(in the original sense, “a yoked pair,” or “married couple,” “conjugality”), a traditional form of labor cooperation and mutual assistance among peasants in Russia. Similar forms of labor cooperation were also common in other countries during precapitalist stages of development.
In supriaga, the draft animals, equipment, and labor power of several households were pooled in order to perform certain kinds of agricultural work in common. Supriaga was especially widespread on cleared woodland, on virgin and long-fallow lands, and in areas in which heavy soils necessitated heavy plows pulled by several pairs of oxen or horses. With the development of commodity production and social stratification of the peasantry, supriaga died out and disappeared. The “yoking” of the labor power of the village poor to the means of production of kulak households turned supriaga into a kind of one-sided exploitation of others’ labor.
In Russia, supriaga survived until the October Revolution. After 1917 it was widely used in agricultural areas, serving as an effective means of overcoming wartime devastation and restoring the peasant economy. Just before the collectivization of agriculture in the USSR, “contract groups” of poor and middle peasants made their appearance. In these groups, the Soviet state, through equipment rentals and seed loans, ensured the contribution of the poor. In this period the traditional form of mutual labor assistance greatly helped limit kulak exploitation and inculcate collectivist habits among the peasants. With the onset of all-out collectivization, supriaga ceased to be of importance.
V. P. DANILOV