The Keys ep43 The paradox of kolkhozes
Kolkhozes caused the greatest damage to rural Latvia in the past century, leading to loss of private property, pollution of nature and traumatized national mentality. In 1940 the occupiers took land away from farmers and distributed between the remaining landless peasants. Then, private property was abolished, and the previously existing as well as newly-created farms had to rent the land from the state. That was the first step towards collectivization. The land, cattle and equipment became common property, and the state would pay the farmers wages for their work in kolkhoz. The reality was harsh. Especially in the first years kolkhozes were poor and undersupplied, the yields were low, the people – demotivated and crushed. The wages were meagre if they were paid at all. But you could not back out from the kolkhoz, and private property was banned.