In this ground-breaking study Lynne Violathe first Western scholar to gain access to the Soviet state archives on collectivizationbrilliantly examines a lost chapter in the history of the Stalin revolution. Looking in detail at the backgrounds, motivations, and mentalities of the 25,000ers, Viola embarks on the first Western investigation of the everyday activities of Stalin's rank-and-file shock troops, the "leading cadres" of socialist construction. In the process, Viola sheds new light on how the state mobilized working-class support for collectivization and reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the 25,000ers went into the countryside as willing recruits. This unique social history uses an "on the scene" line of vision to offer a new understanding of the workings, times, and cadres of Stalin's revolution.
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In this fascinating book, Lynne Viola studies the work of the 25,000 workers who went to the Soviet countryside to assist collectivisation. As she writes, “the 25,000ers were representative of a politically and numerically significant group of workers – politically active cadre workers. Their primary motives in volunteering to participate in the campaign were not based on coercion or material self-interest. The 25,000ers were workers who, on one level or another, identified with the state and party and supported the program of the First Five-Year Plan revolution.” She continues, “The 25,000ers’ role in the proletarianization of the rural apparatus through purge and recruitments was an extension of the social and political policies of the cultural revolution of the First Five-Year Plan in the cities. Purge and recruitment of working-class forces in the urban government apparatus, industry and higher education had broad ramifications in the creation of a base of social support for the state in later years, as well as providing a response to the grievances and aspirations of workers who claimed that the role of the working class had been slighted during NEP.”