(The Twenty-five Thou-sanders), progressive workers from major industrial centers of the USSR who, at the call of the Communist Party, voluntarily went into economic organizational work in kolkhozes at the beginning of 1930 during the period when agriculture was being collectivized.
In November 1929 a plenary session of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) adopted a resolution providing that 25,000 workers with sufficient organizational and political experience be sent into rural areas for the purpose of working on kolkhozes and machine-tractor stations. This resolution found an extremely broad response among the working masses. Along with party organizations, groups of workers participated in selecting the volunteers; they discussed the applications that had been submitted at plant and shop meetings. As a result, 27,519 persons were selected and sent to work on kolkhozes throughout the USSR. Of the 23,409 dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki on whom there is questionnaire data the breakdown of categories is as follows: men—92.3 percent, women—7.7 percent; Communists—69.9 percent, Komsomol members—8.6 percent, nonparty personnel— 21.5 percent; length of production experience less than five years—13 percent, from five to 12 years—39 percent, and more than 12 years—48 percent. About 16,000 of the dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki were members of the metal workers’ union. Special courses were set up to train the dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki for work in the countryside; some of these workers were sent to sovkhozes for two or three months of practical experience. Most of the dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki were sent directly to work on kolkhozes in the country’s principal grain-growing regions—for example, the Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus, the Lower and Middle Volga Regions, and the central black-earth districts.
The dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki actively participated in creating new kolkhozes and strengthening weak ones organizationally and economically, and they conducted political, educational, and cultural mass work among the peasants. They also assisted the kolkhozes to set up their accounts for the artel property, reinforce labor discipline, and establish correct payments for work, and they were the organizers of socialist competitions. A number of dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki were elected as board members or chairmen of kolkhozes. They carried out their work in circumstances of class struggle against the kulaks, who violently resisted the socialist reconstruction of agriculture. Many of the dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki stayed to work permanently in the country. They facilitated both the reinforcement of the alliance between the working class and the peasantry and the successful progress of agricultural collectivization. The figures of the dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki have been presented in Soviet literature (for example, Davydov in M. A. Sholokhov’s Virgin Soil Upturned).
REFERENCESKPSS ν rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s“ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., part 4. Moscow, 1970. Page 350.
Rozenfel’d, V. Ia. Dvadtsatipiatitysiachniki. Moscow, 1957.
Selunskaia, V. M. Bor’ba KPSS za sotsialisticheskoe preobrazovanie sel’skogo khoziaistva. Moscow, 1961
N. V. ERSHKOV