Committees of Landless Peasants

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Committees of Landless Peasants

 

(komnezamy), organizations of the rural poor in the Ukraine from 1920 to 1933. They were created on the basis of the May 9, 1920, decree of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee. In contrast to the Ukrainian Committees of the Poor of 1919, these committees also included the least solvent segment of the middle peasantry. The Committees of Landless Peasants were set up to implement the laws on the surplus appropriation system, allot land and implements to landless and land-hungry peasants, and strengthen Soviet power in the countryside. By the time of the first congress of the committees (October 1920), 10,000 village and volost (small rural district) komnezamy had been established. The congress elected the Central Commission of Landless Peasants, headed by G. I. Petrovskii.

The Committees of Landless Peasants played a large role during the Civil War of 1918–20. They confiscated pomeshchik (gentry landlord) lands and the surplus kulak lands (along with implements and cattle) and distributed the land among the poor and middle peasants, uncovered hidden kulak grain reserves, and suppressed kulak banditry. In response to V. I. Lenin’s appeal to aid the Red Army in finishing off Wrangel’s troops (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, pp. 334–35), the first congress of komnezamy put forth the slogan: “Landless peasants, onto the kulak’s horse and against Wrangel!” During this period, the komnezamy were in effect governmental bodies in the Ukrainian countryside, a status established legislatively by the resolution of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR on Apr. 13, 1921.

The thirteenth Congress of the RCP (Bolshevik) directed that under the NEP the komnezamy had to be turned from militant political organizations into production-type bodies. The reorganization of the komnezamy was legislatively formalized by the Nov. 16, 1925, decree of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR. The bylaws of the komnezamy, which were ratified on Nov. 19, 1925, defined the basic tasks of the committees: to aid the development of poor peasant farming, to involve poor and middle peasants in the agricultural cooperative system, and to enlist poor peasants in soviet and cultural construction. The committees played a significant role in the collectivization of agriculture. They were awarded the Order of the Red Banner on their tenth anniversary. With the victory of the kolkhoz system in the Ukraine, the tasks of the komnezamy were finished. On Feb. 16, 1933, the plenum of the Central Committee of People’s Soviets adopted a resolution on the self-dissolution of the komnezamy, which in March was approved by the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee.

REFERENCES

Petrovs’kyi, H. I. Slavetnyi shliakh. Kharkov, 1933.
Zahors’kyi, P. S., and P. K. Stoian. Narys istorii komitetiv nezamozhnykh sellan Ukrainy. Kiev, 1960.

N. I. SUPRUNENKO

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.