Dekulakization was the Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of millions of the better-off peasants and their families in 1929–1932. The Soviet authorities labeled the richer peasants ‘kulaks” and portrayed them as class enemies.

More than 1.8 million peasants were deported in 1930–1931. The campaign had the stated purpose of fighting counter-revolution and of building socialism in the countryside. This policy, carried out simultaneously with collectivization in the Soviet Union, effectively brought all agriculture and all the peasants in Soviet Russia under state control.

A combination of dekulakization and collectivization led to mass starvation in many parts of the Soviet Union and the death of an estimated 11 million peasants in the period between 1929 and 1933, including 4 million deaths during the dekulakization campaign. The results soon became known outside the Soviet Union. In 1941 the American journalist H. R. Knickerbocker wrote: “It is a conservative estimate to say that some 5,000,000 [kulaks] … died at once, or within a few years.”

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