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Private property in the East

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Soviet cogitations: 216
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Jul 2013, 05:04
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 20 Aug 2013, 02:28
Did private property exist in the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries? I remember reading (I cannot recall where) that you could privately own personal property like lamps, cars, toys, etc., but you could not own land, factories, basically the means of production. Apparently there were some exceptions like Poland, where peasants owned their own farms.

Is this correct? Could legal disputes arise over personal property? Did private attorneys exist? In special cases like Poland, were there rules on transferring property to make sure landlords and capitalists did not reemerge?

Thanks.
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 20 Aug 2013, 06:11
Article 13 of the 1977 constitution:

Article 13. Earned income forms the basis of the personal property of Soviet citizens. THe personal property of citizens of the USSR may include articles of everyday use, personal consumption and convenience, the implements and other objects of a small-holding, a house, and earned savings. The personal property of citizens and the right to inherit it are protected by the state.
Citizens may be granted the use of plots of land, in the manner prescribed by law, for a subsidiary small-holding (including the keeping of livestock and poultry), for fruit and vegetable growing or for building an individual dwelling. Citizens are required to make rational use of the land allotted to them. THe state, and collective farms provide assistance to citizens in working their small-holdings.
Property owned or used by citizens shall not serve as a means of deriving unearned income or be employed to the detriment of the interests of society.
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
Loz
[+-]
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 20 Aug 2013, 06:35
Kolkhoz farmers were allowed some land around their homes for private use but it turned out that people worked on their own land much harder than they did on the "communal" plots, given that the kolkhoz paid little so millions basically lived from selling potatoes from their micro-plots on the private market. It's quite absurd that such small patches of land worked by grandmas were often more productive than the huge, mechanized kolkhozes as people saw little interest in working for peanuts for the state. It was usual in the USSR than students and soldiers were called to harvest potatoes as the farmers often let them rot in the fields.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 4381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 20 Aug 2013, 16:31
Loz, wth? Why the extreme hostility and bias toward everything Soviet and Russian lately? You sound like a CNN article.

Yes, people probably worked hard on their own plots, yes they were more productive per yard, and yes, they did contribute to about 15% of Soviet agricultural consumption, although for the most part they harvested fruits and vegetables hard to come by from state farms, not staple crops like potatoes. My grandmother was a member of a sovhoz, and she only began planting potatoes in the early 1990s...

As for the phenomenon of various workers and students being called to farms: it's worth noting that this had its benefits, leading to more closely tied work and school collectives, providing exercise and a fresh environment away from the city, and for many simply a good time or adventure. Of all the people I know from the Brezhnev generation (when this practice was begun on a mass scale) only a few complain, some are indifferent, and many recall those times with nostalgia. The collectives didn't just bring in the harvest; they ate and drank, sang songs, had camp fires, etc.

Most of the agricultural losses you speak of happened not from farmer negligence, but from insufficiently developed storage and transport infrastructure, and low levels of technological development, including refrigeration and GMo technologies. Speaking from the perspective of today, when most food is filled with preservatives, it's hard to say what's worse -no bananas or bananas sprayed with chemicals and shipped from South America; small natural chickens or chickens pumped up with hormones.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 216
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Jul 2013, 05:04
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 20 Aug 2013, 21:22
Loz wrote:
Kolkhoz farmers were allowed some land around their homes for private use but it turned out that people worked on their own land much harder than they did on the "communal" plots, given that the kolkhoz paid little so millions basically lived from selling potatoes from their micro-plots on the private market. It's quite absurd that such small patches of land worked by grandmas were often more productive than the huge, mechanized kolkhozes as people saw little interest in working for peanuts for the state. It was usual in the USSR than students and soldiers were called to harvest potatoes as the farmers often let them rot in the fields.


Would you then support something like the situation in Poland where the land was divided amongst peasant families? Was the Polish setup superior to the other agricutlural systems in the East?
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Philosophized
Post 20 Aug 2013, 22:40
You have to remember that the Soviet Union was a massive geopolitical entity which was struggling to provide universal health care whilst simultaneously balancing the needs of the consumer base with the military defense of the country during 45 years of Cold War. Poland played a role, but a much lesser one, in that struggle, and its citizens were able to look to their own purely private needs with a bit less scrutiny from the state.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 87
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2011, 07:51
Pioneer
Post 05 Apr 2015, 14:35
Hey comrades!I ve met a romanian who lived in ceausescu s era an told me that a family could own up to 150 sheeps
.Does anybody know how many sheeps a family could own in the other socialist countries?
Soviet cogitations: 672
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 04 Aug 2015, 07:53
Piccolo wrote:
Would you then support something like the situation in Poland where the land was divided amongst peasant families? Was the Polish setup superior to the other agricutlural systems in the East?
Over 85% of Polish agriculture was in private hands after "de-Stalinization" in the 1950s. This made Poland unique in Eastern Europe. It also harmed the economy because most private farms were highly inefficient due to being tiny and unable to take advantage of mechanization. The state, in order to keep these farms alive, bought their produce at artificially high prices while selling them in urban stores at artificially low prices.

A good read on this subject, and on the economic problems of Poland in the 1970s-80s in general: https://archive.org/details/ClassStrugg ... listPoland
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