Mass murder of Stalin’s state "enemies"

On this date, January 30th, in 1930, the Soviet Politburo ordered the extermination of the kulaks. Stalin had decreed they were enemies of the Revolution, and they were castigated and humiliated before large numbers of them were murdered. The kulaks were peasants who were slightly better off than field labourers, having perhaps a couple of cows and a few acres of land.

This, to Stalin, made them part of the hated property-owning middle class. He wanted production of food to be done large-scale on collective farms. The kulaks were an obstacle to a peasantry totally dependent on, and subservient to, the state, and must be eliminated. Stalin declared, "The resistance of this class must be smashed in open battle and it must be deprived of the productive sources of its existence and development." This meant confiscating their animals and their grain, needed for the Red Army, and leaving them to starve. Then their land was seized.

Many were sent to gulags, with hundreds of thousands dying along the way. Some were executed, and others left to starve to death. Solzhenitsyn put the number killed at 6 million. It is reckoned that this policy led to the great Soviet famine of 1932-33 that killed millions more. It was one of the great disasters of Russian history, and it was entirely man-made.

Historians estimate that this wanton act of mass murder was but a drop in the bucket that Stalin later filled with the blood of his peoples. By coincidence, on the same date, January 30th, three years later in 1933, another mass murderer, Adolf Hitler, was appointed Chancellor of Germany.