov, M.Kalinin and etc.

* * *

There is a question. Whether there was an alternative to a similar course? Yes, it was. Agriculture modernization, industrialization has been spent in many countries of Europe, in the countries with market economy. As practice shows, famine turned out to be consequence, as a rule, in those countries where were ignored economic regularity and where violence was used.

Offers and protests of such Kazakhstani scientists as A.Bukejhanov, S.P. Shvetsov, S.Sadvokasov, T.Ryskulov, representatives of intelligence not only weren’t taken into account, later they had been accused in deviationism and had undergone to reprisals.

The policy of collectivization conducted by the authorities and the famine which had followed it has become the greatest humanitarian disaster of the people of Kazakhstan. Colossal victims, put on an altar of «socialist paradise» have appeared vain and haven’t given expected effect.

Tragedy scales were so monstrous that we with full moral responsibility can designate it as genocide. Such ascertaining follows from the strict norms of international law fi xed in the International convention «About the prevention of a crime of genocide and punishments for it». So, in March, 2010 the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of Parliamentary Assembly has accepted the document «Commemorating the victims of the Holodomor in Ukraine and of the great famines in Kazakhstan and other regions of the former Soviet Union» The Assembly called on historians and lawyers from all over Europe to conduct joint independent research in an unbiased and depoliticised manner in order to fully establish the facts about this human tragedy, and to assess these facts in terms of current international law».

Today we present you the Kazakh-Russian edition of the book «1932–1933 жылдардағы ашаршылық ақиқаты. Truth about Famine of 1932–1933», prepared by the scholars of the Institute of State History B.G. Ayagan, Zh.U. Kydyralina, A.M. Auanassova, A.N. Kashkymbayev, M.L. Anafi nova, K.M. Iljassova. The circulation makes a hundred copies, 22 quires.

In the book in new light the problem of history of Great Famine in Kazakhstan and its consequences as result of a policy of collectivization in 20–30s of the XX-th century is elucidated. The Soviet historical science and authorities of the USSR of more than half a century hid this problem and took great pain to use in the purposes.

In the given collective monograph historical events are interpreted on the basis of the newest researches of domestic, Soviet, Russian and western scholars, and also materials of the regional archives published for the last 20–25 years. Important pictures, thematic cards, maps, a glossary, a bibliographic directory are included in the book.

The book consists of following parts: prefaces, «Tragedies of millions», four chapters and a fi nal part. The preface to the book was written by the honorable guest of conference, professor of the Melbourn University, the researcher of an economic problem of Stalin terror and the History of the USSR Stephen Weatcroft. Certainly, the book which we present today to your attention, isn’t fi nished completely. And we hope that the given monograph will fi nd the continuation in the future. Outstanding Russian philosopher Nikolay Berdjaev in the work «Sources and sense of Russian communism» noticed that «the unprecedented tyranny which represents the Soviet system, would be the subject to moral court how many it didn’t explain». This lesson should be well acquired, for no scale reforms stand human lives and aren’t the subject to the historical justifi cation.

The civilized forms of government, building of modern Kazakhstan have created тsteady base for curbing of any forms of suppression of human rights and freedom. «Dear Kazakhstan citizens! We should be wise when it comes to interpreting history and avoid politicization of this topic. A cruel policy of the Soviet regime was the reason behind the famine, deportation and mass deaths. Inhuman totalitarian system is to be blamed for repressions,» the President said at the opening ceremony of a monument to the victims of forced famine in 1932–1933.

* * *

Situation in Independent Kazakhstan changed. Today Kazakhstan is the country where representatives of more than 130 nations live in peace Thank God! Let bases will be strong and walls of our independence are indestructible. State program «Scientifi c Heritage» along with other programs are engaged in research of a problem of famine in Kazakhstan.

Finally I would like to express gratitude to Mukhtar Kul-Muhammed, RK State

Secretary, Bakhytzhan Zhumagulov, Minister of Education and Science, and also to all the participants of this conference. Their participation brings prestige and ennobles the Forum of Historians.

Thanks for attention!

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