Kolkhoz Law

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kolkhoz Law


the branch of socialist law representing the aggregate norms established or legalized by the Soviet state defining the basic principles, forms, and procedures of the organization and activity of the kolkhozes; it also regulates the relations of the kolkhoz members, families, and households and the organization and activity of elected kolkhoz bodies and of interkolkhoz enterprises and organizations and their associations.

The Soviet state was the first to develop kolkhoz law on the theoretical basis of Marxism-Leninism with regard to socialist cooperation of the working peasantry. Kolkhoz law became an important element in the transformation of the social relations in the countryside into socialist ones. Its norms define and protect the basic principles of kolkhoz development. Among these are the voluntary principle of the association of peasants in collective farms, guidance of and assistance to kolkhozes from the CPSU and the Soviet government, maintenance of the form of the collective farm at the development level achieved by the kolkhoz system, the technical reequipment of kolkhoz production on the basis of the leading role of the state socialist ownership in this reequipment, and use of land on a free and termless (perpetual) basis by the kolkhoz. The principles also include a correct combination of public and personal interests in the kolkhozes, the economic independence of the kolkhoz in combination with centralized planned management, material incentives for the kolkhoz and kolkhoz members in the development of public economy and in the labor results, and the management of kolkhoz affairs based on kolkhoz democracy. These provisions are the foundation of the norms and institutions of kolkhoz law and are defined and developed in the Model Rules of the Kolkhoz (1969), which expanded these provisions in light of the present stage of the development of the kolkhoz system.

As a kolkhoz operates, various kinds of social relations take shape: between the kolkhoz and its individual members, between the kolkhoz and its public enterprises and subdivisions, between the kolkhoz and the families of kolkhoz members (kolkhoz households), and between the kolkhoz and other legal and physical persons. Since these public relations are regulated by the norms of law, they are legal relations. The kolkhoz legal relations represent a complex of organically connected property, labor, and organization and management relations based on membership in the kolkhoz and on the charter character of rights and obligations of its participants stipulated by the rules. However, not all legal relations entered into by the kolkhoz or its members are regulated by kolkhoz law; some are part of civil, land, administrative, or financial laws. The Basic Principles of Civil Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics of 1961 states that kolkhoz relations arising from their rules are regulated by the kolkhoz legislation.

Characteristic of the legal regulation of kolkhoz relations is the combination of state and internal kolkhoz regulations. On the basis of the Model Rules of the Kolkhoz, each kolkhoz drafts its own rules. The Model Rules are adopted by the Ail-Union Congress of Kolkhoz Workers; after approval by joint decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR, they acquire the binding force of a party directive and a legal instrument. The rules define in detail the legal status of the kolkhoz, and they regulate such questions as membership in the kolkhoz, the right of kolkhoz property, production and financial activity, the distribution of gross production and kolkhoz income, the organization and payment of labor, and the management of kolkhoz affairs. The Rules of 1969 introduce new categories of kolkhoz law, including the kolkhoz workers’ right to social insurance and the material liability of the kolkhoz members for damages inflicted by them on kolkhoz property in the course of their work duties.

Basic questions concerning the development of the kolkhoz system are settled on the basis of laws of the USSR (for example, the Law of Further Development of the Kolkhoz System and Reorganization of Machine-Tractor Stations of 1958 and the Law on Pensions and Benefits to Kolkhoz Members of July 15, 1964). Kolkhoz activity is also regulated by other Union and republic legislative instruments, including, first and foremost the joint decisions of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR; an example would be the decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR of May 16, 1966, On Raising the Material Incentives of Kolkhoz Workers in the Development of Public Production, which recommended to the kolkhozes that they introduce a guaranteed wage based on the wage rates of the corresponding categories of sovkhoz workers. The state bodies exercise their management of internal kolkhoz relations mostly through recommendations; compulsory directives are used mainly in questions of planning. The method of recommendations ensures to the greatest extent the correct combination of state guidance with the development of the initiative of the kolkhozes themselves in settling economic problems.

In a number of other socialist countries, branches of law similar to the Soviet kolkhoz law have taken shape to regulate various aspects of the organization and activity of agricultural production cooperatives, including the law of agricultural production cooperatives in the German Democratic Republic, the law of farm labor cooperatives in Bulgaria, the agricultural production cooperative law in Hungary, and the agricultural cooperative law in Czechoslovakia.


Ruskol, A. A. Kolkhoznye pravootnosheniia v SSSR. Moscow, 1960.
Ianchuk, V. Z. Problemy teorii kolkhoznogo prava. Moscow, 1969.
Turubiner, A. M. Voprosy teorii kolkhoznogo prava. Moscow, 1961.


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