Many Perestroikas: A Social History of Collective Farm Privatization in Russia


The dissertation provides a social history of collective farm privatization, focusing specifically on three former collective farms in the Nizhnii Novgorod, Riazan´┐Ż and Krasnodar regions in Russia. Research is based on oral histories conducted with farm workers, directors, other villagers and local government officials. The dissertation also uses written sources obtained at farms, administration offices, archives, libraries and statistics offices. The project analyzes changes in rural Russia from the late Soviet to post-Soviet periods, concentrating on the 1970s to 2008. It brings to light how villagers understand and experience the political and economic transformations of modern Russia. Traditional accounts of the Brezhnev era, Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika, power shifts during post-Soviet transformations, and women's history fail to consider the rural population's experiences, beliefs, attitudes, memories and feelings. To some extent, people's experiences in the countryside contradict accepted historical periodizations and characterizations. Dissertation findings include that the Brezhnev period was not a time of stagnation, but rather the best years to work at collective farms. Gorbachev's perestroika was just one in a series of attempted reconstructions of the agricultural sector and not a moment of dramatic historical rupture. Women not only faced heightened vulnerabilities after the Soviet Union collapsed, but also found new economic and leadership opportunities in the countryside previously closed to them. Many transitions have occurred in rural life, and people experience them differently in part depending on emerging forms of inequality in the countryside. The dissertation thus makes historical and historiographical arguments, while presenting and critically analyzing villagers' narratives about their past.
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2011))


Gollub, Elisa Rachel, "Many Perestroikas: A Social History of Collective Farm Privatization in Russia" (2011). History Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.