Molotov om kollektiviseringen
On January 1, 1928, I had to go to Melitopol on the grain procurement drive. In the Uraine. To extort grain.
From the kulaks?
From everyone who had grain. Industrial workers and the army were in a desperate situation. Grain was all in private hands, and the task was to seize it from them. Each farmstead clung to its stock of grain. We fanned out to the localities to get it. It was my first such mission – I remember it well.
I arrived in Kharkov. The capital of the Ukraine was still there, and the Central Committee of the Ukraine was still located there. The party activists were convened. They were told that the Ukraine must hand over its grain immediately, without delay. We criticized the slackers and travelled on to the countryside. January 1 I arrived at Melitopol. It was a holiday, everyone was celebrating the New Year, but I went straight to the regional party committee’s building and ordered: “The party activists must meet here today.” It was a large town, the administrative center of a large territory, a grain surplus region. That’s why I was sent there to get all the grain.
The activists’ meeting was held late in the afternoon, around five o’clock. I turned on the pressure: “Give us grain! It is high time to put the squeeze on the kulak!” and so forth in that vein. A resolution was adopted – to require, to fulfill the collection plan, to direct. […] It was a peasant district, all the peasants lived on and worked their own farmstead […] We took away the grain. We paid them in cash, but of course at miserably low prices. They gained nothing. I told them that for the present the peasants had to give us grain on loan. Industry had to be restored and the army maintained.
Then I went out to the countryside, to the Greek and Ukrainian settlements. I applied utmost pressure to extort the grain. All kinds of rather harsh methods of persuasion had to bee applied. We started with the kulak. If you don’t put the squeeze on the kulak. […]
I travelled around the Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk, and Melitopol regions by special railroad car. I lived in it, protected by a security detail. By day I went out to the villages but did not stay there overnight. I returned to the railroad car to spend the night.
Kilde: Resis, Albert (red.): Molotov remembers. Inside Kremlin Politics. Conversations with Felix Chuel, Chicago 1993, side 242-243.