Rural Communists as Actors and Victims of Forced Collectivization

Vidiecki komunisti ako aktéri a obete nútenej kolektivizácie

Analysing the developments in the rural communist cells in the 1950s in north-eastern Slovakia, this study challenges the still prevalent dichotomous picture of "the peasants" and "the communists" as two separate entities in the process of forced collectivisation. While many local communist veterans were fully satisfied with being granted a strip of soil in the post-war land reform and used all their authority to protect their village from collectivisation, a number of "bourgeois elements" such as tradesmen, innkeepers, students, etc., with no personal inclination towards the communist ideology, were charged by regional authorities with participation in the collectivisation campaign. Forced collectivisation resulted in a weakening of the authority of local communist party cells and a power shift in favour of the local National councils and Peasants' Cooperatives.